5 Big Things: Tennessee vs. Alabama

Tennessee wide receiver Marquez North (8) reacts after making a reception on a hail mary pass against South Carolina cornerback Ahmad Christian (4) during the fourth quarter at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville on Saturday, Oct. 19, 2013. North's reception set Tennessee up to score the game-winning field goal. (ADAM LAU/NEWS SENTINEL)

Photo by Adam Lau

Tennessee wide receiver Marquez North (8) reacts after making a reception on a hail mary pass against South Carolina cornerback Ahmad Christian (4) during the fourth quarter at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville on Saturday, Oct. 19, 2013. North's reception set Tennessee up to score the game-winning field goal. (ADAM LAU/NEWS SENTINEL)

1) Score. Duh!: Other than Texas A&M, only one team has scored as many as 10 points on Alabama. The Vols don’t have Johnny Manziel, but perhaps there are other clues to success to be found studying what the Aggies did.

2) Remember 2009: Another undermanned UT squad took a No. 1 Alabama team to the brink of an upset in Tuscaloosa in 2009. Somehow, those Vols held ’Bama to 136 yards rushing and zero touchdowns in a 12-10 game decided on a blocked field goal. There’s a battle plan, except that last part.

3) Sunseri-less: A year ago, the Sunseri family played a key role in this game. Sal was UT’s defensive coordinator in a 44-13 loss. Son Vinnie made six tackles as Alabama’s starting safety. Sal, fired along with Derek Dooley, is at Florida State. Vinnie is out for the rest of the season after a knee injury last week.

4) Worley Moments: Being patient with a running game that produces short gains and eats clock is fine, as long as Justin Worley is able to make occasional plays in the passing game. Worley doesn’t have the complete an especially high percentage but he needs to avoid interceptions and hit mid-range completions from time to time to sustain drives and change field position.

5) Resiliency Pays: Alabama grinds opponents into submission. The Vols showed resiliency the past two games, overcoming a poor first half against Georgia and answering a South Carolina rally. They’ll need that kind of resolve to have any chance in the fourth quarter.

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Comments » 8

OrangePride writes:

Excellent five points. Of course Tennessee goes in as underdogs; as it has in its last two games as well. But matchups mean something. Against Alabama, I see some opportunities for some of our players to make BIG statements. DB's cover those receivers like you did last week and McCarron will be in trouble. LB's, keep Bama running backs from breaking off big gains. Trench warriors; win your individual battles of lane control. We do that and the offense might just put up enough fight to make this a game. GO VOLS!

underthehill writes:

in response to OrangePride:

Excellent five points. Of course Tennessee goes in as underdogs; as it has in its last two games as well. But matchups mean something. Against Alabama, I see some opportunities for some of our players to make BIG statements. DB's cover those receivers like you did last week and McCarron will be in trouble. LB's, keep Bama running backs from breaking off big gains. Trench warriors; win your individual battles of lane control. We do that and the offense might just put up enough fight to make this a game. GO VOLS!

McCullers has an opportunity to make some big bucks with a great showing in this game..he appears to be physically capable of doing it..mentally..he appears to be questionable..his time is now to decide if he has a future in the NFL

OrangePride writes:

in response to underthehill:

McCullers has an opportunity to make some big bucks with a great showing in this game..he appears to be physically capable of doing it..mentally..he appears to be questionable..his time is now to decide if he has a future in the NFL

No question about it, this will be a huge day for Big Dan. CBJ said this before the season even began, "As Dan goes, so goes our season." But DM is a much better football player this year than last. His agility, speed, stamina, AND technique have all moved to a much higher level. A very good sign was that he got better and better as the game went along last week against Carolina. If I had to make a prediction, he will do the same thing this week. By the fourth period, we will see where his mental toughness lies. As you said....could be a BIG opportunity.

johnlg00 writes:

While it is likely that, as we saw in an earlier article about matchups, Bama has at least arguable edges all across the board, their biggest pluses are in quality depth, a rabid home crowd, and the confidence born of their championships in recent years. Although I am as hopeful as any other Vol fan, it will be a major accomplishment if they keep the game close until the fourth quarter. If they do, it might put a little largely unaccustomed game pressure on the Tide, and then, who knows? Keeping it close early, especially if the Tide offense sputters, might go some way toward negating their advantages. As is usually the case when one team is favored over another by a large margin, the longer the Vols stay in it, the better their chances get. If they can limit the Tide's big plays and not turn the ball over, it could be a lot closer than many might think.

Tao_of_Tennessee writes:

The caption under the picture of North states 'hail mary' pass. That was not a 'hail Mary' pass. just sayin.

bUTch__please writes:

Now would be a great time to Beat Bama!

volbald writes:

Let's hope that Coach Jones had learned to refer to opposing teams by their actual university names instead of "the red team." Once the Vols saw it was really Alabama, they forgot how to play. For heavens sake, don't give any team the impression you're afraid to use their actual names in practice.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to volbald:

Let's hope that Coach Jones had learned to refer to opposing teams by their actual university names instead of "the red team." Once the Vols saw it was really Alabama, they forgot how to play. For heavens sake, don't give any team the impression you're afraid to use their actual names in practice.

At least one Bama player was quoted as saying they felt "disrespected" by that ploy. We all know perfectly well that Jones meant no disrespect, and Bama probably didn't need any extra motivation, but that little fillip certainly didn't have the intended effect.

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