'Hurry-up' might help

Down 21-0 at LSU, Tennessee went with a hurry-up offense that eventually produced a 30-27 victory.

Down 13-7 against Memphis last Saturday, Tennessee used a hurry-up offense to drive 94 yards in 1:52 and score the go-ahead touchdown with four seconds left to halftime.

Since the Vol offense is so inept at regular speed, you wonder why Tennessee doesn't rely more on its hurry-up attack. Has the coaching staff considered that option?

"We have," head coach Phillip Fulmer said this week. "That's great stuff if it works. But if you run 45 seconds off the clock, then put your defense back on the field pretty quick, that's not necessarily a good thing to do. We have the ability to use the no-huddle."

The no-huddle, hurry-up offense keeps the offensive players focused and keeps defensive players from moving around so much. Some teams, including UT's Saturday foe, use this style of attack virtually all game.

"Vanderbilt does," Fulmer noted. "They ran 104 plays against Kentucky – 94 were official plays – but you don't want to leave your defense out there that long, if you can help it."

Vandy's hurry-up attack produced 42 points against Florida and 43 against UK the past two weekends.

In addition to an offense that scores a lot of points, though, Vanderbilt has a defense that allows a lot of points. The Commodores rank dead last among the 12 SEC teams in scoring defense, allowing 35.3 points per game. They're 11th in total defense (419.3 yards per game) and in pass defense (438.9 yards per game). Clearly, the offensively challenged Vols have a chance to put up some points this weekend.

"We hope so," Fulmer said. "But we would say that every week. We've had our struggles offensively, and anything we can do to be more consistent on offense is our goal. We need consistency at every position to get over this hump that we seem to have not quite climbed yet.

"There have been flashes of really good things but not enough consistency."

So, what were the "flashes" the coach saw last weekend against Memphis?

"The drive right before the half was obviously very impressive," Fulmer said. "Arian Foster's consistency for three games has been impressive. Keeping the ball 11 minutes of the fourth quarter Saturday was a big deal, too. Neither the quarterback nor the running back is doing it by himself, though. There are a lot of people contributing.

"At different times we've been very efficient. At different times we've been our own worst enemy, too."


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