Open date vs. playing

Conventional wisdom holds that, when you fall off a horse, the best recourse is to jump right back on the horse.

Continuing that logic, when you lose a football game, the best recourse should be to jump right back into another football game.

Coming off Monday night's discouraging 27-24 overtime loss at UCLA, however, the Tennessee Vols didn't have that luxury this weekend. Because of an open date, the quest for redemption will have to wait at least another week ... until they face UAB in the home opener.

"We've got UAB (Sept. 13) and Florida (Sept. 20) to look forward to," junior cornerback Marsalous Johnson said. "Once we play them we can get this bad taste out of our mouth."

Tennessee played so poorly in the opener at Pasadena that the bad taste remains pretty overwhelming. Johnson and his teammates would've loved the opportunity to rid themselves of that flavor in prompt fashion.

"It definitely would be nice if we had a game this weekend," he mused, "instead of having to wait a week."

Whereas Tennessee's players would prefer to have played this weekend, Tennessee's coaches believe the extra practices will prove to be more beneficial than another game would've been.

"I think this is probably a good time for us (to have an open date)," head coach Phillip Fulmer said. "It gave us a lot of time to watch the tape multiple times as a staff, to evaluate personnel and see what we can do differently or better.

"And we could stay mad a couple of days because we didn't have to turn our attention immediately to UAB."


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