Herman Lathers using Vols' off week to get aligned

MICHAEL PATRICK/NEWS SENTINEL
Tennessee linebacker Herman Lathers, right, sacks Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray during the first half Saturday in Athens, Ga. Lathers says he plans to use Tennessee's bye week to fix technique and alignment errors after the Vols gave up 274 yards on the ground to Georgia.

Photo by Michael Patrick, copyright © 2012

MICHAEL PATRICK/NEWS SENTINEL Tennessee linebacker Herman Lathers, right, sacks Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray during the first half Saturday in Athens, Ga. Lathers says he plans to use Tennessee's bye week to fix technique and alignment errors after the Vols gave up 274 yards on the ground to Georgia.

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Herman  Lathers

Herman Lathers

When Tennessee coach Derek Dooley told players to come up with two goals for improvement for the team's off week, linebacker Herman Lathers didn't take long to come up with a response.

Lathers has rehashed Saturday's lows more times than he would prefer: The explosive running plays, the missed tackles, the poorly fitted gaps, the lost edges.

Tennessee gave up 274 yards on the ground and 560 yards total, including frustratingly familiar touchdown runs of 75, 72 and 51 yards, in its 51-44 loss Saturday to Georgia in Athens, Ga.

Lathers knows other teams will follow Georgia's script until the Vols prove they can stop it.

"In the SEC, teams are going to try to run on you — especially when they watch the Georgia film," Lathers said Tuesday.

So Lathers has focused this week on what he can do to cement the holes in Tennessee's defense. His goals? Make sure he's aligned properly before each snap and do a better job of reading the offensive formation.

"The breakdown is coming in technique and alignment errors," Lathers said. "Sometimes we aren't aligned wide enough, sometimes we're (inside). It's just knowing what scheme we're in and what alignment we should be in and that should take care of a lot of the mistakes and errors."

The Vols (3-2, 0-2 SEC) have 10 days before their next game Oct. 13 (TV: ESPN2, 9 p.m.) against Mississippi State (4-0, 1-0) in Starkville.

"We really want to have a defined objective for every player and for every unit this week," Dooley said. "It is so important that these guys learn how to have a purpose every day.

"I told them, 'Everything happens before it happens.' You have a goal, you know what the challenges are to reach that goal and then you prepare to do certain things to overcome those challenges. If we can all stay focused on defining a purpose for this week then we will come out of it a lot better football team."

Dooley said he's had a similar

approach to bye weeks dating back to his time as an assistant coach. Without a game to hold players' attention, complacency can set in.

"When you go out there in an open date, it is really easy to say, 'How long is this practice going to be?' You just get through it and don't really accomplish anything," Dooley said. "And you get worse when you do that."

The linebackers were supposed to be one of the strengths of the defense, but they've taken the blame for some of the big-play breakdowns. Lathers doesn't shirk responsibility, but also said the defense might be closer than people think.

"As one of the linebackers on the inside who makes calls, it's me and A.J. Johnson's job to get our defense aligned right," Lathers said. "It's something we take pride in and something we're studying all week to get better at."

The fourth quarter of the Georgia game provides evidence that improvement is near, Lathers said. The Vols allowed only 16 yards of total offense on the game's final 14 plays.

"We didn't change a thing," Lathers said. "We played the same calls. We played our fundamentals and our techniques right. When we do that, we have a great defense."

Evan Woodbery covers Tennessee football. Follow him at www.Twitter.com/TennesseeBeat.

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Comments » 23

vq4nfo writes:

This is the first year for this new defensive scheme. It takes NFL players time to adapt to a different defense also. You see it every week in the Pros.

lstbodeanvol writes:

THANK YOU HERMAN LATHERS FOR STAYING POSITIVE BEATING CANCER...OVERCOMING INJURIES AND PUTTING UP WITH FAIR WEATHER FANS...KEEP WORKING AND IF YOU SEE WALT OR FLOWERS AROUND..PANCAKE THEM GO VOLS !!!!

orangecountyvols writes:

in response to collegegrovebilly:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Back to the 'grove' with you kid. Your mouth doesn't count here.

Oh, and take a couple more trolls with you.
What's your next screen name going to be after being banned once again?

Speaking of Dooley...........he continues to own you and your fellow trolls. You continue to jabber about him and he never hears you. Therefore, he owns your feeble mind........kid.

utvols1 writes:

in response to orangecountyvols:

Back to the 'grove' with you kid. Your mouth doesn't count here.

Oh, and take a couple more trolls with you.
What's your next screen name going to be after being banned once again?

Speaking of Dooley...........he continues to own you and your fellow trolls. You continue to jabber about him and he never hears you. Therefore, he owns your feeble mind........kid.

Great logic....not

foodexpert writes:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

usafvol writes:

in response to orangecountyvols:

Back to the 'grove' with you kid. Your mouth doesn't count here.

Oh, and take a couple more trolls with you.
What's your next screen name going to be after being banned once again?

Speaking of Dooley...........he continues to own you and your fellow trolls. You continue to jabber about him and he never hears you. Therefore, he owns your feeble mind........kid.

Excellent post! Be careful not to make that little boy pee himself..

mlynn1 writes:

in response to collegegrovebilly:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

The more you type the more evident it becomes, you don't know what your talking about when it comes to football. What was Georgia's record year before last when they installed their new 3-4 defense?

JayTee writes:

SCHEME my rear end.

Either you can play the linebacker position or you can't doesn't matter what SCHEME you're in you should know your assignments.They had spring practice, all summer to study the SCHEME and practice before and during the season to learn their assignments.

What happens when the current starters are gone is it going to take another 2-3 years for the next bunch to learn the SCHEME.

