Austin Ward: New coaches come in with chance to boost rushing attack

The leading rusher from last season graduated.

The offensive line coach took a job elsewhere.

There wasn't a full-time assistant even directly responsible for the running backs a year ago.

Significant changes are coming for the Tennessee ground game heading into next football season, which surely is no surprise after the Vols ranked among the worst in the country at the end of the last one.

And considering the turnover in those critical spots, in some ways the new batch of replacements will be inheriting a clean slate — and plenty of room for improvement, even if there's only so much they can do right now.

"I don't think you evaluate them on film (from last year) right now as much," recently hired running backs coach Jay Graham said. "I think you wait to do it on the field, in person.

"That's the way to do it, instead of what is already on tape."

That video evidence obviously isn't pretty for a team that finished No. 116 in the nation in rushing yardage. And with a relatively small sample size of carries for tailbacks still on the roster with Tauren Poole gone, there's limited value for Graham in rehashing it.

There might be a bit more value to using the film to evaluate the personnel for Sam Pittman, who will be working with an offensive line that returns all the starters and key reserves as he heads into his first season with the program.

But really, the best use for popping in those tapes for both Graham and Pittman is to get a feel for what the offense did schematically, which coach Derek Dooley indicated last week wouldn't change much with UT's pro-style attack.

"I think we can continue to build," Dooley said during his most recent news conference. "He's been in, systematically, a pro-style offense the last five years over there (at North Carolina), and I know the systems he's been in.

"The only learning curve will just be personality more than anything, but there's always a learning curve with any coach schematically. And you have to iron them out."

The Vols were never able to smooth things out in the backfield or up front for the rushing attack a year ago.

But starting with the new additions on the sideline and their recent track records, there are signs they could bring better results with them. Of course, there's nowhere to go but up.

THE CASE FOR JAY GRAHAM

RUNNING GAME

Before he arrived at South Carolina:

The Gamecocks finished among the worst rushing offenses in the country in 2008, averaging just 94.1 yards per game, the lowest total in the SEC. Overall they finished No. 112 in the nation, with leading rusher Mike Davis held to under 50 yards per game

After he arrived:

2009: Averaged 121.2 yards per game, ranked No. 91 in the nation

2010: Averaged 154.4 yards per game, ranked No. 60 in the nation; balanced out an offense that also ranked No. 44 in the country in passing

2011: Averaged 192.1 yards per game, ranked No. 25 in the nation and third in the SEC despite losing Heisman Trophy candidate Marcus Lattimore for the last six games

Verdict: Strictly based on yardage, the Gamecocks showed improvement on the ground every year with Graham on the staff, with the finest rushing performance coming in a year that required some creativity after losing its most talented tailback to injury midway through the schedule.

RECRUITING/DEVELOPMENT

Integral in the signing of Lattimore, Graham worked with the freshman as he burst on the scene and made an instant impact in 2010. In just his second career game, the Gamecocks handed him the ball 37 times against an SEC defense — and Lattimore produced 182 yards and two touchdowns in a win over Georgia. He wrapped up the year with 1,197 yards on the ground and 17 touchdowns.

After losing Lattimore midway through last season, plugged Brandon Wilds into the lineup and watched him produce a stretch with three 100-yard outings in four games.

During his first year with the Gamecocks, oversaw a unit that featured four tailbacks with virtually no experience prior to the season. With one junior and three freshmen to work with, South Carolina got a combined 1,267 yards out of the group on the way to a postseason appearance.

PERSONAL EXPERIENCE

Graham honed his craft on the field with the Vols, leaving the program as one of the most prolific rushers in school history. His 2,609 career yards still ranks seventh all-time at UT, and he found the end zone 25 times on the ground before heading to the NFL.

A third-round pick in 1997 by Baltimore, he spent six seasons in the NFL spread over three organizations with a pair of touchdowns at the highest level to his credit.

