John Adams: Vols will keep it respectable between the hedges

John Adams

Coaches seldom address the virtue of coming close. As former coach Herm Edwards summed it up so eloquently for sound-bite purposes, "You play to win the game."

But that's coach-speak. The general populace can better appreciate a narrow defeat, especially when it's at the hand of a supposedly superior opponent.

That's why Tennessee has something to gain even in defeat against fifth-ranked Georgia this afternoon at Sanford Stadium.

In the Vols' last five games against opponents ranked eighth or higher, they have been outscored by an average of 34 points per game.

Georgia 34, Tennessee 24: Recent Georgia history tells us this won't be a blowout. The Bulldogs have won their first two SEC games this season by 21 points over Missouri and 45 against Vanderbilt.

But they haven't won three consecutive SEC games by 20 or more points since 1981.

Alabama 48, Ole Miss 17: What if the Tide didn't play its first team against the Rebels? Bama by 20.

What if the Tide didn't play its first team; Saban made Mike Shula interim head coach for the game; Eli Manning returned to quarterback the Rebels; and Saban started his daughter, Kristen, at nose tackle? Alabama by 14.

I just can't think of a scenario in which this could be a close game.

Texas A&M 34, Arkansas 30: The strategy on how to beat the Aggies is so simple a bankrupt coach should be able to figure it out. You spot them a double-digit lead, as Florida did three weeks ago and as the Razorbacks did last season, then wait for the Aggies to collapse in the face of prosperity.

On second thought, a bankrupt coach who blew a 21-point lead against Louisiana-Monroe probably isn't smart enough to figure it out, especially when his defense is as vulnerable as the one at John L. Smith's command.

South Carolina 30, Kentucky 14: Gamecocks quarterback Connor Shaw will enter the game with 20 consecutive pass completions. Kentucky will enter the game hopeful of keeping backup quarterback Morgan Newton on the bench.

Last Saturday, when Shaw was going 20-for-21 against Missouri, Newton couldn't have hit a parked 18-wheeler with a beer bottle against Florida in place when he filled in for injured Maxwell Smith.

LSU 48, Towson 6: It will be Tiger on Tiger at Tiger Stadium, which seems so much more compelling than Tiger on Knight.

Until the 1960s, Towson was known as the Knights. Towson student John Schuerholz, who later became general manager of the Atlanta Braves, didn't think the Knights were cool and called for a new mascot. So the Towson Knights became the Towson Tigers in 1962.

I can trust Wikipedia on that, right?

Missouri 30, Central Florida 23: SEC commissioner Mike Slive needs to have a talk with the Tigers. Their non-conference schedule includes games against Arizona State, UCF, and Syracuse.

It's an unwritten rule that SEC schools schedule at least two games against utterly helpless opponents. Maybe Slive needs to put it in writing for the new guys.

Top 25: West Virginia 56, Baylor 45; Ohio State 27, Michigan State 24; Clemson 42, Boston College 20; Florida State 45, South Florida 17; Oklahoma State 31, Texas 27; Louisville 27, Southern Mississippi 17; Oregon State 34, Arizona 31; Oregon 54, Washington State 20; TCU 38, SMU 14; Boise State 44, New Mexico 17; Nebraska 34, Wisconsin 23.

Record: 72-9 (.889), 31-34 (.477) against the spread.

John Adams is a senior columnist. He may be reached at 865-342-6284 or adamsj@knoxnews.com. Follow him at http://twitter.com/johnadamskns

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Comments » 65

99gator writes:

there goes tuscaloosa john again

6972 writes:

This game is going to tell us a lot about this team,whether good, bad, or ugly. Let's hope it is good. We might even learn something about the coaches. GBO

snafu14u#241639 writes:

Two observations 1) Fulmer has to be thanking his lucky stars he didn't get the Arkansas job 2) if UT keeps it that close then its about as good as we can hope for. Still rooting for UT and will not be happy if they lose. Do you guys think that those frat boys got so distraught by the half time adjustments that they did the "alcohol enemas". Where exactly do you administer the "breathalyzer "? Details details details.....BonzaiVol

Clarkrm0706 writes:

"That's why Tennessee has something to gain even in defeat against fifth-ranked Georgia this afternoon at Sanford Stadium."
Am I missing the game? ;)

VOLnChattTown writes:

Moral victories need not even be a thought in the minds of UT players!

