Which offense will show?

The outcome of Tennessee's upcoming Peach Bowl game with Clemson may hinge on which side of the Vols' Jekyll/Hyde offensive personality shows up.

The Big Orange should win if its offense clicks the way it did in Games 10 and 11 against Mississippi State and Vanderbilt. The Vols piled up 59 points and 535 total yards (177 rushing, 358 passing) in the former, 48 points and 452 total yards (162 rushing, 290 passing) in the latter.

Conversely, Tennessee is likely to lose if its offense plays as it did in Game 12 against Kentucky. The Vols managed just 20 points and 270 total yards (160 rushing, 110 passing) vs. the Wildcats.

''We certainly didn't play nearly as well against Kentucky,'' Vol offensive coordinator Randy Sanders said. ''It wasn't anything Kentucky did. We just didn't play as well ... whether it was the cold, whether it Casey (Clausen) being sick; whether it was the Thanksgiving holiday and guys worried more about turkey than beating Kentucky.''

After clicking against MSU and Vandy, the Big Orange clearly faltered against the Big Blue. That raises the question: Can the Vols recapture that momentum?

''I hope it's something we can recapture,'' Sanders said. ''It's something we've GOT to get back.''

Unfortuntely, momentum is easier to maintain than it is to build. Now that the Vols lost their offensive momentum, they may have trouble re-establishing it. Making matters worse is the 33-day layoff between the UK game and the Peach Bowl.

''It's a concern because we didn't play well in that (Kentucky) game and it'll be a month since we've played,'' Sanders conceded.

The Vols may benefit from the time off or they may suffer because of it. A coordinator never knows which turn his troops will take.

''Bowl games are a lot like opening games,'' Sanders said. ''You don't always know what you're going to get.''

One of the offensive keys for Tennessee is tailback Cedric Houston. He ran for 161 yards in Game 1 vs. Fresno State and 160 in Game 2 vs. Marshall, then did very little the rest of the season. He ran for just six yards in Game 10 vs. MSU and nine in Game 11 vs. Vanderbilt before bouncing back with an 87-yard effort vs. Kentucky in the regular-season finale.

''I thought Cedric ran well,'' Sanders said. ''That's the way you expect him to run. I expect him to do more than what he did. It was a big improvement over what he did before.''


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