Vol video session sickens Dooley
Posted: Tuesday, September 21, 2010 8:15 pm
By: By BETH RUCKER, AP Sports Writer
KNOXVILLE (AP) — Coach Derek Dooley felt a little bit better about Tennessee’s efforts as he jogged off the field after the Volunteers’ loss to Florida. That changed when he watched video from the game.
“You come out there feeling like you competed pretty good and then you see all the missed opportunities, and it just makes you sick,” he said.
The Vols (1-2) again were a victim of their own youth and inexperience in a 31-17 loss to No. 9 Florida on Saturday. They didn’t give up this time, like they did in a loss to No. 5 Oregon, but they made mistakes which cost them what was a winnable game in Dooley’s eyes.
The coach also thinks UAB (1-2) has enough experience and depth to take advantage of Tennessee’s mistakes, just like the Gators did.
“They’ve played in these kind of games so they’re not going to be starry-eyed,” Dooley said. “They’ve got more experience, more depth. They don’t have to bring their best to beat us, they can beat us even without their best.”
Tennessee gave up two interceptions and a fumble to Florida, and every one of them was costly.
The Vols gave up a sure score when Matt Simms threw an interception from the Florida 3 to Jonathan Bostic in the back of the end zone. Simms’ second interception led to a touchdown by Mike Gillislee, and Tauren Poole’s fumble with five minutes to go cost Tennessee its last chance to keep the game competitive.
Beyond that, the offensive players seemed to forget the assignments they learned in practice. The running backs were jumpy when they ran, the wide receivers didn’t always line up correctly and Simms struggled with accuracy.
The defense didn’t suffer as monumental of a collapse as it did allowing 45 consecutive points in a 48-13 loss to Oregon. Defenders tackled better and had success stopping Florida speedster Jeff Demps, though they couldn’t muster much pass defense.
“The Oregon game, they got us. They put it on us and we broke. The Florida game, we just didn’t execute,” Dooley said. “We competed well. As many mistakes as we made, we’re sitting there with 11 minutes to go and down 7 and we’ve got a chance to win the football game, and we just didn’t execute from there, so we learn from it.”
The Vols’ problems aren’t unlike the problems Dooley has seen in his first year with other programs, including UAB. Dooley knows coach Neil Callaway and his staff well, and has seen the Blazers players improve over time.
“They’re four years into their program, and this is what you see your fourth year: You’ve got a deep team, they have 17 starters returning, they’ve got more experience, more depth,” Dooley said.
Tennessee will face UAB with even less depth and experience than it had against Oregon and Florida, though Callaway still thinks the team is left with talent.
“They have some young players they’re playing with, but coach Dooley has them playing hard, and they are pretty impressive to watch.”
Starting wide receiver Gerald Jones won’t play as he continues to recover from surgery on his left hand.
Without Jones on the field, the offense is missing one of its only leaders who can help calm players down and get everyone aligned properly.
To make up for the missing players and to get past all the mistakes which hampered them against the Gators, the Vols are just going to have to practice better, Dooley said. The team hasn’t had a solid week of practice yet this season, though that’s common for a young team, he said.
“It’s learning how to prepare for a game so you go into a game confident and that you go into a game and when things happen you don’t panic,” he said. “It starts with preparation.”