Tennessee Blog: Looking Ahead To Alabama, and Why Mississippi Plays a Big Role
These next two weeks will prove to be the most important for the 2010 Tennessee Volunteers all year. (Not including the two weeks before Capital One Bowl Week starts; I’m still holding my breath!)
It will be interesting to see how Alabama QB Greg McElroy will respond this week after suffering his first career loss to the South Carolina Darth Visors. McElroy will get his first chance for redemption against the almost identity-less Mississippi Rebs, coming in fresh off their bye week.
Mississippi hasn’t exactly been impressive this season, but they’ve done better than Tennessee, having notched a SEC win against fellow SEC-first-win-seeker, Kentucky.
Consider the following, Mississippi’s Jeremiah Masoli and SC’s Stephen Garcia have very similar passing stats. Masoli has 823 yards and six TDs, right behind Garcia’s 944 yards and eight TDs. The only real difference is rushing yards.
Through five games, Masoli has 236 yards and three TDs. On top of that ‘Bama will have to deal with RB Brandon Bolden, who has a slight edge in rushing yards when compared to freshman sensation Marcus Lattimore.
I have a feeling that Mississippi will be pretty confident that if they can execute their running and passing game; they’ll have a shot at Alabama this weekend.
Nick Saban probably has other ideas, but I digress. Back to Tennessee…
The Vols will have some good film to watch, and will have to take note in what South Carolina did to knock off the ex-No. 1 team in the nation.
They will have to make Greg McElroy have to win the game.
The G-Cocks did well in shutting down defending Heisman winner Mark Ingram and his rushing partner Trent Richardson, holding them to 64 yards COMBINED and NO touchdowns.
That will prove to be even more important now that Alabama has lost WR Julio Jones to a broken hand, who will be cleared to play whenever he can tolerate the pain. Even if he gets back in time, who is to say he will be a factor with a screw in his hand? (Because we all know he is no Gerald Jones.)
The offensive line will have to grow up fast because they are going to have to WIN this game for Tennessee. They’ve shown flashes of improvement, but against Georgia it was the same old story.
A lot of three-step drop patterns will be helpful to get some of the pressure off of Matt Simms (i.e. keep him alive) and will allow the line to get some confidence.
I could talk about Tennessee’s line woe’s until I turn blue in the face, but it has been the story of the season. Without good line play, offense and defense, we don’t stand a chance against Alabama.
So keep an eye on the Mississippi-Alabama game, because what happens there, just might decide what happens this “Third Saturday in October.”
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