There was so much hope going into the weekend for Tennessee, and now the situation appears bleak. Tyler Bray is basically done for the season, putting the Vols two most dynamic players, Bray and Justin Hunter, on ice just five weeks in. Now it’s Matt Simms’ team and he’s gotta be, like, REALLY? “I turn it over to you for the soft part of the schedule last season, and all the non-conference stuff this year and you hand it back to me for LSU, Alabama and South Carolina?” And by the way, who is the 3rd guy because if LSU doesn’t take him out next week, Bama likely will the following week. The Tide have sent three QBs to the training room in just the past two weeks.
The fact is, it’s not like UT got run out of the building by Georgia. They lost by eight points and were victim to several self-inflicted wounds, including not being able to execute some of the simplest of Special Teams…you don’t have to be dominant, you just can’t be screwing up…missing FGs and extra points, a weak onside kick effort.
And then there’s the running game…the second consecutive SEC game that the Vols finished with negative yards rushing? And it got worse! -9 against Florida, then -20 against Georgia. By the time they get done with LSU and Alabama, they could be in negative TRIPLE DIGITS!
You’ve got to love Derrick Dooley though; he did not sugar coat anything and was very blunt evaluating his team. During the game, Dooley was pretty conservative, maybe too conservative, for his own good. He would be well served to take a couple of more chances, and could have clearly run another play before the end of the half to take a shot downfield.
So the question now is, can this team win the six games needed to play one in December? The Vandy game now becomes, potentially, a bowl play-in game. Forget about the next three and the trip to Arkansas. They will beat MTSU and Kentucky. That’s five. So the Vols have to beat Vandy, and are fortunate the “6 wins over D-1” teams rule is no longer in play!
So where were you December 6th, 1982? I had been married two years, was 22 years old, and 10 days away from welcoming my second child, Kristin, into the world…about 20% of homes had Cable TV, there were no cell phones…no laptops, no PDA’s, the CD player was invented, a new Multi-color National paper called The USA Today debuted, and no Florida school was in the Top 25…no Miami, no Florida St., no Gators…no Bulls, Knights, Panthers or Owls either…As for the Gators, you have to go back 40 years to find the last time they took back to back beats like they just did the past two weeks…Just facts…
Thom Abraham hosts a daily sportstalk radio program that is syndicated from Nashville, TN to Huntsville, AL to Bowling Green, KY. His website is thomabraham.net.