You can't fix stupid.

BrassMonkey writes:

Classic case of the UT Athletics marketing department picking an athlete for the face of the program who is slow and overrated. I wish they would just focus on the team instead of putting these individuals under the microscope. Lathers has to be one of UT's most overrated upper classmen since Eric Berry.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to JayTee:

SCHEME my rear end.

Either you can play the linebacker position or you can't doesn't matter what SCHEME you're in you should know your assignments.They had spring practice, all summer to study the SCHEME and practice before and during the season to learn their assignments.

What happens when the current starters are gone is it going to take another 2-3 years for the next bunch to learn the SCHEME.

You can't fix stupid.

I really wanted to hit the removal button on the "stupid" comment. For one thing I doubt many(?) on that D line are juniors. They're all playing sorta young at least. Maybe that's what you meant.

Orangeblood13 writes:

Na
The most stupid one is the one above saying Eric Berry is over rated. Has to take the cake

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to BrassMonkey:

Classic case of the UT Athletics marketing department picking an athlete for the face of the program who is slow and overrated. I wish they would just focus on the team instead of putting these individuals under the microscope. Lathers has to be one of UT's most overrated upper classmen since Eric Berry.

weeell didn't you just say NOT to put them under the gun...ok "microscope"? Isn't that what we do on here?

Lathers shoudn't be the "face" of our program I guess. But he's one of the better hopefuls back there it seems.

You actually bring up a good point though. I don't believe in piling on anyone who's down. Some kidding, joking(not too much tho as I have a problem with being serious).

Our defense now could use some encouragement instead of the bashing. But I suppose it'd have to be the real fans to do that.

LifetimeVolFan98 writes:

in response to JayTee:

SCHEME my rear end.

Either you can play the linebacker position or you can't doesn't matter what SCHEME you're in you should know your assignments.They had spring practice, all summer to study the SCHEME and practice before and during the season to learn their assignments.

What happens when the current starters are gone is it going to take another 2-3 years for the next bunch to learn the SCHEME.

You can't fix stupid.

You're right....you can't fix stupid. You, Walt and Grover are evidence of that remark....go home troll!!!!!

GBO!

Dickattrade writes:

in response to BrassMonkey:

Classic case of the UT Athletics marketing department picking an athlete for the face of the program who is slow and overrated. I wish they would just focus on the team instead of putting these individuals under the microscope. Lathers has to be one of UT's most overrated upper classmen since Eric Berry.

This comment shows you are just trying to get attention.. Eric Berry overated.....Wow what a dumb nut you are..But of course you didn't mean this.
Herman Lathers has paid the price at UT and is a VFL.
You are truly just bull;;;; You can add the word.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to collegegrovebilly:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I suppose if you just have to keep it that simple. Did YOU play it yourself ever? Don't say you did because not many on here would believe it now. Even if you did well "big deal".hehe

jhayes0926#638474 writes:

From this armchair coach, I wonder about the lack of communication. Sometimes it appears that our linebackers are still talking to each other and moving when the ball is snapped and they don't appear to be ready for the play. I just think our linebackers are not adequately prepared for the plays up the middle and they appear to be out of position. Don't know why. Other teams don't seem to have that problem.

UTVOL2001 writes:

in response to BrassMonkey:

Classic case of the UT Athletics marketing department picking an athlete for the face of the program who is slow and overrated. I wish they would just focus on the team instead of putting these individuals under the microscope. Lathers has to be one of UT's most overrated upper classmen since Eric Berry.

ha ha! i thought you were serious to you mentioned Berry

LifetimeVolFan98 writes:

in response to collegegrovebilly:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I'm so glad 1st grade has taught you how to add...now, when you learn what all the OLB is really responsible for you can come back.

licknpromise777#651578 writes:

in response to vq4nfo:

This is the first year for this new defensive scheme. It takes NFL players time to adapt to a different defense also. You see it every week in the Pros.

Very true..Recently saw a NFL LB who spent 7years in a 4~3 defense on ESPN comment that he was really struggling picking up the 3~4 defense of his new team

AlexAndersonAAradio writes:

Does this issue put a black mark on leaving Milligan College a day early?

VolFanInTheBoro (Inactive) writes:

in response to JayTee:

SCHEME my rear end.

Either you can play the linebacker position or you can't doesn't matter what SCHEME you're in you should know your assignments.They had spring practice, all summer to study the SCHEME and practice before and during the season to learn their assignments.

What happens when the current starters are gone is it going to take another 2-3 years for the next bunch to learn the SCHEME.

You can't fix stupid.

don't be so hard on your self. Doubtful but you might can be fixed

SCVFL writes:

in response to collegegrovebilly:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

That is exactly why there is a learning curve...because everyone has new assignments and have to look at Offenses completely different. Most kids have spent several years in middle and high school in 4-3 with learning and practicing assignments and then suddenly have to read completely different things. If it was simple as you say, they should not need to have any practice after the season begins. They could just learn it all in the spring and summer and just go play. Every O they face have diffeent looks and schemes that they have never seen before and have to react differently. So, yeah your right NO BIG DEAL!

GO BIG RNG...VFL

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to jhayes0926#638474:

From this armchair coach, I wonder about the lack of communication. Sometimes it appears that our linebackers are still talking to each other and moving when the ball is snapped and they don't appear to be ready for the play. I just think our linebackers are not adequately prepared for the plays up the middle and they appear to be out of position. Don't know why. Other teams don't seem to have that problem.

This article's over I suppose but I just reread this and it's obvious comparison with "others" is striking! Tell Geogia they don't have problems with their defense.lol. If by others you meant SouthdarnCarolina then ok.

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