John Adams: Swing games could decide UT's season

John Adams

The best teams no longer make for the biggest games on Tennessee's schedule. The swing games matter more now.

They ultimately will determine the progress of UT's rebuilding project. And there are enough of them to either wreck the record or make it top-25 material.

You can't expect the Vols to beat SEC East favorites Georgia and South Carolina on the road. You can't expect them to beat Alabama anywhere.

At the other end of the spectrum are the games UT should win: non-conference games against Georgia State, Akron and Troy, as well as SEC games against Vanderbilt and Kentucky.

Four other games fall into uncertain territory: N.C. State, Florida, Mississippi State and Missouri.

If the Vols sweep that foursome, they could have their best season since 2004.

If they lose all four, another seven-loss season is all but assured. So is another coaching search.

I would give UT an edge in all four games, but I doubt the odds-makers would. And it's just that — an edge, not a clear advantage.

N.C. State: The Wolfpack has an established quarterback in Mike Glennon, who is quite capable of capitalizing on whatever breakdowns might occur in UT's new 3-4 alignment. But N.C. State's running game is as questionable as UT's after finishing 109th nationally last season.

The most intriguing match-up will be UT's strength (pass receivers) against N.C. State's strength (a secondary that returns all four starters, including All-American David Amerson).

Another match-up worth noting: UT vs. the Georgia Dome, where the Vols have lost six consecutive games.

Florida: UT's consistent failure against the Gators runs longer than its succession of mishaps in the Georgia Dome.

If the Vols can't put an end to Florida's winning streak (seven and counting) this September, you might as well do an autopsy and declare the rivalry officially dead.

Unlike N.C. State, Florida's offense is unproven in every area. Its defense is solid but not as imposing as it will be when injured end Ronald Powell returns.

The extremists among you might think of this as a must-win game for the Vols.

You're probably right.

Mississippi State: The Bulldogs are coming off back-to-back winning seasons for the first time since 1999-2000. They also will have the cowbell advantage

You know the Bulldogs can make enough noise. You can't be so sure they can produce enough points without departed running back Vick Ballard and without a running threat at quarterback, which has been a standard in Dan Mullen offenses.

UT should be well served by an open date the week before. My advice: Use that extra time to have former Vols address the team on the pitfalls of playing in Starkville, an underrated home-field advantage.

Remember: Even freshman Peyton Manning lost there.

Missouri: The schedule might be the best thing UT has going for it against the Tigers, who, by Nov. 10 in Neyland Stadium, could be traumatized by the SEC experience.

By then, the conference rookie will have played Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama and Florida. They also will have to play Florida in The Swamp the week before they come to Neyland Stadium.

But Gary Pinkel's spread offense could pose all sorts of problems if quarterback James Franklin is still healthy enough to run and pass as effectively as he did in the Big 12.

John Adams is a senior columnist. He may be reached at 865-342-6284 or adamsj@knoxnews.com. Follow him at http://twitter.com/johnadamskns

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Comments » 136

mdvol writes:

Ever since Obama has been in office my VOLS have sucked.

It's going to be a GREAT fall!

VOLS hang 40 on the Gators. Start 4-0.

TheBanker writes:

in response to mdvol:

Ever since Obama has been in office my VOLS have sucked.

It's going to be a GREAT fall!

VOLS hang 40 on the Gators. Start 4-0.

We have had a difficult time under George W also. Keep politics out of family matters.

jack4444 writes:

If they get rolling, winning at Athens or Columbia is not out of the question.

senracjr writes:

in response to TheBanker:

We have had a difficult time under George W also. Keep politics out of family matters.

Not nearly as bad as under Obummer.

atributetoLombardiwasbanned writes:

"John Adams: Swing games could decide UT's season"

I agree. I count 12 of'em.

VolzsFan writes:

John said best case scenario would be 9-3 and that would be the best year since 2004. Really John? In 2007 they won the East and 10 games. In 2006, they where 9-4.

BTW, the great Hall of Famer AVERAGED 9.5 wins for 16 years. Most in the 11 game era. None with a schedule as big of a joke as this one. AVERAGED!!! You said best case scenario they will fall short of the 9.5 over and under.

BTW, Vandy is also a swing or toss up.

atributetoLombardiwasbanned writes:

in response to VolzsFan:

John said best case scenario would be 9-3 and that would be the best year since 2004. Really John? In 2007 they won the East and 10 games. In 2006, they where 9-4.

