Monday, September 3, 2012

Volunteers still need to work on ground game as Georgia State looms

Beating N.C. State isn't enough.
Now that the euphoria of Friday's win against North Carolina State has faded a little, we can take a more objective look at Tennessee's offense heading into the Georgia State game. This game comes at a good time. Georgia State (0-1) is a relatively new, struggling program, and Tennessee needs a little less emotional game after the contest versus the Wolfpack.  The Panthers dropped their opener 33-6 to South Carolina State.

The Volunteers piled up a ton of big plays in their win, but the running game continues to worry me. It was a disaster last year, and the 191 yards piled up against N.C. State would indicate progress.  While I hope that is so, we have to remember that 109 yards came on two plays.  Rajon Neal gained only 53 yards on 22 carries, which is less than three yards per carry.  While it probably is not fair to take those two big plays out, I would like to see more consistency.  According to reports, Neal is expected to share more carries with Marlin Lane and Devrin Young this week.
With Tennessee's weapons at wide receiver, it is pretty obvious the Vols are a pass first offense, but we have to run the ball.  Despite the changes in the game in recent years, the Southeastern Conference remains a league where teams have to run the ball for success.  It does not matter if teams pass 60 percent of the time.  At some point this year, we are going to have to convert a crucial first down late in the fourth quarter.
The Georgia State game should be a good time to pound the rock.  We should be able to win this game easily, but do not get too upset if the coaches tone down the offensive fireworks to focus on a more meat and potatoes rushing effort.
It may dull the fun a little, but it should pay off in the long run.  After all, who do we really want to beat?  Georgia State?  Or Georgia, Florida, South Carolina and Alabama?  The answer is obvious.

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