One thing is for sure, Derek Dooley isn't overlooking this week's non-conference opponent, Alabama Birmingham.
The Blazers are coming off a come-from-behind win over Troy for their first win of the season, but Dooley feels his young team is nowhere near being able to take anyone for granted.
"They are in the fourth year of their program," Dooley said Wednesday during the weekly SEC Media Teleconference. "They won't be starry-eyed, they have been there before. We are very young and will be playing a lot of young guys out there Saturday. We have to be ready to play."
Dooley also noted in an earlier press conference that he has a lot of respect for the Blazers' coaching staff.
"I'm very familiar with their coaches, they do a great job," Dooley said. "They are in the fourth year at Birmingham, most everyone are their recruits."
Dooley repeated a couple of time that this will be a big challenge for his young ball club.
"This is definitely a big game for us," Dooley said. "It's a big challenge, after playing Oregon and Florida, we can't get caught up in who we have played, we have to be concerned on who we are playing."
Dooley has stressed from the beginning of fall camp that one of the most important things for his new ball club is to improve each week. Has Dooley been pleased with the Vols improvement so far?
"I have been in some areas," Dooley said. "From a competitive standpoint, how we have handled adversity. We still have a lot of work to do in those areas, but we are getting better."
One area of concern for Dooley is how the Vols have played on offense on third-down situations and how his defense has also played on third down.
"We are not doing very well on third and long," Dooley said. "First we have to work on not putting ourselves in so many third and long situations. We also need to do a better job stopping our opponents on third down."
Dooley's Vols are 1-2 after back-to-back battles with Top 10 nationally ranked teams. After Saturday's noon matchup with the Blazers, Tennessee, which played its first four games at home at Neyland Stadium, will have to play three out of four games in October on the road.
"We have to play at our best Saturday," Dooley said. "We are going to be playing a lot of young guys out there. We will have to come to play."