Tennessee's defense can't contain its frustration

Tennessee linebacker Herman Lathers (34) sacks Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray (11) during the first half Saturday, Sep. 29, 2012 at Sanford Stadium in Athens, Ga.  (MICHAEL PATRICK/NEWS SENTINEL)

Photo by Michael Patrick, copyright © 2012

Tennessee linebacker Herman Lathers (34) sacks Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray (11) during the first half Saturday, Sep. 29, 2012 at Sanford Stadium in Athens, Ga. (MICHAEL PATRICK/NEWS SENTINEL)

Recap: Tennessee at Georgia

Athens, Ga. — Herman Lathers spiraled from wide-eyed to fist-pumping to dejected. Saturday's 60-minute circus staged between Tennessee and fifth-ranked Georgia at Sanford Stadium took its toll on the Vols' defensive leader.

Actually, it took its toll on everyone in orange and white.

Big-play boxing matches tend to do that.

Once the Bulldogs' don't-blink 51-44 victory concluded, the UT linebacker solemnly said, "I don't look at it as a moral victory. It's something we worked for all week. We were prepared for this game, but we let up too many big plays."

Beat on four touchdowns of 30 yards or more, Lathers and the Vols were relegated to chasing red for much of Saturday.

UT spoke all week of containing Georgia's dynamic play-action offense. The key, players and coaches said, was sticking to assignments and containment.

That didn't happen.

Or at least it didn't happen enough.

Missed assignments beget missed tackles. Missed tackles beget a roaring crowd cheering stride-for-stride on long Georgia touchdown runs.

Slumped outside the Vols' postgame locker room, Lathers searched for words to best explain how the Vols allowed more than 50 points in regulation for the first time since a 59-20 loss at Florida on Sept. 15, 2007.

"Busts, missed assignments, not being where we're supposed to be when we're supposed to be there," Lathers said. "You correct those and you've got a ball game."

Actually, the Vols had themselves a ball game despite the stockpile of defensive mishaps. Georgia's win wasn't decided until the final possession. But that only made Saturday all the more painful for UT. Coach Derek Dooley classified it as "frustrating."

It was easy living for Georgia early on. When the Dawgs ran up the middle, they found clear freeway lanes. When they ran to the edges, they found open exit ramps.

After driving up and down the Sanford Stadium field for a quarter and a half, Georgia found itself with a 27-10 lead. The Dawgs cranked out four touchdowns in five possessions that were a combined 24 plays for 290 yards.

Then, nothing.

Georgia's final four possessions of the half went for 13 plays, 47 yards, two lost fumbles and a field goal.

After a sack and forced fumble gave the Vols prime real estate on the Georgia 8-yard line in a 27-17 game, Lathers roared. He stood in the corner of the end zone, hyping up a corner pocket of UT fans.

That was the high point.

The momentum swing, garnered by a defense making big plays instead of suffering from them, relegated Athens to stunned silence.

The quiet didn't last.

Tennessee surrendered 21 points in what would ultimately be a decisive third quarter. A 72-yard touchdown run by tailback Keith Marshall gave Georgia 206 total yards in the quarter and a 51-37 lead. The run mirrored a 75-yard scamper by Marshall in the game's opening quarter.

The Vols have now given up four runs of 70 or more yards in the past three weeks.

"I had some huge holes all day," a satisfied Marshall said afterward.

Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray, who Vols defensive coordinator Sal Sunseri called a "student of the game" last week, taught UT a lesson in that third quarter. The junior was clinical, completing all five pass attempts for 98 yards and two touchdowns to tight end Michael Bennett.

"It's heartbreaking for a defense when a guy spits a long run or we give up a big play or we bust our assignment," Lathers said. "It's correctable. That's the good thing about it."

The Vols have seven games left to do so.

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

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Comments » 85

tenndave writes:

Are our D backs as bad as they keep looking. Bad angles, slow to make up ground, and alot of missed assignments. Our outside linebackers/defensive ends crashed inward all afternoon allowing their speedy backs outside and once they got to our D backs we were chasing tail. We are or should be a better defense than what we are showing by allowing teams the big play. A lot to be positive about today but I wonder id some of our problems can be fixed without different personel which will only come through recruiting. Stop the two long runs, different ball game. Keep someone home on the outside, different ballgame. Learn proper pursuit angles different ball game. Wow, I can't imagine their frustration if the fans feel this much and we don't play the game. Sal I hope you have a quick plan on fixing these shortcomings.

