Last scrimmage to have situational focus

Tennessee head coach Derek Dooley walks the field during practice at Science Hill High School's Steve Spurrier Field in Kermit Tipton Stadium in Johnson City, Tenn., Friday, Aug. 10, 2012. (ADAM BRIMER/NEWS SENTINEL)

Photo by Adam Brimer, copyright © 2012

Tennessee head coach Derek Dooley walks the field during practice at Science Hill High School's Steve Spurrier Field in Kermit Tipton Stadium in Johnson City, Tenn., Friday, Aug. 10, 2012. (ADAM BRIMER/NEWS SENTINEL)

Two weeks before the season opener, Tennessee gets serious today with the last major scrimmage of the preseason.

Instead of the typical three scrimmages, Derek Dooley is cutting back to two this year. One reason is a change in the school calendar. Another is having a more veteran club.

"We've got guys who have a lot of snaps,'' he said Thursday night. "It's more the model we did when I was at LSU and we had a veteran squad.''

Today's scrimmage will focus on a number of situational scenarios, such as end-of-game management.

* Receiver Cordarrelle Patterson will get some scrimmage work today, as will safety LaDarrell McNeil. Both were still in a red no-contact jersey Thursday.

Tight end Mychal Rivera (knee) will be held out but should return to full contact Monday. Middle linebacker Herman Lathers won't scrimmage due to various nicks.

Dooley said the defense misses Lathers when he's not on the field.

"Herman is what you want at Mike (linebacker) because he's got a real good understanding and he's got real good verbal skills,'' Dooley said. "So that hurts us.

"That's one of my biggest concerns, inside linebacker. You've got A.J. (Johnson) and then you're forced to start moving guys. (Outside backer) Curt (Maggitt) played behind the ball last year so it's not foreign to him but you hope you don't have to go down that path.''

* Sophomore tailback Marlin Lane hasn't had a bad camp, Dooley said. Rather, Rajion Neal and Devrin Young have been that good to move ahead of him.

"Nobody is disappointed in Marlin,'' Dooley said.

Lane could win favor today by breaking a long run and showing that he's dependable in pass protection.

* True freshman Justin King is paying a price for being versatile. He's getting the kitchen sink thrown at him — four special-teams units, fullback, tight end and a little Wildcat package.

"The poor guy is swimming,'' Dooley said. "Every coach is yelling at him and it's not his fault.

"We've got to try to figure out where to lock him in to help us. That's what happens to these big versatile guys, these big body types who can do a lot of things.''

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Comments » 20

thevoice writes:

Sure like King's "problems."

Rumblefish writes:

Please.....stay away from that stupid "wildcat".

I get it's use as a "wrinkle"....but, it just hasn't worked out so well for us.

10seVol85_Part_Deux writes:

in response to Rumblefish:

Please.....stay away from that stupid "wildcat".

I get it's use as a "wrinkle"....but, it just hasn't worked out so well for us.

The problem I have with the wildcat is that the defense knows it's a run. If you've got a guy who can run it and also is a threat to pass, then I can see it as a real threat.

One of my favs is a back on a wheel route. That's a thing of beauty when it works. I remember the Vols using that quite effectively when Lucas Taylor was there. They'd give it to him on an end around, and sometimes he would stop and throw it to the back on that wheel route on the side he came from. In 2007 Taylor was 1-1-56-TD and a 900 passer rating. In the 2006 Florida game he did the same thing with a 48 yard TD pass to L Coker.

BruisedOrange writes:

I guess when all's said & done... there's no offensive play that works without good blocking, and there's no trick play that works if you're not already hurting 'em with something else.

