Where is UT's discipline?

It isn't running or passing particularly well, but Tennessee's offense is doing one thing better than anyone in college football ... stopping Tennessee's offense.

The Vols have been guilty of a whopping 28 penalties, 10 fumbles (five lost) and two interceptions. Moreover, things seem to be getting worse instead of better. Eight of the fumbles and 11 of the penalties occurred last Saturday vs. Florida. Those would be bad numbers for a season opener. For Game 3, they're horrendous.

''That really shocked me,'' tight end Jason Witten said. ''This late in the year you don't expect that kind of stuff from your football team. We're disappointed and the coaching staff is disappointed. I can assure you that won't be happening again. Coach Fulmer said we've got to be a lot more disciplined.''

After reviewing films of the 30-13 loss to Florida, offensive coordinator Randy Sanders came away convinced of one thing:

''We moved the ball when we didn't stop ourselves,'' he said. ''We stopped ourselves by leaving the ball on the ground and penalties more than anything else.... When we didn't make the big mistakes, we were able to move the ball well.''

Sanders conceded that he is ''very disappointed'' that Tennessee is showing so little discipline four weeks into the season.

''I think some of the penalties and things like that are (related to) youth,'' he said. ''The snaps? You've got a center and quarterback that have been together three years. The thing that's amazing about is that we had 90 snaps, and had four problems within six snaps. We went a long time before that without a problem and a long time after that without a problem. There was something in that brief period that went haywire.''

Though somewhat frustrated by the sloppy play of his troops, Sanders is confident Tennessee can develop into a cohesive and productive offense in the very near future.

''We're really, really close to being able to click on all cylinders,'' he said. ''The last two games we've had penalties and turnovers that have set us back. Usually, you have a few busts or assignment errors, but we're not doing too much of that. We're doing the MAJOR things that kill you. Against Middle Tennessee State, we had problems with holding; we got that fixed. Now we've got to get them to NOT line up offsides and line up where they're supposed to, stay there until the snap and, hopefully, get the snap.''

Witten also believes the Vols are close to getting their offense in gear.

''Every time we watch film, you see plays where if one more guy would've gotten a block or the running back would've taken one step to the left, there could've been some big plays,'' he said. ''I think we're right on the verge of making those plays and really becoming the complete offense we should be and people expect us to be.''


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