Lathers anxious to return from shoulder injury

Tennessee linebacker Herman Lathers (34) and Tennessee defensive back Brian Randolph (37) stop a run by North Carolina State wide receiver Quintin Payton (88) 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 linebacker Herman Lathers (34) and Tennessee defensive back Brian Randolph (37) stop a run by North Carolina State wide receiver Quintin Payton (88) 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)

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Marurice Couch reflects on the NC State game

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There stood Herman Lathers on Tuesday, answering the same ol', same ol'.

A bulky, bright orange brace incased the Tennessee senior linebacker's right knee. His left ankle, the one that shattered back in 2011, was mummified in athletic tape. Lathers' latest safeguard — a protective brace on his right shoulder — will join the team today.

That shoulder, of course, was surgically repaired back in January of 2011.

Forcing a smile through a sullied disposition, Lathers explained Tuesday that he's now toiling through a sprained acromioclavicular joint in his shoulder. He added that there's "a little separation" in the shoulder.

"It's a little sore, a little stiff," Lathers said.

The particulars of Lathers' medical chart would overwhelm a pre-med student. The underlined items are bone cancer as a child and a removed spleen in 2008. His goal of a healthy 2012 season was derailed as soon as it began.

After missing the entire 2011 season with 11 screws residing in his left ankle, the down-but-never-out Lathers returned last Friday against N.C. State. The band was blaring and the bright lights of the Georgia

Dome welcomed him back to the field. On UT's first defensive play from scrimmage, Lathers lined up alongside the teammates who call him their leader.

After registering four tackles, though, the moment ended all too familiar. Lathers landed awkwardly on his shoulder in the second quarter. He doesn't remember the exact play, just that he could feel "movement in the joint."

Lathers spent the second half tracking the sideline. The look on his face told the story.

"It was another here-we-go-again kind of deal," Lathers said Tuesday. "My main thing is just — it's never as bad as it seems."

And in this case it wasn't. The acromioclavicular joint, or AC joint, is where the collar bone meets the shoulder blade. You know the bony bit at the top of the shoulder? That's it.

Lathers didn't practice Monday or Tuesday. He said he hopes that wearing a brace will allow him to practice today.

Caution will be crucial. The Vols' opponent on Saturday (TV: pay-per-view, 4 p.m.), Georgia State of the Football Championship Subdivision, lost last Thursday, 33-6, to South Carolina State, another FCS program. Testing Lathers' shoulder seems low on Tennessee's priority list.

The fifth-year senior cares little about that, though. The four-time SEC academic honor roll member has been at UT for 50 games, but only able to dress for 25. Each chance to play is precious.

"There's no time to rest, especially when you're the leader of the defense and of the team," Lathers said. "Guys look to you for moral support and when you're not there, guys tend to fall off and not be as enthused as they are when I'm out there. It means a lot for me to get back out there and inspire the guys."

Sept. 15 brings Florida to Neyland Stadium and the Vols want their unbreakable linebacker on the field. UT coach Derek Dooley said Tuesday, "He's never going to feel 100 percent," a realization Lathers seems to have come to long ago.

"Not being able to play the game — I can't just walk away, let an injury stop me,'' he said.

Asked how he felt on the sideline last Friday when he was still flush with uncertainty about the extent of his injury, Lathers slung his head forward.

"That's a hard (question)," he responded.

His head rose gradually.

"It's tough. I'm a real big competitor. I hate sitting out. I hate being away from the game. As a young kid, not being able to play sports, it all goes back to my childhood (cancer).

"I've got to keep pushing until I can't push anymore."

Brendan F. Quinn covers Tennessee men's basketball. Follow him at http://twitter.com/BFQuinn

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Comments » 108

vol_in_nc writes:

CDD is right. We can't live on past accomplishments. We must always strive for being better if we ever hope to achieve greatness.

RockyToptoNeyland writes:

Well I can say if we lose to Ga State, then yea I will go back and talk about this article. The NC State win reminded me of cincy win last season, like good, but not great. Beating Florida is great, beating georgia is great, beating alabama would be unbelievable. We need to get to the level of being great, not just we can beat a decent team by a couple of touchdowns. I think thats where dooley wants to get to, and I wish the players would realize that the nc state win was only a small pierce on this season.

Orangepuddinskin writes:

I cant help but be stoked about the way we look right now. I was pretty happy this time last year also, until Hunter went down. I am still worried that we are one injury away from, "Here we go again".

