Coaches speak out

Tennessee offensive coordinator Randy Sanders said the Vols properly executing about 90 to 92 percent of their plays. It's the other 8 to 10 percent that are ``absolutely killing us.''

Coach Phillip Fulmer echoed those comments.

To paraphrase John McEnroe, ``Are you serious?''

You can't be. To blame UT's offensive woes on just a few plays per game challenges the intelligence of fans and media alike. Just a few plays?

If you're executing at least 90 percent of your plays correctly, that means that out of 62 snaps against Georgia, about 56 plays were run right.

Let's examine the actual numbers. If you're talking about execution, then each incompletion counts as a negative, each sack, each fumble, each interception, each penalty, each drop, each time you get stuffed at the line of scrimmage.

Against Georgia, UT had 15 incompletions, four penalties, allowed one sack, and had 13 runs of 3 or fewer yards - not counting Rick Clausen's 1-yard sneak for a touchdown. That's 33 plays out of 62 that didn't work as planned.

So, based on my calculations, UT executed about 47 percent of its pays correctly - not 90 or 92 percent. Receivers are not catching the ball consistently. Linemen are not blocking consistently. Quarterbacks are not throwing accurately enough. Running backs aren't breaking enough tackles.

Part of UT's offensive problems can be traced to execution. But let's not leave out coaching. Isn't lack of execution an indictment on coaching? When you don't run plays properly during a game, are you running them properly in practice? If not, why not?

It's evident that UT's offense is not achieving at the level of its talent. You can point a finger at the players for not getting it done. You can point another finger at the coaches for not demanding enough - and not getting the players to execute.

But don't tell me you're executing at least 90 percent of your plays correctly. Stephens Would Like to Have Two Lines

Arron Sears played three positions - both guard spots and left tackle - in a recent game. Line coach Jimmy Ray Stephens isn't a fan of rotating linemen, but necessity called.

``I'm more a fan of having two groups playing the same position all the time and being able to rotate those two groups,'' Stephens said. ``I've never quite understood offensive linemen playing the whole game and defensive linemen rotating all the time. Heck, the guys who are the heaviest and have the least amount of stamina athletically are offensive linemen, but they're the ones always asked to go (every snap) because coordinators and head coaches want to protect their quarterbacks and you're worried about making mistakes.

``I believe if you can prepare two lines and get those guys an opportunity to play with fresh legs, to me, a lot of times, that's better than a more athletic lineman that's tired. I just believe you play a lot of guys if they're ready.''

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