Consider Saturday's SEC games:
- Kentucky scored two touchdowns because of kickoff returns. Keenan Burton returned the opening kickoff 93 yards to set up a TD and Rafael Little returned a subsequent kickoff 99 yards for another score. Those 14 points provided the winning edge in the Big Blue's 41-29 defeat of Idaho State.
- Louisiana State, outplayed from scrimmage, won because it scored two touchdowns on blocked kicks. The Tigers returned a blocked field goal 55 yards for a TD and returned a blocked punt 29 for another score. Those 14 points were pivotal as LSU knocked off Arizona State 35-31.
Clearly, special-teams play often proves decisive in close games. And, with Tennessee likely to have close games at Florida and LSU the next two weekends, the Vols definitely need better special-teams play than they got in Game 1 vs. UAB. Britton Colquitt punted once for a so-so 38 yards. James Wilhoit hit a 46-yard field goal but missed a 47-yarder. Jonathan Hefney returned one punt for zero yards, while Robert Meachem and Inky Johnson combined to average just 16.3 yards on three kickoff returns.
Tennessee needs to fine-tune its special-teams play this week. The better the Vols' special-teams play is, the better their chances are to win at Gainesville and Baton Rouge these next two weekends.