Saturday was a tough one for the Tennessee Volunteers. Here they were playing one of the best teams in the nation, the Georgia Bulldogs, and they were in a position to pull off one heck of an upset. A combination of tough defense, heads up special teams play, and good offense had the Vols within inches of getting a much needed and long awaited conference win.
But alas it just wasn't meant to be; literally by inches.
Instead he fumbled the ball out of the end zone resulting in a touchback. Georgia was able to knock a field goal through on their possession to win the game. So since winning is all that matters in the end how in the world can hoped be derived from this game?
For one, the team was in it till the end. That was largely due to them making the most of the opportunities that it had--like a blocked field goal that it returned for a touchdown. Teams that are hungry and want to win make plays like that.
I don't think we would have seen the same thing happen under Derrick Dooley.
Justin Worley looked pretty good leading the offense, and with three touchdowns on the day I'd say he did pretty good. Rajion Neal tacked on 148 and two TDs on 28 carries making it possible for the Vols to control the clock at times (Tennessee did finish with more time of possession than Georgia with 30:44).
These guys played well; you have to in order to gain over 400 yards of offense--and not garbage yards either! No, the Vols were in this game from the beginning to the end in no large part to guys making plays like this one by Marques North.
It's in first year head coach Butch Jones.
Under Kiffin or Dooley the team probably would have folded under the first or second sign of adversity. I don't think they would have been able to comeback and remain in the game until the fateful fumble in overtime.
Besides preparing the team to play one of the biggest things a head coach has to do is install the confidence that no matter what happens the game is not over until the last second ticks off the clock. This year's group has that.
And with the South Carolina Gamecocks up next--a team that has been limping along of late--they will get the chance to prove it again. Should all go well they will get the chance to prove they have the killer instinct needed to put a game away too.