GAMEDAY: Virtual Playbook of UT Defense & Offense

This time it's the Tennessee Volunteer's offense and defense we disect in our very popular Virtual Playbook where we diagram six of their more common plays they use on the field. Get the real inside scoop on how it all works and what they plan on throwing at the Gators this Saturday!


The Tennessee offense didnt really change what they did for the first game of this new season; they just changed the frequency of a few things. The mainstays of the Tennessee offense are still to run the ball straight at you and then try and hit you deep with a pass.

The Passing Game

When Tennessee does decide to pass the ball, they try to create mismatches or create open space for their receivers. They spread routes far apart and hope that there is a blown coverage or a mismatch on defender. One problem this current edition of the offense has is that the quarterbacks are not ready to make reads at the line of scrimmage. After watching game tape, it is easy to see that they have one receiver in mind before the ball is ever snapped. Above you see typical routes of their receivers creating space and trying to get individual coverage on receivers. In this instance the backs are used to block and buy more time for the quarterback to make a throw.

Tennessee also showed a huge tendency to bootleg pass, especially with Brent Schaeffer (#7) a quarterback. Again, the intended receiver is earmarked before the snap of the ball, mainly because the quarterbacks are both so young and it looks like the coaches tried to take everything away from them. Notice again like every other boot or sprint out I have drawn for the Gators or their opponents, all the receivers are basically to one side of the field, or flowing to that side to make the throw from the quarterback easier. The running back flows away and is usually just an added blocker for pass protection. They also roll a lineman out with the quarterback to protect in front of him on the boot.

The Running Game

As long as Phil Fulmer is at the helm, the Vols are going to be a run first team. They aren't shy about it either, they like to use their huge offensive line and runningbacks to run it right down the opponents throw at. Here are two examples of their running game.

Here we see an "Iso" play with a lead back. In the blocking up front, the center and left guard double up on the nose guard (N). The blocking illustrates that when the center gets control of the nose guard the left guard brushes off and moves to block a secondary defender (in ths case the Mike linebacker (M)). The fullback leads the tailback through the hole to the left of the left guard and pushes through to the Will (W) linebacker. The tailback reads that block and runs on either side of the block and into the secondary. In this play the Gator linebackers have to maintain gaps and pinch the blocks down so that the holes the backs are running through are smaller.

The "Power-O" is something a lot of offenses are incorporatoing including the Gators. This run has all the elements of the "Iso" above except a lineman is the lead blocker while the fullback kicks out on a defensive end. In this example, the left guard pulls behind the center and right guards block and into the opposite gap between the right guard and right tackle. By the time he gets there the right tackle should have helped the right guard engage and handle the defensive tackle and then slipped to a second level defender, in this case the Will linebacker (W). Once the left guard pulls he is only looking for a second level defender and in this case it is the Mike linebacker.


Against UNLV the Vols used a lot of Cover 1 defense. This allowed them to blitz linebackers and defensive backs and, in turn, the corners had to play a lot of man defense. The free safety patrols the middle of the deep field while extra pass rushers apply heat to the quarterback. Note above, the red areas are the open spots on the field. In essence these are the areas hardest for the free safety to cover. In the man defense associated here, the wide receiver still has to get open from the guy covering him. Also, in this instance with two blitzers the strong safety (SS) is assigned to watch the running back and the tight end.

I believe the Vols are going to go to more of a Cover 2 look. Her we see the two deep safeties who will be stationed at or near the hashes. On the snap they should drop back and aay from the center of the field and the middle opens up. The linebackers all drop into shallow zones as seen by the squiggly lines away from them. The red areas indicate spots on the field that should be open due to this coverage. I just think with the changes they made in the secondary last week, this conventional "safer" coverage will be used more by the Vols.

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