UTistheOLEMISSoftheEAST writes:

What a mess.

Boo Hoo

tenndave writes:

THere are no moral victory. You lose or you win. That is why we keep score. Many improvements shown but not enough to overcome today. GO VOls and use the off week to study.

TrouserCough writes:

What does Sunseri do?

Gman-for-vols writes:

Anyone miss Chief yet?? How embarrising

tturley#297658 writes:

Didn't Majors fire his D-coordinator Donnahue after the 6th game in '89? If I were Dooley I wouldn't wait that long, I would fire Sal Monday morning. It's obvious the 3-4 is not working.

ajwlfw#574737 writes:

Did anyone notice that one of our linebackers (Lathers I think) was being held by the offensive tackle on Georgia's long TD run in the 3rd quarter. On the replay from the endzone it looked like the OT had Lathers around the neck. If he's not held, he probably would have slowed the back or tackled him for short gain. Our playmakers have got to make plays in crucial situations- Patterson had a TD on that long pass he dropped. That's 2 he's dropped in big situations. He's got to look that ball into his hands. Bray missed Hunter twice on patterns over the middle. Completions there and we have a drive going. Even with the busts on defense and the mistakes on offense, we were in a position to win. I believe we can close out a 8 or 9 win season.

flatrock writes:

Largest challenge facing Vol D is that the ILBs simply can't get to the off-tackle hole and fill, thus the untouched TD runs. The back-ups are even slower. Got to recruit up, big-time.

TooDlems writes:

in response to ajwlfw#574737:

Did anyone notice that one of our linebackers (Lathers I think) was being held by the offensive tackle on Georgia's long TD run in the 3rd quarter. On the replay from the endzone it looked like the OT had Lathers around the neck. If he's not held, he probably would have slowed the back or tackled him for short gain. Our playmakers have got to make plays in crucial situations- Patterson had a TD on that long pass he dropped. That's 2 he's dropped in big situations. He's got to look that ball into his hands. Bray missed Hunter twice on patterns over the middle. Completions there and we have a drive going. Even with the busts on defense and the mistakes on offense, we were in a position to win. I believe we can close out a 8 or 9 win season.

The Vols got away with several holding non-calls as well. A couple of them were good tackles. No need in crying about the refs, wasn't an issue.

bob555bb writes:

turley, is that really what you think they should do? How in the world could we finish the season with any chance of respectability? What excellent defensive coordinator would come in the middle of a season? You may not like the results but this team and these coaches is what we have. We had better get behind them and finish the season.

volbyheart writes:

Ya know they practiced hard for this all week long and all WE beloved tennessee fans can do is fuss,grip, and go on about how bad they done their job. All i know is if it were us out there we couldnt do any better. These guys are learning in strides, do they give up big plays....of course what defense dont. What i do know is that we as TRUE VOL FANS should be behind the team. I am tired of reading peoples comments that just barade the team as a whole. People either your a true VFL or your a bandwagon fan. Me i am a VFL and i will stick with them through thick and thin.GBO VFL

agohn writes:

in response to UTistheOLEMISSoftheEAST:

What a mess.

Boo Hoo

Thanks so much for your insightful commentary dbag. Keep up the good work dbag. You must have nothing better to do than be a dbag. I think your one of the dbags that got bullied in school and now you have nothing better to do than vote for Mitt Romney, kick some dogs, punch your wife and be the biggest dbag anyone has ever been around. F'n dbag.

snafu14u#241639 writes:

in response to agohn:

Thanks so much for your insightful commentary dbag. Keep up the good work dbag. You must have nothing better to do than be a dbag. I think your one of the dbags that got bullied in school and now you have nothing better to do than vote for Mitt Romney, kick some dogs, punch your wife and be the biggest dbag anyone has ever been around. F'n dbag.

here here....good call. haters hate its what they're good at. BonzaiVol

tovolny writes:

