Tennessee's offense, a no-show at times this football season, had better be operating near peak efficiency if the Vols are to beat high-scoring Clemson in the upcoming Peach Bowl. Quarterback Casey Clausen, for one, thinks it will be.
"I think we definitely improved every week," he said. "The last few games is how we want to play every game ... efficiently. The younger guys have really grown and matured. They're starting to understand what it takes to play."
Tennessee's players, coaches and fans were disappointed that the Vols, 10-2 and ranked sixth nationally, had to settle for a second consecutive bid to the Peach Bowl. Clausen, however, says he wasn't disappointed or surprised.
"I wasn't that surprised, really," he said. "Once the Outback picked Florida, we had one shot pretty much to get into a BCS bowl and we had Texas and Ohio State ahead of us. We did the best we could on the field, going 10-2. After that, it was outside of what we can control. To me, another game is another game, whether we're playing in the Peach Bowl or Miami or wherever."
Fans can only hope Clausen's Vol teammates feel likewise. The Vols came out flat in the Peach Bowl 12 months ago and were dominated by a so-so Maryland team. Clausen promises there will be no repeat of that dismal performance.
"This time last year we were limping into the Peach Bowl game," he said. "There were a lot of injuries and other things that went on. This year we're healthy and we've definitely got the people now that we can go out and match up with anybody."
Given that this is his final college game, Clausen would like to go out in style.
"For us to win 11 games," he said, "would be a really special thing."
Clausen completed 202-of-357 passes for 2584 yards and 25 touchdowns this year.
Vols' Offense Ready to Rumble
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