New philosophy calls for fast-paced, no-huddle offense

Tennessee head coach Derek Dooley reacts as referees determine that quarterback Tyler Bray did not score a touchdown against N.C. State at the end of the second quarter during the Chick-Fil-A Kick Off Game at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Friday, Aug. 31, 2012. (AMY SMOTHERMAN BURGESS/NEWS SENTINEL STAFF)

Photo by Amy Smotherman Burgess

Tennessee head coach Derek Dooley reacts as referees determine that quarterback Tyler Bray did not score a touchdown against N.C. State at the end of the second quarter during the Chick-Fil-A Kick Off Game at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Friday, Aug. 31, 2012. (AMY SMOTHERMAN BURGESS/NEWS SENTINEL STAFF)

Derek Dooley on Vols' first game, the 35-21 win over NC State

Time and tide wait for no man, and neither does the Tennessee offense nowadays.

"Yeah, that's what we do — we've been doing it since January," Tennessee coach Derek Dooley said Monday, a smile crawling across his face. "That's why we don't let you guys watch practice."

In what Dooley called "a big philosophical change," the Vols' offense barreled up and down the Georgia Dome field using an up-tempo, no-huddle attack in last Friday's 35-21 victory over N.C. State. Four touchdowns were scored. Five-hundred and twenty-four yards were gained.

Though it wasn't exactly a state secret, Tennessee's fast-paced offense caught the Wolfpack flatfooted.

In all, UT's new philosophy produced 79 plays from scrimmage — a program-high since running 82 against Kentucky in a Nov. 24, 2007, quadruple-overtime marathon.

"(The change) was for a lot of reasons," Dooley said. "I think it helps Tyler (Bray). It certainly helps the run game."

Bray was unavailable for comment Monday, but the new brand of offense seemed to resonate with the Vols' quarterback.

Bray never appeared frenzied or frantic. He called most plays from the line of scrimmage and connected on 27-of-41 passes for 333 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions.

His two touchdown strikes — a 41-yard home run to Cordarrelle Patterson and a 72-yard grand slam to Zach Rogers — came when speedy wideouts broke open behind State's secondary. As a result, the big-armed, free-wheeling junior notched his biggest win as a starter.

More points and production are expected Saturday. Georgia State, a program launched in April of 2008, is the Vols' home-opening martyr. The Panthers have played two FBS programs in their history, Alabama and Houston, losing by a combined score of 119-7.

The downside of implementing a no-huddle offense is the strain it puts on the defense. UT, however, had just two three-and-out possessions Friday. The Vols' defense was on the field for 80 plays, a relatively manageable number.

"There's going to be times where it's not helping the defense, but we think, over time, the points you can generate is what matters," Dooley said.

* After his headline-grabbing debut last Friday, Patterson went from junior college transfer to ESPN highlight reel. What Dooley mentioned Monday, though, was the wide receiver's modesty.

"I was really impressed," he said. "He's not walking like the big shot."

Even after the opener, Dooley said Patterson needs "significant improvement in all his areas," specifically, he noted, in route running and coverage recognition.

"I'm almost where I want to be, but I'm not quite there," said Patterson, who finished with six receptions for 93 yards and a touchdown, and added a 67-yard touchdown run on an end-around.

* Having suffered a shoulder injury against N.C. State, starting weakside linebacker Herman Lathers is "probable" for Saturday afternoon's meeting with Georgia State.

"If he can go, he's going to go, but if he's not in practice this week, it's pointless to play him," Dooley said.

Lathers ended Friday night wearing a sling after missing chunks of training camp with injuries.

"We need Herman, we want Herman, but we want a healthy Herman," Dooley said.

* Puzzled writers scrambled for the Tennessee roster early in Friday's game.

Who is that No. 88 lined up at tight end?

It turned out to be 6-foot-2, 300-pound former starting offensive lineman Alex Bullard — a desperation option after injuries trimmed Dooley's choices at tight end.

