Defense has been 'disappointing'

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After surrendering 721 yards of offense in Week 9 to Troy, things seemingly are going in reverse for the Tennessee defense.

Coordinator Sal Sunseri tried to find a few positives from the Volunteers 55-48 win in Neyland Stadium, which coincidentally was a record breaker both in total points in Neyland Stadium (103) and defensive yards for the Vols.

"I am disappointed, of course, in what happened," Sunseri told the media Wednesday. "The only thing I am not disappointed about is that we won the game. We figured out a way to get off the field at the end of the game and get the ball to the offense. Then we played well in two-minute."

The Vols are swimming in the bottom of the barrel in all of the FBS in total defense ranking 112 of 120 teams giving up 438 yards per game, but despite the stats they continue to work to get something right.

"Right now we just have to play better defense," Sunseri said. "That is the attitude that I want to take to the kids. We are going to work through it so we understand it and we do what we need to do to get better.

"The season isn't over yet. We have a chance to go out there and get another win. We are looking at this game. The kids, my hats are off to them because they came out here today and they gave everything they could and they are trying."

One of Tennessee's most glaring struggles has come in the secondary, where opponents are completing over 61 percent of their passes, but much of that has been caused by man-to-man coverage, which fans should see a lot less of Saturday against Missouri.

"You would like to have faster guys, but that is in anything," Sunseri said of the corners. "We have to go out there and do what our kids are capable of doing."

Another change fans can look for Saturday is Sunseri's possible ascension into the box, which head coach Derek Dooley mentioned as a possibility Monday when talking of game-day changes in operation.

"I like being up there because you are away from everything. I think you get better eyes up there and you can see more of what is going on. The only I am going to miss is being around those kids and pushing them and things like that."

After 4348 yards gained by opposing teams against the Vols, Sunseri says that his biggest disappointment falls on himself.

"I am not disappointed in the kids," he said. "I am disappointed in myself. I just have to keep pushing them and keep on finding what is going to trigger them better."

Watch as Sunseri and select coaches and players address the media:

Sal Sunseri

Derrick Ansley

Curt Maggitt


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