RockyMtnVol writes:

You rise to the level of your competition, players might not see GS as a threat. I hope the Defense see its need to build on the first game + the Offense does need to look at the running game. CDD said it, there are a ton of things that need to be nailed down, our SEC schedule is better than NCST.

GBO!!

2001utgrad writes:

I said before the season we would be 8-4 (I did have us beating NC State) and that we could be as good as 10-2 if we get ALL the breaks go our way...and 9-3 if we get SOME breaks this year.

Georgia State, Toledo, Troy, Vanderbilt, Kentucky should all be wins. That gets us to 6 wins. We have WAY more talent than any of those teams on EITHER side of the ball. Nobody from that group will be able to slow down our passing attack and I don't see any team on that list with the overall set of weapons that NC State brought to the table.

South Carolina and Florida didn't impress me much. We will see about Florida this weekend when they play against TAMU. We will find out about Missouri and Georgia this weekend. Same deal with MSU when they play against Auburn. If MSU throttles Auburn, we might want to be concerned about our trip to Starkville.

I still don't see us beating Alabama under any circumstance...but they are the ONLY team on our schedule that I feel is heads and shoulders better than we are after week one.

It's only one week of data, but that's all we have to go on right now. We won't know any more about Tennessee until after the Florida game. If we are 3-0 after the Florida game, then yes...I think we are more than capable of winning 9 games.

Stooley_Dinks writes:

I was happy for the win and saw some bright spots that were quite encouraging. I still don't know why the defense has been critiqued as hard. I thought that our first game in the 3-4 against a passing offense with a Sr QB went pretty well. I know the stats, but just as our D looked a little worse because of a few big plays, our offense looked a little better because of a few big plays.

But, I cannot help but wonder if the constant praising of the first game is a result of looking poor the last 2 years. We won by 2 scores, not 4, hardly a blowout. And, we have some major work on the run game. Yes, I will be labeled as negative, but I want to see our team play excellent football.

murrayvol writes:

in response to RockyToptoNeyland:

Well I can say if we lose to Ga State, then yea I will go back and talk about this article. The NC State win reminded me of cincy win last season, like good, but not great. Beating Florida is great, beating georgia is great, beating alabama would be unbelievable. We need to get to the level of being great, not just we can beat a decent team by a couple of touchdowns. I think thats where dooley wants to get to, and I wish the players would realize that the nc state win was only a small pierce on this season.

Yes, beating Bama would be unbelievable. We damn near did it 3 years ago and it would've been just as unbelievable then.

Doubt they'll be expecting it.

murrayvol writes:

in response to RockyMtnVol:

You rise to the level of your competition, players might not see GS as a threat. I hope the Defense see its need to build on the first game + the Offense does need to look at the running game. CDD said it, there are a ton of things that need to be nailed down, our SEC schedule is better than NCST.

GBO!!

Most of our SEC schedule is better than NC State but not all.

State's gonna have a good year.

Orangepuddinskin writes:

in response to Stooley_Dinks:

I was happy for the win and saw some bright spots that were quite encouraging. I still don't know why the defense has been critiqued as hard. I thought that our first game in the 3-4 against a passing offense with a Sr QB went pretty well. I know the stats, but just as our D looked a little worse because of a few big plays, our offense looked a little better because of a few big plays.

But, I cannot help but wonder if the constant praising of the first game is a result of looking poor the last 2 years. We won by 2 scores, not 4, hardly a blowout. And, we have some major work on the run game. Yes, I will be labeled as negative, but I want to see our team play excellent football.

I am not going to call you a negavol. lol. I do believe that Lane would have ran for over 100 yards had he been the featured back. We would probably all be talking about how we ran the ball very well, rather than the total by committee.

GoVols_16 writes:

Success is so danged sneaky. I would imagine that this is one of THE most difficult aspects of coaching--keeping the players on an even keel week-in/week-out.

Heck, as a fan, I'm sitting there saying on Friday night, "this is a top 25 team right now."

I can't imagine the job Dooley & staff must have trying to keep 18-22 y.o.s heads from coming unscrewed in cockiness.

That's got to be one of the reasons Saban is such a good coach. Aside from the fact that many of his players are probably scared of him (the Bear's were, too), he's the best in the business in regards to keeping their heads on straight.

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

PUL4VOLS writes:

I loved the way the OL got off the ball better on Friday. It remains to be seen if they can do that every week and even get better. The proof in that pudding would be a total dominance this coming Sat. whereby a number of our backs make big runs. That as much as the way we beat NCState would give me some confidence going into the FL game. If we score less than 50 this Sat. it will seem we left something on the field. Consistency is now the measure of how far we have come. No let's not overestimate last Friday's victory but we should neither downplay it either. NC State will win some games and we put it on them. As far as I'm concerned, even though it could have been by more points, a two touchdown win is nice for the first game. Keep up the good work VOLS!