ROMP, ROMP, ROMP...how many, I stopped counting at three?
WHY THE sam hill can we not stop the ROMPS.
During the whole Dickey Era, the longest run was 38 yards, and the ball was knocked out of the running backs hands and recovered on the 10 yard line.
Stop the xucking ROMPS. This has got to be the worst defense against the ROMPS that I have ever seen. Why not allow Tim Priest to coach up the safeties?
GeT THE BALL TO PATTERSON...snap it to him, or at least use him in the backfield. Tennessee will need to run draw plays and screen passes to patterson to stay in the park against the Tide.
The Vols have talent, but obviously need some help in positioning the players.
C'MON Vols, kick it up a notch.
I think Dooley is a decent coach, I am glad we have him. But, right now when I think of the Dooley Era, I think of all those ROMPS going all the way back to the 2010 Oregon game.
Right now his legacy "whole bunch of long xss big plays."
DANG IT!
I would get the DB's in that 40 million dollar football development center and have them work on speed.

ashvol7 writes:

in response to TrouserCough:

What does Sunseri do?

HE IS THE WORST dc WE HAVE EVER HAD, BAR NONE! I THINK HE NAPS DURING PRACTICE AND AT HALF TIME. OUR DEFENSE IS AWFUL AND NOT GETTING MUCH BETTER. SHIP HIM BACK TO ala, AND WHILE THEY ARE AT IT SEND HART WITH HIM. We need coaches who has Tennessees best interest at heart.

VFL_Troll_Patrol writes:

in response to tturley#297658:

Didn't Majors fire his D-coordinator Donnahue after the 6th game in '89? If I were Dooley I wouldn't wait that long, I would fire Sal Monday morning. It's obvious the 3-4 is not working.

Chaney needs to go. Not Sal. Sal is the best thing for tennessee right now. but he can't just call Tinker bell and have her wave a magic wand to give us 5 star players with 2 years of 3-4 Defense experience. It takes at least 2 years to develop a 3-4 with players who have never run it. Plus Sal will be a HUGE recruiting boost for UT. I hope they play good enough the rest of the season to give dooley a winning season. They can't afford to fire him and have UT starting ALL OVER again. Besides If he goes, half of the staff will probably go as well, Including Sal. I could be wrong but I Know It wouldn't help. but im afraid if UT doesn't have a winning season.... he's gone. GBO!

*Im always watching*

smokies_old_soul writes:

in response to VFL_Troll_Patrol:

Chaney needs to go. Not Sal. Sal is the best thing for tennessee right now. but he can't just call Tinker bell and have her wave a magic wand to give us 5 star players with 2 years of 3-4 Defense experience. It takes at least 2 years to develop a 3-4 with players who have never run it. Plus Sal will be a HUGE recruiting boost for UT. I hope they play good enough the rest of the season to give dooley a winning season. They can't afford to fire him and have UT starting ALL OVER again. Besides If he goes, half of the staff will probably go as well, Including Sal. I could be wrong but I Know It wouldn't help. but im afraid if UT doesn't have a winning season.... he's gone. GBO!

*Im always watching*

if it takes 2 years to learn the 3-4 defense and you need 5* players to really make it hum, then why was Dooley stupid enough to hire a linebackers coach as his DC who he knew was going to install this very defense in a year that Dooley's job is on the line ?

smokies_old_soul writes:

in response to tturley#297658:

Didn't Majors fire his D-coordinator Donnahue after the 6th game in '89? If I were Dooley I wouldn't wait that long, I would fire Sal Monday morning. It's obvious the 3-4 is not working.

in 1989, Tennessee finished the season ranked #4 nationally after going 11 - 1 including a Cotton Bowl win over SWC champion Arkansas.

it was 1988 when the Vols lost their first six and won out from there, which contributed to the momentum they took into the 1989 season and beyond.

Darkest before the Dawn.

