So why can’t all that promise breed production?
That happened for the first time in 2015 on Saturday after Arkansas lost to Texas A&M, 28-21, in overtime.
I attended Butch Jones’ weekly news conference Monday at UT, wondering to what extent the third-year coach would acknowledge the criticism now engulfing him and his staff after a difficult-to-comprehend 2-2 start.
“A close loss is definitely a more emotional loss, but at least it shows you’re right there and that a couple of changes here and there are the difference in the game”, Tennessee safety Brian Randolph said. “It allows you to be more flexible with your defense“. Though the defense gave up large plays in passing game, the middle of the field appeared to not be the issue. Arkansas’ Cole Hedlund is 4 of 6 on field goals this season, but he’s missed his only two attempts from beyond 27 yards. So far, Tennessee has beaten Bowling Green handily in Nashville, allowed a talented Oklahoma team to squeak out a last-minute win in Knoxville, blown out an inferior Western Carolina team and lost an 11th-straight game to the Florida Gators. The fan base may be frustrated, but they will follow improvement, and that is just what they saw on Saturday.
Arkansas won three of its last four a year ago, including SEC shutouts over AP ranked LSU and Ole Miss and a 31-7 rout of Texas in the Advocare Texas Bowl. The Razorbacks are great at making every play count, averaging 7.0 yards per play. If he doesn’t, Tennessee is staring straight at a 2-5 start to the season with Georgia and Alabama on the horizon.
They’re about to discover which is closer. Everyone wants the ball. Everybody wants the ball.
“We’ve just got to recognize that it’s all about us”. I mean, Arkansas couldn’t even beat Toledo, who incidentally remains undefeated going into Saturday’s game with Ball State. Now there have been times where they could have gotten a little better pass rush, but they’ve played teams that they can’t pin their ears back and go after the quarterback.
In that respect, Jones has much in common with his opposing coach this week.
The Hogs are a well balanced offense led by a very physical running game.
“Physically, we didn’t get out-manned anywhere”. “We will do that”. We’re going to be diligent in doing that. He’d lost his senior good friend wide receiver Keon Hatcher. They disappointed again this spring, regularly drawing the ire of Jones.
Both teams will be behind the eight ball big time if they were to lose. But that shouldn’t matter. It’s hard to walk into the locker room at halftime and be frustrated when you only had 16 plays and are winning the game. Everybody just needs to get on the same passing page.
It’s a puzzling situation.
The Vols also somehow only managed four offensive plays on their final possession despite a minute and a half and two timeouts. If they can get things going in the 15-to-20-yard range, it would open things up exponentially. The Vols and Hurd have proved they can generate yards on the ground.
The Vols have a finesse style o running game.
The total has gone OVER in 4 of Tennessee’s last 5 games. I’m really looking forward to it. Neyland Stadium at night is always a cool spectacle, even if it’s supposed to be raining heavily because of this hurricane. All recruiting information gathered from 247Sports unless otherwise noted. Tennessee’s Ethan Wolf leads the Vols in catches (11) and yards receiving (126) and is tied for the team lead in touchdown catches (2).