Ironcity writes:

in response to Stooley_Dinks:

I was happy for the win and saw some bright spots that were quite encouraging. I still don't know why the defense has been critiqued as hard. I thought that our first game in the 3-4 against a passing offense with a Sr QB went pretty well. I know the stats, but just as our D looked a little worse because of a few big plays, our offense looked a little better because of a few big plays.

But, I cannot help but wonder if the constant praising of the first game is a result of looking poor the last 2 years. We won by 2 scores, not 4, hardly a blowout. And, we have some major work on the run game. Yes, I will be labeled as negative, but I want to see our team play excellent football.

I think whats encouraging is we won by 2 scores and in some ways played poorly. Had we been hitting on all cylinders we win by 4 TDs. Usually when UT gets stuffed on the goal line we are moaning about what could have been.

AlexAndersonAAradio writes:

I like the talk by Dooley. A player told me they had a real bad practice.

bannervol writes:

I've been drinking the big orange kool-aid since we made all the coaching changes last winter. Aside from 'Bama it is within our means to beat every other team on our schedule. Vandy with their trap blocking scheme and Mizzou as a big unknown scare me the most. Since I'm still drinking the kool-aid wouldn't it really piss off the BCS folks if we only lose to 'Bama in the regular season; beat them in Atlanta and get them again for the title game.

BluezVol writes:

Having followed UT since 1974 and painfully the UT-Florida game since it became an every year event, I will say that Florida always looks like a DII school their first and second game. They always look "confused" on offense. However, by the 3rd game everything seems to "magically" come together for them. How? Because of UT MISTAKES. A FL punt return for a TD, a blocked field goal against UT, a UT fumble at the goal-line, a very inopportune FL interception, etc. Whoever can get the big "Mo" on their side as a result of the other team's mistakes will probably win. If we can run for 100 yards and have 0 turnovers, then our chances are better than 60/40 to win IMHO.

licknpromise777#651578 writes:

in response to RockyMtnVol:

You rise to the level of your competition, players might not see GS as a threat. I hope the Defense see its need to build on the first game + the Offense does need to look at the running game. CDD said it, there are a ton of things that need to be nailed down, our SEC schedule is better than NCST.

GBO!!

The players are right GA State is not a threat..They were terrible in their opening game..Only way we lose is if Bray throws 4 pick 6

atnvol#283282 writes:

Your doing a good job Evan Woodbery...I like your reporting style...some guys have try to be too cool....keep after it Evan.

spvol writes:

in response to bannervol:

I've been drinking the big orange kool-aid since we made all the coaching changes last winter. Aside from 'Bama it is within our means to beat every other team on our schedule. Vandy with their trap blocking scheme and Mizzou as a big unknown scare me the most. Since I'm still drinking the kool-aid wouldn't it really piss off the BCS folks if we only lose to 'Bama in the regular season; beat them in Atlanta and get them again for the title game.

Sounds like a plan!

RockyMtnVol writes:

in response to licknpromise777#651578:

The players are right GA State is not a threat..They were terrible in their opening game..Only way we lose is if Bray throws 4 pick 6

I don't believe GA State could win, my comments are mainly in their first practice after the NCST game. I don't see TB throwing 4-6 picks, unless he is blind folded, and his throwing arm is tied behind his back.......UT would probably win anyway. I see Worley getting a lot of reps. No sense risking injury or trying to prove a point.

StoneJackBaller writes:

I agree, the win was a big one. But it is only one. They should expect to win every game and play that way also. The biggest accomplishment that this win did was to run off all the trolls and die hard Fulmerites. But trust me, they are lurking, they are watching and reading these posts - waiting for our first mistake.

I guess the biggest idiot on here is Walt (he graduated from UT in '81 if you didn't know). He can't wait for our first loss so he can get on here and spew about Dooley. So, let's keep winning!

FearTheVols1252 writes:

in response to BluezVol:

Having followed UT since 1974 and painfully the UT-Florida game since it became an every year event, I will say that Florida always looks like a DII school their first and second game. They always look "confused" on offense. However, by the 3rd game everything seems to "magically" come together for them. How? Because of UT MISTAKES. A FL punt return for a TD, a blocked field goal against UT, a UT fumble at the goal-line, a very inopportune FL interception, etc. Whoever can get the big "Mo" on their side as a result of the other team's mistakes will probably win. If we can run for 100 yards and have 0 turnovers, then our chances are better than 60/40 to win IMHO.