TitanBlueGoVols writes:

Good try to get back in this game.First off the defense cant tackle much less get acustomed to know being a 3-4.Yes it takes time and yes it takes good players but they cant tackle so it dosent matter.Justin Wilcox was just as bad if not worse with the 4-3 so its not just the scheme.This team needs a new look.Sal brzings energy but these guys are use to losing.They have never played well for an entire game at least to beat a legit team.I honestly think that their coach dosent know how to win therefore he cant coach them up enough to win. DOOLEY SUCKS.. Sorry but bottom line.He isnt cut out for this team or this Conference. I mean he comes in and acted like our team and the leftovers were terrible.We are small he said. He totally made the leftovers feel like they didnt have a chance.You dont come into a company you just took over and tell the company they are scrubs and belittle them.I wouldnt play for him either. I mean did the 49 ERS just get all this talent or something. No Jim Harbough coaches them up to beleive in themselves. DOOLEY did not does not and cant.He coached in a Super Soft Conference that played against even softer opponents. He brought a guy from Boise State team that their offense puts up 35 a game so Wilcox just had to know how to sit on a lead. He started Matt Simms over Bray to begin with. I watched a laggy streamlined fead on the int. For Dooleys First Orange and White game Dooleys first year and could tell Bray was better than Simms.He was he just made plays.He thought Lattimore was the best back in the SEC when Bama had Trent Richardson. He said to TaurenPoole Spurrier thinks he has the best back in the SEC and I think hes right. WOW wonder how Poole felt.He sat Brewer for Randolf when Brewer had started already for 2 seasons.He moved our best corner in Wagner to FS after the guy had 7 ints at CB. Marsalius Teauge should have been moved back to WR. Kiffin was a slimeball but he let guys play and put them at where they were best suited. He also brought swagger and made these guys feel like they could compete with anyone cause they can. DOOLEY isnt the right guy our players might not be 5 stars but at least treat them with respect. I mean if your kid comes to you and says Im gonna be president some day. Deep down you know the kid wont but you lie to him and tell him yes you can and will be president some day. GIVE HIM HOPE. Dooley makes the guys feel like they are weak and small and inferior to begin with so Im not surprisd they get beat every week by Legitimate Teams. HE NEEDS TO GO.We need a coach that makes these kids believe in themselves regardless of Stars and Size.

smokies_old_soul writes:

in response to WaltGoVols:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

lotta things make me wonder about Coach Dooley, Walt.

Rich
Maryville College '81

mocsandvolsfan writes:

Well it's pretty obvious that we need a better defense. However we did play against possibly the best offense in the country(besides ours). Murray was awesome. Bray was B+ I guess.. He DID have an off day on accuracy but mostly was on. Our O-line was awesome.

But to argue with the trolls today is not my goal. UT DID prove we belong in the SEC with the best 4-5 teams. We did not prove that with Florida but you get better with each game hopefully. And again (like Florida) it was missed assignments, long runs, missed open field tackles, and just getting outrun.
I don't think firing Sunseri's the option(yet) but I do think they've got to teach these kids some fundamentals on tackling! It'd be a shame to have to start learning another defense next year. BUT if they don't learn this one soon we may have to.
That said. Remember how some criticized our O-line last year? Maybe our Defense next year will look like that o-line does this year. O-line was great yesterday.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to tovolny:

ROMP, ROMP, ROMP...how many, I stopped counting at three?
WHY THE sam hill can we not stop the ROMPS.
During the whole Dickey Era, the longest run was 38 yards, and the ball was knocked out of the running backs hands and recovered on the 10 yard line.
Stop the xucking ROMPS. This has got to be the worst defense against the ROMPS that I have ever seen. Why not allow Tim Priest to coach up the safeties?
GeT THE BALL TO PATTERSON...snap it to him, or at least use him in the backfield. Tennessee will need to run draw plays and screen passes to patterson to stay in the park against the Tide.
The Vols have talent, but obviously need some help in positioning the players.
C'MON Vols, kick it up a notch.
I think Dooley is a decent coach, I am glad we have him. But, right now when I think of the Dooley Era, I think of all those ROMPS going all the way back to the 2010 Oregon game.
Right now his legacy "whole bunch of long xss big plays."
DANG IT!
I would get the DB's in that 40 million dollar football development center and have them work on speed.

