— Before Kentucky got back at it in full pads, Josh Forrest and Patrick Towles got the team together for a meeting that lasted about an hour. Towles said after practice, “We needed some energy.” A lot of people are comparing them to last year’s team, and this team refuses to believe that. He wanted to make sure the ship was steady during uneasy times to finish the season strong.
Mikel Horton said the team was split on a bunch of little things, but he feels much, much better after the meeting.
“Half of us were on the same page, and half of us wasn’t on the same page. We sat down and talked with each other about what we need to fix, what was working, and what we think we need to do to make stuff work. We broke it down to specific things and now I felt like we had a really great practice today. A great practice.”
Many may see the first part of the quote and worry, but it didn’t worry Shannon Dawson. At this point of the season, it’s east to get bogged down by the physical and mental stress. Hitting the reset button is healthy during an unhealthy time. “The theme is – everybody’s beat up,”Dawson said.
— As disastrous as the game looked, they did run the ball well. Tennessee’s defense has done two things very well all year: start strong and defend the run. They accomplished the first one against Kentucky, holding them to consecutive three-and-outs to start the game. But to Dawson’s credit, they were the only three-and-outs of the game. During Shannon’s film sessions, he went back and re-watched Tennessee’s games and came away with this: “I thought we did as good as anybody against them on the run.”
That, plus Mikel Horton’s 100-yard game, is good reason to want to run more this week against Georgia, reiterating Stoops’ statements from Monday. The offensive line may have looked ugly at times against the pass, but they opened up holes exceptionally well in the run game.
— Sihiem King is now Number 10. Khalid Henderson is on the kickoff return team, so there was a lot of jersey changing going on. This should make things much clearer.
— The biggest problem for the offense. People have complained about a lack of identity, but this is worse. “Critical errors at times that kill us,” Dawson said. Schematically there aren’t irreversible problems, but they’re making simple mistakes that not only make the offense look bad, but they deflate the stadium and the sideline. The momentum killers have been too tough to overcome the last two weeks. Take a few of those away and insert explosive plays in their place, and who knows what happens…
— Drew Barker says his sprained shoulder feels better, but if I were to bet, I’d say it’s probably the reason why we didn’t see him play last week in the 4th quarter.
“I had a 40-yard run called back, can you put that on the stats?”
That was Shannon Dawson’s question for me this week after we got into a little kurfuffle last week. It was all in good fun, but boy did I feel my face turn red in the process. If you’re missing my reference, you should listen to last week’s podcast. You should also listen to the one we’re about to record because J-Lo promises it will be the best yet.