I'm not sure what games you've been watching, but UF generally destroys the first couple of teams they play. But usually those teams are cupcakes.

I think this year will be a little different. They no longer have 2 easy games before our meeting. We should have a much better perspective of their strengths and weaknesses after the A&M game, as I can’t imagine they will have luxury of holding anything back. If they’re going to win against A&M, they will have to open up the playbook and play to their ability level.

I always get a little too confident going into the UF game thinking ‘this is the year’, and like many of you, have exited that game with pure frustration more times than I care to count. Based on what I’ve seen from both teams thus far, I’m cautiously optimistic that we will turn the corner this year. But I’ve watched college football for far too long to know that anything can happen… it’s what I love (and hate) most about this sport!

Go Vols!

volgrog#210164 writes:

in response to Stooley_Dinks:

I was happy for the win and saw some bright spots that were quite encouraging. I still don't know why the defense has been critiqued as hard. I thought that our first game in the 3-4 against a passing offense with a Sr QB went pretty well. I know the stats, but just as our D looked a little worse because of a few big plays, our offense looked a little better because of a few big plays.

But, I cannot help but wonder if the constant praising of the first game is a result of looking poor the last 2 years. We won by 2 scores, not 4, hardly a blowout. And, we have some major work on the run game. Yes, I will be labeled as negative, but I want to see our team play excellent football.

Actually won by 3 scores, but the officials blew the call. 35-21 is a blow-out, but 42-21 is a whipping. Closer to a whipping.

mdvol writes:

The key to beating Florida is simply believing we can win. Not talking about streaks, etc. We've got to look at Florida like any other SEC team and protect our home field. And don't forget.....

No Tebow, No Rainey, No Demps, No Jacobs. Zook 2.0 is in charge down there.

VOLS hang 100 in their first 2 games. Then drop 40 on the Gators. Start 4-0.

Pandemonium Reigns - Sept 15th.
Seriously.....get ready.

Colliervol writes:

Good news about Lathers but I think I'd hold him out of this game to rest for Florida. And if the players have the big head, they need to be reined in quickly. Although cautiously optimistic, I saw plenty of things they can work on. I don't care if Florida is struggling or not. It will be a battle and anything less than the Vols "A" game won't cut it.

DeltaCharlie3 writes:

in response to BluezVol:

Having followed UT since 1974 and painfully the UT-Florida game since it became an every year event, I will say that Florida always looks like a DII school their first and second game. They always look "confused" on offense. However, by the 3rd game everything seems to "magically" come together for them. How? Because of UT MISTAKES. A FL punt return for a TD, a blocked field goal against UT, a UT fumble at the goal-line, a very inopportune FL interception, etc. Whoever can get the big "Mo" on their side as a result of the other team's mistakes will probably win. If we can run for 100 yards and have 0 turnovers, then our chances are better than 60/40 to win IMHO.

Yup. Good post.

You won't run for 100 yards, and if you throw it like you did v. NCS, you'll have at least 2 picks.

However, you may still beat Florida, depending on whether or not any semblance of a passing game develops in their offense. If it does, you lose again.

Sorry, I know you hate to hear it, but it's true.

govolsn3 writes:

in response to 2001utgrad:

I said before the season we would be 8-4 (I did have us beating NC State) and that we could be as good as 10-2 if we get ALL the breaks go our way...and 9-3 if we get SOME breaks this year.

Georgia State, Toledo, Troy, Vanderbilt, Kentucky should all be wins. That gets us to 6 wins. We have WAY more talent than any of those teams on EITHER side of the ball. Nobody from that group will be able to slow down our passing attack and I don't see any team on that list with the overall set of weapons that NC State brought to the table.

South Carolina and Florida didn't impress me much. We will see about Florida this weekend when they play against TAMU. We will find out about Missouri and Georgia this weekend. Same deal with MSU when they play against Auburn. If MSU throttles Auburn, we might want to be concerned about our trip to Starkville.

I still don't see us beating Alabama under any circumstance...but they are the ONLY team on our schedule that I feel is heads and shoulders better than we are after week one.

It's only one week of data, but that's all we have to go on right now. We won't know any more about Tennessee until after the Florida game. If we are 3-0 after the Florida game, then yes...I think we are more than capable of winning 9 games.