If a moral victory is on their mind the team might as well stay in Knoxville and forfeit the game.......at least we won't have any injuries!!!

jobrando#216494 writes:

Folks I'm afraid by this time Saturday this board will once again be empty of the orange kool-aid posters and back to depression. Absolutely no reason to think otherwise. Dang, I just keep hoping only to be let down.

BigOrangeFever76 (Inactive) writes:

in response to snafu14u#241639:

Two observations 1) Fulmer has to be thanking his lucky stars he didn't get the Arkansas job 2) if UT keeps it that close then its about as good as we can hope for. Still rooting for UT and will not be happy if they lose. Do you guys think that those frat boys got so distraught by the half time adjustments that they did the "alcohol enemas". Where exactly do you administer the "breathalyzer "? Details details details.....BonzaiVol

snafu...it would not be a "breathalyzer"...it would be an "anallyzer" in the case of a butt-chugging arrest. Stay thirsty my friend.

PS...Vols win 27-24.

Classof72 writes:

"In the Vols' last five games against opponents ranked eighth are higher, they have been outscored by an average of 34 points per game."

The Vols are nothing if not consistent. This season is not a rehearsal for some other year. It matters.

thevoice writes:

in response to 6972:

This game is going to tell us a lot about this team,whether good, bad, or ugly. Let's hope it is good. We might even learn something about the coaches. GBO

I think the game in 2 weeks will tell us about Dooley's future.

linebam writes:

in response to BigOrangeFever76:

snafu...it would not be a "breathalyzer"...it would be an "anallyzer" in the case of a butt-chugging arrest. Stay thirsty my friend.

PS...Vols win 27-24.

I like your thoughts, 76, but your prediction is a little off... I don't think our defense can hold the Dawgs to that low of a score, but I do think our offense can keep up. Therefore, let's add (at least) ten points to your prediction:

Vols win 37-34

VolinCalif writes:

in response to linebam:

I like your thoughts, 76, but your prediction is a little off... I don't think our defense can hold the Dawgs to that low of a score, but I do think our offense can keep up. Therefore, let's add (at least) ten points to your prediction:

Vols win 37-34

I have to go with BigO
I think the Vols snuff the run game of GA. They will have to play a little catch up and that makes them a Passing Off. One Dim will not do it for Ga. Our Run game is on the ups and we will shine a little.
Vols 27 Ga 24

volcycle writes:

Lets's do some analysis thus far:

Tennessee is 3-1
Georgia is 4-0

Tennesseee's opponents are 8-8
Georgia's opponents are 5-10

Tennessee has played two opponents with winning records and gone 1-1
Georgia has played no opponents with winning records.

No wonder Georgia has great numbers. Would Tennessee not have numbers like that with UGA's schedule?

Is Georgia overrated? Has Georgia been tested? Stay tuned, we'll find out tomorrow..... I for one will be cheering for a Vol victory and I refuse to concede victory until the game is played....that's why they play!

Go Big Orange! UT 38 - Pups 27

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

I don't have a feeling about this game other than I think UT will play with no pressure and leave it all on the field..I'll be cheering you guys on and I'll see ya'll in Starkville on the 13th..GBO!!

tovolny writes:

John,

Sports Writer or Comedian? You got'a choose.

Name me one person that has or does both.

