Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

Sports Columns

September 27, 2012

Rocky Top Beat: Vols zipped by Akron 47-26; face No. 5 Georgia Saturday

CROSSVILLE — The Vols emerged from their fourth game of the season against Akron with a win, 47-26. After the defense made adjustments at half time, the second half resembled what fans had expected from the opening kickoff. Bottom line, the Vols return to SEC action this weekend with a 3-1 record. 

Tennessee travels to undefeated, No. 5 Georgia this week. This is the beginning of a four-game stretch that could see the Vols playing two more teams in the top 10 and one in the top 20. Sounds like a tall order for a team that has struggled in the SEC over the past few years with ranked opponents and in games played outside the borders of Tennessee. 

The good news in this whole scenario is the Vols have shown in the past they can compete with Georgia in Athens. The Big Orange holds a slight 10-9-1 in the Bulldogs' home stadium. 

Coach Derek Dooley’s trip in 2010 to Sanford Stadium did not end well, leaving on the wrong side of a 41-14 score. Last year in Knoxville, the Vols kept it close but lost 20-12. The Vols were undone in the second half by big plays and their inability to sustain drives when the game was still in doubt (an all too familiar story with good opponents).

Two big questions for the offense will be can they move the ball on the ground against a stingy defense and can Tyler Bray make good decisions when he puts the ball in the air? This Georgia defense makes opponents pay for bad decisions and the Vols have little room for error if they have any hope to pull the upset. 

The defense has shown they can stop the run, especially in their base 3-4 defense. How the Vols, with their depleted secondary, deal with an experienced Aaron Murray and his receivers will be key to pulling the big surprise tomorrow. 

Tennessee will need to play their best defensive game of the year and limit the Bulldogs' big plays. That is a tall order given how susceptible they have been to the big play this season, while Georgia is among the nation’s leaders in big plays — 20 yards and over. 

The Vols seem to have found a place kicker that they can depend on. Derrick Brodus’ 17 points last week tied him with a few of UT’s more prominent kickers from the past for most points in a single game. His reward is kicking in a hostile stadium where his performance could be the deciding factor at the end of the afternoon. 

The outcome of the Georgia game has been somewhat of a predictor for the Vols in recent years. Beating Georgia has sent the Big Orange on to decent seasons, while losing has derailed their season. 

I guess I should thank Vandy’s super fan Jim Butler for his ‘Dores blowout loss at Georgia last weekend. While it didn’t soften them up, it should have the 'Dawgs a little over confident this week. Maybe just ripe for an upset? Anyhow, enjoy the bye week, Jim; no loss this week! 

With an ever increasing fragile Vol fan base, it is imperative that Tennessee start winning SEC games before November. The Vols are 1-0 in the state of Georgia this season. I see no reason the Vols can’t stay perfect in the Peach State and return to Rocky Top with Coach Dooley’s long awaited signature win! Go Vols!

(Frank Gale is a Chronicle correspondent and his column appears regularly.)

1
Text Only
Sports Columns
  • Expectations too high for a rehabbing Woods

    Even when Tiger Woods finished just a few strokes from last place at the British Open, he was one of the  featured topics in stories coming out of Royal Liverpool Golf Club.

    July 23, 2014

  • Rocky Top Beat: Vols focused on Utah

    The SEC media days have come and gone with no real news being generated. A successful media days appearance is usually defined as leaving Hoover, AL without giving a future opponent bulletin board material. Using that criteria, Tennessee left without any major gaffs.

    July 17, 2014

  • Oh Good Greif: Good things must come to an end

    The Dr. Pepper Classic, a long-time tradition at McKenzie Arena, affectively-known as the Round House, will seize, as a couple of teams dropped out, leaving the university in a "lurch," according to the Chattanooga Times Free Press Tuesday morning. Teams wanted a cash guarantee to play, which couldn't be provided (at this time).

    July 10, 2014

  • Rocky Top Beat: Majors Invitational tees off Sunday at Lake Tansi

    It is the second weekend in July and that means Johnny Majors is at Lake Tansi this weekend to host his annual golf tournament. It is always a treat for the local UT fans to interact with those that have been a part of the Vol football program. They come to the plateau each year to renew old acquaintances and share the stories of gridiron prowess from past years. By the way, the stories sure seem to get better with time.

    July 10, 2014

  • Oh Good Greif: 'Dores make history with CWS win

    History was made at the College World Series in Omaha, NE, this week, as the Vanderbilt Commodores baseball team won the school's  first national championship in any sport since the Vandy women's bowling team won the 2007 national crown.

    June 26, 2014

  • Rocky Top Beat: Tyndall hire closes the book on Martin era

    The University of Tennessee was able to close the books on the Cuonzo Martin era of Vol basketball earlier this week when they hired Donnie Tyndall to lead their program. Athletic Director Dave Hart, who conducted the search and the hiring on his own, appears to have found the right coach for this team at the right time.

    April 24, 2014

  • ROCKY TOP BEAT: You never know what will happen next with TN sports

    When you cover UT sports, you never know what is going to happen next. The past two weeks were no exception as they were filled with "the good, the bad and the ugly."

    April 17, 2014

  • Oh Good Greif: Spring in full swing with Masters under way

    With "March Madness" over and the Masters golf tournament under way in Augusta, GA, you know spring has sprung.

    April 10, 2014

  • ROCKY TOP BEAT: Lady Vols, Vols' seasons concluded abruptly

    The basketball season ended rather abruptly last weekend for both the Lady Vols and the Vols; however, the way these two teams ended their seasons will leave entirely different lasting memories.

    April 3, 2014

  • Rocky Top Beat: Basketball has taken Big Orange Country by storm

    Basketball has taken Big Orange Country by storm. The Lady Vols are a fixture in the Sweet 16, but the Vols returning after a few years' hiatus was a pleasant surprise. There are plenty of accolades to be spread around Rocky Top, but basically it starts with the guards and ends with Jarnell Stokes and Jeronne Maymon dominating the paint.

    March 27, 2014

Marketplace Marquee
Parade
Must Read
Section Teases
Seasonal Content
AP Video
Robot Parking Valet Creates Stress-free Travel Raw: MH17 Bodies Arrive in Netherlands Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament Disabled Veterans Memorial Nearing Completion Last Mass Lynching in U.S. Remains Unsolved Home-sharing Programs Help Seniors Ex-NYC Mayor: US Should Allow Flights to Israel Clinton: "AIDS-Free Generation Within Our Reach" Judge Ponders Overturning Colo. Gay Marriage Ban Airlines Halt Travel to Israel Amid Violence VA Nominee McDonald Goes Before Congress US Official: Most Migrant Children to Be Removed Police Probing Brooklyn Bridge Flag Switch CDC Head Concerned About a Post-antibiotic Era Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law Raw: Truck, Train Crash Leads to Fireball
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Weather Radar
2014 Readers' Choice
Graduation 2014