We have a chance to beat BAMA because they are on our schedule and our Defensive Co-ordinator knows everything there is to know about their defense much less their offense. If you are on the VOLS schedule then you got a game coming. GO VOLS VFL

DeltaCharlie3 writes:

in response to FearTheVols1252:

I'm not sure what games you've been watching, but UF generally destroys the first couple of teams they play. But usually those teams are cupcakes.

I think this year will be a little different. They no longer have 2 easy games before our meeting. We should have a much better perspective of their strengths and weaknesses after the A&M game, as I can’t imagine they will have luxury of holding anything back. If they’re going to win against A&M, they will have to open up the playbook and play to their ability level.

I always get a little too confident going into the UF game thinking ‘this is the year’, and like many of you, have exited that game with pure frustration more times than I care to count. Based on what I’ve seen from both teams thus far, I’m cautiously optimistic that we will turn the corner this year. But I’ve watched college football for far too long to know that anything can happen… it’s what I love (and hate) most about this sport!

Go Vols!

I don't think UF ever holds anything back before the Tennessee game. I just think they've been better. It's a myth that UF "never plays anyone decent before the UT game." During this 7-game winstreak, UF has played teams such as Miami (FL), South Florida, Central Florida, Southern Miss, UAB and now Texas A&M, all before Tennessee. These are teams who can beat you if you come in with a plan not to show anything. Besides, when the coaching was consistent, for example, everyone knew UF ran the spread option under Meyer, what difference would it make it they played conservative? The Meyer offense was well-documneted and everyone had a ton of tape to study.

Florida beats UT when they play terrible teams before UT, they beat UT when they play average teams, and they beat UT when they play good teams.

Dooley is right, y'all need to slow your roll just a tad.

DeltaCharlie3 writes:

in response to mdvol:

The key to beating Florida is simply believing we can win. Not talking about streaks, etc. We've got to look at Florida like any other SEC team and protect our home field. And don't forget.....

No Tebow, No Rainey, No Demps, No Jacobs. Zook 2.0 is in charge down there.

VOLS hang 100 in their first 2 games. Then drop 40 on the Gators. Start 4-0.

Pandemonium Reigns - Sept 15th.
Seriously.....get ready.

You've lost 2 years in a row since Tebow left. Rainey and Demps are replaced by guys who may be a shade slower, but are still the fastest guys on the field, carrying about 25 more pounds. Gillislee has been waiting his turn and he's just as good. He had the unfortunate timing of being a year behind two really great rb's. Besides, check his stats, Gillislee quietly racked-up quite a few carries/yards even during the Percy, Rainey, Demps reign of terror on the SEC.

This may be the year you beat UF, but there's no way in heck you "drop 40." That's the sorta nonsense your head coach is rightly trying to get you to step away from.

cestafford16 writes:

Dooley is doing right in preaching to the players to stay focused and not get too caught up in the hype of one win. It was a good win, but you have to take it week by week: Not look too far ahead and not dwell on a game that's done and over with regardless of the outcome. Confidence can quickly turn into cockiness and Dooley realizes the difference between the two.

I believe this year's team is definitely confident, and I think the coaches will do well in keeping them in that positive mindset. I also believe it's our job as fans to not excessively praise them to the point where they feel too pressured or too arrogant going into a big game or any game really. Not really calling out any fans for doing so, just stating that in general.

I won't worry myself too much about a bad practice, because it happens all the time from the best teams to the worst teams. It's never a good thing, but I'm trusting in the coaches and the players to make sure everyone keeps their focus and composure as they should.

On the other hand, it's good to hear that Lathers isn't seriously hurt. I say if he's able to play, let him out there. I would keep him limited for this week at least just so it doesn't turn into a nagging injury.

writer#358485 writes:

I worry about our defense a quite bit. I watched a great defensive struggle last night between Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech. Unfortunately Ga Tech lost, but it was a great defensive game. My blood runs deep orange, and I still believe as Gen. Neyland taught that offense is for show, defense wins games. I grimace every time the other team scores, especially if they score 21 points! That's not good defense, you need to keep them out of the end zone. Go Vols!

jryevols#222657 writes:

This weeks predictions :

Tennessee - 55 , Georgia St. - 13
A & M - 38 , Florida - 17
Georgia - 32 , Missouri - 21
Kentucky - 48 , Kent State - 10
South Carolina - 24 , East Carolina - 16
Northwestern - 28 , Vanderbilt - 21
Alabama - 64 , Western Kentucky - 13
Arkansas - 48 , LA Monroe - 14
Miss State - 20 , Auburn - 17
LSU - 28 ,Washington - 17
UTEP - 24 , Ole Miss - 17

lomas98 writes:

in response to Stooley_Dinks:

I was happy for the win and saw some bright spots that were quite encouraging. I still don't know why the defense has been critiqued as hard. I thought that our first game in the 3-4 against a passing offense with a Sr QB went pretty well. I know the stats, but just as our D looked a little worse because of a few big plays, our offense looked a little better because of a few big plays.

