Adjusting on the run

Tennessee defenses routinely play better in the second half than in the first half. The 2005 stop unit, for instance, allowed 31 first-half points, 19 second-half points in Games 1, 2 and 3. As a result, there is a widespread perception that defensive coordinator John Chavis tends to wait until halftime to make major adjustments.

Clearly, Chavis has heard this criticism because he addressed it recently. When asked what adjustments he made that enabled Tennessee to rally from a 21-0 halftime deficit to beat LSU 30-27 last Monday night at Baton Rouge, the coordinator shrugged.

"We really didn't have to say a lot," he said. "Attitude-wise, maybe they adjusted a little bit. They were determined to get it done and said they could get it done. That was the biggest thing. I probably talked to ‘em less at halftime than I ever have.

"Our scheme is flexible enough that we can adjust it where we need to on the run. We don't have to go in (at halftime) and sit down. We can adjust it on the run."

Halftime adjustments were unnecessary in last Saturday's 27-10 defeat of Ole Miss. The Vols limited the Rebels to 94 passing yards and minus-1 rushing yards in the first half. In fact, if not for a 56-yard run by Mico McSwain in the final two minutes against UT reserves, the Rebels would've had minus-yardage rushing for the entire game.

Inside Tennessee Top Stories