In the mean time, I have a conch shell to my ear listening to the ocean.

sameolvolalum writes:

There's a big bruhaha going on in South Carolina about Spurrier's getting a fairly prominent local sportswriter/caster (who second guessed the ol' ball coaches playing previously injured qb Conner Shaw against Missouri) fired from his ABC affiliate commentary and in hot water all over the state. Can you imagine what they'd have done to Adams? I, for one, miss Tom Siler. He wouldn't ever have considered a loss to anyone to be a moral-nor-any-other kind of victory. I feel you're right on, volcycle, and if our coaching staff can see far ahead enough in the second half, those men in the helmets with those great big orange T's on them might come out on top.

underthehill writes:

John is being kind with his prediction.. a 10 point loss would not be bad..notice John is less than 50% against the spread..a blow out of 21 or more will be bad..my prediction is ..nothing said by John or anyone on this site will determine the outcome..

pcorange writes:

in response to underthehill:

John is being kind with his prediction.. a 10 point loss would not be bad..notice John is less than 50% against the spread..a blow out of 21 or more will be bad..my prediction is ..nothing said by John or anyone on this site will determine the outcome..

I have to agree with your last sentence. My guess is 56-14, but we might score 21. I don't see any way our defense will hold UGA under 50. I truly hope they prove me wrong. As they say, that's why you play the game.

volfaninbuckeyeland writes:

Can't see the Vols keeping it that close. Dawgs, 45-17. Really hope I'm wrong. GBO

underthehill writes:

in response to pcorange:

I have to agree with your last sentence. My guess is 56-14, but we might score 21. I don't see any way our defense will hold UGA under 50. I truly hope they prove me wrong. As they say, that's why you play the game.

If I was going to bet on this game ..I would take the Dogs and give the 14 points..would this mean I was for Ga..no ..it would mean I think Ga has the best team and UT would have to have a lot of things go their way to win...

Clarkrm0706 writes:

in response to underthehill:

If I was going to bet on this game ..I would take the Dogs and give the 14 points..would this mean I was for Ga..no ..it would mean I think Ga has the best team and UT would have to have a lot of things go their way to win...

I am not looking at stats and being delusional but I am hoping that we are in the sweet spot.
I have no idea why Richt manages to under perform at least twice a year but I will hold out hope that this is one of those games.

trl_x writes:

The Vols have the talent to keep it close. With some breaks UT can win.

That is if they don't fold when adversity comes.

I think they'll keep it closer than the spread but Georgia's over all talent and depth will be too much to overcome.

Dogs 31 Vols 27

But if they get some breaks...

reidtownriverrat writes:

in response to trl_x:

The Vols have the talent to keep it close. With some breaks UT can win.

That is if they don't fold when adversity comes.

I think they'll keep it closer than the spread but Georgia's over all talent and depth will be too much to overcome.

Dogs 31 Vols 27

But if they get some breaks...

If Bray gets pressured alot this game will get ugly fast. I dont think Georgia will set back and and give him time. They know if they get in his face its a pick.

volnbig11land writes:

in response to volfaninbuckeyeland:

Can't see the Vols keeping it that close. Dawgs, 45-17. Really hope I'm wrong. GBO

I've seen you post a few times. Drop me a line here, or via email and let me know where you are. We must be reasonably close in proximity.

To point; JA just couldn't write an article without a (not so) hidden slam to our Vols via "throw a beer bottle" comment.

PLEASE JA, go away.

Go Vols!

bigdisbig writes:

John, you picked the Vols to beat the Gators as well. The Vols MAY keep it close first half but Ga. will blow them out of the stadium 2nd half...Ga 42 - 17 in a romp between the hedges and once again Dooley will have plenty of excuses for you delusional fans.

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

in response to reidtownriverrat:

If Bray gets pressured alot this game will get ugly fast. I dont think Georgia will set back and and give him time. They know if they get in his face its a pick.

They've got to at least get in Jones path or he'll kill Bray..If they do game plan a way to chip block him and double team him UT will have a chance..GBO!!

underthehill writes:

in response to Clarkrm0706:

I am not looking at stats and being delusional but I am hoping that we are in the sweet spot.
I have no idea why Richt manages to under perform at least twice a year but I will hold out hope that this is one of those games.

A win over Ga would more than offset the loss to Fla..so all UT fans have to hope you are right..

West10VolNHouston writes:

If we can't run well we won't win.

