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Volunteers seeing red as result of yellow flags

Volunteers seeing red as result of yellow flags

By: By Beth Rucker, Associated Press Writer

KNOXVILLE (AP) — Alabama faced third- and fourth-down situations nine times against Tennessee. Five of those times, a Volunteer penalty gave the Crimson Tide the first down.
“Without the penalties we’re out, we’re off the field. You can’t do those things,” Tennessee defensive coordinator John Chavis said Tuesday. “It seems like when it rains, it pours. It did for us last Saturday. You can’t do that and expect to win football games.”
Tennessee (4-3, 2-2 Southeastern Conference) appeared to suffer a mental breakdown at times during Saturday’s 41-17 loss at Alabama.
If Tennessee, which for several weeks was the least-penalized team in the SEC, can’t eliminate mental errors, Steve Spurrier’s South Carolina Gamecocks are sure to be the next team to take advantage.
The Vols’ mistakes were costly. On a Crimson Tide 4th-and-1, defensive tackle J.T. Mapu jumped off sides.
On a Tide 4th-and-3, Robert Ayers sacked John Parker Wilson for a loss of 5 yards and forced a fumble that was recovered by Tennessee linebacker Rico McCoy.
But Ayers was flagged for jumping offsides, negating the turnover and giving Alabama a first-and-goal.
“It’s the SEC. If you make errors like that, you’re going to lose,” Ayres said. “I jumped off sides, things like that, you’re not going to win an SEC title. We’ve got to eliminate the small things like that.”
The No. 15 Gamecocks (6-2, 3-2) were victims of their own mental mistakes in a 17-6 upset by Vanderbilt on Saturday.
The South Carolina offense turned the ball over to the Commodores four times and the offensive line committed five false starts.
“Looking back it was right there near the top of some of the poorest offensive games that I’ve coached,” Spurrier said. “It was pretty embarrassing to take those five-yard penalties going backward time and time again.”
In Tennessee’s case, the five drives the Vols kept alive with mistakes resulted in 27 points from Alabama.
Offensive coordinator David Cutcliffe wouldn’t expect anything different from South Carolina.
“You can’t afford to stump your toe or beat yourself. What coach Spurrier does is if you turn the ball over or you get in the situation where you put them in good field position, he’s going to score a lot of points,” he said.
Chavis blames himself and the rest of the coaches for the simple mistakes on the field.
He said the players were instructed to play aggressively and try to make big plays on defense when they instead committed penalties and errors in Saturday’s loss.
But, the players have been good in correcting those kind of errors during practice, Chavis said. Now, the hope is that it carries over from the practice field onto the playing field against the Gamecocks and longtime Volunteers’ adversary Steve Spurrier.
Coach Phillip Fulmer called a rare Sunday practice after the Alabama game in hopes of immediately correcting some of the more glaring problems exposed against the Crimson Tide.
Still, while Chavis insists mental mistakes won’t be a problem against South Carolina, he won’t mind if the Gamecocks offer the Vols a little help.
“You can’t turn the ball over four times and expect to win,” Chavis said. ’If we can get them to agree to give us four turnovers, I can tell you it would be a good outcome.”


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