Recap: Tennessee at Georgia
"We're lined up wrong ... It's just bad defense ... Horrible angle ... It's just inexcusable.''
Commentary from an average Tennessee fan watching one of Georgia's long touchdown runs Saturday?
No, it was coach Derek Dooley on Sunday morning during his weekly TV show, reviewing Georgia's 51-44 victory over the Vols.
And that was just on one play.
The Bulldogs gouged UT's defense for 560 yards, the most allowed in the Dooley era. But just barely: Florida had 555 yards two weeks earlier.
Now the Vols (3-2, 0-2 SEC) have an open date before facing a slate of three more Top 25 SEC foes, beginning Oct. 13 at No. 20 Mississippi State. The Bulldogs (4-0, 1-0) play at Kentucky on Saturday.
TV coverage and kickoff time for the Vols' first trip to Starkville since 2007 should be announced today.
"Nobody can run him down back there ... We're just diving, throwing hands at the runner.''
Dooley again, commenting on another of Georgia's seven touchdowns.
The biggest challenge of the open date will be trying to solve why opponents are busting so many big plays against UT's defense.
Florida scored on an 80-yard run and a 75-yard pass and had another 45-yard run. Even Akron broke a
70-yard TD run.
Then Georgia hit on touchdown runs of 75, 72 and 51 yards.
Tennessee ranks 92nd in rush defense, allowing 187.8 yards per game.
"We've obviously got a lot of issues on stopping the run,'' Dooley said Saturday night. "We've got to correct that on this open date or we're not going to beat anybody.''
UT is in its first year of installing a 3-4 base defense under new coordinator Sal Sunseri. Growing pains were inevitable, but Dooley said confusion isn't the primary problem.
"It isn't from (trying to create) crazy pressure,'' he said. "It's from base defense and we're just getting whipped.
"We've played two top 10 teams and they whipped us.''
The secondary has been exposed due to lack of overall speed — with some poor tackling thrown in.
Tennessee lost starting cornerback Izauea Lanier in preseason due to academics. Starting safety Brian Randolph suffered a season-ending injury against Florida. "We miss Brian Randolph,'' Dooley said. "He was our last line of defense for a long time.
"He's a great tackler. To say that doesn't hurt us, it's not true.
"But our guys are more capable than what they've showed. I'm not down on who they are. I'm down on what they did.''
True freshman LaDarrell McNeil played extensively at safety in the second half. Dooley praised McNeil on his Sunday TV show.
"He's going to get every opportunity to show he's a good football player,'' Dooley said.
Palardy's Turn: Dooley said Michael Palardy will return as the No. 1 kicking option after Derrick Brodus missed a field goal and an extra point at Georgia.