Tennessee is coming off a disappointing loss to Florida one week ago and is currently in the midst of six games; five of them are against ranked teams.
This is the one game against a team not in the polls. Therefore, it would be a really easy game for the Vols to overlook.
Fortunately, Tennessee is superior talent-wise to the Zips and doesn't have to play the perfect game to pick up a victory.
There should be plenty of entertainment though for fans. Saturday's game should be fun with two teams that love the chuck the ball around the yard.
Saturday’s game is the perfect example of one that teams often overlook. It is sandwiched between two games against Eastern Division rivals, and the Vols are coming off a deflating loss last week.
Two weeks ago, Tennessee had a similar game against Georgia State. The Vols were very sluggish out of the gate, leading just 14-6 early in the second quarter.
Fortunately for the Vols, Tennessee was the superior team and got its act together and turned things around.
While Tennessee is once again the superior team, Akron has enough offensive firepower to keep things interesting for a while.
The best sign that Tennessee has gotten over last week’s loss would be a dominant first quarter and putting the game away early.
After last week’s loss to Florida, Derek Dooley said his team couldn’t throw the ball 45 times a game and expect to win in the SEC.
SEC games aren’t consistently won through the air. With a major stretch of tough conference games awaiting the Vols, it’s important that they have a strong ground game in place.
Saturday will be an opportunity to prove that they have the ability to run.
If they aren’t able to run against the Zips, chances are they won’t fare well against SEC defenses.
While the Vols don’t need to rush for 300 yards this week, they should at least show the ability to run against Akron whenever they please.
This was a key for the Vols in my article leading up to last week’s game against Florida.
Anyone that watched the game realized that Tennessee had quite a few communication breakdowns on defense.
Florida gashed the Vols consistently in the second half and ultimately took the game.
Akron has an offense that has put up big numbers through three games. If the Vols have issues again defensively, the Zips will get big plays and put some points on the board.
Getting the communication in line is actually more important for games down the line, but the improvement process starts now.
With games against Georgia, Mississippi State, Alabama and South Carolina waiting in the balance, it’s vital that the Vols stay completely healthy.
The Vols suffered a big blow on the defensive side of the ball last week when safety Brian Randolph went down for the season with a torn ACL.
Tennessee can’t afford any other crushing blows, especially in a game that doesn’t mean much.
Escaping Saturday without any injuries should be at the top of Derek Dooley’s list of goals for the weekend.
Since the loss to Florida, the Tennessee fanbase has been in the dumps. One check of the message boards or listening to the talk radio shows, and you will realize how much confidence fans lost after last week.
Leading up to the Florida game, fans were talking about just how good this team could be.
Now, fans are discussing how Derek Dooley isn’t capable of beating a ranked team or leading this team back to where it belongs.
It’s amazing how quickly things can change.
While a win over Akron isn’t going to completely change fans’ outlook, an impressive showing will provide a confidence boost leading into the Georgia game.
If the opposite happens and the Vols struggle early on Saturday, expect to once again hear that the sky is falling in Knoxville.