BTW, the great Hall of Famer AVERAGED 9.5 wins for 16 years. Most in the 11 game era. None with a schedule as big of a joke as this one. AVERAGED!!! You said best case scenario they will fall short of the 9.5 over and under.

BTW, Vandy is also a swing or toss up.

1. Right, wrong or indifferent, Fulmer is gone.
2. He's not coming back.
3. Get over it or stew in your own juice.

chuckfromwoodberry writes:

in response to VolzsFan:

John said best case scenario would be 9-3 and that would be the best year since 2004. Really John? In 2007 they won the East and 10 games. In 2006, they where 9-4.

BTW, the great Hall of Famer AVERAGED 9.5 wins for 16 years. Most in the 11 game era. None with a schedule as big of a joke as this one. AVERAGED!!! You said best case scenario they will fall short of the 9.5 over and under.

BTW, Vandy is also a swing or toss up.

As your type told me for 17 years after The Legend was stabbed in the back by Fat Boy. He's gone, he ain't coming back, get over it. Karma's a beeeaatch round mound!

UTistheOLEMISSoftheEAST writes:

Florida a "swing" game? Hilarious. When you are owned by your division rival for seven straight years, it's not much of a swing game. The ownership continues. Eight will be great.

123forVOLS writes:

If we really believed the JA saga, we would think UT can't beat anyone anywhere in football. It's the same old, same old. For all who say it's the truth, well yes it is and since everyone knows it, is he just a jerk or too lazy to find something new to write about? There are many unknowns about this season I know. But it would be nice if we could just let the season come and unfold then decide where we are and what that means for the future of UT football.

CrankE writes:

"Even freshman Peyton Manning lost there" (Starkville)

No sir.

Todd Helton started that game. Manning came off the bench when Helton got injured. Tennessee lost at MSU in 1994, but the loss doesn't count on Manning's W-L record as a starter.

Walk it back, Debby.
Fire John Adams!

mocsandvolsfan writes:

JA JA Again you try to put the Vols in the worst light. However you are probably correct about the "best case". I too think Georgia will not only beat the Vols? I think they'll win it all!! Go Dawgs...my second team of the SEC! That said I hope the Vols can pull an upset or two. Ahh hates me 'n red tide or 'n cat or tiger of any sort! Florida I sense is beatable anywhere we play them this year. SC? If we can step up on Defense they're beatable. Really Georgia or Alabama are the only 2 unbeatables...Maybe. I'm still not convinced that Richt is a head coach. I think Saban lives on his recruits which are awesome...well he's good I just don't like Alabama. I don't like anything in the state of Alabama...Well hmmm grandma except you rip(Sand Mtn.). The people down there scare me almost as much as the people in Kentucky(hehe)!!

With allout efforts we go 8-3. With that "upset or two"? 9-2 or 10-1. heck 11-0 if we have the miracles of the past championship.

Goooooo Vols and another NC!

OrangePride writes:

We will know after the first three games what this season is likely to be like.

3-0 Things look great
2-1 It is still very "ify"
1-2 We are not out of the dark!

As far as Vandy is concerned, I surely do not have that racked up in the W column at this point. I frankly believe we have better talent and a far better QB. And Nashville is just another homegame for the Vols. But attitude and a well executed game plan will be the determinant........that will greatly depend on the records of these two teams. Right now, I believe we could well end this season with 8 or 9 wins based on talent. The questions will be answered early. GO VOLS!!

Fall_Creek_Vols writes:

"You can't expect the Vols to beat SEC East favorites Georgia and South Carolina on the road. You can't expect them to beat Alabama anywhere."

This is where I disagree. I remember a few years ago when we scared the bejesus out of Alabama in a game we lost on a missed field goal. That one had all the Bammer boys & girls sweating a Crimson Tide. Yeah, I know, it wasn't on the road.

Still, if Coach Dooley is right and it IS a new day in Knocksville...then anything is possible. Coach Lombardi said it best: "Whether you think you can or you think you can't...you are correct."

orangecountyvols writes:

Vols,

Typical Adams. Good thing we don't have to play the games following his script. He can't write, so it follows that he also can't predict.

wagee12 writes:

Nice work, lazy, but nice. NC State lost three starting linebackers, defensive tackles and three senior wide receivers. Ever heard of doing a little reserch there Johnny? Result, not a swing game, easy Tennessee win.
Missouri's pass defense was 94th in the nation last year, ever do any research there Johnny? And that was before they lost two senior defensive tackles and a senior defensive end. Can you say no pass rush?
Lazy sports writers are a dime a dozen these days.

richvol writes:

Really,well DUH John Adams...you are the master of the obvious.

