Tennessee Volunteers: Just Who Are They and How Do We Beat Them?

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Tennessee Volunteers: Just Who Are They and How Do We Beat Them?
(Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
In preparation for the Georgia Bulldogs visit to Knoxville to take on the Tennessee Volunteers, we might as well go ahead and examine the Vols and give a knee-jerk prescription for a win. Surely, they can be no more of a mystery than the Dawgs have been thus far.

I haven't seen every UT game, so my point of reference is limited to their matchups with Florida and Auburn.  Comparing the Vols' performance in those games is eerily similar to comparing our Okie State or LSU game to Arkansas or South Carolina. If not for the uniform, you would have a hard time telling it was the same team.

Against Florida, Tennessee displayed little to no offense. Montario Hardesty was the offense. Jonathan Crompton, the Vols' QB, looked like a fish out of water. The defense did a pertty decent job, especially when you consider they were on the field for what must have been about 50 miutes of game time. It was obvious Lane Kiffin was not playing to win, but merely playing to keep it respectable.

Against Auburn, Tennessee's defense, despite giving up two more points than against Florida, was nowhere near as impressive. It appeared to take DC Monte Kiffin a little longer to figure out Auburn's spread offense. This scares me for only one reason, it will probably encourage Mike Bobo to run more spread this Saturday, ugh. 
Another reason for concern, Crompton appeared to remember how to throw the ball. He did not give up an interception against Auburn, which is the first time he has accomplished that feat. Furthermore, Crompton got the Vols running with the hurry-up offense.

Despite Crompton's improvement against Auburn, I believe the key for Georgia will be shutting down Hardesty. He is a hard to tackle runner with great vision averaging 5.5 yards per carry. Despite Goergia's defensive stength being against the run, I still expect Kiffin to try and play ball control against us.

The Vols' defense presents a significant challenge. We are all aware of Monte Kiffin's reputation as one of the greatest defensive minds to ever wear a headset—at any level of football. We also know about Eric Curry and what he is capable of; but beyond that, I like our talent edge.

If Bobo tries to turn this into a coaching battle against Monte, as he did last week against John Chavis, we are in trouble. If we go all cute and gimmicky, as we did for three quarters last week, we are playing into their hands. We have the talent edge and there is no reason we should not dictate to the Vols. Against LSU, we were at our best offensively when the game plan was discarded and we played with desperation.

In my opinion, we have the offensive talent to just do our thing and win. If Bobo tries to come up with a totally new game plan, again, our young players will be too busy thinking to play at full speed. If we run our base offense—the plays everyone knows—and just let our talent take over, we should be fine.

Defensively, the song remains the same. Stop the run and prevent the big play. Make Crompton complete seven passes to get them in the end zone. If we are shutting down Hardesty and preventing the deep play, Crompton will not be consistent or patient enough to beat us.

Of course, this all assumes we do not have any lapses on special teams or with unwarranted penalties. If those rear their ugly head again we may be in for another nail biter, this time away from home in front of 100k fans that are very hungry for a win.

In short, let's not try to out-coach these guys, let's just go out-play them!


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