Dooley Knows It's Speed

Tennessee's Derek Dooley is happy with the Volunteers' 50-0 win over Tennessee-Martin, but he's realistic, his team had more talent and it was the first game of the season. Now, as he prepares for the second game of the season, he knows that there are going to be some noticeable differences between a Div 1A team and the reigning Pac-10 Champions. Like what you ask?

"As good as they were last year, I think they have 17 guys back out of 22," Dooley said of the Oregon Ducks during his weekly media conference. "It shows. They're fast. They play physical; they are very disciplined. They're excellent on special teams and they are a high level ball club in all phases. There aren't any weaknesses."

The Ducks and the Volunteers get together at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville for the very first meeting between the two schools. Dooley, the first-year head coach enjoyed his win last Saturday, he is faced with a difficult task of coming up with a game plan to slow the Ducks' high powered offense. When he arrived in Knoxville after Lane Kiffin's sudden bolt to USC, Dooley found there were some problems the previous administration had left behind. One of those problems which may surface this weekend is that the cupboard was tapped and experience in the depth is an issue. Last week the Volunteers played 12 true freshmen, compared to Oregon playing on two freshmen, WR Josh Huff and DT Ricky Heimuli against the University of New Mexico.

The Ducks beat the Lobos 72-0.

Doubtlessly, Dooley and his staff, including former Duck players Justin Wilcox, now the Vol's defensive coordinator and Peter Sirmon, a graduate assistant are stressing to those young players the importance of playing fast and keeping assignments. Speed, in Dooley's mind is what Oregon is about on offense.

When they (Oregon) on a 10-play drive it takes them about two minutes to do," Dooley observed. "It's the fastest offense you'll see. If we do a 10-play drive it may take us a quarter to get it done which fine with me. "

Wilcox is in his first year at Tennessee after spending the last few seasons at Boise State. When asked if Wilcox and Sirmon being on the Tennessee staff will help much, Dooley was rather sarcastic pointing out that neither of the former Duck defenders has any playing eligibility left. Sirmon of course played professionally for the Tennessee Titans. The Tennessee headman also pointed out that while Boise State knocked off Oregon in the 2009 opener, the Ducks found a way to get back on track and went on to win the conference championship and go to the Rose Bowl. Not to mention the drubbing Oregon gave New Mexico last weekend in Eugene.

Dooley thinks there are three reasons why Oregon is so good on offense.

"These guys are good because they believe in their system. They have very good coaches and phenomenal players," said Dooley. "It doesn't matter what you run, when you have those three combination you are going to be pretty good on offense."

While the jury is still out in Dooley's mind about how good his team is, the Ducks have some soul searching also. While the Duck defense shut out UNM and held the Lobos to a total of 107 yards on offense, this week Oregon will face SEC talent. Junior running back Tauren Poole, 5-11, 213 rushed for 110 yards on 17 carries and crossed the goal line twice. Two other backs had more than 50 yards rushing against UT-Martin. Rajion Neal (79 yards), David Oku (77/1 TD) and wide receiver Denarius Moore had one rush for 58 yards and a touchdown.

Quarterback Matt Simms, made his Div I debut by throwing for 181 yards on 14-24-and touchdown. If that last name sounds familiar it should as his dad is former New York Giant quarterback Phil Simms.

The Vols will be without their leading receiver, Gerald Jones this week due to a broken hand that will keep him sidelined for the next two weeks. Jones had six catches for 86 yards last week.

The game on Saturday will be carried nationally on ESPN2 with a kickoff scheduled for 4 p.m. (PT).

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