It would help us tremendously this year if we could catch those RBs earlier in the scheme.lol Open field tackling has always been the bane of most defensive secondaries.
But really our speed all over the defense needs to get better. Or maybe our quickness closer to the line. Our lateral movement sometimes seemed non-existent yesterday from the line to the safeties and corners. Then at times it was ok. Just not consistent enough against such a good offense. I don't think it was necessarily just the linebackers. Maybe it wasn't even speed but just knowing the "schemes" of Sunseri's D.?
But remember we DID score on what was supposedly one of the best defenses in the league. That's good.hehe

BigOrangeSports writes:

in response to smokies_old_soul:

in 1989, Tennessee finished the season ranked #4 nationally after going 11 - 1 including a Cotton Bowl win over SWC champion Arkansas.

it was 1988 when the Vols lost their first six and won out from there, which contributed to the momentum they took into the 1989 season and beyond.

Darkest before the Dawn.

Good comment. I also recall it wasn't very many years ago (maybe last year?) that Mark Richt was on the hot seat and his team seems to be doing pretty good right now. But they HAVE to get an upset somewhere this season or recruits won't sit up and take notice.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to BigOrangeSports:

Good comment. I also recall it wasn't very many years ago (maybe last year?) that Mark Richt was on the hot seat and his team seems to be doing pretty good right now. But they HAVE to get an upset somewhere this season or recruits won't sit up and take notice.

Maybe you're correct about the recruits. But you'd think that yesterday would have caught some attention on the tv at least.I'm sure Georgia had some potentials in house and prbably UT did as well.

Anyhow. They could probably come in and play for our D right off. We'll need some quickness to improve.

OldNumber7 writes:

in response to flatrock:

Largest challenge facing Vol D is that the ILBs simply can't get to the off-tackle hole and fill, thus the untouched TD runs. The back-ups are even slower. Got to recruit up, big-time.

This is no longer a talent issue. Maybe a new scheme issue..but from what we've seen it isn't being taught very well.

TheFuj writes:

1100 total yards against GA and FL combined. Not going to win many games giving up that kind of yardage.
LB's make some good plays, but make more bad--cannot get off blocks, slow, etc.
Never seen our secondary so slow.
Recruiting has to improve. Being in top 25 in recruiting will not cut it. Just looking at commits in ESPN top 150--ZERO committed to TN. GA has 4, FL has 9, AL has 10. I know they are just commits, and a long way until February, but recruiting has to improve.

Dickattrade writes:

in response to Gman-for-vols:

Anyone miss Chief yet?? How embarrising

I miss Justin Wilcox. I am not sure exactly what we have in a DC at the present time.

AlpharettaVol writes:

When a back runs over the defender or right by him it has nothing to do with the scheme. It has to do with who wants to stick his head in and prove he is tougher than the ball carrier. On the first TD down on the goal, Gurley ran right past Moore. On other plays it looked like our guys just wanted to push the runner down and it didn't work. Every once in a while I would like to see a head-on tackle where the runner is dropped in his tracks, not push forward for an extra 2-3 yards. Somebody needs to teach some tackling fundamentals and quit worrying about the "scheme."

tanasi2 writes:

"Tennessee's defense can't contain its frustration." Are you kidding me? The Vol defense can't contain anything, especially the other team's running backs!

thevoice writes:

in response to smokies_old_soul:

if it takes 2 years to learn the 3-4 defense and you need 5* players to really make it hum, then why was Dooley stupid enough to hire a linebackers coach as his DC who he knew was going to install this very defense in a year that Dooley's job is on the line ?

That's been my question since Sal's first day on campus (this includes the interview).

CB4VOLZ writes:

in response to agohn:

Thanks so much for your insightful commentary dbag. Keep up the good work dbag. You must have nothing better to do than be a dbag. I think your one of the dbags that got bullied in school and now you have nothing better to do than vote for Mitt Romney, kick some dogs, punch your wife and be the biggest dbag anyone has ever been around. F'n dbag.

Keep the politics out of it, azzhat......

oldvoltimer62 writes:

Db coaches need to reliaze you can't give 10-15 yard cushion when they are throwing 5-10 yard slants any high school coach knows that.several times i saw linebackers lowering shoulders and diving too early trying make a KO hit then missing completely when the RB juked.No disicipline at all on Oline.Coaches your are well over paid if you can't teach them correctly.

VolzsFan writes:

in response to mocsandvolsfan:

Well it's pretty obvious that we need a better defense. However we did play against possibly the best offense in the country(besides ours). Murray was awesome. Bray was B+ I guess.. He DID have an off day on accuracy but mostly was on. Our O-line was awesome.