But, I cannot help but wonder if the constant praising of the first game is a result of looking poor the last 2 years. We won by 2 scores, not 4, hardly a blowout. And, we have some major work on the run game. Yes, I will be labeled as negative, but I want to see our team play excellent football.

Good points. The most important part of the post is the first 6 words of it. They won and now can work on things that were not so good. A win is much better than seeing what the posts on this board would have been if the score was the other way around.

I think we also have major work to do on the run game. I think our offensive line is built to run the ball between the tackles more than out of the shotgun. Maybe some of that is on the back bouncing outside as Dooley pointed out. Our defense will give up some points and yards this year but I like the attacking style much better than Wilcox's zone and react. I just didn't see those guys making plays last year and they made more in one game it seemed compared to last season. Pressure the QB is a novel idea. The D will also be on the field a lot if the offense keeps the hurry up and scores points quickly.....that could hurt us in a GA, FL game.

I agree with the constant praising because it is the total opposite as to what a lot people expected. NC State was an average opponent but could probably hang with some other SEC teams. Score could have been worse too....Bray's fumble and they also fumbled inside the 5 but recovered and eventually scored a TD.

DeltaCharlie3 writes:

in response to jryevols#222657:

This weeks predictions :

Tennessee - 55 , Georgia St. - 13
A & M - 38 , Florida - 17
Georgia - 32 , Missouri - 21
Kentucky - 48 , Kent State - 10
South Carolina - 24 , East Carolina - 16
Northwestern - 28 , Vanderbilt - 21
Alabama - 64 , Western Kentucky - 13
Arkansas - 48 , LA Monroe - 14
Miss State - 20 , Auburn - 17
LSU - 28 ,Washington - 17
UTEP - 24 , Ole Miss - 17

You got the Florida score right, just in reverse.

FearTheVols1252 writes:

in response to DeltaCharlie3:

I don't think UF ever holds anything back before the Tennessee game. I just think they've been better. It's a myth that UF "never plays anyone decent before the UT game." During this 7-game winstreak, UF has played teams such as Miami (FL), South Florida, Central Florida, Southern Miss, UAB and now Texas A&M, all before Tennessee. These are teams who can beat you if you come in with a plan not to show anything. Besides, when the coaching was consistent, for example, everyone knew UF ran the spread option under Meyer, what difference would it make it they played conservative? The Meyer offense was well-documneted and everyone had a ton of tape to study.

Florida beats UT when they play terrible teams before UT, they beat UT when they play average teams, and they beat UT when they play good teams.

Dooley is right, y'all need to slow your roll just a tad.

They probably don't... but there's been a lot of chatter from UF fans here about how Muschamp limited the playbook for the BG game.

Regardless, from our standpoint it's an advantage to see how you play against a tougher opponent. A better opponent will expose strengths and weaknesses you normally wouldn’t see against a cupcake. UF has played an occasional tough game prior to UT, but those are few and far between.

BG could have been a false-negative while NC State for us could have been a false-positive… who knows! We can sit here and speculate and talk krap all day… but we both know that doesn’t mean anything until 9/15 arrives.

do_it_Dooley writes:

in response to bannervol:

I've been drinking the big orange kool-aid since we made all the coaching changes last winter. Aside from 'Bama it is within our means to beat every other team on our schedule. Vandy with their trap blocking scheme and Mizzou as a big unknown scare me the most. Since I'm still drinking the kool-aid wouldn't it really piss off the BCS folks if we only lose to 'Bama in the regular season; beat them in Atlanta and get them again for the title game.

ive been drinking the kool aid too but i think someone spiked yours...lol but that would be pretty awesome

underthehill writes:

in response to Colliervol:

Good news about Lathers but I think I'd hold him out of this game to rest for Florida. And if the players have the big head, they need to be reined in quickly. Although cautiously optimistic, I saw plenty of things they can work on. I don't care if Florida is struggling or not. It will be a battle and anything less than the Vols "A" game won't cut it.

