Tennessee's Derek Dooley wants Vols to focus on Georgia State

Opportunity to fix imperfections

Charlie Daniel's cartoon for the Vols game against Georgia State on Saturday, Sept. 8, 2012, at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville.

Photo by Charlie Daniel

Charlie Daniel's cartoon for the Vols game against Georgia State on Saturday, Sept. 8, 2012, at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville.

Alabama coach Nick Saban made headlines Thursday with a diatribe directed at media who dared to overlook a lowly opponent for his top-ranked team.

Tennessee coach Derek Dooley, an assistant under Saban for seven years, hammered home the same theme this week, albeit with a bit more delicacy.

Taking aim at players — not reporters — who felt too self-satisfied after Tennessee's opening victory, Dooley warned against a false sense of security enveloping the Vols (1-0) in their home opener against Georgia State (0-1) at Neyland Stadium today (TV: PPV, 4 p.m.).

"Most teams never reach their dreams because they overestimate the event and underestimate the process," Dooley said.

Today is likely to offer little in the way of an event. The Panthers, in the midst of a transition to the Bowl Subdivision, were thrashed by South Carolina State 33-6 on their home turf last Thursday. One day later, also at the Georgia Dome, the Vols opened their season with a victory against North Carolina State.

Tennessee has won 17 consecutive home openers, last losing in 1994, and today's game should have a healthy margin of victory. But Dooley wasn't satisfied with practice earlier this week. He told players to focus not on the 1-0 record, but how they got there.

"I want to see us begin to define a standard of how we compete every Saturday, regardless of the opponent," Dooley said. "You only do that by performing with consistency over time."

Of course, objections from Saban or Dooley notwithstanding, it's impossible for those outside the realm of the football complex not to look ahead to more tantalizing matchups to come. For Tennessee, that means the Sept. 15 game against Florida, when the Vols likely will be favorites to beat the Gators for the first time since 2004.

Until then, Tennessee will try to fix some of the imperfections from last week's satisfying but not entirely perfect opener.

First on offensive coordinator Jim Chaney's wish list is better blocking — and not just from the offensive line.

"We blocked them, but we didn't block like we would like to block," Chaney said. "That's been a point of emphasis all this week for us. We want to increase our fundamentals of blocks: our targets, our leverage, all the little things that come into being a successful blocking team. That's the one thing I left the game thinking I wish we could have done a little better."

Defensive coordinator Sal Sunseri said he wanted better communication and fewer missed assignments, both of which seemed to improve after a shaky first quarter in the Georgia Dome.

"That's what I'm looking for," Sunseri said.

Dooley said he's not worried about playing time for backups, but if this game goes as expected, there could be ample opportunities for players who didn't see many snaps in the opener.

The game could also help untangle some of the positional battles still unsettled. Running back Rajion Neal, who named the No. 1 starter coming out of camp, lost his job after an uninspired performance against N.C. State. He's now bracketed with Marlin Lane and Devrin Young as co-starter. All three backs should get an audition today.

Freshman receiver Jason Croom likely is to make his debut today after missing the opener with a hamstring injury. Only two freshmen played last week.

Georgia State, by contrast, is playing plenty of freshmen. The fledgling program is moving from its current place in the Colonial Athletic Association to the Sun Belt Conference, which competes in the FCS. Georgia State coach Bill Curry has announced that he will retire after this season.

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

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Comments » 23

Vol_in_Mich writes:

Overlook Nobody!
GBO

Voltransplant writes:

Focus, focus, focus, and then do what you all do best; smash em in the mouth. Don't ever let up, florida is coming next week. Then it will be their turn (to get smashed in the mouth that is). Man, is it great to be a Tennessee Vol.

Vol_in_GA writes:

The game is blocked out on ESPN 3 in Tennessee and Georgia. Anybody know of another site where it can be streamed for free? Or is the radio broadcast streamed live anywhere?

Smokey91 writes:

I don't like them saying that Neal had an uninspired effort. He just is not as good at running between the tackles like Lane is. Neal is going to be a running back for UT. Not sold on Young as the #3 guy but he looks pretty steady as a return man.

standfast#211788 writes:

in response to Vol_in_GA:

The game is blocked out on ESPN 3 in Tennessee and Georgia. Anybody know of another site where it can be streamed for free? Or is the radio broadcast streamed live anywhere?