"He became an even bigger piece to the puzzle, with our tight end situation getting how it was," Dooley said of Bullard, who entered the year wearing No. 78. "We needed him to play well and he did and it helped us."

Dooley said the staff was concerned with sending starter Mychal Rivera out for "60 or 70 snaps." The senior missed much of camp, shelved with a bruised knee.

"The combinations of Ben (Bartholomew) and Alex Bullard helped us manage Mychal a little bit," Dooley said.

* Offensive guard Zach Fulton was named the SEC's offensive lineman of the week. Dooley said he was nominated by coaches for grading out the highest of any linemen on the team.

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Comments » 23

VolinCalif writes:

Nice!

wildmed writes:

I think the entire team performed above expectations, which is always a pleasant surprise.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

wtg Mr Fulton.

Scoon writes:

"A big philosophical change," and barreling up & down the field definitely yielded the coveted crop for you Vols, Friday night. Great job on your season opener. Aside from the usual Bama poop, you guys were more impressive than anyone from what I saw and I watched it all. So, congrats.

Now, about that Nov. 24, 2007, quadruple-overtime marathon with Kentucky back in Lexington. YOU, my dear Vols, were LUCKY!! VERY, VERY, VERY!!! LUCKY that night ... we know it ... YOU KNOW IT!!! I was right there, saw mostly the whole thing up close & personal as I do keep a ring side seat right in the action of endzone play. It was just so very unfortunate the that game did not get the final chokehold put on it by the Cats on that one lone & fateless night to end that stupid streak.

OrangePsyched writes:

Great move implemented by CDD. It plays to our strength. This team will score a lot of points and puts a lot of pressure on the other team's offense to score.

1Volunteer writes:

in response to Scoon:

"A big philosophical change," and barreling up & down the field definitely yielded the coveted crop for you Vols, Friday night. Great job on your season opener. Aside from the usual Bama poop, you guys were more impressive than anyone from what I saw and I watched it all. So, congrats.

Now, about that Nov. 24, 2007, quadruple-overtime marathon with Kentucky back in Lexington. YOU, my dear Vols, were LUCKY!! VERY, VERY, VERY!!! LUCKY that night ... we know it ... YOU KNOW IT!!! I was right there, saw mostly the whole thing up close & personal as I do keep a ring side seat right in the action of endzone play. It was just so very unfortunate the that game did not get the final chokehold put on it by the Cats on that one lone & fateless night to end that stupid streak.

I would love to watch that 2007 game with KY again. There were so many great plays by both teams. Does anyone know whether it's available somewhere?

willblitz4bacon writes:

I'd would've liked to see #88 catch a pass and run overa a d.b.

rampsneggs writes:

"YOU,my dear Vols, were LUCKY!! VERY,VERY,VERY LUCKY that night". "unfortunate... end that stupid streak"

Yes we know we were fortunate in several of the victories in that streak. Streaks end eventually. I don't think that one was stupid, it was what it was. The Vols are on a one game win, the Cats are not. It's not stupid, it is what it is.

Govolsforever writes:

So would it be fair to say Kentucky was extremely lucky to even be In alot of those close games with us? Haha the answer is duhh.. And call that 26 game winning streak whatever you want mr. Big blue we all know that last year was a fluke and we are going to not only going to win the game this year but I still haven't desided if the cats will score at all.. And if the last streak was stupid then what will you call the one we start this year because it's safe to say that it may be the last time for many many years before you big blue knuckleheads beat us in football again..40 in a row sounds about right :)

BigVolFaninSC writes:

in response to Scoon:

"A big philosophical change," and barreling up & down the field definitely yielded the coveted crop for you Vols, Friday night. Great job on your season opener. Aside from the usual Bama poop, you guys were more impressive than anyone from what I saw and I watched it all. So, congrats.

