Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

Sports Columns

September 20, 2012

Rocky Top Beat: Big Orange fans still figuring out loss to Gators

CROSSVILLE — This week, the Big Orange fans spent the week trying to decipher what happened last Saturday night. It all started deep in the third quarter, with the good guys up by a touchdown and having just stopped a fake punt in Gator territory. Then something went horribly wrong on Rocky Top. 

When the dust cleared, the Vols were the recipients of a 37-20 loss to Florida. The team wearing orange in the end resembled more of the team we saw in Lexington last season than the team riding high leaving Atlanta a few weeks ago. Coach Derek Dooley says there is plenty of time to fix what went wrong. 

I understand that this defense is a work in progress, with misalignment and mistakes being a part of the learning curve. When you add the Gators' speed and athleticism to that equation, you have the recipe for disaster.

Talk about a game turning quickly, how about seven plays in about three minutes (two of which covered over 150 yards) and 21 points accounting for just about half of the Gators' 550 yards of total offense. Wow! Tennessee won the other 57 minutes played, but lost in a rout. 

Those that jumped off the “Dooley Bandwagon” this week might have been a bit premature. The significance of this loss and the NC State win will not be totally understood until later in the season. The games played in October will be a deciding factor in this team’s ultimate legacy. They are still on track to have a decent season, but their margin for error becomes less with each loss. (I might add, so does the head coach's tenure.) 

This week, the Akron Zips will bring their air show to Knoxville. They will feature a team that has had trouble moving the ball on the ground and have relied on a prolific passing attack for their offense. Conversely, they have had little success stopping the opposition’s ground attack. Sounds like it could be a good time for Tennessee to work on a running game and find out how the loss of Brian Randolph (ACL) is going to effect the secondary going forward.

The game last week pointed out more than defensive problems. The offense ground to a stop late in the third quarter. Bray was not having his best night before then and was lucky his inconsistent play had not cost the Vols earlier. This offense has become too dependant on one individual and because of that, they will remain vulnerable to having another collapse down the road. 

The running and kicking is still a major concern, with both still struggling for consistency. Another missed PAT last Saturday brings the total to three for the season. 

At least for now, it appears the short yardage concerns were answered with a little help from the other side of the ball. Linebacker A.J. Johnson was effective in running the wildcat and should see more opportunities as the season progresses. 

Meanwhile, our friend Jim Butler is certainly elated with a high powered offense that destroyed their opponent last week. But not so fast there, Jim, that was Presbyterian! Let’s see how things go in Athens this weekend. It would be nice; however, if the ‘Dores could soften the 'Dawgs up for the Vols' upcoming visit. 

Going into this year’s season, most of the reasonable predictions for the Vols were for records of 7-5 and 8-4. Saturday’s loss did nothing to effect those predictions, but it has made the fan base a little less optimistic. This team has an inferior foe to take care of tomorrow night if they want to enter October 3-1. No hype and no College Game Day this weekend; just time to show maturity and take care of business. Go Vols!

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

Text Only
Sports Columns
  • Better police needed for college teams enticed to cheat

    Cheating has been part of college athletics probably for as long as people have bothered to keep score.

    July 24, 2014

  • Rocky Top Beat: Vols begin preparations for season opener in eight days

    The start of fall practice is only a mere eight days away. Coach Butch Jones has to be ready to get Team #118 on the field and to start preparations for Utah State.

    July 24, 2014

  • 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

Marketplace Marquee
Must Read
Section Teases
Seasonal Content
AP Video
Fighting Blocks Access to Ukraine Crash Site Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida Workers Dig for Survivors After India Landslide Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN Raw: Deadly Landslide Hits Indian Village Obama Chides House GOP for Pursuing Lawsuit New Bill Aims to Curb Sexual Assault on Campus Russia Counts Cost of New US, EU Sanctions 3Doodler Bring 3-D Printing to Your Hand Six PA Cops Indicted for Robbing Drug Dealers Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey Raw: Obama Eats Ribs in Kansas City In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast Raw: Otters Enjoy Water Slides at Japan Zoo NCAA Settles Head-injury Suit, Will Change Rules Raw: Amphibious Landing Practice in Hawaii
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