Final word: "I think it's important for our young men to understand that (history) and know what it means, understand the tradition and the storied history here. I'll talk a lot about that." — Graham

THE CASE FOR SAM PITTMAN

RUNNING GAME

Before he arrived at North Carolina:

The Tar Heels averaged 113.3 yards per game on the ground with an offense that featured 49 more rushing attempts than passes.

After he arrived:

2007: 99.2 yard per game, ranked No. 107 in the nation

2008: 122.6 yards per game, ranked No. 89 in the nation

2009: 132.9 yards per game, ranked No. 79 in the nation

2010: 125.7 yards per game, ranked No. 94 in the nation

2011: 138.9 yards per game, ranked No. 76 in the nation

Verdict: After initially taking a step back in production during the coaching transition, Pittman helped produce a big jump in his second season and another in the third to give the Tar Heels some balance offensively. He capped his career with North Carolina with the finest rushing attack he was a part of there, one led by a redshirt freshman running back.

PASSING GAME

Before he arrived:

North Carolina allowed 22 sacks while throwing for nearly 180 yards per game on the way to a 3-9 record.

After he arrived:

2007: 3.1 sacks allowed per game, No. 105 in the nation; 226.2 yards per game, No. 57 nationally

2008: 2.2 sacks allowed per game, No. 79 in the nation; 198.8 yards per game, No. 74 nationally

2009: 2.0 sacks allowed per game, No. 63 in the nation; 174.9 yards per game, No. 102 nationally

2010: 2.9 sacks allowed per game, No. 104 in the nation; 264 yards per game, No. 26 nationally

2011: 2.1 sacks allowed per game, No. 69 in the nation; 254.4 yards per game, No. 36 nationally

Verdict: The Tar Heels weren't afraid to throw the ball in their pro-style attack, which left plenty of work for the line to do in terms of protecting the quarterback. For the most part, North Carolina ranked right in the middle of the country in keeping the passer upright while posting some big numbers tossing it around.

RECRUITING/PLAYER DEVELOPMENT

Named a top-25 recruiter by ESPN.com

Signed tackles rated No. 2 in the country in each of the last two years, James Hurst and Kiaro Holt

Worked with tackle Garrett Reynolds and helped mold him into a fifth-round draft pick in 2009

Final word: "Good person, good football coach, the players loved him everywhere he's been and worked hard for him, and he's an excellent recruiter. It was a little bit of everything." — Derek Dooley

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Comments » 48

SavTnVol writes:

Nowhere else to go but UP...

SpiralBound writes:

I'm no troll, but I thought the ONLY thing that needed changing was the scheme. Coming into the season, everyone thought we were gonna run it down people's throats. We returned an experienced 1,000 yard rusher and a handful of battle tested linemen. What happened? We went backward, almost literally.

Until we run it down people's throats I'm gonna assume our line doesn't give up a sack and our running backs suffer by losing touches. If CJG coaches like he played, those young men will be MORE than capable, but if CJC calls plays like those which were called against UGA, I'm afraid we'll see much of the same.

Tacamo01 writes:

Returning the whole offensive line and secondary. ESPN has stated that Bray could be the best QB in the SEC this year. New coaches with NFL experience and leadership talent. (wish we would have kept Thompson though)
UT just might surprise alot of folks this season. Dooley has put together a winning combo. I don't count the first year he took over. He had to move way to fast after Kiffin's abrupt departure.

SmokeyFTW writes:

Could be the year we make the turn back to the top. Yea..I said it and its not that far fetched. We have an O-line that had another year under its belt and has replaced no one. That says a lot in itself. Tyler Bray with Hunter, Da'rick and the addition of Croom and Bowles..should make for a good year Offensively

nocleats writes:

Somewhere there is a stud RB who could easily be a NCAA freshman Star next year for the Vols. Opportunity is unreal!

Supersayin1 writes:

in response to SpiralBound:

I'm no troll, but I thought the ONLY thing that needed changing was the scheme. Coming into the season, everyone thought we were gonna run it down people's throats. We returned an experienced 1,000 yard rusher and a handful of battle tested linemen. What happened? We went backward, almost literally.