Caustiously optimistic I think describes the majority of UT fans at this point..taking a win over Fla as a sure thing not a good idea..but the schedule seems to favor TN..and I do see it as an uphill battle..we'll see what the boys in Vegas say..

clvolfan writes:

in response to bannervol:

I've been drinking the big orange kool-aid since we made all the coaching changes last winter. Aside from 'Bama it is within our means to beat every other team on our schedule. Vandy with their trap blocking scheme and Mizzou as a big unknown scare me the most. Since I'm still drinking the kool-aid wouldn't it really piss off the BCS folks if we only lose to 'Bama in the regular season; beat them in Atlanta and get them again for the title game.

Boy,Have time really changed when we have to be scared about Vandy.

TheVols54 writes:

I'm not sure how much they mean, especially this early in the season, but did anyone see ESPN's Week 2 Power Rankings? They have us ranked #23!

http://espn.go.com/college-football/p...

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to DeltaCharlie3:

You got the Florida score right, just in reverse.

To me Fla. and A&M is a toss. I suspect Florida is much better but we haven't seen enough to really know. I think he's also wrong about Vandy & Northwestern, Miss. St and Auburn, Ole Miss and UTEP??? I just don't know!! Georgia better be ready for Mizzou and same with E Car and S Car. I think he's right but it could end up wrong.lol arrgh I hates predictin'.

SummittsCourt writes:

Coach Dooley is absolutely correct. Last week is done, time to focus on Georgia St. and only Georgia St. I don't expect this game to be close, but if the first week is any indication of what could happen this game might be closer than expected if they take Geortia St. lightly.

There were some upsets and near upsets from some unlikely teams this past week. I like Dooley's mindset. Celebrate Friday night, then get back to business of improving on Saturday.

My prediction is that this team has matured and will be ready and final score will be something like 63-7.

stroker writes:

in response to 2001utgrad:

I said before the season we would be 8-4 (I did have us beating NC State) and that we could be as good as 10-2 if we get ALL the breaks go our way...and 9-3 if we get SOME breaks this year.

Georgia State, Toledo, Troy, Vanderbilt, Kentucky should all be wins. That gets us to 6 wins. We have WAY more talent than any of those teams on EITHER side of the ball. Nobody from that group will be able to slow down our passing attack and I don't see any team on that list with the overall set of weapons that NC State brought to the table.

South Carolina and Florida didn't impress me much. We will see about Florida this weekend when they play against TAMU. We will find out about Missouri and Georgia this weekend. Same deal with MSU when they play against Auburn. If MSU throttles Auburn, we might want to be concerned about our trip to Starkville.

I still don't see us beating Alabama under any circumstance...but they are the ONLY team on our schedule that I feel is heads and shoulders better than we are after week one.

It's only one week of data, but that's all we have to go on right now. We won't know any more about Tennessee until after the Florida game. If we are 3-0 after the Florida game, then yes...I think we are more than capable of winning 9 games.

Good appraisal I agree.

jobrando#216494 writes:

Plan for one game at a time like it's the Super Bowl

johnlg00 writes:

in response to Stooley_Dinks:

I was happy for the win and saw some bright spots that were quite encouraging. I still don't know why the defense has been critiqued as hard. I thought that our first game in the 3-4 against a passing offense with a Sr QB went pretty well. I know the stats, but just as our D looked a little worse because of a few big plays, our offense looked a little better because of a few big plays.

But, I cannot help but wonder if the constant praising of the first game is a result of looking poor the last 2 years. We won by 2 scores, not 4, hardly a blowout. And, we have some major work on the run game. Yes, I will be labeled as negative, but I want to see our team play excellent football.

I for one won't knock you for saying what you did. And I think Dooley's concern is well-founded. I'm sure most of us can hardly imagine the frustration these guys must have felt the last two years. Then imagine the feeling of having some of that weight lifted by a spirited but imperfect win against a respectable opponent. In such moments, a team that has not had a great deal of recent success can indeed lose sight of the fact that EVERY play is important, EVERY fundamental must be executed correctly EVERY time, against EVERY opponent. It takes maturity to concentrate ONLY on those things and not the opponent or the final outcome. It's the old delayed-gratification thing; if you want the results, you must honor the process. Every great coach from beginning of time realizes these things are true; the great teams and players are the ones who have that wisdom in their bones. I hope there is enough maturity and leadership on the squad to keep the Vols from falling into that trap after the first taste of mild success.

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

in response to DeltaCharlie3:

You got the Florida score right, just in reverse.

Sorry, DH..A&M 83
UF 71??

johnlg00 writes:

in response to DeltaCharlie3:

Yup. Good post.

You won't run for 100 yards, and if you throw it like you did v. NCS, you'll have at least 2 picks.

However, you may still beat Florida, depending on whether or not any semblance of a passing game develops in their offense. If it does, you lose again.

