Mike Strange: Vols go slow now in order to play fast later

Mike Strange

Evan Woodbery on the Vols' seventh day of spring practice

The design is to play fast football. To gain an edge by wearing down defenses. Make ’em so tired they, well, barf right there on the field.

For now, however, in the beginning stages, going slow has its virtues.

Tennessee returns to the practice field Thursday morning and coach Butch Jones means business.

Tuesday was a re-acclimation day, the first session back on the field after spring break. Rust was evident after 11 days of sun, sand, cruise ships and other activities not requiring shoulder pads.

Rust means mistakes and mistakes get you beat. That was, in so many words, General Neyland’s first game maxim and Jones invoked it as Tuesday’s point of emphasis.

The Vols will have other issues that can get them beat in 2013. A bunch of mistakes, they can live without.

“Our offense is based on execution,’’ Jones said. “We have to operate with efficiency.’’

If the offense is based on execution, it follows that execution is based on repetition.

Thus, going slow is the right way for now, at least in terms of installation.

“We haven’t installed too much,’’ said quarterback Nathan Peterman. “It’s just kind of basic stuff. We’ve just got to get it perfect. They want us to get perfect on these things.’’

Get perfect on this thing and only then move on to the next thing.

By Aug. 31, the offense will look different from what Tennessee fans are used to seeing. The Vols have gone no-huddle at times in their history, including last fall, but it wasn’t really a hurry-up no huddle.

Jones’ offense will be very hurry-up.

“They showed us some film of back when they were at Central Michigan,’’ Peterman said. “It was just the first drive of the game and the defense was with their hands on their knees, bent over.

“I think on the fourth or fifth play one of the guys on the defense was throwing up.’’

Only seven spring practices into the Jones Era, the Vols are far removed from making any Gator linebackers throw up. The task ahead should not be underestimated.

Looking to 2013, nearly every opponent UT faces will have an experience edge at quarterback and most will enjoy a comfort level in their system.

Vanderbilt has to replace Jordan Rodgers, but every other SEC foe returns veteran quarterbacks. So does Oregon.

Several of them you’ve heard of: Aaron Murray, AJ McCarron, Connor Shaw, James Franklin.

Auburn and Kentucky are installing new offenses this spring. Oregon lost head coach Chip Kelly to

the NFL but promoted offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich to replace him. With Marcus Mariota back at quarterback, the Ducks will be dynamite again.

In this looming arms race, the Vols counter with Justin Worley, a junior with some sprinkled seasoning, redshirt freshman Peterman and two incoming freshmen.

And, we repeat, they’re learning a go-go system that depends on crisp execution.

“There’s definitely more teaching going on,’’ Worley said Tuesday.

“I’m enjoying it so far. I’m glad they’re not throwing the whole offense at us in four days.’’

Predictably, Jones says neither quarterback has separated himself at this early stage in the race to succeed Tyler Bray.

Worley got first crack with the No. 1 offense Tuesday, but Peterman is very much a factor and benefitting from getting more reps than ever before.

“I have up and down days,’’ he said. “I don’t know about him, how he feels, but I think I can get better every single day.’’

Get better, then get perfect. Then go on to the next thing. And then the next.

Slow for now. Fast later.

Mike Strange may be reached at strangem@knoxnews.com. Follow him on Twitter at Strangemike44

© 2013 govolsxtra.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Comments » 17

Show-me-your-TDs writes:

football Gods, please shine your light on our Vols

TheRealDragonSlayer writes:

This is a bit off topic, but hot news nonetheless...Will Muschamp is probably being grilled by the media about this right now...it is a HUGE allegation...check it out:

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

If this goes south, it could even destroy the Gators season...you never know.

imw8n4u writes:

in response to TheRealDragonSlayer:

This is a bit off topic, but hot news nonetheless...Will Muschamp is probably being grilled by the media about this right now...it is a HUGE allegation...check it out:

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

If this goes south, it could even destroy the Gators season...you never know.

This is about Auburn and Gene Chizik, why would anyone be asking Muschamp about any of this?

imw8n4u writes:

Oops, just re-read the story, now I see the connection. I wouldn't count on this amounting to much though, it didn't involve free BBQ.

Show-me-your-TDs writes:

in response to TheRealDragonSlayer:

This is a bit off topic, but hot news nonetheless...Will Muschamp is probably being grilled by the media about this right now...it is a HUGE allegation...check it out:

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

If this goes south, it could even destroy the Gators season...you never know.

the NCAA screwed up so bad with Miami , that they pretty much had to fire half their investigation staff and have no credibility... Auburn and Florida fans are laughing , cause they know nothing will ever come of it.... too bad they didn't lie about a barbecue Picnik.... lucky, lucky, lucky... perfect time to screw up

pingkr62 writes:

in response to TheRealDragonSlayer:

This is a bit off topic, but hot news nonetheless...Will Muschamp is probably being grilled by the media about this right now...it is a HUGE allegation...check it out:

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

If this goes south, it could even destroy the Gators season...you never know.