TylerBray4Heisman writes:

If this game turns into an offensive shootout, TN has the edge.
We gotta make them play OUR game!

Vols by 4

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

in response to West10VolNHouston:

If we can't run well we won't win.

Even if they don't run well, they must continue to try and run to keep pressure off of TB..Play-action without running is useless and only takes time away from setting up the pass. I hope UT will use the 3 step drop from center and hit quick slant routes mixed with the run to keep UGA honest..GBO!!

trl_x writes:

in response to reidtownriverrat:

If Bray gets pressured alot this game will get ugly fast. I dont think Georgia will set back and and give him time. They know if they get in his face its a pick.

I agree completely. How clean Bray's jersey is at the end of the game will have a direct relationship to what the score will be.

The tried and true method of protecting the QB is to run the ball effectively. If we can run for just 100 yards we'll have a good shot at winning.

Go Vols!

Clarkrm0706 writes:

in response to reidtownriverrat:

If Bray gets pressured alot this game will get ugly fast. I dont think Georgia will set back and and give him time. They know if they get in his face its a pick.

reidtown?

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

in response to Clarkrm0706:

reidtown?

I wonder if that's close to Boom-town??

Clarkrm0706 writes:

Think it is between Dandridge and Newport but Boomtown sounds pretty enticing.

hikerdude writes:

in response to trl_x:

The Vols have the talent to keep it close. With some breaks UT can win.

That is if they don't fold when adversity comes.

I think they'll keep it closer than the spread but Georgia's over all talent and depth will be too much to overcome.

Dogs 31 Vols 27

But if they get some breaks...

I don't think the Vols have the talent to keep it close. TB is going to be hit a lot. Hope he doesn't get hurt. Ga 49 UT 21

OTPVol writes:

There ain't no score until they play the game. GBO!!!!!!!!!!!!

Southland writes:

I love the Vols and will always be for them. Now for what I am afraid is reality. UG 41-UT 21

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

in response to Clarkrm0706:

Think it is between Dandridge and Newport but Boomtown sounds pretty enticing.

That was a reference to the music group the Boomtown Rats..

VolinCalif writes:

in response to trl_x:

I agree completely. How clean Bray's jersey is at the end of the game will have a direct relationship to what the score will be.

The tried and true method of protecting the QB is to run the ball effectively. If we can run for just 100 yards we'll have a good shot at winning.

Go Vols!

No it will take 150 yds running to keep us in the game.But we are just as capable of doing that as is Ga. We will run about 180 this game and win by a field goal.
Vols 27 Ga 24

Clarkrm0706 writes:

Read all the posts, blogs and expert predictions and am now ready to make my prediction.
I predict that this Sat. I will take my son to a birthday party. Afterwards I will come home and start my dvr and fast forward through commercials. I should catch up to real time halfway through the 3rd and then be pleasantly surprised or very disappointed. About an hour later, I will refocus 100% attention on my family.
I love the Vols but reading many posts this year has led to the confirmation of the difference between a game and my life.
My prediction is detailed yet barring my fatality or serious injury, bet I am closer to the outcome than most. ;)

Clarkrm0706 writes:

in response to BIVOLAR_BEARE:

That was a reference to the music group the Boomtown Rats..

My bad, meant to reply this way -Boomtown "sounds" enticing. Unfortunately, I am old enough to relate.

OrangeLifer writes:

If we can at least keep the threat of a running game alive, keep the dogs O off the field, and contain better on D, we have a chance to keep this close and have a chance to win.

The past two games we allowed too many short passes that turned into big gains, and got torched on both ends of the line by the opposing teams' QB and backs multiple times.

Long sustained drives by TB & company, and better D gives us a chance.

Otherwise, we're in for a long cussing, TV remote throwing, too much beer drinking game.

GBO! Whip them dawgs!

JimmyJoe writes:

"That's why Tennessee has something to gain even in defeat against fifth-ranked Georgia this afternoon at Sanford Stadium."