SevenT writes:

There are 3 swing games Georgia State Akron and Troy. The rest are underdog games.

laraccoon writes:

its nice to see all of our Gator trash admirers on here this morning . tee

TommyJack writes:

Adams had writer's block today.

GONAVY writes:

in response to OrangePride:

We will know after the first three games what this season is likely to be like.

3-0 Things look great
2-1 It is still very "ify"
1-2 We are not out of the dark!

As far as Vandy is concerned, I surely do not have that racked up in the W column at this point. I frankly believe we have better talent and a far better QB. And Nashville is just another homegame for the Vols. But attitude and a well executed game plan will be the determinant........that will greatly depend on the records of these two teams. Right now, I believe we could well end this season with 8 or 9 wins based on talent. The questions will be answered early. GO VOLS!!

Good post. At worst I see 2-1 for UT, but as I always say I'm not good at predicting. Your assessment of the Vanderbilt game is pretty accurate; however, the talent discrepancy has shrunk somewhat. Still, as you put it so truly, Nashville is another "home game" for UT. Also note: 2-1 with beating Florida is a far better 2-1 than with a loss to Florida, agree?

GONAVY writes:

in response to Fall_Creek_Vols:

"You can't expect the Vols to beat SEC East favorites Georgia and South Carolina on the road. You can't expect them to beat Alabama anywhere."

This is where I disagree. I remember a few years ago when we scared the bejesus out of Alabama in a game we lost on a missed field goal. That one had all the Bammer boys & girls sweating a Crimson Tide. Yeah, I know, it wasn't on the road.

Still, if Coach Dooley is right and it IS a new day in Knocksville...then anything is possible. Coach Lombardi said it best: "Whether you think you can or you think you can't...you are correct."

Good post :)

BolivrBob writes:

Even though this coaching staff was lost and clueless in the Kentucky game last season, Lombardi couldn't have won at Tennessee with the talent and unique situations that developed the last two years. The talent and depth does appear to be there now. 9-3 is doable and possibly even better. I have been a Dooley kool-aide drinker but it's nut cutting time at Tennessee this season. Do it Dooley or Vince Van Goh

ProfessionalHandicapper writes:

By the end of Sept Dooley will stand 1-9 in his last 10 SEC games. At that point he should be canned. That one SEC win was at home vs Vandy in overtime. If UT accepts 1-9 in the SEC then they deserve Dooley.

Bobsrazor writes:

So, he screwed up some of the facts. Still doesn't change the point. Winning the games against UF, Mizzou, MState, and NCSt is crucial if Tennessee is to have a successful season.

Oh, and thanks, John, for not being snide. That's several articles in a row and it's appreciated.

CCLC writes:

in response to Fall_Creek_Vols:

"You can't expect the Vols to beat SEC East favorites Georgia and South Carolina on the road. You can't expect them to beat Alabama anywhere."

This is where I disagree. I remember a few years ago when we scared the bejesus out of Alabama in a game we lost on a missed field goal. That one had all the Bammer boys & girls sweating a Crimson Tide. Yeah, I know, it wasn't on the road.

Still, if Coach Dooley is right and it IS a new day in Knocksville...then anything is possible. Coach Lombardi said it best: "Whether you think you can or you think you can't...you are correct."

".......we scared the bejesus out of Alabama in a game we lost on a missed field goal"
Wasn't that a blocked fg?
just sayin'

DCHess writes:

in response to TheBanker:

We have had a difficult time under George W also. Keep politics out of family matters.

Never thought I would miss Bill Clinton!

CCLC writes:

in response to mocsandvolsfan:

JA JA Again you try to put the Vols in the worst light. However you are probably correct about the "best case". I too think Georgia will not only beat the Vols? I think they'll win it all!! Go Dawgs...my second team of the SEC! That said I hope the Vols can pull an upset or two. Ahh hates me 'n red tide or 'n cat or tiger of any sort! Florida I sense is beatable anywhere we play them this year. SC? If we can step up on Defense they're beatable. Really Georgia or Alabama are the only 2 unbeatables...Maybe. I'm still not convinced that Richt is a head coach. I think Saban lives on his recruits which are awesome...well he's good I just don't like Alabama. I don't like anything in the state of Alabama...Well hmmm grandma except you rip(Sand Mtn.). The people down there scare me almost as much as the people in Kentucky(hehe)!!

With allout efforts we go 8-3. With that "upset or two"? 9-2 or 10-1. heck 11-0 if we have the miracles of the past championship.