Until we run it down people's throats I'm gonna assume our line doesn't give up a sack and our running backs suffer by losing touches. If CJG coaches like he played, those young men will be MORE than capable, but if CJC calls plays like those which were called against UGA, I'm afraid we'll see much of the same.

Makes sense! Seeing what poole did with an inexperienced line i'm sure that not only we fans but the rest of the SEC were kinda worried and expecting UT to have one of the best Running games in the country let alone the SEC. But yeah we went backwards.

I honestly wonder what happened?? They said it wasn't chemistry, but it may have been just that. Maybe it was a lack of Intensity, Strength, overall nastiness, or maybe simply just the scheme.

I think we honestly need a coach that will give himself headaches screaming at this guys, but motivating them to be the meanest mofos on the football field.

CharlotteVol writes:

One thing that is obvious to me is the significant upgrade in Dooley's coaching staff hires this time around. I don't buy all the rumors that Hart was forcing the hires against Dooley's wishes, but having a football AD to help evaluate options was needed.

GBO!

Supersayin1 writes:

in response to SmokeyFTW:

Could be the year we make the turn back to the top. Yea..I said it and its not that far fetched. We have an O-line that had another year under its belt and has replaced no one. That says a lot in itself. Tyler Bray with Hunter, Da'rick and the addition of Croom and Bowles..should make for a good year Offensively

Add in Rivera and UT may have one of the most dangerous passing attacks in the country!

kcbigorngX writes:

Don't look for the Tennessee offense to re-invent and become a ground pounding, between the tackles, 3yds/cloud of dust game.

Running game will improve with maturity on O-line, more knowledge and confidence in RB's, and better game management by a seasoned QB.

The greatest improvement on the ground will be dictated by the throwing arm of that QB.

The immediate future of UT's football program is based on vertical envelopment...stretching defenses with the deep threat, and then moving the chains using tight ends and speed out of the backfield...a recipe used to defeat some of the best defenses in history...which is exactly what we face in the SEC on an ever more regular basis.

With the receiving corps that exists now plus some recruits that show promise with speed and skill, the Vols could develop the West Coast offense that highlight reels were made for.

I believe Tyler Bray is in position to become a Heisman Trophy candidate...but I would be willing to settle for something between Tom Brady and Joe Montana.

Ironcity writes:

If we don't improve dramatically running the ball then we will be replacing more then the assistants next year. If I was a coach and I am not I would look at the UT situation as an opportunity. You have talent, experience, and nothing to live up to. It would not take much to succeed and very little for most assistants to look great after last years results. This team is set up to improve dramatically its just a matter of how much.

utfaninga writes:

Coach Graham better lobby hard to get Rajion Neal back with the running backs.

RoadTrip writes:

Blocking Scheme - Period. Change it. Pro style does not mean you have to run crappy sprint draw zone blocking. Go man or zone, but no sprint draw schemes. Set the running back 1-2 yards closer to the line. Problem solved. Are you listening over there?

VolinCalif writes:

in response to Supersayin1:

Add in Rivera and UT may have one of the most dangerous passing attacks in the country!

Hey!Hey! Watch your English. The work you seek Is "will" not "may". But as you're suggesting we will be a great team this year. 9-3 + bowl at a Minimum.
I also thought we were just a heart beat away from being a very good team last year until the end of the year. We just couldn't over come the early injuries with the depth we had and over time the players got depressed.

RashaadSalabeb writes:

The first thing we need to do is sign a stud runningback. It's been a few years since we've had one. The offensive line has to get stronger and just plain meaner. I can't wait until spring.

Go Vols! Coaches and players work hard!

VolinCalif writes:

in response to RashaadSalabeb:

The first thing we need to do is sign a stud runningback. It's been a few years since we've had one. The offensive line has to get stronger and just plain meaner. I can't wait until spring.

Go Vols! Coaches and players work hard!

