Open date a benefit?

Considering all of the time he's missed with injuries, it isn't surprising that Tennessee linebacker Kevin Simon prefers game days to off weeks. Still, he sees some benefits to the open date the Vols have today.

"I think this bye week is going to help us a lot," he said. "A lot of guys are getting their legs back under them. Our two-a-days was long. I think we went four days longer than usual, so guys are still getting their legs back."

An even bigger benefit to this open date is that it has given the Vols additional time to work out some of the problems that were exposed in Game 1 vs. Alabama-Birmingham. The ground game was so-so, the receivers dropped too many passes and the defense gave up too many passing yards.

Fortunately, the Vols understand they have a lot of rough spots that need to be smoothed out, and they worked diligently toward that end last week. In that regard, the disappointing effort against UAB may prove to be a positive.

"We made some mistakes, offensively and defensively," Simon noted. "This off week is giving us a sense of urgency. Everyone knows they need to get better."

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