Tennessee Pride

Defensive back Jason Allen won't come out and say the problem with Tennessee's special teams is a lack of pride … but he implies as much.

Vol special teams qualified as a disaster area in last Saturday's 16-7 loss at Florida. Tennessee had a field goal blocked, fumbled a punt, threw an incomplete pass on a fake punt, had another punt that netted just eight yards and averaged less than 13 yards on four kickoff returns.

Allen, a senior captain who distinguished himself on special teams as a freshman and sophomore, says the key is basically committing to do your best – whether you're covering a punt, blocking on a kickoff return or whatever.

"It's a want," he said. "You've got to take pride in doing your job. Don't look at it as taking a play off."

Allen stopped short of saying the guys playing special teams this year aren't dedicated but he hinted they aren't as dedicated as the special teams performers he played alongside in 2002 and 2003.

"The guys I played with, we really took pride in special teams," he said. "Every time we were on the field we wanted to go out and make plays. I looked at it as ‘It's another down, another opportunity to make plays, so let's go out and do it.'

"It's about an attitude – ‘I want to get the job done.' It's all about attitude."

Apparently, that attitude was lacking last weekend at Gainesville.

Unless the Vols get their special teams problems resolved quickly, they're likely to lose Saturday night at LSU, a team which places a great emphasis on special teams play. The Tigers blocked a punt and a field goal – returning each for a touchdown – in their season-opening defeat of Arizona State.


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