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October 4, 2007

The Enemy Perspective: Q&A with Vol Blogger Part I

Kyle King at, Doug at HeyJennySlater and I swapped questions with Joel from RockyTopTalk and CornFromaJar at AOL's Vol FanHouse. Below, I have answers to my questions about the Vols from CornFromaJar (CFAJ). I'll post Joel's answers later, and I'll post my answers to their questions shortly.

1. What are you most worried about Georgia doing?
CFAJ: Winning! HA! But seriously, folks... Many Vol fans would say they're worried that Georgia will have a punt return for touchdown, but I'm thinking that's a given anyway. Tennessee has already faced two excellent return men in Cal's DeSean Jackson and Florida's Brandon James. Mikey Henderson is definitely in that class as far as return men go. So since I'm already conceding a return TD to the Dawgs, I'll say the next worst thing for Vol fans would be seeing UGA run at will. The Vol defensive line has been sieve-like so far this year, which brings us to...

Image: Hipple

2. What is UT most vulnerable to?
CFAJ: The Vols have been giving up big chunks (allowing 25 rushes of over 10 yards and seven of 10+ yards) and little chunks (5.16 yards/carry allowed) all year. Those numbers are in the bottom quarter of the SEC easily. The problem as I see it is that UT has no defensive lineman who is worthy of a double-team. There's no Darwin Walker or John Henderson as there was in years past, so offensive lines are able to block man-on-man and get to the linebackers with little effort. Until the front four allow the LBs to work in space, Tennessee will continue giving up acreage to good running teams.

The other thing Tennessee is completely vulnerable to is Tim guys don't have one, do you? Good. Very good.

3. Is the Vol run defense as bad as it has looked at times this year? Are there extenuating circumstances?
CFAJ: Well, I guess I just answered that... so I'll take this space to point out that the run defense and pass defense are in a race to the bottom of the statistical chart. Not only is the run defense awful, the pass defense is in the bottom three in these categories: yards allowed (1003, 10th in SEC), yards/attempt (8.1, 12th), yards/game (250.8, 11th), defensive pass efficiency (135.54, 12th), pass plays of 25+ yards allowed (12, 12th). I'm gonna be sick.

Extenuating circumstances? Well, we did play Cal and Florida. Also, a lot of Vol fans want to trot out the "youth" excuse, but I don't cotton to that one seeing how many other teams are young and still manage to have their players ready for Saturday.

4. If Georgia wins the game, how many Vol coaches ultimately get fired at year end?
CFAJ: I'll say this: Fulmer is in real trouble, more trouble than he's ever been in. He needs some quality wins. Here's a fun fact for ya: this century, Tennessee has hosted 14 games at Neyland Stadium against ranked teams, and lost nine of them. Whoa.

5. Can the Vols realistically still win the East?
CFAJ: Of course it depends on the outcome of Saturday's game (and to some degree, Saturday night's game between LSU and Florida). But if UT can get a win against UGA, it probably means they've fixed all or most of the problems I've pointed out so far. So, yeah a win over Georgia would mean Tennessee can still win the East, a loss will mean great wailing and gnashing of teeth.

6. With Randy Sanders' incredible success in developing Andre Woodson (who looked like a complete bum his first two years), does that reflect negatively on Fulmer? Or said differently, how are Vol fans reacting to UK's rise and their offensive success?
CFAJ: We're reacting the same way everyone else is, with a resounding "HUH?" Look, I wish nothing but the best for Randy Sanders... but I'd also point out that he's not calling plays for the 'Cats, either. For whatever reason, either ineptness at play calling or lack of autonomy from Fulmer, Sanders as playcaller in Knoxville was a disaster. I hope he's found his niche as a quarterbacks coach, I'd even like to see him develop into a good offensive coordinator someday. At a school far away, that never plays UT. (The subject of "could UT get Sanders back?" has popped up on a few UT message boards... memory really is fleeting, isn't it?)

Thanks to CornFromaJar.



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