Rash
We had a Sr that had a 1k season the year before. He didn't just lose those skills, somehow the plays ,timing of call, or sets were just not suited for him. I think he just showed that was true.

givehim6 writes:

Will be nice to have a running game to go along with are air attack. To have a good mix will help keep the opposing defences guessing.

BigVolFaninSC writes:

If the VOLS are to climb back into contention in the coming years, it will certainly help to have a GOOD running game! So, we better hope that the new coaches can get it turned around starting this year! They certainly have their work cut out for them. Coach 'em up! GO VOLS!

flatrock writes:

in response to SpiralBound:

I'm no troll, but I thought the ONLY thing that needed changing was the scheme. Coming into the season, everyone thought we were gonna run it down people's throats. We returned an experienced 1,000 yard rusher and a handful of battle tested linemen. What happened? We went backward, almost literally.

Until we run it down people's throats I'm gonna assume our line doesn't give up a sack and our running backs suffer by losing touches. If CJG coaches like he played, those young men will be MORE than capable, but if CJC calls plays like those which were called against UGA, I'm afraid we'll see much of the same.

The running game will not improve, unless Tyler Bray grows up and takes the time to learn defenses- and checks out of plays that are called into the teeth of the defense...Go check the stats:
-when TB was the QB, our running game averaged about 1/3 of what it did with the other 2 QBs.
Time to grow up, T.Bray, or have a seat and watch!

bvol1inSC writes:

in response to utfaninga:

Coach Graham better lobby hard to get Rajion Neal back with the running backs.

He'll be there - book it!

willblitz4bacon writes:

in response to SavTnVol:

Nowhere else to go but UP...

Well said

MidTennVol writes:

in response to Supersayin1:

Makes sense! Seeing what poole did with an inexperienced line i'm sure that not only we fans but the rest of the SEC were kinda worried and expecting UT to have one of the best Running games in the country let alone the SEC. But yeah we went backwards.

I honestly wonder what happened?? They said it wasn't chemistry, but it may have been just that. Maybe it was a lack of Intensity, Strength, overall nastiness, or maybe simply just the scheme.

I think we honestly need a coach that will give himself headaches screaming at this guys, but motivating them to be the meanest mofos on the football field.

"I honestly wonder what happened?? They said it wasn't chemistry, but it may have been just that. Maybe it was a lack of Intensity, Strength, overall nastiness, or maybe simply just the scheme.

I think we honestly need a coach that will give himself headaches screaming at this guys, but motivating them to be the meanest mofos on the football field."

Dude, I think you said it for me. Pretty sure it has something to do with scheme -- but even more to do with attitude and preparation...as you say, "intensity, strength and overall nastiness."

That entire O-line had better be busting a gut right now pushing in the weight room and chasing max-out records held by their predecessors.

They'd better be doing that all year. Sweating, grunting, screaming and dreaming with everything they have...and then taking it to the next level, digging deep for more.

They'd better be fiercely dedicated to starting the season as the strongest and nastiest offensive line in the nation ready to put the hurt on some people.

I want to see new records coming out of the weight room from this football team.

I want to see junkyard dogs running away in fear from these boys.

Dalton writes:

We got the bodies in the trenches...they just need to be unleashed...teach until you can't control them...Full Metal Jacket style!

Supersayin1 writes:

in response to VolinCalif:

Hey!Hey! Watch your English. The work you seek Is "will" not "may". But as you're suggesting we will be a great team this year. 9-3 + bowl at a Minimum.
I also thought we were just a heart beat away from being a very good team last year until the end of the year. We just couldn't over come the early injuries with the depth we had and over time the players got depressed.

My bad my bad!! I mean WILL, thanks for correcting me!! LOL!! I agree I was felt the same way. With Hunter I believe we would have took it to UF,and had Bray not went down S.Carolina would have been a win, and Kentucky would have pretty been the streak continued!