But to argue with the trolls today is not my goal. UT DID prove we belong in the SEC with the best 4-5 teams. We did not prove that with Florida but you get better with each game hopefully. And again (like Florida) it was missed assignments, long runs, missed open field tackles, and just getting outrun.
I don't think firing Sunseri's the option(yet) but I do think they've got to teach these kids some fundamentals on tackling! It'd be a shame to have to start learning another defense next year. BUT if they don't learn this one soon we may have to.
That said. Remember how some criticized our O-line last year? Maybe our Defense next year will look like that o-line does this year. O-line was great yesterday.

Ga has the best offense in the country? Nice reach and spin.
Sal is a career position coach. Those in coaching know he is not a DC. That is why he had one shot 20 years or so ago at an Alabama A&M kind of place. Sal was hired to:
1. To irritate Dooley because he is the type to tell DD what to kiss.
2. He has a 3 year contract. He is not getting fired for any reason...chill.
3. He was brought in to keep the recruiting class in tact when they make a coaching change.
4. Plus he used to be the LBs coach for the next HC.

Now, back to getting worked by the rest of the SEC.

licknpromise777#651578 writes:

in response to smokies_old_soul:

in 1989, Tennessee finished the season ranked #4 nationally after going 11 - 1 including a Cotton Bowl win over SWC champion Arkansas.

it was 1988 when the Vols lost their first six and won out from there, which contributed to the momentum they took into the 1989 season and beyond.

Darkest before the Dawn.

Huge difference having Chuck Webb in your backfield in 89 and Rajon Neal in 2012..Huge!!!

Classof72 writes:

"Tennessee's defense can't contain its frustration"

What defense? Did you see any defense?

It looks like, instead of presenting any defense, the Vols just throw themselves on the mercy of the opponent.

The Vols defensive scheme has a name:
"Nolo Contendere"

It is a legal term that comes from the Latin for "I do not wish to contend." It is also referred to as a plea of no contest.

Don't be negative about it, though. The Vols are going to play good defense in some future game in some future season. Or, maybe not.

I can't evaluate defensive coordinators, but I could have read a resume and said, "I don't see 'defensive coordinator' on here anywhere. Have you ever done this before?" This is not an entry level position. Well, duh.

My opinion is not important. Tim Priest is important. If they don't field at least a token defense, Tim's liable to have a nervous breakdown on the air, and that's just not right.

GO VOLS! Present a defense and save Tim's sanity! His mind is a precious thing to waste!

licknpromise777#651578 writes:

in response to TheFuj:

1100 total yards against GA and FL combined. Not going to win many games giving up that kind of yardage.
LB's make some good plays, but make more bad--cannot get off blocks, slow, etc.
Never seen our secondary so slow.
Recruiting has to improve. Being in top 25 in recruiting will not cut it. Just looking at commits in ESPN top 150--ZERO committed to TN. GA has 4, FL has 9, AL has 10. I know they are just commits, and a long way until February, but recruiting has to improve.

Correct on all points!! Our front 7 gets tied up, held, can't separate, and everything else you care to imagine..I can't remember when our secondary was a strong point or we had a DB coach that was worth $10. Giving up speed is one thing but having no fundamental skills should be fixable

ColdBlackWind writes:

Why do you change to a 3-4 defense, which by everyones opinion is confusing and takes time to learn, AND go to a hurry up offense in the same year? Makes no sense as we keep a confused defense on the field for a longer time. Slow down the offense with a huddle. Run the play clock down every play on O. Get a base personnel package on D that can carry out assignments and stop with all the cute and clever substitutions. I hate looking like San Diego State.

62vol writes:

in response to tenndave:

Are our D backs as bad as they keep looking. Bad angles, slow to make up ground, and alot of missed assignments. Our outside linebackers/defensive ends crashed inward all afternoon allowing their speedy backs outside and once they got to our D backs we were chasing tail. We are or should be a better defense than what we are showing by allowing teams the big play. A lot to be positive about today but I wonder id some of our problems can be fixed without different personel which will only come through recruiting. Stop the two long runs, different ball game. Keep someone home on the outside, different ballgame. Learn proper pursuit angles different ball game. Wow, I can't imagine their frustration if the fans feel this much and we don't play the game. Sal I hope you have a quick plan on fixing these shortcomings.

