Back to the press box

Tennessee's first-year offensive coordinator thought he called some good plays from the press box in Game 1 at UCLA ... they just didn't work. That's why he'll be in the press box again for the home opener this Saturday against UAB.

Dave Clawson, who called plays from the sidelines during his four-year stints as head coach at Fordham (1999-2003) and Richmond (2004-07), conceded that watching the action from the coaches' booth in the press box at Rose Bowl Stadium on Labor Day was "different."

After a brief pause, he added: "I'll get more and more used to it."

Although Tennessee's offensive performance in its 27-24 overtime loss to UCLA was poor, the problem was the execution of the players, not the location of the coordinator. Clawson said the fact he called plays from the press box, not the sidelines, did not adversely affect the Game 1 showing.

"I felt comfortable up there," he said. "I had good communication with Jonathan (Crompton) on the phone."

Crompton apparently had better communication with his position coach than he did with his receivers. Bothered by a sore ankle, the junior quarterback completed just 19 of 41 passes for 189 yards. He did not look nearly as sharp as he had in preseason scrimmages.

Clawson believes the passing attack will be much crisper in Game 2 than it was in Game 1.

"After the UCLA game, we need to be very concerned with how WE play – making sure our guys guys are stepping in the right direction and we're getting people covered up and we don't have any negative-yardage plays," Clawson said.

"Not to take anything away from UCLA – because I thought they had a good plan against us and I thought they played really well on defense – but we had too many breakdowns to expect to be successful on offense. Those are things that have to get a lot better from Week 1 to Week 2, and that's what we're working hard to do."

Although the UCLA game proved to be an offensive fiasco, Clawson believes the advantages of calling a game from the press box still outweigh the disadvantages.

"I think I was able to make some adjustments in the game – in terms of protections and route adjustments – that would be hard to make from the sidelines," he said. "You do miss being able to look the players eye-to-eye but you can't have it both ways."

Since he can only have it one way, Clawson says that way will be to monitor Game 2 from the press box, just as he did in Game 1.

"Right now the positives of being up there certainly outweigh the negatives," he said. "So there's no plan on switching that."


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