Ugly win better than ugly loss

While Vol Nation is wondering what's wrong with its football team after a three-point win over UAB in double overtime, a victory beats the alternative. Go "Inside" to get our thoughts on what happened Saturday and what is causing some of the issues.

It wasn't pretty, but a win is a win.

Yes, it was Alabama Birmingham, a team Tennessee should have handled by a lot bigger margin.

No, it shouldn't have taken two overtimes to beat the Blazers, but the final result Saturday at Neyland Stadium, a 32-29 win, was much better than the alternative.

A win over UAB is better than a loss to Jacksonville State or to Vanderbilt; in fact it's better than a loss to anyone.

While the Vol faithful may not revel in the victory over a Conference USA opponent, there are multiple reasons that the game was closer than it should have been.

Nine starters were missing from action, taking the numbers Derek Dooley and his staff were playing with near the low 60s.

Depth is so bad for the Vols that Dooley announced Sunday that he was letting the team have two days back-to-back off and that Tennessee would not practice Monday.

Is Dooley already giving up on his youngsters? Not a chance - in fact he is doing something to try to save his team.

Two defenders Janzen Jackson and Prentiss Waggner both played 96 snaps each. Most games a player gets around 65 to 70 snaps a game.

Tennessee's offense got off to a good start, scoring on three out of four of its first offensive possessions.

The Vols defense even got into the action with Waggner's interception return before the half giving UT a 23-7 advantage.

In the last three games the Vols have been a much better first half team than a second half closer, and many are asking why.

Does it have to do with halftime coaching adjustments?

One thing for sure: The Vols opponents have adjusted to what UT has been doing successfully and have stopped it.

Look at the Oregon game for an example. Tauren Poole rushed for 141 yards in the first half and only 23 in the second.

Oregon stopped the run in the second half and loaded the box to do it, daring Tennessee to beat them with the pass.

It appears that the numbers and depth issue have had more to do with the second half collapses of this team than the coaching staff not making the right adjustments at the half.

Injuries are playing a major role in the Vols offensive and defensive woes.

Poole goes out and doesn't return to the game and Dooley said following the UAB game that he wasn't pleased with the play of the Vols running backs after his departure.

On Sunday Dooley stated that true freshman Rajion Neal will see more action.

Dooley has often said this fall that the true measuring stick of his team's chemistry is how it responds when the tough times arrive.

With an October schedule that has UT going to LSU, Georgia and South Carolina, that time is here already. I forgot to mention the Vols home game in October - it's against No. 1 Alabama.


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