Staff: UT 'close' to making plays

Fans watching Tennessee's offense see chaos ... Jonathan Wade running into Casey Clausen on an end-around, Derrick Tinsley being belted in the backfield just as he takes a handoff, missed blocks that leave running backs to change directions and leave Clausen to run for his life.

But, while fans see chaos, Tennessee's coaches see an attack they believe is on the verge of making big plays. After reviewing films of the Vol-Arkansas shootout, offensive coordinator Randy Sanders said there's no doubt the Big Orange was inches away from a very productive outing.

''We were so close to making plays ... so close,'' he said. ''The first half we had opportunities to get a lot more done than we got done.''

So, why aren't the Vols getting it done?

''Earlier in the year it was big things that were stopping us. Now it's little things,'' Sanders said. ''There were a few times (vs. Arkansas) that we had people running wide open with chances to really knock that game out with some passes but we didn't have time to throw it and got sacked.

''If we do a little better job protecting and make some of those throws, the score's probably 35-3 going into the fourth quarter and the rest of the game's a moot point.

''It's nothing really that the defense is doing to stop us. It's more our own mistakes creating our problems.''

Head coach Phillip Fulmer said the running game is awfully close to breaking loose, as well. Jabari Davis ran for 135 yards but easily could've gained a lot more.

''There were four or five plays where if he'd gone outside a little or cut back a little bit ... '' the coach said, letting the sentence hang. ''That's just time and experience. For Jabari, a cut here or there, and instead of a six-yard gain, we've got a 26-yard gain.''


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