I appears to be more lack of skill and smarts than anything else. Smith, Magget, Gordon and Teague crash inside instead of following the ball. When a guy breaks open, we do not have the speed to run him down. Recruiting or pomotion of young guys? In today's paper Dooley said personnel changes could be upcoming. A bad angle is usually the result of not finding the ball soon enough.

HighPlainsVol writes:

in response to flatrock:

Largest challenge facing Vol D is that the ILBs simply can't get to the off-tackle hole and fill, thus the untouched TD runs. The back-ups are even slower. Got to recruit up, big-time.

You are correct, but I would say the lack of speed on the entire defense is keeping us from being a quality SEC team. Size and speed on defense separates the elite of the SEC from the rest of college football.

ajwlfw#574737 writes:

in response to TooDlems:

The Vols got away with several holding non-calls as well. A couple of them were good tackles. No need in crying about the refs, wasn't an issue.

I wasn't trying to imply that we were beaten by the officials, but a holding call on that play would have been appropriate. Granted- you can potentially call holding on every play. Yes, we probably got away with a few things also. The linebacker was too close to the line of scrimmage. If he takes the correct pursuit angle, he could have made the play. My major point is, the players that should be our big play playmakers have got to start making those plays with the game on the line. Catch the ball, throw an accurate pass, make the tackle, etc. I'm encouraged by the fact that we were in position to win/tie late, but very disapointed that we didn't close the deal.

AllforTenn writes:

in response to snafu14u#241639:

here here....good call. haters hate its what they're good at. BonzaiVol

He is certainly a dbag, but so far as the election, he is more likely an ignorant Obama supporter. I will vote for Romney, proudly.

brokendownoldvol writes:

Cheerleaders or defensive ball players? I couldn't tell the difference with their pants on.

LivingLarge writes:

I have heard several NFL quarterbacks state that they much preferred going against a 4-3 than a 3-4 defense. It's more complicated to read and you don't always know where the pressure is coming from. The same challenges apply in college. But here's the other big issue: It's easier to find 230-240 pound guys that can run than it is to find 300 pound defensive linemen with good feet and speed to run sideline to sideline. There's a reason that premier defensive ends command a premium in the NFL --they're few and far between. We knew it was going to take some time to convert to a 3-4. Georgia, even with all their athletes, struggled in the first year of implementing it. The problem with our defense is lack of a pass rush (i.e lack of elite defensive linemen) and lack of speed in the secondary. Lack of speed is going to be exposed in a 4-3 or 3-4. Poor tackling and bad angles are directly related to speed. A guy who gets to the point of attack a half step slower is out of position and making arm tackes instead of getting his head and shoulders in front of the ball carrier. The best friend of a mediocre defense is a running game. Keep the opposing offense on the bench. Let's hope that yesterday's outing is a sign of good things to come in the running game. It will cover up a multitude of sins in other areas until Dooley can recruit some more speed on the defensive side of the ball.

BolivrBob writes:

I'm tired of hearing about Busts and missed assignments. The main missed assignment I see, is assigning a big fat bag of wind to run our defense. We have some tremendous talent playing defense that continuously look lethargic and lost. The only thing that has been consistent is if an opposing running back breaks the line of scrimmage and gets into the secondary, he's gone. There is ABSOLUTELY NO PASS DEFENSE. Moore got the pick 6 on a tipped pass, but other than .....NOTHING!! It looked to me that about half the defense were looking for ways to avoid trying to tackle someone. Somebody put a cheeseburger on a string and lead Sal out of town.

NorthwestVol writes:

in response to smokies_old_soul:

if it takes 2 years to learn the 3-4 defense and you need 5* players to really make it hum, then why was Dooley stupid enough to hire a linebackers coach as his DC who he knew was going to install this very defense in a year that Dooley's job is on the line ?

Bingo! We have a winner!

TylerBray4Heisman writes:

I love UT football and I have supported my Vols through thick and thin, but this is the worst defense I have seen in 25 years! Reggie White may have rolled over in his grave after the game yesterday.