Now, about that Nov. 24, 2007, quadruple-overtime marathon with Kentucky back in Lexington. YOU, my dear Vols, were LUCKY!! VERY, VERY, VERY!!! LUCKY that night ... we know it ... YOU KNOW IT!!! I was right there, saw mostly the whole thing up close & personal as I do keep a ring side seat right in the action of endzone play. It was just so very unfortunate the that game did not get the final chokehold put on it by the Cats on that one lone & fateless night to end that stupid streak.

I have seen very few teams over my 40+ years of football that have won WITHOUT a little luck along the way! The scoreboard doesn't separate luck points from skill points. And usually, the team that is better and more prepared seem to mysteriously benefit from luck more than the weaker opponent. But, sometimes, a FAR weaker opponent is helped and we get an upset. That's why we love football; because you never know what might happen! Otherwise, let's give the red elephants another trophy, because ON PAPER they look unbeatable again!...No! I rather watch the games play out and see if any up and comers can knock them off of that pedestal that their fans think they're entitled to!

Enjoy the fact that you broke the streak last year, because I don't think the 'cats are going to start any win-streak of their own based on what I saw against Louisville Sunday!...That is, unless you get LUCKY!

IdahoVol writes:

Help me understand how we can run 79 plays on offense and that's deemed a huge number, but the defense "was on the field for 80 plays, a relatively manageable number"? Not criticising anything, just not sure why 79 is a lot but 80 is manageable. What am I missing?

Rumblefish writes:

in response to IdahoVol:

Help me understand how we can run 79 plays on offense and that's deemed a huge number, but the defense "was on the field for 80 plays, a relatively manageable number"? Not criticising anything, just not sure why 79 is a lot but 80 is manageable. What am I missing?

youre not missing anything. i was wondering the same thing.

Rumblefish writes:

I noticed a lot of teams going no-huddle, or even with a short "quasi-huddle" this year (with just the QB, WR, RB meeting briefly while the OL stood over the ball forcing the D to somewhat line up and be ready without letting the D huddle up fully themselves)

Fast tempo seems to be the flavor in college football this year. I have no problem with it!

johnlg00 writes:

in response to Rumblefish:

I noticed a lot of teams going no-huddle, or even with a short "quasi-huddle" this year (with just the QB, WR, RB meeting briefly while the OL stood over the ball forcing the D to somewhat line up and be ready without letting the D huddle up fully themselves)

Fast tempo seems to be the flavor in college football this year. I have no problem with it!

The no-huddle is surely becoming more fashionable. The best defenses these days are nearly all multiple with special packages for every situation. The no-huddle offense limits the defense's opportunities to substitute those packages, and is therefore a good way to counter them.

That said, I didn't really see much resemblance between the Vol offense Friday and the true "fast-break" offenses Oregon and UNC are running, to name two. It seemed to me that most of the snaps actually came with only a few seconds on the play clock, just as they would if the team huddled on every play. I heard Chip Kelly of Oregon say that they wanted to snap the ball every 15 seconds! Not quite what UT is doing, yet anyway.

RememberWhen writes:

DoLittle will prove what an idiot he is if he plays Lathers this week. Or Bray. Or Hunter. Or Patterson. Or anybody else deemed half-way important. This is a B.S. opponent and only a B.S. attorney would risk anybody decent getting hurt in a game that never should have been scheduled.

Rumblefish writes:

in response to johnlg00:

The no-huddle is surely becoming more fashionable. The best defenses these days are nearly all multiple with special packages for every situation. The no-huddle offense limits the defense's opportunities to substitute those packages, and is therefore a good way to counter them.