I think the biggest advantage to the wildcat today is that it forces all your opponents to spend time preparing for it--and with NCAA rules, that's practice time they CAN'T spend on something else. Since so many teams include a wildcat package, it becomes less effective as the season moves on. Biggest advantage for us should be against NC State

Come game time, if you don't have to telegraph it by your substitutions, it still improves your chances that someone on D will be out of position and you'll get that big play--OR you'll force the D to burn a timeout.

atnvol#283282 writes:

Things sound so much more promising in the last few weeks.....lets keep our fingers crossed and just maybe our Vols could be a surprise team this fall....longsuffering(Volfan) is not one of my better attributes. We must avoid the injury bug.

govolsn3 writes:

Lathers may just be injury prone. I sure hope he gets a full year in and leads these younger linebackers. They can learn so many things from him than they could ever from any coach. Seems like every time you read about Lathers there is some kind of injury in the equation. GO VOLS VFL

licknpromise777#651578 writes:

in response to 10seVol85_Part_Deux:

The problem I have with the wildcat is that the defense knows it's a run. If you've got a guy who can run it and also is a threat to pass, then I can see it as a real threat.

One of my favs is a back on a wheel route. That's a thing of beauty when it works. I remember the Vols using that quite effectively when Lucas Taylor was there. They'd give it to him on an end around, and sometimes he would stop and throw it to the back on that wheel route on the side he came from. In 2007 Taylor was 1-1-56-TD and a 900 passer rating. In the 2006 Florida game he did the same thing with a 48 yard TD pass to L Coker.

Also big fan of the wheel route;works with a TE or Back..Nothing like seeing our TE running free with no defender for 20 yards..It's harder from a wildcat formation cause it takes time to develop.Not sure who would do the passing. I think Teague played some QB in HS..Not sure Chaney even knows what a wheel route is.For me this is Chaneys last chance to show he can call an effective series of a 10 play drive for a score against the likes of Bama or USC..That goal line Wildcat debacle last year was pitiful; desperate and showed just how clueless he was!!!

licknpromise777#651578 writes:

in response to Rumblefish:

Please.....stay away from that stupid "wildcat".

I get it's use as a "wrinkle"....but, it just hasn't worked out so well for us.

Totally agree!!!Unless of course King has some Cam Newton qualities..I don't think we've ever got a first down out of the wildcat and Chaney keeps it so vanilla that the defense just plays the run and stuffs it!!Shelf the wildcat unless you have an exceptional player cause it's a guaranteed drive stopper..

laraccoon writes:

in response to licknpromise777#651578:

Also big fan of the wheel route;works with a TE or Back..Nothing like seeing our TE running free with no defender for 20 yards..It's harder from a wildcat formation cause it takes time to develop.Not sure who would do the passing. I think Teague played some QB in HS..Not sure Chaney even knows what a wheel route is.For me this is Chaneys last chance to show he can call an effective series of a 10 play drive for a score against the likes of Bama or USC..That goal line Wildcat debacle last year was pitiful; desperate and showed just how clueless he was!!!

IMO Chaney is the biggest question mark in this whole rebuilding process. it baffled me last year how inept our offense continued to be while never progressing instead it seemed to have gotten worse as the year went on . i know we were not loaded with talent last year but it seems like we should have been able to do more than we did . i think we will know fairly early on if Chaney knows what he is doing or not this year , i would say much of Dooley's fate will rest in Chaneys hands .

crappieking writes:

in response to laraccoon:

IMO Chaney is the biggest question mark in this whole rebuilding process. it baffled me last year how inept our offense continued to be while never progressing instead it seemed to have gotten worse as the year went on . i know we were not loaded with talent last year but it seems like we should have been able to do more than we did . i think we will know fairly early on if Chaney knows what he is doing or not this year , i would say much of Dooley's fate will rest in Chaneys hands .

I agree with your post. We regressed every game last year under Chaney and Dooley. The truth be known, Dooley should have been fired right after the KY debacle.

Voltman writes:

in response to crappieking:

I agree with your post. We regressed every game last year under Chaney and Dooley. The truth be known, Dooley should have been fired right after the KY debacle.

The truth is that you shouldnt be calling for Dooley's firing just yet. There was too much beyond his or the coaches control that game.

BigOrangeDan writes:

Leave CDD alone! He is building a solid program and going a great job especially the way it was handed to me. If you have never been in the position Dooley is in then please shut up and watch. Go Big Orange!!!!

sameolvolalum writes:

in response to Voltman:

The truth is that you shouldnt be calling for Dooley's firing just yet. There was too much beyond his or the coaches control that game.

