Can Casey keep road record intact?

When Casey Clausen guided Tennessee to a 24-10 defeat of Florida last month in Gainesville, the victory improved his record as a road quarterback to a mind-boggling 11-0. He'll try to add another road win to his resume' when the Vols visit Auburn Saturday night.

Clausen is 15-4 in home games and 2-3 on neutral sites, which raises the question: Is he more focused on the road?

''Not really,'' offensive coordinator Randy Sanders says. ''I think Casey's pretty much the same all the time. It just seems like this team focuses more on the road, comes together more, has a little more sense of urgency to get it done.

''The quarterback is always dependent on what those other guys on the field are doing. It seems like when we're on the road we have fewer mistakes, across the board.''

Center Scott Wells says the Vols as a team -- not just Clausen -- seem to execute better in hostile environments.

''I don't know if it's natural but it seems natural for us,'' he says. ''It seems like it's much easier for us to get up for a game on the road because you know to expect to pretty much have your backs against the wall and have to fight through a lot of adversity to get the win.

''The crowd's going to be against you and you don't know what the weather's going to be -- hot or cold or whatever. Definitely, you have to be more prepared, and I think the mind-setting starts a little earlier when we're on the road.''

Linebacker Kevin Burnett likes road games, as well. The fact the crowd remains silent while the home team has the ball makes his life easier.

''You communicate better on the road,'' he says. ''At home, you have to use hand signals (because fans are cheering to disrupt the opposing offense) and everybody might not get the hand signals.

''On the road, everybody can hear you, so you can work through some things. I think it plays to our advantage playing defense on the road. But the (Vol) offense has a hard time hearing the snap count, so it's a kind of win/lose proposition.''


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