Goooooo Vols and another NC!

Georgia is playing with 72 kids on scholarship. That kind of roster depth will get you beat mid-season.
just sayin'

underthehill writes:

in response to 123forVOLS:

If we really believed the JA saga, we would think UT can't beat anyone anywhere in football. It's the same old, same old. For all who say it's the truth, well yes it is and since everyone knows it, is he just a jerk or too lazy to find something new to write about? There are many unknowns about this season I know. But it would be nice if we could just let the season come and unfold then decide where we are and what that means for the future of UT football.

Hard for me to understand why JA don't predict UT will have a great run game and go undefeated..on second thought..some might think he's nuts..like I think those are who thinks anything he writes has anything to do with what goes on on the field...

CCLC writes:

in response to OrangePride:

We will know after the first three games what this season is likely to be like.

3-0 Things look great
2-1 It is still very "ify"
1-2 We are not out of the dark!

As far as Vandy is concerned, I surely do not have that racked up in the W column at this point. I frankly believe we have better talent and a far better QB. And Nashville is just another homegame for the Vols. But attitude and a well executed game plan will be the determinant........that will greatly depend on the records of these two teams. Right now, I believe we could well end this season with 8 or 9 wins based on talent. The questions will be answered early. GO VOLS!!

Don't undervalue Vandy's coach. Even if he is a tool....he can coach those kids up!

absgovols writes:

in response to Fall_Creek_Vols:

"You can't expect the Vols to beat SEC East favorites Georgia and South Carolina on the road. You can't expect them to beat Alabama anywhere."

This is where I disagree. I remember a few years ago when we scared the bejesus out of Alabama in a game we lost on a missed field goal. That one had all the Bammer boys & girls sweating a Crimson Tide. Yeah, I know, it wasn't on the road.

Still, if Coach Dooley is right and it IS a new day in Knocksville...then anything is possible. Coach Lombardi said it best: "Whether you think you can or you think you can't...you are correct."

It was a blocked FG (not missed) and it was on the road (in Tuscaloosa)...

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to CCLC:

Georgia is playing with 72 kids on scholarship. That kind of roster depth will get you beat mid-season.
just sayin'

I always think we can beat Georgia and many times we have. However I don't predict it this year.

underthehill writes:

in response to OrangePride:

We will know after the first three games what this season is likely to be like.

3-0 Things look great
2-1 It is still very "ify"
1-2 We are not out of the dark!

As far as Vandy is concerned, I surely do not have that racked up in the W column at this point. I frankly believe we have better talent and a far better QB. And Nashville is just another homegame for the Vols. But attitude and a well executed game plan will be the determinant........that will greatly depend on the records of these two teams. Right now, I believe we could well end this season with 8 or 9 wins based on talent. The questions will be answered early. GO VOLS!!

nice to read a reasonable opinion..much needed to offset the nonsense..

eVOLved writes:

i can't stand that this garbage gets published. i think i'll watch the uga and sc game anyway.

Huttdawg100 writes:

in response to mocsandvolsfan:

I always think we can beat Georgia and many times we have. However I don't predict it this year.

The thing is, they've been weak on their OLine the last 2 years. Defenses can get to Murray. That's why their game with Florida last year was as close as it was. I think they might struggle this year on offense: no premier wideouts, Crowell booted, weak on the OLine.

However, their defense is nasty. Grantham is everything I hope to see from Sal. Grantham will be a head coach very soon. The thing is, I think Grantham is better suited for coaching in the SEC than Richt. Plus, they've got a linebacker hybrid that's built to kill QB's (Jarvis Jones I think).

Their strength is that nasty defense, and our strength is a very accurate gunslinger with the best Wide Receiving core in the SEC. It's gonna be closer than most think it'll be.

Huttdawg100 writes:

Dooley has done a good job recruiting. This defensive line might be special:

Generally, the problem with a switch to a 3-4 defense is the difference in personnel. You gotta have a monster in the middle to take up 2 or 3 blockers. Daniel McCullers is 6'6" and 375. It'll take at least two guys to move him. Which means that AJ and Maggitt will be running all over the place. Plus Couch is about 320 and he can move. We hadn't had that size since Jesse Mahelona (R.I.P.).

jamgod writes:

in response to ProfessionalHandicapper:

By the end of Sept Dooley will stand 1-9 in his last 10 SEC games. At that point he should be canned. That one SEC win was at home vs Vandy in overtime. If UT accepts 1-9 in the SEC then they deserve Dooley.

