The drops must stop

Tennessee's pre-game meal on Sept. 3 must've included corn on the cob. The Vols played their opener against Alabama-Birmingham as if they had butter all over their fingers.

Tennessee receivers, running backs and tight ends combined to drop six passes in Game 1, and that contributed significantly to the uncomfortably close (17-10) final score. Offensive coordinator Randy Sanders knows these butter-fingered antics must stop if the Vols are to beat Florida Saturday night in Gainesville. A Game 1 repeat could be disastrous.

"The most disappointing thing was the drops we had," Sanders said. "I think we dropped six passes out of 38 attempts, so right at 16 percent of the balls we threw were drops. That was the most disappointing thing."

Tennessee wideouts made two big plays against UAB – a 53-yard catch/run by C.J. Fayton and a 31-yarder by Jayson Swain. Otherwise, the Blazers' bend-but-don't-break defense limited the Vols to short completions.

"UAB played back in the secondary," Sanders noted. "They were going to give you the underneath stuff, then rally to it and make the tackle. I would've loved to have broken another one but the way they were playing made it hard."

Conversely, Game 2 foe Florida plays a much more aggressive type of pass defense. The Gators' gambling style should give the Vols more opportunities to make big plays.

"If they play a lot of man-to-man -- as they did the first two games -- we need to throw the thing out there, get it caught, break a tackle and make some plays that way," Sanders said. "If you get man-to-man, the definite possibilities are there to break some tackles and make plays."

Florida's first two opponents (Wyoming and Louisiana Tech) completed just 39 percent of their passes, however. This was due largely to the Gators' relentless pass rush.

"Their pass rush is good, so it's not like you've got time to get back there and let a receiver run 20 yards downfield, then throw it to him," Sanders said. "You'd better be throwing it before he has a chance to get that far."

And, when the Vols throw it, they need to be sure and catch it.


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