Will fresh legs help UT?

The Tennessee Vols failed to exploit their superior quickness in a 17-13 Game 9 loss to Notre Dame, but there may be a logical explanation for that. Paying their eighth game in eight weeks, Tennessee's players may have been leg-weary. If so, that could've negated their apparent edge in speed and leveled the playing field somewhat.

Fortunately for Tennessee, last weekend's open date enabled the Vols to rest their legs a bit. As a result, they should be much quicker and more explosive Saturday against Vanderbilt than they were two weeks earlier against Notre Dame.

''We didn't have very much dynamic happen,'' offensive coordinator Randy Sanders conceded of the Notre Dame game. ''I was watching the film (of Monday's practice), and it jumped out at you how much faster we looked this week in practice than we did last week ... just having a few days off and getting our legs back.''

The widespread perception is that Tennessee's offense has grown conservative in recent weeks. Perhaps it has merely grown tired.

''Earlier in the year it looked like we were playing really fast as an offense,'' Sanders said. ''The last couple of games we haven't looked nearly as fast. The difference was really evident watching the tapes.''

Although the Vols seemed flat against Notre Dame, the coordinator suggests that may have been the result of their physical state, not their mental state.

''We had a lot of guys that were either injured or tired,'' he said.

The Vols won't have those excuses this weekend at Vanderbilt. Their legs are rested and their bruises are healed. How much difference will that make in their Game 10 performance?

We'll find out Saturday at 12:30 EST.


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