>First the positive–the Vols found a way to win the game yesterday. And that at least made the drive back to Nashville a lot more tolerable than it would have been had they completed the collapse and actually lost to UAB for the first time in four games.
Also, the Vols did give me my money’s worth for attending the game yesterday. And no matter what, it was nice to be back in God’s house with the Neyland Stadium faithful. I hadn’t been to a home game since the last season Fulmer was here and there’s nothing like being in Neyland on a Saturday afternoon. Of course, I was expecting a lot from the Vols than I got (esp. given how well the first half went), but hey, at least I was there…
Now, onto the less positive.
- A couple of years ago, I was watching a Florida vs UT game and we’d get the Gators into third-and-a-mile. And every single time they’d convert, leading a fellow game watcher to say, “Well, they’ve got us right where they want us” every time third and more than three came up. Same thing yesterday. The Vols had UAB in long down and distances multiple times only to see UAB somehow come up with a huge play to get a critical first down.
- Of course, part of that could be that the offense did nothing for two or so quarters. As good as Matt Simms looked on a few deep balls, he was pitiful at times either underthrowing or overthrowing receivers on short routes. That coupled with the fact that we couldn’t run the ball worth a damn and that the right side of the offensive line was allowing UAB defenders a free shot on Simms just about every time he dropped back in the second half didn’t help things.
- The Vols were woeful on third down. Just plain woeful. As positive as finishing off the first drive with a touchdown was, it shouldn’t be overlooked that we had to convert a fourth and one to get there. At the time it seemed like a smart move by Derek Dooley. Later as our failures on third down mounted up, I began to wonder how much more Dooley knew that we didn’t.
- Of course, it wouldn’t be a complaining post without a little lack of love thrown to the officiating crew. Apparently they sent the crew most in need of eye exams to this game. Or else they had decided since it was on the SEC regional game and those have six hours of commercials anyway, that they wouldn’t want to make the game go longer by doing silly things like calling blindingly obvious penalties on UAB.
- I hate to say this, but the team just phoned it in in the second half. After the collapse against Oregon and then the rebound last week against Florida in terms of effort, it was shocking to see how uninterested the team was in the game in the second half. Did they team decide that we were up by enough at halftime and that they could just coast? Well, that almost came back to haunt us.
- Driving home and listening to the call-in show, I was struck by how suddenly Phil Fulmer has become a genius and some fans want him back. I’m sure this was the same group that wanted him out two years ago.