Sacks aren't enough

Given the explosive nature of LSU's passing attack, it's vital that Tennessee pressure Tiger quarterback JaMarcus Russell early and often Monday night in Baton Rouge.

If the Vols could sack him five times – as they did Florida quarterback Chris Leak in Game 2 – that certainly would increase their odds of winning the game. But sacks alone won't do the trick.

"Sacks don't really mean too much," Vol linebacker Jason Mitchell says. "The Miami quarterback got sacked six, seven, eight times last weekend. But when he was on his feet he still completed a lot of passes. Sacks don't really mean too much."

Obviously not. Russell was sacked four times by Arizona State in LSU's opener. Even so, he completed 16 of 29 passes for 232 yards. The last of these was a 39-yard touchdown pass in the closing minutes that pulled out a 35-31 victory.

And, despite the Vols' five sacks of Leak, they didn't stop him from completing 17 of 26 passes for 179 yards en route to a 16-7 victory.

There is no doubt that sacks are significant. But, as Mitchell noted, the Vols still have to worry about damage control when the opposing quarterback manages to keep his feet. Against a run/pass threat like JaMarcus Russell, that's even more critical than usual.


Inside Tennessee Top Stories