I seriously only saw 4 teams giving us trouble last year even with a healthy hunter and Bray, and thats UGA ( Which could have been a toss up) Arkansas,LSU, and Alabama. Those games would have been closer though. GO VOLS!

osbymartin75 writes:

in response to flatrock:

The running game will not improve, unless Tyler Bray grows up and takes the time to learn defenses- and checks out of plays that are called into the teeth of the defense...Go check the stats:
-when TB was the QB, our running game averaged about 1/3 of what it did with the other 2 QBs.
Time to grow up, T.Bray, or have a seat and watch!

Checking out of the plays is a key..but also check the stats on this too..UT threw more and ran less with Bray in and ran more and threw less without him..they threw 30+ times in 6 of the 7 games he played the majority of and ran 29+ only 3 of the 7. They threw 30+ in 3 of the 5 he missed and ran 29+ in 4 of the 5. So to that effect you can manipulate numbers to try to blame his lack of reading defenses as the decline in run production or it could simply be that with him in they threw more so running numbers were down with him because of fewer attempts. Stats are fickle fickle little liars sometimes...here's hoping that Mr Pittman and Mr. Graham can get to work and improve things and balance the attack out a little...I have a feeling with Bray and the receiving corp we have...the pass will still be relied on heavily and hoping the running game when called upon will be there ready and able to make a strong contribution!!

Supersayin1 writes:

in response to MidTennVol:

"I honestly wonder what happened?? They said it wasn't chemistry, but it may have been just that. Maybe it was a lack of Intensity, Strength, overall nastiness, or maybe simply just the scheme.

I think we honestly need a coach that will give himself headaches screaming at this guys, but motivating them to be the meanest mofos on the football field."

Dude, I think you said it for me. Pretty sure it has something to do with scheme -- but even more to do with attitude and preparation...as you say, "intensity, strength and overall nastiness."

That entire O-line had better be busting a gut right now pushing in the weight room and chasing max-out records held by their predecessors.

They'd better be doing that all year. Sweating, grunting, screaming and dreaming with everything they have...and then taking it to the next level, digging deep for more.

They'd better be fiercely dedicated to starting the season as the strongest and nastiest offensive line in the nation ready to put the hurt on some people.

I want to see new records coming out of the weight room from this football team.

I want to see junkyard dogs running away in fear from these boys.

Heck Yeah!!!!! We need these guys to come out in Beast Mode!!! I looked at our linemen last year, while they were huge, the looked like big teddy bears, they struck no fear whatsoever, and it showed on run blocks!

They better show improvment, because most of what UT does next year depends on them coming togather as one of the best units in the SEC!

clvolfan writes:

Please quit calling it "looking at the tapes".
We got a lot of that with CPF,and although we said we were going to "work like heck",neither were working in the latter years--just a thought.

TommyJack writes:

in response to VolinCalif:

Hey!Hey! Watch your English. The work you seek Is "will" not "may". But as you're suggesting we will be a great team this year. 9-3 + bowl at a Minimum.
I also thought we were just a heart beat away from being a very good team last year until the end of the year. We just couldn't over come the early injuries with the depth we had and over time the players got depressed.

Hey! Hey! The word you seek is word, not work.

tensie2004 writes:

When your number 116 in the nation in rushing offense then there has to be alot of room for improvement. I really like the hire of Graham because he is one of our own. For me the verdict is still out of Pittman but if he is a good recruiter then that is a big plus. Better players equals better record. but even average players can be coached up and that has not happened the last few years.

SummittsCourt writes:

Upgrade running attack here they come.

The running game will show vast improvement which will also allow the passing game to improve as well.

I look forward to seeing what a bunch of no name running backs will do behind an expected improved o-line next season.