That said, I didn't really see much resemblance between the Vol offense Friday and the true "fast-break" offenses Oregon and UNC are running, to name two. It seemed to me that most of the snaps actually came with only a few seconds on the play clock, just as they would if the team huddled on every play. I heard Chip Kelly of Oregon say that they wanted to snap the ball every 15 seconds! Not quite what UT is doing, yet anyway.

yep...we're definitley a far cry from Oregon. But the TN tempo was surely quicker than what we're used to.

regarding the D getting subs in...i believe the new rule is if the O subs, the D has to be allowed sufficient time (ref standing over the ball) to get their subs in. A subsequent rule from the LSU and N.Car debacle involving TN. Irony :)

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to Rumblefish:

yep...we're definitley a far cry from Oregon. But the TN tempo was surely quicker than what we're used to.

regarding the D getting subs in...i believe the new rule is if the O subs, the D has to be allowed sufficient time (ref standing over the ball) to get their subs in. A subsequent rule from the LSU and N.Car debacle involving TN. Irony :)

HMMM? Just how far IS Oregon anyhow? I mean as the Ducks fly.
Ok I admit they are awfully good. Maybe #1?

It's hard to tell this early and they didn't play much of a team...still they can run the field really fast. I wonder if they can do that against Say a Missouri or Texas A&M. or even a Kentucky.
I'm not disagreeing with you I just suspect that a lot of the better teams could run a quick huddle as well as Oregon or North Carolina. I only suspect. Heck maybe not.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

Sorry I meant "NO-Huddle" offense. We(UT) sorta run a quick huddle...ie it takes us a little longer to snap as John pointed out.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to RememberWhen:

DoLittle will prove what an idiot he is if he plays Lathers this week. Or Bray. Or Hunter. Or Patterson. Or anybody else deemed half-way important. This is a B.S. opponent and only a B.S. attorney would risk anybody decent getting hurt in a game that never should have been scheduled.

I was gonna let this one go because I almost agree.but dang it the little people wanna play too. They may not have the multi million dollar budgets but they usually invest as much as they can in their teams too.
The problem to me is the # of these opponents on this year's schedule!? It does offer us a break between some big games though. Sometimes it's good to heal. Sometimes it goes the other way so dang it I don't know.

oldvol59 writes:

I never cease to be amazed about how many people know more than the coaches. Just AMAZING!!

johnlg00 writes:

in response to Rumblefish:

yep...we're definitley a far cry from Oregon. But the TN tempo was surely quicker than what we're used to.

regarding the D getting subs in...i believe the new rule is if the O subs, the D has to be allowed sufficient time (ref standing over the ball) to get their subs in. A subsequent rule from the LSU and N.Car debacle involving TN. Irony :)

You are right about the new rule, but if the offense DOESN'T substitute, then the defense can't, either, without risking that the offense will snap the ball while they are making the change, and most people believe that it is more tiring to play defense than it is offense. Not sure the WR who has run four straight fly patterns of 40 yards or more would necessarily agree, but still....

johnlg00 writes:

in response to RememberWhen:

DoLittle will prove what an idiot he is if he plays Lathers this week. Or Bray. Or Hunter. Or Patterson. Or anybody else deemed half-way important. This is a B.S. opponent and only a B.S. attorney would risk anybody decent getting hurt in a game that never should have been scheduled.

Hard to know where to begin to refute this screed against Dooley, so I won't try. However, if you want to make such a point about scheduling this game in the first place, there are about 100+ BCS teams that do the same thing. Blame the megaconferences for scheduling so many games within the conference. Nobody can survive these days playing a whole schedule of powerhouses, not even the powerhouses themselves.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to johnlg00:

Hard to know where to begin to refute this screed against Dooley, so I won't try. However, if you want to make such a point about scheduling this game in the first place, there are about 100+ BCS teams that do the same thing. Blame the megaconferences for scheduling so many games within the conference. Nobody can survive these days playing a whole schedule of powerhouses, not even the powerhouses themselves.

I just re-read this John and I may actually have caught you in a difference of opinion. Maybe. I just don't think Alabama playing any power house this year will slow them down much. That said it's entirely possible they could lose a couple. I expect USCal. to lose one or two. Well maybe You're correct after all.
I'm a little bored before going in to work.

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