Tennessee Stat Book
Dooley on wide receiver Zach Rogers
A wide-eyed Derek Dooley reacted on gut instinct last Saturday.
Hopping on one foot, crutches in tow, the Tennessee football coach didn't get a clean look at South Carolina quarterback Connor Shaw stepping squarely out of bounds on the Gamecocks' final offensive possession, he said Monday.
Seeing a game official's arm swinging and the clock ticking, Dooley used the Vols' last timeout in the 38-35 loss. He worried about clock management, but he also worried about another injury — his surgically repaired hip.
"It was a real hairy moment for me," Dooley said. "I'm like, I've got to get this timeout if he's inbounds immediately and I've got to make sure I don't lose my hip in the process."
Dooley said he didn't see Shaw step out of bounds like he "probably would have" if not on crutches. He also said he never had a conversation with the officials if the play was reviewable and if he could retain UT's last timeout.
In SEC play, the Vols rank last in scoring defense (42.2 ppg), rushing defense (226.2 ypg), pass defense (296.4 ypg) and total defense (566.2 ypg).
Want more? Probably not, but here it is ...
The Vols are tied for last in sacks (seven), red zone defense (19-for-19), turnover margin (-1.40) and rank 13th in time of possession (26:13).
Easily lost under the marquee receiver names like Justin Hunter and Cordarrelle Patterson is senior wideout Zach Rogers. Rogers now has more touchdown receptions (five) than either Hunter or Patterson, or anyone else on the team for that matter. Dooley credits Rogers' work ethic in practice.
"When you practice with speed and consistency, then the quarterback always knows where you're going to be on what play," said Dooley, who compared Rogers' practice style to that of Wes Welker.
"Zack has the greatest consistency in how he practices," Dooley said.
On the injury front, running back Rajion Neal (ankle), who missed UT's previous two games, and right guard Zach Fulton (ankle), who missed a start for the first time in 22 games against South Carolina, are both day-to-day.
Dooley said both could play against Troy on Saturday (TV: FSTN, noon).
Think the UT run game misses Neal?
After averaging 205 yards rushing against Georgia and Mississippi State, the Vols have posted 79 yards on the ground against Alabama and 91 against South Carolina. Neal left the Mississippi State game due to injury but had 104 yards rushing against Georgia. No Vol running back has come close to 100 yards since.
Brendan F. Quinn covers Tennessee men's basketball. Follow him at Twitter.com/BFQuinn