With the Vols loss to Mississippi State over the weekend, Tennessee fell to 0-3 in the SEC, and the team is starting to hear some criticism. Said head coach Derek Dooley,"What I tell the players is. Number one, you can't read it or listen to it. That's number one. But more than anything, you have to define who you are, and not somebody else. It's a life lesson."
Coach Dooley continues to search for answers on defense. The Vols are next to last in the SEC in both scoring defense and total defense."We're obviously not playing very well on defense. It's not something we can hide about. There's a lot of evaluating going on. Continued evaluation. Starts with coaching. We can do a lot better job of helping our players."
It doesn't take long though to evaluate top-ranked Alabama. Following the Tide's 42-10 win over Missouri, Tigers coach Gary Pinkel said,"That is maybe the best football team I've ever seen. Time will tell. I don't see a weakness.
Derek Dooley might agree with that statement. Said Dooley,"They draft. We recruit." Said fullback Ben Bartholomew,"They're a big, strong team. Their linebackers like to stand in there and take hits. That's a little different from most other teams." Added offensive lineman Antonio Richardson,"Like I said, it's not about over-hyping guys. We've just got to go in there and play."
Even though Bama is favored by nearly three touchdowns, the Vols understand this is still an important rivalry showdown. Said defensive lineman Daniel Hood,"Anytime they have a lettermen's meeting, they always start out with, stand up if you beat Alabama." Added Bartholomew,"It's a personal game. It's between us and them. It's a rivalry that goes back a long time. It's real serious."