Sorry, I know you hate to hear it, but it's true.

Hmmm. Let's see if I have this straight: if the Vols outplay Florida, UT will win; if Florida plays better than UT, Florida will win. Thanks for the clue, Captain Obvious. However, since it seemed to me that BGSU ran for more than 100 yards against Florida--maybe they didn't, I didn't see the stats, but it sure LOOKED that way--then there is no real reason why the Vols can't do the same, ESPECIALLY since their passing game is worlds better than BGSU's and the Gators will ignore that at their peril. Unless of course you want to argue that BGSU is better than UT, in which case we will KNOW you are full of it. But, heck, we knew that already.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to DeltaCharlie3:

You've lost 2 years in a row since Tebow left. Rainey and Demps are replaced by guys who may be a shade slower, but are still the fastest guys on the field, carrying about 25 more pounds. Gillislee has been waiting his turn and he's just as good. He had the unfortunate timing of being a year behind two really great rb's. Besides, check his stats, Gillislee quietly racked-up quite a few carries/yards even during the Percy, Rainey, Demps reign of terror on the SEC.

This may be the year you beat UF, but there's no way in heck you "drop 40." That's the sorta nonsense your head coach is rightly trying to get you to step away from.

Those last two years featured wins over possibly the two worst teams UT has ever fielded in the modern era. We all know Fulmer was a deer in the headlights against Florida--which is one BIG reason why he is gone now--just like Majors was with Alabama. No, I'm not going to say flat out like some on here that the Vols will thrash Florida, or even beat them at all, but there is no way you can claim that the discrepancy in talent between the two in Florida's favor has not narrowed to the vanishing point.

Vo2Vol writes:

Look we are looking past Georgia State on this site and planning a butt-kick on Florida. I like it and hope it takes place. However, I do not believe CDD wants the players to look past Georgia State. He wants them to prepare the same way they have up to NCSU. They have been hungry and looked hungry Friday night. A good team does not take days off or play down to competition. They need to stay hungry and remember the road they once travelled. Our lumps are not past us. Practice today is an example of not handling success very well. I bet they come back all business tomorrow.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to writer#358485:

I worry about our defense a quite bit. I watched a great defensive struggle last night between Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech. Unfortunately Ga Tech lost, but it was a great defensive game. My blood runs deep orange, and I still believe as Gen. Neyland taught that offense is for show, defense wins games. I grimace every time the other team scores, especially if they score 21 points! That's not good defense, you need to keep them out of the end zone. Go Vols!

I see what you are saying, and you may have a point, but as for that GT-VT game, both teams looked somewhat offensively challenged. GT can't throw it and VT made too many mistakes of their own. Besides, as much as we all revere the General, this is a totally different era of offensive football. Virtually every rule change of the last 50 years was made to help the offense. The defensive dominance of LSU and Bama last year was, I'm guessing, something of a statistical anomaly. I don't have the time or inclination to research this to any extent, but I would bet that the average number of points allowed by the top 20 teams has gone up every year for the last 20 years. The main thing, in EVERY era, is for your team to score more points than the other team. That is the only meaningful stat, now or ever.

DannyVol writes:

They only picked up 18 votes in the Coaches Poll and 0-1 Auburn is still ahead of them. That should be PLENTY of motivation.

Pompey writes:

in response to DeltaCharlie3:

I don't think UF ever holds anything back before the Tennessee game. I just think they've been better. It's a myth that UF "never plays anyone decent before the UT game." During this 7-game winstreak, UF has played teams such as Miami (FL), South Florida, Central Florida, Southern Miss, UAB and now Texas A&M, all before Tennessee. These are teams who can beat you if you come in with a plan not to show anything. Besides, when the coaching was consistent, for example, everyone knew UF ran the spread option under Meyer, what difference would it make it they played conservative? The Meyer offense was well-documneted and everyone had a ton of tape to study.

Florida beats UT when they play terrible teams before UT, they beat UT when they play average teams, and they beat UT when they play good teams.

Dooley is right, y'all need to slow your roll just a tad.

...truth is UF is a "Johnny come lately" to college football prominence. I remember when UT was winning bowl games and UF fans didn't know the difference between a football and a gator t*rd.
I will grant you this, Fulmer was badly out coached in nearly every Florida game and a fair amount of other games as well.The bad news for you is that Fulmer is not the model for the furture of UT football. Enjoy winning while you can because the sun doesn't shine on the same dogs a** all the time and your lizards will take their turn in the college football barrel just like the rest of us....and it may start this year...sleep well!

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