Derek Dooley and his going staff knew going into the season this fall that the team had some deficiencies that would be hard to overcome.
Some of those deficiencies came very apparent when Dooley and his young ball club took on No. 7 Oregon at Neyland Stadium Saturday night.
"The film showed us what I already knew," Dooley said Sunday afternoon in a media teleconference. "We competed well for the first quarter and a half, but you could tell a difference in us even as we came out after halftime. We didn't respond very well in the second half."
The Volunteers dominated the Ducks the first 23 minutes of the game, only to find themselves tied with Oregon 13-13 at the intermission. Many thought the way they played should have yielded a bigger lead.
"We have to learn to compete for four quarters," Dooley said. "We didn't know how this young team would respond when adversity hit. We have to learn to play through it and figure out a way to battle through it and battle back. This team doesn't do a very good job when it's behind going into the fourth quarter. We have to get better at that."
One stat that Dooley discovered after taking the Tennessee job is the fact the Vols were winless in seven attempts prior to his arrival when trailing going into the fourth quarter.
"That's a culture and a mindset that we have to figure out how to change," Dooley said. "It's more of a sociological issue. We have to learn how to compete for four quarter and a complete 60 minutes regardless of what the score is."
Dooley said he knew his team would face depth and inexperience issues coming into this season. He acknowledged that the depth situation did play a significant role in Saturday night's game.
"Depth was definitely an issue in the second half," Dooley said. "It affected us how we played, and how we responded late in the game."
Dooley defended the play of his offensive unit, saying he thought it played well until the second-half interception.
"We were moving the ball, we had over 300 yards in offense, everything was going pretty good offensively until the interception," Dooley said. "After that is a different story."
INJURY REPORTCody Pope has a slight concussion and will be day to day, Michael Palardy has a groin issue and will be day to day and Herman Lathers got banged up but all of his tests came back OK.