Tennessee defensive coordinator Sal Sunseri says the big plays that have frustrated fans and vexed his defense are wearing on him, too.
"My hair is getting whiter," he said Wednesday. "These big plays are killing me."
Sunseri said the Vols are focused on the fundamentals this week after surrendering 560 yards in a 51-44 loss at Georgia last week.
"You want to get back to make sure you're tackling properly, you're chasing the football, you're playing routes," Sunseri said. "This was a great week for us to get better. We're going to get better, but we're not near where we need to be."
After a week off, the Vols (3-2, 0-2 SEC) play at No. 20 Mississippi State (4-0, 1-0) on Oct. 13 (TV: ESPN2, 9 p.m.)
Sunseri said the Vols must do the "little things that give us a chance to win."
"The other day we had too many explosive plays, not enough people flying to the football, and that's what hurt us," he said. "It's just knowing the fits, knowing where you have to be and making a play in space. It is about 11 guys flying to the football. You can't just make it a one-guy game. Everyone has to get off a block and get over. Everybody has to hit him. Everyone has to come."
Linebacker Curt Maggitt (turf toe) isn't doing much on-field work this week to try to heal his nagging injury, and Sunseri said he's been limited in practice for the past few weeks.
"He doesn't really get to practice Tuesday, and then we get him a little bit Wednesday and Thursday," Sunseri said. "He's really learning on the run in the game. But that's no excuse. You can still watch tape, you can look at the things fundamentally that it takes to be an outside linebacker at a high standard.
"He will benefit from the off-week because it's a physical game and he plays a lot of plays. He's on the field for us a lot."
Kicker Michael Palardy said no one's told him officially that he will handle field goals next week against Mississippi State, but it seems likely after Derrick Brodus missed an extra point and short field goal against Georgia.
Palardy said there's no one reason why Tennessee kickers have missed four extra points this year.
"It could be a number of things," he said. "There are a lot of things that could go wrong, whether it is a snap or hold or a lack of concentration. If you miss a kick, whether it's an extra point, a field goal or anything like that, you just have to move on to the next one."
Evan Woodbery covers Tennessee football. Follow him at www.Twitter.com/TennesseeBeat.