Uhh John.... Tennessee has absolutely nothing to gain from a close defeat at Georgia. Absolutely nothing. Close only counts at Vanderbilt.

OrangePsyched writes:

At some point this team has to get so mad that worrying about losing another on to a ranked team won't matter. I'm hoping it will be this week. I do believe that if we played the schedule that Georgia has we would also be undefeated.

VolzsFan writes:

First, Adams has yet to make a correct prediction regarding UT yet. This will be no exception.

Next, had Fulmer got the Arkansas job he would have brought his own assistants and they would not be in this shape. Arkansas wanted to keep the staff in place and that was the sticking point. Arkansas made a mistake as did Hammy and Haslem. Both programs suffer because of it.

10seVol85_Part_Deux writes:

Wow. All you who say stupid shti like, "The Vols don't have the talent to keep it close," should have your heads examined. The Vols definitely have the talent to keep it close, and even the talent to win it.

I'm not sure it's even worth it to quote stats, but these two teams are virtually even offensively (only about 15 yards/game difference offensively), and have played statistically even opponents too. Three of UGA's four opponents rank 96th, 111th and 120th in rush defense, which sure helps get those rushing stats up.

UT has the talent and experience. Where the big difference is going to be is between Offensive Coordinators. Georgia's Bobo vs UT's Vanilla. I think the Dawgs are going to kill us in the play-calling column. I just hope that doesn't translate into something similar on the scoreboard.

rdrgtr writes:

We can't run. We can't stop the run. We cannot put pressure on the QB. We will not be able to protect our own QB. We cannot run a kick or punt back for a decent return. We have to punt the ball sideways so the returner will not run the kick back for a touchdown. We cannot play a good sec team for 4 quarters. In those games we totally give up on the run...well, because we can't. Sorry, I already said we can't run. I am a huge UT fan but have absolutley nothing to be optimistic about in this game. We lose big. Then again, What's new about that? Dogs win 48-13.

Madkels writes:

I'll save myself the aggravation and be focused on the Ryder Cup. I'm sure the score will be scrolled across the bottom and I'll be glad the I chose not to watch the beat down. Getting sick and tired of wasting energy getting pumped only to be disappointed time and time again. Maybe since I've given in to the obvious, the Vols will surprise us all and turn the corner.

CCLC writes:

in response to volcycle:

Lets's do some analysis thus far:

Tennessee is 3-1
Georgia is 4-0

Tennesseee's opponents are 8-8
Georgia's opponents are 5-10

Tennessee has played two opponents with winning records and gone 1-1
Georgia has played no opponents with winning records.

No wonder Georgia has great numbers. Would Tennessee not have numbers like that with UGA's schedule?

Is Georgia overrated? Has Georgia been tested? Stay tuned, we'll find out tomorrow..... I for one will be cheering for a Vol victory and I refuse to concede victory until the game is played....that's why they play!

Go Big Orange! UT 38 - Pups 27

Speaking of strength of schedule. UT is on Georgia's schedule. Does unranked UT help Georgia's strength of schedule? Does uSC say of a Georgia victory Saturday...."oh my gosh Georgia beat Tennessee. UT had a much tougher schedule. Buckle up boys... UGa is coming to Columbia." Schedules are made years in advance. Speaking of schedules... I think its unfair that uSC gets to play Arkansas from the West and Georgia doesn't get to.
See what I did there?

CCLC writes:

in response to rdrgtr:

We can't run. We can't stop the run. We cannot put pressure on the QB. We will not be able to protect our own QB. We cannot run a kick or punt back for a decent return. We have to punt the ball sideways so the returner will not run the kick back for a touchdown. We cannot play a good sec team for 4 quarters. In those games we totally give up on the run...well, because we can't. Sorry, I already said we can't run. I am a huge UT fan but have absolutley nothing to be optimistic about in this game. We lose big. Then again, What's new about that? Dogs win 48-13.

Razor784 writes:

Adams is out of his mind if he thinks a close loss will be ok here. This is year three of Dooley's tenure, he needs to start winning some of these games, his time for moral victories has passed

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