TheVolSnake writes:

I for one am very excited for our offense in whole this year, I remember watching Jay Graham running for TN and he always ran hard. The addition of Pittman will dramatically improve our blocking. I loved watching when I could Poole and wish him the best in the NFL, but this year he always wanted to break to the outside, last year he went through the hole and continued up field this year he went through the hole and broke to the outside. As a former defensive player if a running back always went outside I could cheat that way and that is what opposing Linebackers did this year. I hope they Keep Bourque as a running back and him and Lane will be an great tandem.

pcorange writes:

CDD did what needed to be done with the dismissal of Hiestand. Hopefully Pittman will do a better job of coaching the O-line. We shall see. It really can't get any worse.

oldvoltimer62 writes:

Pittman has gotta go after some Big oline recruits.Rivals has UT around 11 in recruiting ,but no oline men on the list a lot of wr,dl,de,and db's if you gonna run and pass Oline men is the ticket gotta have em.

Ttown writes:

in response to flatrock:

The running game will not improve, unless Tyler Bray grows up and takes the time to learn defenses- and checks out of plays that are called into the teeth of the defense...Go check the stats:
-when TB was the QB, our running game averaged about 1/3 of what it did with the other 2 QBs.
Time to grow up, T.Bray, or have a seat and watch!

Look at the lucky hogs with there passing game they didnt run alot of the time and I promise u bray is way better and our wide outs are better to bray was leading the sec tell he got hurt we shall see this year I hope we hear nothing but the vols in the news and on espn as wooo what a team and a turn around it is there and the world can see it goooooo volllllllllllllssssssss

knoxchatter writes:

in response to flatrock:

The running game will not improve, unless Tyler Bray grows up and takes the time to learn defenses- and checks out of plays that are called into the teeth of the defense...Go check the stats:
-when TB was the QB, our running game averaged about 1/3 of what it did with the other 2 QBs.
Time to grow up, T.Bray, or have a seat and watch!

I have to agree flatrock..and it's a bit diconcerting to STILL hear comments like this about Bray and his dedication and ability to be a team leader. Yet, going into his junior year, it is still talked about and a big big concern. Even Coach Dooley commented in his 1st news conference since the Kentucky debacle that "talks with Bray had been awesome, still there is no shortage in leadership moving forward." That certainly raises a bit of a red flag about a QB who is possibly going to be the best in the SEC.

hueypilot writes:

in response to knoxchatter:

I have to agree flatrock..and it's a bit diconcerting to STILL hear comments like this about Bray and his dedication and ability to be a team leader. Yet, going into his junior year, it is still talked about and a big big concern. Even Coach Dooley commented in his 1st news conference since the Kentucky debacle that "talks with Bray had been awesome, still there is no shortage in leadership moving forward." That certainly raises a bit of a red flag about a QB who is possibly going to be the best in the SEC.

I don't doubt Bray's physical ability. But Joe Montana, Roger Staubach and Fran Tarkenton have said that somebody down the depth chart on every team they were on since HS could throw harder and farther than they could. I assume all the QB's on the Vols roster can throw the ball. But who puts them in the best position to make positive yards. Look at Manning when defenses drop and how he used Addai and Brown in key situations to run for yardage. Not saying Bray has to think as well as Manning but the KY game was an excellent example of a QB being too hard headed to make the right calls. Will Bray evolve? Who knows? I hope Worley and Bateman develop quickly. I have bad feelings about Bray.

wigmeister writes:

The OL needs to kick some serious A. The RB's need to kick some serious A. It's a mindset. You need to want to kick the C out of the player in front of you. Get physically ready, and JUST DO IT!

HtownVol writes:

in response to kcbigorngX:

Don't look for the Tennessee offense to re-invent and become a ground pounding, between the tackles, 3yds/cloud of dust game.

Running game will improve with maturity on O-line, more knowledge and confidence in RB's, and better game management by a seasoned QB.

The greatest improvement on the ground will be dictated by the throwing arm of that QB.

The immediate future of UT's football program is based on vertical envelopment...stretching defenses with the deep threat, and then moving the chains using tight ends and speed out of the backfield...a recipe used to defeat some of the best defenses in history...which is exactly what we face in the SEC on an ever more regular basis.

With the receiving corps that exists now plus some recruits that show promise with speed and skill, the Vols could develop the West Coast offense that highlight reels were made for.