You're nice to be polite to him, Voltman. People are all subjective to one degree or another, as is this crappie fella. He isn't interested in implementing the conversations on this site, though. He's just one of a small list of individuals who favor some other sports program over UT's who's found an avenue to drain his sour grape juice. Negative comments on this site don't do an iota in placing pressure on a HC. What they DO accomplish is they portray an impatient and unforgiving fan base; often applied by those who aren't fans at all. Winners are optimistic to an absurd degree........color a lot of us orange and absurd, then.

The wildcat formation is, as someone noted previously, affective in that (if installed in the offense) opposing D's have to use up precious practice and film room time just to prepare for it, and going in and out of that formation causes added confusion in the D backfield. When executed properly and intuitively and run at the right defense at the right time, the wildcat can put speed in a big hole. More experience than UT's had in the previous two years is necessary.....but now that experience is in place. Haven't you noticed how often coaches suggest they'll be using the wildcat? It seems to be pretty much the m.o. for messing up a foes practice sessions just a bit and getting into the D's heads. If you've not seen some big plays out of it, CFB and NFL both, you've not been watching very much football. Chaney's got a seemingly potent OL and the skill guys to make it all go, so we've got to agree that this is more HIS year to prove his grit than CDD. GBO!

chattvol9 writes:

Bring back the G-Gun! In all seriousness, I hope more teams waste time preparing for us to run it than we waste practicing the Wildcat. Granted this might be the first year we have enough true SEC speed and can work some of our smaller backs into the Wildcat, it seems to have run it's course. And as fragile as Bray is, I don't like the idea of having him split out wide and open to taking hits.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

Interesting stuff. I wish I knew more about the "wildcat". That said I hate anything with cats.

GBO!

DonK37920 writes:

Justin King was a 3 star athlete with a below average offer list. Now he's on 4 special teams as a freshman and expected to provide much needed depth at 2 other positions. A good lesson to be learned there, me included!

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

in response to Rumblefish:

Please.....stay away from that stupid "wildcat".

I get it's use as a "wrinkle"....but, it just hasn't worked out so well for us.

That's because UT never passes out of that formation..They only run it with whichever player takes the snap..Any offense needs more imagination than that..But, I agree the wildcat is a stupid HS offense and I absolutely can't stand that kind of fb..That's another reason I hate HSFB.

DonK37920 writes:

in response to crappieking:

I agree with your post. We regressed every game last year under Chaney and Dooley. The truth be known, Dooley should have been fired right after the KY debacle.

At the time I would have agreed. However, evryone knew we were in a horrible situation with attrition. His first year we were way under the 85 scholarship players and had to fill in with walkons. Last year, we lost too many key players to injury but now we have depth and experience. This is the year to judge him. The first 2 mean nothing.
FYI, I also think Georgia is in a horrible mess for the same reasons mentioned above. They were at 70 scholarship players this year due to attrition and had to fill in with walkons and maybe transfers. They will struggle in the second half of games like we have the last couple of years. They are in for a big shock as a fan base!

Vo2Vol writes:

We regressed because we lost two important weapons (Hunter and Bray) that allowed defenses to not play honest. It may not be as much play calling as execution of the play called. At some point, though, the play called is based on what we have the ability to execute. We will be better this year because we will be bigger, stronger, faster, and talent makes any coach look better or worse. Every coach would like to have a call back, no doubt, but at the end of the day the players have to out-execute the other team.

laraccoon writes:

in response to Vo2Vol:

We regressed because we lost two important weapons (Hunter and Bray) that allowed defenses to not play honest. It may not be as much play calling as execution of the play called. At some point, though, the play called is based on what we have the ability to execute. We will be better this year because we will be bigger, stronger, faster, and talent makes any coach look better or worse. Every coach would like to have a call back, no doubt, but at the end of the day the players have to out-execute the other team.

i agree with you , and i harped on Chaney all last year but i guess its really hard to tell if its because of lousy coaching or lack of talent when a team could play like the vols last year . We should be able to distinguish between the two more this season .

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