Now, firing Dooley is NOT the answer. However, I am not opposed to throwing Sal under the bus.

As for our offense, I'm proud of the way they fought back into it after falling behind by three scores.

It becomes a moot point though when you are allowing 70 yard TD runs. I feel like our D was really exposed yesterday: we have some great players (Johnson, Lathers, Waggoner to name a few) but great players do not make a great team.

I am still optimistic about a 9 win season, but to pull it off, they have to win on the road in SC and at MSU. I think Bama can already be written off as a loss.

Whether UT wins another game or not, I will remain all Vol all the time.

NorthwestVol writes:

in response to Dickattrade:

I miss Justin Wilcox. I am not sure exactly what we have in a DC at the present time.

Sal may make a fine DC or even head coach some day. For now though he's getting a lot of on the job training along with Dooley. They both may workout fine in the long run, but neither were ready for their current jobs.

And it's a darn shame Tennessee has turned into a training facility.

TheRealDragonSlayer writes:

There is only one thing that I am hopeful for, and that is that no potential recruit or even any of our curent players reads the insulting drivel that is found in the comments sections of this website.

This team has come a long way. When we struggled last year and clearly didnt finish out the second half of games, we wanted 4 quarters of hard football. Now that we have it, thats not enough of progress. This is unfortunately the world we are living in. If an ATM takes 5 seconds longer to spit out the cash, we get impatient and complain.

I, for one, am thankful to our players for the effort they are putting in. Did they make mistakes? Of course, they did. But not one of them blamed anybody else for it, and not one of them was satisfied with their performance. That tells me we are building a team of character. That also tells me that despite the ignorant and insulting rants by posters on here, we have a classy and professional coaching staff. Yes, we have given up chunks of yards, but it is clear to see that it is a breakdown on 2 or 3 plays. Over the entire game, our defense is commendable, especially considering that we are only 4 actual games into the new system. When we needed the stop at the end of the game, we got it. Has our offense mad mistakes? Absolutely. But 3 or 4 mistakes, as crucial as they seem to be, are still just that over the course of dozens and dozens of plays. Despite everyone writing off our running game, our RBs are tearing up the field even against so-called vaunted defenses like Georgia's. Nobody gave us a chance agains Georgia in this game, and even for us die-hard fans, it was a stretch but we were still hopeful. What we saw yesterday was a great performance by a team that is coming alive, improving game to game, and showing everyone that we dont have the quit in us.

I am proud of this team and the coaching staff, and I believe that we will turn some heads this season. Almost every analyst specifically mentioned how impressed they were with us. I hope that our team never pays any mind to the trash that is spewed on this website.

Go Vols!

Prostar writes:

Herman, I agree with you it is frustrating. As far as being "correctable", well why don't you correct it. This is not the first game we gave up long runs. It happens every game, the DL and LB's all group up as if they are playing Rugby.

TheRealDragonSlayer writes:

in response to TylerBray4Heisman:

I love UT football and I have supported my Vols through thick and thin, but this is the worst defense I have seen in 25 years! Reggie White may have rolled over in his grave after the game yesterday.

Now, firing Dooley is NOT the answer. However, I am not opposed to throwing Sal under the bus.

As for our offense, I'm proud of the way they fought back into it after falling behind by three scores.

It becomes a moot point though when you are allowing 70 yard TD runs. I feel like our D was really exposed yesterday: we have some great players (Johnson, Lathers, Waggoner to name a few) but great players do not make a great team.

I am still optimistic about a 9 win season, but to pull it off, they have to win on the road in SC and at MSU. I think Bama can already be written off as a loss.

Whether UT wins another game or not, I will remain all Vol all the time.

Makes no sense. If you are still optimistic about a 9 win season, if you love UT football, and if you support the Vols through thick and thin, and if you remain all Vol all the time whether UT wins another game or not...

WHY would you want to throw Sal Sunseri under the bus? Why cant you just wait it out a bit more, give him more than 4 or 5 games to get our players all gelling in the system? Why would you think that throwing him under the bus would still keep us in the running for a 9-win season? What possible good can come from getting rid of a defensive cordinator 5 games into the season?

It just doesnt make sense. If you truly are a diehard Vol fan, please have some more patience and let this coaching staff do what they need to do over the entire season.

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