You again, poop, thought we lost you along the road somewhere....It's going to be nice when Tenn wins this year and we don't have to put up with your garbage along with walt, nerd of the east, seven(girly)T, and the joke nasty rat....Licking my chops in anticipation of not haven' to see you bunch of idiots stupid postings because from where I stand, you idiots need to concentrate on life more than you do this message board.....I mean really, how can you stand yourselves being so miserable all the time....get over yourselves, everyone elsee is!!

arkyvol writes:

six seasons as a head coach, half of it in the bush leagues, and dooley is looking for his second winning season. breaking .500 in conference? your money would be better spent on a lottery ticket. yet, there are those who insist if we wait long enough, this sow's ear is going to turn into a silk purse.

Rumblefish writes:

Haven't we all been talking about UT's swing games on here for months now?

And here's JA coming out with this BS article??? Jack Lail....get rid of this hack already!!!

givehim6 writes:

in response to jack4444:

If they get rolling, winning at Athens or Columbia is not out of the question.

Was it not UGA where Bray got his thumb injury? And I think the Vols could have beat USC but they ran out of gas in the 4th quarter, think both games are not auto-losses like the writher would lead us to believe.

AllVol1 writes:

When will you negative Nancies and Moaning Miserables get a clue?

When you complain, you drag down the team you supposedly support!

When you support your team by trying to build on the positives, you give your team the best chance to succeed!

It's very simple. Let's give This staff and this team our full support and give them the best possible chance to succeed. That's our part of this team effort.

If we do our part and the coaches don't, then we will make the appropriate changes. That is to be decided later.

Now is the time for support from the Vol Nation!

GO VOLS! GO VOLS! GO VOLS! GO VOLS! GO VOLS!

10seVol85_Part_Deux writes:

in response to SevenT:

There are 3 swing games Georgia State Akron and Troy. The rest are underdog games.

There are four sure wins: UK, Ga State, Akron, Troy.
There is one 99% sure win: Vandy.
There are four likely wins: Mizzou, NC State, MSU, Florida.
There are two tough ones: Georgia, South Carolina.
There is one very, very tough one: Alabama.

8+ wins against this regular season schedule is almost assured (barring too many injuries).
9 wins is highly likely.
10 is certainly doable.

For you, your team is looking at 3-9 being a decent showing in 2012. By mid-September all we'll be hearing from UK fans is how basketball season is on the way. Then you get to end the season with a record-setting arse-whooping on the road in Knoxville, which will be the icing on the Go Big Black and Blue cake.

10seVol85_Part_Deux writes:

in response to givehim6:

Was it not UGA where Bray got his thumb injury? And I think the Vols could have beat USC but they ran out of gas in the 4th quarter, think both games are not auto-losses like the writher would lead us to believe.

The South Carolina game last year would have been a win with Bray playing. Hell, if Da'Rick hadn't inexplicably let that perfectly thrown bomb from Worley go through his hands, it might have been even without Bray.

Georgia is the game where Bray busted his thumb, but that game wasn't going well before then either. That will be a tough game for sure, but it used to be that the visiting team seemed to have the advantage in that series. Maybe that will start again this year? I seem to remember going into Athens as a huge underdog a few year ago, with two true freshman quarterbacks still battling for the starting job, and leaving with a major upset on the table. (I had gone to Atlanta that weekend and was watching the game at a sports bar with my UT roommate. A young couple of UGA fan/students showed up at the bar just after halftime, having left the game because they had been sitting right next to the POTSL Marching Band and had heard all the Rocky Top they could take.)

OrangePride writes:

in response to CCLC:

Don't undervalue Vandy's coach. Even if he is a tool....he can coach those kids up!

I don't undervalue that coach. That is one of the reasons I still have that game as a toss-up even though I believe Tennessee has the better talent. By the time we get to that game, however, I think a lot of the questions on this team and this coaching staff will have become fairly plainly answered. Right now? I like the Vols!

OrangePride writes:

in response to GONAVY:

Good post. At worst I see 2-1 for UT, but as I always say I'm not good at predicting. Your assessment of the Vanderbilt game is pretty accurate; however, the talent discrepancy has shrunk somewhat. Still, as you put it so truly, Nashville is another "home game" for UT. Also note: 2-1 with beating Florida is a far better 2-1 than with a loss to Florida, agree?

