Vols coach Derek Dooley spoke to the Knoxville Quarterback Club on Monday. And in discussing his team's defense against Georgia, Dooley said he was madder than he has even been. The Vols struggled to stop the Bulldogs rushing attack. Said Dooley after the game on Saturday,"We've obviously got a lot of issues on defense stopping the run."
That's Coach Dooley stating the obvious after Georgia rushed for 282-yards against Tennessee. When you combine the Florida and Georgia game, the Vols have surrendered over 600-yards rushing. Said Dooley,"We've played two top-ten teams, who have whipped us." Added defensive back Prentiss Waggner,"When you can't stop the run, it's always frustrating for the defense. We've just got settle down. Just correct it on the sidelines. Just get off blocks. Just makes tackles. Simple as that."
So what happened against the Bulldogs? They had three touchdown runs of 50-plus yards. Said linebacker Herman Lathers,"Just busts. Missed assignments. Just not where we were supposed to be when we are supposed to be there. Like I said, you correct those, and you've got a ballgame." Added Dooley,"When they get in the secondary, we've got no ability to get the guys down, which is really disappointing."
The Vols are next-to-last in total defense in the SEC. And it won't get any easier for Tennessee after their bye week as they face Mississippi State. Said Waggner,"We've got to have a good week of practice. Mississippi State is a team that will run the ball effectively also. So we just have to get off blocks and make plays."
Despite giving up 560-yards against fifth ranked Georgia, Tennessee still only lost by a touchdown. Said Dooley,"Hey man, we went toe-to-toe with a great football team guys. This team is going to compete for a national championship. That's not a silver lining. And we've got a lot of correcting to do or we won't win many ballgames in this league."