According to ESPN3's blackout map, it is only blacked out in Tennessee. I live in North Carolina and games have been blacked out over here even though the map showed it would be available. What gives with ESPN3?

hooverd283#563729 writes:

You can get the game by subscribing to the ESPN game plan. Game is available on this plan except in the state of Tenn.

SoddyVol writes:

in response to Smokey91:

I don't like them saying that Neal had an uninspired effort. He just is not as good at running between the tackles like Lane is. Neal is going to be a running back for UT. Not sold on Young as the #3 guy but he looks pretty steady as a return man.

If designed to go up the middle, then quit trying to bounce off to the outside - with maybe one or two exceptions.

iowavol writes:

in response to Vol_in_GA:

The game is blocked out on ESPN 3 in Tennessee and Georgia. Anybody know of another site where it can be streamed for free? Or is the radio broadcast streamed live anywhere?

Can't you just buy access to it? It isn't that much is it?

OrangePsyched writes:

in response to SoddyVol:

If designed to go up the middle, then quit trying to bounce off to the outside - with maybe one or two exceptions.

Absolutely correct. Bouncing it outside should be the exception rather than the rule. Neal is faster than most but needs to pretty much stick to the script. That's what I liked about Lane against State. I'm sure the linemen would say the same.

jcherrie#219531 (Inactive) writes:

Good approach coach!!! Beat them Gators!

Richmonds_Wannabe_Brother writes:

in response to Vol_in_GA:

The game is blocked out on ESPN 3 in Tennessee and Georgia. Anybody know of another site where it can be streamed for free? Or is the radio broadcast streamed live anywhere?

Here's another possibility somebody posted on another thread. I haven't tried it, so I can't vouch, but I'm going to be trying it tomorrow.

http://www.thefirstrow.eu/sport/ameri...

heisthelord367 writes:

in response to Vol_in_GA:

The game is blocked out on ESPN 3 in Tennessee and Georgia. Anybody know of another site where it can be streamed for free? Or is the radio broadcast streamed live anywhere?

justin.tv

RockyToptoNeyland writes:

The last time I checked, the sun belt competes in the fbs, but wtf do I know?

Vol_USArmy_Soldier writes:

The Vols are quickly moving up in the rankings and power ratings. Getting the team back in the Top 25 will do a lot for Dooley, this team, and our program.

Vols - don't just beat GA State. Maul them. Rotate the roster and concentrate on fixing the errors from last week. No mercy today Vols, NO EFF'N MERCY.

GBO.

LONEWOLF-VOL writes:

in response to iowavol:

Can't you just buy access to it? It isn't that much is it?

single games are $40.00 this year, or free on sirius/xm
GO VOLS!!!

mocsandvolsfan writes:

Really there are too many important problems in life to worry about GaST.. BUT we DO need to facus on fixin' a few things.
1.Running game
2.linebackers
3. snaps?? maybe I think we had at least one bad snap NCST
4. moving the Defense for the RBs as several articles have stated. CAUSE they ain't gonna run through it without help. They aren't big enough maybe. Golly I hope we're all wrong on that and the "fear" is gone.
I just want to see them play. weeeelll hear them is more likely.

hikerdude writes:

I mean, really, who cares. Too bad we are not playing NC. That would be a game worth watching.

SevenT writes:

Most teams never reach their dreams because they overestimate the event and underestimate the process,"

What in the world does that mean? Makes about as much sense as "the Germans are Coming." Another Classic Stupid Quote by Dooleave, He is another Bill Curry for sure.

voloffaith writes:

in response to SevenT:

Most teams never reach their dreams because they overestimate the event and underestimate the process,"

What in the world does that mean? Makes about as much sense as "the Germans are Coming." Another Classic Stupid Quote by Dooleave, He is another Bill Curry for sure.

Good morning lil school girl! the quote isn't that hard except for kat fans.. Blow the event up and don't prepare for said event with level deserved...

laraccoon writes:

in response to voloffaith:

Good morning lil school girl! the quote isn't that hard except for kat fans.. Blow the event up and don't prepare for said event with level deserved...

if he really is from Ky. you might have to include a picture to explain it .

rootin4volz writes:

62-7 asz-whoopin'

AllforTenn writes:

in response to hikerdude:

I mean, really, who cares. Too bad we are not playing NC. That would be a game worth watching.

Fans care. That's who. Take a hike, dude.

hikerdude writes:

So, Allfor, I take it you think it was a good idea to pay UNC to cancel a game we could have won and would have put a some extra people in the stands and to pay Georgia State to give us a non-interesting walkover and have the fans stay home. Do I understand you correctly?

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