Quarterback Casey Clausen touched on the same theme when asked what must happen for the Vols' anemic offense to get untracked.
''We need guys to get healthy, No. 1,'' he said. ''We're a completely different team when I don't play ... when a guy like Kelley (Washington) doesn't play.''
Offensive coordinator Randy Sanders conceded that losing the centerpiece of his offense so close to gameday created some major problems.
''Everything in our gameplan was anticipating Kelley being out there,'' the coordinator said. ''It obviously altered what we did some. Kelley's a guy that you know if you can get him one on one, you're usually going to win. That turned it into a whole lot more of a guessing game on third down Ñ trying to figure out who they were going to double-team and who would be singled, then trying to call a play for that guy and get the right guy in position.''
Clausen also noted the negative impact of Washington's absence.
''That changed the way the game was going to be played quite a bit,'' the Vol QB said.
While Clausen would like to see the same faces in the huddle each week, he has come to accept that this is not likely to happen during this injury-plagued season.
''You just try to play with whoever's out there ... find ways to move the ball and find ways to put points on the board,'' he said. ''Whoever is the 11 in the huddle, you've got to go with it, try to do the best you can.''
While many Vols mention injuries as an explanation for their disappointing record, offensive tackle Will Ofenheusle seems unwilling to rely on that alibi.
''You've got to be a man, stand up and play the hand you're dealt,'' he said. ''You can't say, 'Oh, Casey's not here. What are we going to do?'
''We've got to pull our own weight and a little bit of his, too. We haven't gotten that done this year.''