Very interesting. If this is true about Muschamp offering money to bribe a player to return, He will be under the proverbial microscope for sure.

Henley-Street-Bridge writes:

If they play like the last few years, the Fans will do all the barfing, the opponents won't need to bother.

linebam writes:

in response to Henley-Street-Bridge:

If they play like the last few years, the Fans will do all the barfing, the opponents won't need to bother.

Jeez, gotta love the negativity following such a positive article. They're practicing like this and installing the new looks and getting everyone on board so that they WON'T play like they have been. I, for one, am loving what's happening in K-town this spring; I'm willing to give this staff time to prove themselves and (re)build a strong, proud program.

AlpharettaVol writes:

The Oregon game will be interesting to watch. It will be when we see which team can "out-hurry" the other team. We might see close to 200 offensive plays in the game. Won't be any time between plays for the fans watching on TV to run to the frig or go to the head. Hope our defense is up to the task.

Chappy writes:

in response to Henley-Street-Bridge:

If they play like the last few years, the Fans will do all the barfing, the opponents won't need to bother.

That's the spirit! Don't let anything positive stand in the way of your misery!

6972 writes:

in response to AlpharettaVol:

The Oregon game will be interesting to watch. It will be when we see which team can "out-hurry" the other team. We might see close to 200 offensive plays in the game. Won't be any time between plays for the fans watching on TV to run to the frig or go to the head. Hope our defense is up to the task.

I draw the following conclusion: This game might call for a portable cooler filled with the favorite beverage and a portable potty...otherwise known as a bedside commmode all placed conveniently by our recliners. And oh, don't forget (for maximum enjoyment of the game) to give the wife the credit card so she can go to WalMart while the game is on.

SevenT writes:

Tennessee returns a sorry lot of players. This is going to be another loser season with the final game against Kentucky to determine who does not finish last in the SEC East.

Lock that Up

6972 writes:

in response to SevenT:

Tennessee returns a sorry lot of players. This is going to be another loser season with the final game against Kentucky to determine who does not finish last in the SEC East.

Lock that Up

Why don't we forfeit all the games and save a lot of people time, energy and money? Apparently, there is no reason to play the schedule.

jakethevolguy writes:

in response to 6972:

I draw the following conclusion: This game might call for a portable cooler filled with the favorite beverage and a portable potty...otherwise known as a bedside commmode all placed conveniently by our recliners. And oh, don't forget (for maximum enjoyment of the game) to give the wife the credit card so she can go to WalMart while the game is on.

Too much risk there for overspending. Insead, give the wife a Wal-Mart gift card thus limiting the spending. You're welcome! GBO!!

Classof72 writes:

The hardest part will be not judging next year's team and staff by the way they play next year. It will probably take more time for them to become competitive, if they, in fact, ever do become competitive.

On the other hand, there's lots of room for improvement without being expected to beat the big boys, so it's reasonable to expect them to look better, even if they don't win so much. It's encouraging that Coach Jones and his staff at least act like they might know what they're doing, which is a very refreshing change. GO VOLS!

johnlg00 writes:

in response to Classof72:

The hardest part will be not judging next year's team and staff by the way they play next year. It will probably take more time for them to become competitive, if they, in fact, ever do become competitive.

On the other hand, there's lots of room for improvement without being expected to beat the big boys, so it's reasonable to expect them to look better, even if they don't win so much. It's encouraging that Coach Jones and his staff at least act like they might know what they're doing, which is a very refreshing change. GO VOLS!

That's pretty much my take so far. No way to prove how much better the Vols will be until they play for real. The schedule is so tough that the won-lost record may not reflect how much if any they have improved. However, those of us who have been forced to watch some very un-Tennessee-like football for the last few years should be able to tell pretty quick if things are looking up.

LibertyVolance writes:

in response to Classof72:

The hardest part will be not judging next year's team and staff by the way they play next year. It will probably take more time for them to become competitive, if they, in fact, ever do become competitive.

On the other hand, there's lots of room for improvement without being expected to beat the big boys, so it's reasonable to expect them to look better, even if they don't win so much. It's encouraging that Coach Jones and his staff at least act like they might know what they're doing, which is a very refreshing change. GO VOLS!

That's an excellent perspective and outlook. We can't expect miracles, but it's not being overly optimistic to expect improvement. Even if you can't be better talent wise, you can have a team better mentally and physically ready to compete than what was witnessed last season.

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