I believe Tyler Bray is in position to become a Heisman Trophy candidate...but I would be willing to settle for something between Tom Brady and Joe Montana.

Couldnt agree more.

I have been telling every UT fan for months now that UT is built to throw the ball all over the field next season.

Tyler Bray (like him or not) has a cannon and is as acurate as ANY college QB.

UT returns likely the #1 or 2 WR duo in the country. I see Pig Howard as a very needed piece as the burner like UF has had for the past decade. Croom and Bowles should make up for the loss of the Michigan state fan.

The UT O-Line was clearly better in pass protection than the run game (coach , scheme or whatever).

I think the LSU commit who is "commited" to UT can be a great RB, his numbers from his JR season were amazing (10.4/carry 40 TDs and 2400+ yards). But unril that is proven Marlon Lane and Devrin Young are not pounding RBs, they are ball in space athletes.

I am not saying throw it every play, but 60-70% pass plays would be nice to see. The first half of last season teams were having a very hard time stopping the UT pass game. Even with injuries when Bray threw 20+ yard passes it hit the WR in the hands almost every time, Zach Rogers had very many hit his hands but couldnt pull it in.

I would like to see UT play to their strength. Over the season work the run game in more and more but start out with what works!

GO VOLS!

Justin Hunter - 1300 yards, 12 TDs
DaRick Rogers - 1100 yards, 11 TDs in 2012!
Tyler Bray - 4500 yards, 39 TDs 5 int's

UT - 9-3

These are my (realistic) projections for UT if they play to their strength in the passing game.

VolinCalif writes:

in response to TommyJack:

Hey! Hey! The word you seek is word, not work.

Thanks Tommy, I too saw that and I can't even call it a typo. Correct finger but wrong hand. It's going to be a fun season and in a couple of days we will get it started with NSD. GBO

kcbigorngX writes:

As much as I hate the N.E. Patriots, their offense is the image I have for UT in 2012.

I keep having these dreams of Cam Clear transforming into a Gronkowski....and I always wake up with a tent in my blanket.

SmokeyFTW writes:

in response to kcbigorngX:

As much as I hate the N.E. Patriots, their offense is the image I have for UT in 2012.

I keep having these dreams of Cam Clear transforming into a Gronkowski....and I always wake up with a tent in my blanket.

Cameron Clear is going to be a beast. He should be a match up problem with anyone in the country with the size he has. Just hope he put in the work in the off-season.

HtownVol writes:

in response to kcbigorngX:

As much as I hate the N.E. Patriots, their offense is the image I have for UT in 2012.

I keep having these dreams of Cam Clear transforming into a Gronkowski....and I always wake up with a tent in my blanket.

Thats nasty, you are nasty..

I like the thought of Cam being a "beast", but it does not give me the same feeling as it gives you, matter of fact I can honestly say that nothing related to football gives me that feeling (unless it is "powderpuff" football).
Thats nasty..

johnlg00 writes:

in response to flatrock:

The running game will not improve, unless Tyler Bray grows up and takes the time to learn defenses- and checks out of plays that are called into the teeth of the defense...Go check the stats:
-when TB was the QB, our running game averaged about 1/3 of what it did with the other 2 QBs.
Time to grow up, T.Bray, or have a seat and watch!

What you said! Bray would help both the running and passing games if he learned how to properly "sell" the run on play-action passes. He just casually waved the ball in the general direction of a running back and fooled absolutely nobody, just completely wasted motion. I think the season and Dooley's job depends on how much Bray rises to his overall responsibilities as a QB and a LEADER. Somebody needs to make him understand that being a great QB is not ALL about throwing it all over the lot.

Bear4Vols writes:

in response to hueypilot:

I don't doubt Bray's physical ability. But Joe Montana, Roger Staubach and Fran Tarkenton have said that somebody down the depth chart on every team they were on since HS could throw harder and farther than they could. I assume all the QB's on the Vols roster can throw the ball. But who puts them in the best position to make positive yards. Look at Manning when defenses drop and how he used Addai and Brown in key situations to run for yardage. Not saying Bray has to think as well as Manning but the KY game was an excellent example of a QB being too hard headed to make the right calls. Will Bray evolve? Who knows? I hope Worley and Bateman develop quickly. I have bad feelings about Bray.

