Overconfident?

A Tennessee offense that averaged 18.6 points per game in 2005 is averaging nearly double that (35.2 ppg) in 2006. All of the team's other offensive statistics are similarly inflated compared to a year ago.

It appears that only one thing is capable of stopping the Vol attack: overconfidence. Considering how potent Tennessee has been the past three weeks – 33 points vs. Marshall, 41 vs. Memphis, 51 vs. Georgia – the Vols might be candidates for swelled heads.

Offensive coordinator David Cutcliffe, the man widely credited for UT's turnaround from 2005 to '06, says the Vols have no reason to be cocky.

"I wouldn't think anybody's overconfident," he said. "We haven't been just phenomenal in conference play. We only scored 20 against Florida."

In fact, Tennessee was fortunate to score 20 against the Gators; the Vols were limited to minus-11 rushing yards that evening.

"They understand we've had it handed to us," Cutcliffe noted. "What we've tried to do is make this fun, make them understand the commitment at practice to getting it done and being consistent there.

"Hopefully, we won't allow that (overconfidence) to happen. More importantly, I don't believe they would allow that to happen to themselves."

Senior guard David Ligon insists the Vols WON'T allow that to happen.

"The confidence level is good," he said. "I'm not going to say it's high because I think we all realize we don't need to be high-confidence guys. You start thinking you're the best thing since sliced bread, and then you get beat. We have a strong confidence but we're keeping a level head."

If the Vols' offensive players start feeling too good about themselves, Cutcliffe need only remind them of last year's Alabama game, when they managed a paltry three points. That should be an incentive heading into Saturday's rematch.

"Sure, it should be," Cutcliffe said. "They remember that game well. I'm sure most of them – if not all of them – have looked at it (on film). I've looked at parts of it with the quarterbacks."

Cutcliffe grew up in Birmingham and signed a football scholarship with Alabama. Although an injury kept him from playing for the Tide, he knows better than most how much this game means to the guys in crimson.

"This game is different than any other game," he said. "It's still Tennessee-Alabama, and since I've been involved with it, it's been very different. You'd better have yourself ready to play."


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