I absolutely agree! If we are going to be 2-1, I would far more prefer that win to be against Florida. First, because I hate Florida. But more importantly, it is an SEC East game, so it's far more meaningful. And frankly, with this game in Neyland Stadium and likely to be packed, I think this is a real opportunity for us to step up to the next level. And who amonst us wouldn't want to Muschump chewing down his hat and having all kinds of outrageous hissy fits. So GBO!!!

10seVol85_Part_Deux writes:

in response to Huttdawg100:

The thing is, they've been weak on their OLine the last 2 years. Defenses can get to Murray. That's why their game with Florida last year was as close as it was. I think they might struggle this year on offense: no premier wideouts, Crowell booted, weak on the OLine.

However, their defense is nasty. Grantham is everything I hope to see from Sal. Grantham will be a head coach very soon. The thing is, I think Grantham is better suited for coaching in the SEC than Richt. Plus, they've got a linebacker hybrid that's built to kill QB's (Jarvis Jones I think).

Their strength is that nasty defense, and our strength is a very accurate gunslinger with the best Wide Receiving core in the SEC. It's gonna be closer than most think it'll be.

You are so right. The Vols offensive line didn't let people get to the quarterback very often. They were tied for second-best in the SEC, and only 1 sack allowed behind the leader. We got sacked 18 times in 12 games. The Dowg's line gave up 33.

Sunseri's defense appears to be looking for their identity to be forcing turnovers and negative plays. They will be on the attack and after Murray on every play.

Their defense should be good, but I'm not sure their offense will be able to keep up if ours is working up to its capabilities.

born2ride writes:

I agree with JA except for Vandy.

4 wins: Georgia State, Akron, Troy and Kentucky. (Not even Dooley will lose at home to UK).

3 losses: Bama, Georgia, South Carolina

5 toss ups: NC State, Miss State, Florida, Mizzou and Vandy.

Dooley needs 9 wins to keep his job. That is unlikely.

Rumblefish writes:

in response to 10seVol85_Part_Deux:

You are so right. The Vols offensive line didn't let people get to the quarterback very often. They were tied for second-best in the SEC, and only 1 sack allowed behind the leader. We got sacked 18 times in 12 games. The Dowg's line gave up 33.

Sunseri's defense appears to be looking for their identity to be forcing turnovers and negative plays. They will be on the attack and after Murray on every play.

Their defense should be good, but I'm not sure their offense will be able to keep up if ours is working up to its capabilities.

You gotta admit...expecting our O-Line (and yes, I know the RB's have something to do with it) to go from almost dead last in D1 rushing offense to even the middle of the pack in 1 year is quite a stretch.

Huttdawg100 writes:

in response to Rumblefish:

You gotta admit...expecting our O-Line (and yes, I know the RB's have something to do with it) to go from almost dead last in D1 rushing offense to even the middle of the pack in 1 year is quite a stretch.

This year, we're really gonna see if Chaney is worth his weight in salt. All of us have watched enough football to know that a good passing game can open up running lanes. St. Louis Rams when Faulk, Warner, Bruce and Holt. The Saints with Sproles, Graham, Meach and Brees. If we force defenses into a smaller Nickel or dime package, Lane, Neal and Young are in for big years. Young is going to draw comparisons to Darren Sproles.

And a lot of the problem was Hiestand last year. He ain't built for the SEC. You gotta be nasty down here.

10seVol85_Part_Deux writes:

in response to Rumblefish:

You gotta admit...expecting our O-Line (and yes, I know the RB's have something to do with it) to go from almost dead last in D1 rushing offense to even the middle of the pack in 1 year is quite a stretch.

Although I disagree with you, I would like to point out that the post you're responding to made exactly no mention of anything about running the ball. It was all about pass-blocking.

However, since you brought it up, I think the most significant difference in our running game will be Jay Graham. There was no dedicated running backs coach the last two years, basically, leaving the running backs' execution and technique totally up to their natural abilities. Those guys needed somebody to be teaching them technique. They needed somebody to be teaching them how to read the holes and how to hit them; how to hold the ball; how to use their bodies; how to know what cuts to make, and how to make them. They needed a coach just like every other position group. Now they have one, and a good one at that.

Our rushing offense was 12th in the SEC the last two years. The three years before that, including the 2007 SEC East championhip year, we were 9th (all three years).

We don't need to even be middle of the road running the ball in this conference to win a lot of games, if we have the kind of passing offense we expect. We just need it to be good enough that defenses can't ignore it.

Besides all that, we're not talking about "in 1 year." We're talking about going from a line with 3 total starts, to one with 120 total starts. That doesn't happen in 1 year.

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