I'm not disagreeing with your post but I do want to throw something out there. We have to be careful what we read on this site. There are alot of folks that start rumors on here for fun and no other reason. Going on what I've seen from Bray, when hurt I saw him encouraging his back ups and being very vocal on the sideline. I'm hoping the UK game was more his hand being weak and him being stubborn not to realize he couldn't make plays that he normally could.I'm not buying into this "giving up on the game" just yet.

Bear4Vols writes:

in response to BIVOLAR_BEAR:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Good post. We really need D-line and Linebacker depth. We looked really tired in the 4th all year.

oldvoltimer62 writes:

in response to Bear4Vols:

Good post. We really need D-line and Linebacker depth. We looked really tired in the 4th all year.

The defense was tired because they were on the field way too much with the O going 3 and out way too often thru out the first half and third qt.The O did put together some drives letting the D get a breather now and then,that s the main reason I think Chaney should have been the first Coach to change addresses this year.Offensive play calling was grade C- at best for the season.You gotta put together drives and have a balanced attack both sides of the ball with Hunter being out it did hurt,but the team has to play thru it .I'll agree we do need Dline help,but you gotta create some holes giving backs a chance to get into the secondary and give the qb time to set and throw.Aint no easy answers I guess.GBO!

TheVolSnake writes:

Projected Offence *** included Recruits

QB, Tyler Bray (if stays healthy will lead the SEC in passing), Back up Worley and Peterman Red Shirt

Running Back, Marlin Lane can’t determine backups and second running back yet will have to see what spring practice brings. In the mix: Bourque, Neal, Hill, Watson and Williams. At this time I would have Bourque and Williams as the leaders if Neal doesn’t switch back to Running back.

TE Rivera followed very closely by Clear and both in the double TE set, Downs as the Backup and Meredith as Red shirt.

OL: Starters Gooch, Bullard, Stone, James and Schofield, backups: Richardson, Jackson, Posey, Kerbyson, Pair, Thomas and Fulton: Depending on the new line coach this will be switched around a lot all have experience and capability, it is a very strong group just needs a little teaching the finer points and will be outstanding this year.

WR’s: D. Rick Rodgers and Hunter (will lead the SEC in receiving) Z. Rodgers in three WR sets. I think that Milton and Dallas finally show how good they really are. Howard I think will take the place of Lane as our return man and will be a great slot receiver. Bowles and Groom could become impact players right away, but I wouldn’t be surprised if both red shirt and they make Groom a TE. The Vol’s have a great receiving Corp and has a lot of flexibility here.

This group barring major injuries has the ability to be dominating and after signing day and spring practice will be more defined.

TheVolSnake writes:

Our Biggest problem last year was something no one has been talking about.

Half time adjustments if you go back and look at ALL the games we never made any adjustments during halftime.

This is the direct responsibility of the O.C. and D.C.

The head coaches manages Coaches and the O.C. and D.C. manages Players and their respected sides of the ball.

I think our new D.C. will be a fantastic upgrade and with the personnel we have and recruited will have a shut down D very soon.

hueypilot writes:

in response to TheVolSnake:

Our Biggest problem last year was something no one has been talking about.

Half time adjustments if you go back and look at ALL the games we never made any adjustments during halftime.

This is the direct responsibility of the O.C. and D.C.

The head coaches manages Coaches and the O.C. and D.C. manages Players and their respected sides of the ball.

I think our new D.C. will be a fantastic upgrade and with the personnel we have and recruited will have a shut down D very soon.

You make a good point snake. I remember well the Bill Battle days, but different from today we would actually be AHEAD and then in the second half hold on for dear life. Some guys are good game coaches, some aren't.

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