Jayson Swain speaks out

Jayson Swain is frustrated. You can see it on his face. You can see it in his eyes. You can hear it in his voice.

Tennessee's junior receiver is upset about Tennessee's lack of production in the first two games - 24 points combined against Alabama-Birmingham and Florida.

``It's a shame,'' Swain said. ``A lot of middle school teams could probably defend our offense right now. That's a shame with all the talent we have. We need to sit down and get everything straightened out.''

Indeed. Tennessee travels to No. 3 LSU Saturday for a night game in Tiger Stadium. A loss would put the Vols at 0-2 in SEC for the second time in the last six seasons and erase all hope of winning the East Division title.

Asked to describe UT's passing game, Swain said: ``Right now, underachieving.''

Asked how he would have responded if someone told him before the Florida game the Vols would score just seven points, Swain said: ``I'd started laughing, to be honest. Just seven points. I mean, cause, whenever you've got man-to-man coverage, you should be able to get things done.''

But Tennessee wasn't able to get things done against Florida's press coverage. The Vols gained just 216 yards, 66 rushing. They didn't have a play of 20 yards or more. In fact, in two games, the supposedly vaunted Vols offense has just three plays of 20 of more yards.

After scoring on their first two possessions of the season, the Vols have scored on just two of their last 18 possessions.

``We need to get our swagger and just calm down and go out there and have fun and just make the plays we know we can make,'' Swain said.

Swain said the main culprit is miscommunication.

``Obviously there was a lot of miscommunication (against Florida),'' Swain said. ``Anybody in kindergarten can watch the game and see that. It's not all on the receivers.''

Swain was asked if the quarterback rotation has hurt team chemistry.

``I'm not a coach,'' he said after a long pause. ``I just play.''

Swain said UT had very few mix-ups against UAB. He was at a loss to explain why, after an open date, confusion reigned.

``We didn't put too much in,'' Swain said.

Swain said the Vols didn't have this much miscommunication last year. Why the difference?

``That's a pretty hard question,'' he said. ``You'd think with a year of experience and playing with each other, that wouldn't be the case.''

Swain said complexity is not the problem.

``We're not complicated at all,'' Swain said. ``I asked guys who've been here in the past, they're still doing the same things the last five, 10 years here.''

The problems were not confined to one quarterback. Rick Clausen and Erik Ainge both shared in not being on the same page with the receivers.

``In my 21 years of watching football there is no way that you'll complete a pass if one guys is running a route and the quarterback is throwing another,'' Swain said. ``It can't happen.''

Swain said the rest of the offense is as frustrated as he is.

``When you've got so many weapons on offense, especially when you lose a game, yea, it's pretty frustrating,'' he said.

* For the first time in 13-plus seasons under Phillip Fulmer, Tennessee lost when allowing just 16 points.

Only twice under Fulmer have the Vols lost when surrendering 17 points - to Notre Dame last year and Alabama in 1994.

Under Johnny Majors, Tennessee failed to win on 11 occasions when giving up 16 or fewer points. Two were ties.

Between 1964-76, the Vols failed to win 12 times when opponents scored no more than 16 points. It happened four times in 1964 - Doug Dickey's first season as head coach. In 1964, one loss was 3-0 to Auburn and one was a 3-3 tie with LSU.

* Tennessee linebacker Jason Mitchell said traveling to LSU the day of the game isn't a big deal. He said his high school used to bus two to three hours on Fridays for some games.

Defensive end Jason Hall also said it's a non-factor.

``Once you get between the white lines, you just play,'' Hall said.

Swain didn't know UT was traveling the day of the game until informed by the media.

``We're going down the day of the game?'' Swain said. ``Oh. Hum. Gotta play football. Can't lose another game, whether we're going down game day or a minute before the game or two weeks before. We can't lose another game.''

Inside Tennessee Top Stories