>UCLA 27, UT 24 (OT)

>All the anticipation and excitement for a new football season, full of promise, hope and a ton of questions came to a climax last night when the Vols traveled to the West Coast to play UCLA. And, as with most trips to the West Coast, the Vols came away not doing so well.

The game was one full of excitement, hope and frustration. Can’t really judge an entire season based on the first game, but I do have some concerns about seeing one game. The new offense was a stop and start affair. When their backs were to the wall and it was crunch time, they did some good to great things. However, there were times when the inexperience of Crompton showed. But yet, at times he looked good and the final two minute drive to get the field goal to send it to overtime was brilliantly done. Should we just go ahead and tell him they’re all two minute drills since it seems he responds well to this pressure?

We left nine points on the field last night. If we get one of our three botched field goals (this doesn’t count the miss in OT), we win in regulation.

The most frustrating part was the defense not adjusting in the fourth quarter and allowing UCLA to just shred us, after containing and bottling them up for three quarters. Exhaustion? Maybe. I’m not sure what happened there.

Finally, I think we showed a lack of the needed killer instinct. Driving the ball to start the third quarter, the Vols had a chance to punch it in and have UCLA be completely demoralized and down by two touchdowns. Instead, we fumble inside the five (a potential three gone, but most likely seven) and allow the Bruins to believe they could win. A great team punches it in at that point and then cruises to victory.

They say the biggest improvement comes between games one and two. It will be a long week and a half to wait and see what happens when UT opens up the season at home a week from Saturday. Until then, there will be a lot of wondering about how we let one slip away in week one…

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