Bye Week: State of UT's program

Bye Week: State of UT's program

Football

Bye Week: State of UT's program

KNOXVILLE — Some may think the Georgia game is just another 26-point loss on the season for Tennessee and the UT program’s 20th 25-point defeat since 2009.

The loss was not just UT’s third 26-point defeat this season, but one that signifies that lights are coming on for some players in a jump-starting performance that will help turn the program around.

UT athletics director Phillip Fulmer said today at the Knoxville Quarterback Club that turning the football program around is a process and one that is not an event or a one-time thing.

Once players buy-in and fully understand how to play their assignments defensively, Tennessee will eventually field a swarming defense.

The outside backer position is key for Jeremy Pruitt’s scheme to make for a dominant defense. It is a position that provides pressure in the backfield with middle linebackers feeding off their disruption of being in position to defend the perimeter and the middle of the field while the defensive backfield is playing tight man coverage, making it tough for quarterbacks having enough time to get off a good throw.

Pruitt has coached and produced this formula at his previous coaching stops and Saturday against Georgia were small sample size flashes of a preview to come of Tennessee’s defense.

Darrell Taylor, Bryce Thompson and Alexis Johnson all showed flashes of understanding the system against Georgia and now players need to build on the Georgia game success in putting in what they are learning to do in consecutive games.

Once Pruitt has his current team playing with that mindset and understanding what and how to perform needed roles on a game-by-game basis, while continuing to recruit depth and having players fit to his philosophies, the Vols will provide one of the tougher defenses to score on in the SEC going forward.

This week, Trey Wallace of Fox Sports Knoxville and I go in further detail about the progressions displayed against Georgia and reasons why offensive coordinator Tyson Helton is unable to expand his playbook due to the offensive line.

Listen to the Fox Sports Knoxville podcast discussion below:

 

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