A win is a win. It doesn’t have to be pretty, you don’t have to deserve it, it still counts as a win. The Volunteers played an ugly, undisciplined game on Saturday against the UAB Blazers and they still came out with a point in the ‘W’ column. After coming off disappointing losses to the Gators and Ducks, it was important for the Vols to win at least one game before they go on to face LSU, Georgia and Alabama in 3 straight weeks. If they come out of any of those games alive it will be a miracle.
The Vols had a lead of 23-7 during the first half of the game. As we learned in previous weeks, with this group there is no lead big enough. All the blame has to go to the defense playing inconsistent and sloppy during the second half. Sure the loss of Herman Lathers and Art Evans to injury before the game had some impact on the defense, but it’s no excuse for what looked like a group of guys who couldn’t be bothered to make a tackle or take a hit. When you’re only 19 or 20 years old you really can’t be so tired and out of shape after barely moving for 30 minutes. These guys need to get revaluate their work outs if standing around for about 15-20 minutes wears them out.
David Isabelle of UAB did his best to point out the holes in the Tennessee defense. Just one minute into the 4th quarter, Isabelle rushed 6 yards to the end zone that set his team up for the two point conversion that would tie the game. The Vols are lucky Josh Zahn missed his 54 yard field goal attempt with 8 minutes left in the 4th or else today’s game story would read more like an obituary.
Once again Matt Simms was the standout of the game. Three touchdowns and 245 passing yards made him the most important player on the field. His final pass of the game was 25 yards to Denarius Moore which won the game for Tennessee in overtime. His offensive line allowed him to be sacked twice in a row at the end of the game which is just inexcusable. In the final seconds of the 4th quarter Simms couldn’t get a decent pass out before UAB’s defense came storming towards him. That’s not what you want to see during the 4th game of the season.
Dooley gave the boys the day off today. Judging from how tired and beat up they look during the second half on Saturday, it seems like the best idea whether or not their effort deserves it.
My final thought from this weekends win: someone should tell the guys that celebrating like you just won Sugar Bowl after barely beating a C-USA team is not only inappropriate, it’s also pretty sad.
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Written by Deniz Kofteci