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Tennessee Volunteers: A First Look

The Vanderbilt Commodores hope to end the regular season with a bang on Saturday when ‘Dores visit the Tennessee Vols. Here is your first look at the Tennessee Volunteers.

Season so far

The 7-4 Vols opened with a dominating 59-30 win over Bowling Green, a game in which the UT gained 399 yards on the ground.  The following week against then No. 19 Oklahoma the Vols blew an early lead before falling to the Sooners 31-24.  In week three UT blew out Western Carolina.  However the next week the Vols experienced another heartbreaker, this time at Florida.  Against Arkansas, UT had a 14-0 lead before falling 24-20.  In their turning point game, the Vols rallied from an early 24-3 deficit to beat Georgia 38-31.  However, the next week Tennessee fell at Alabama 19-14. UT then won three straight over bottom feeders Kentucky, South Carolina, and North Texas. Most recently the Vols pulled out a 19-8 victory at Missouri. 

Injuries and suspensions

Tennessee has had a flood of injuries and suspensions this season but overall things don't look too bad for them heading into the Vandy game.  Two secondary wide receivers are questionable for Saturday.  Marquez North and Preston Williams have a combined 12 receptions this season are both listed on this week's UT depth chart but might not play on Saturday.  Defensive back Stephen Griffin, who has played in seven games garnering three tackles, is also listed as questionable.  The Vols earlier had lost for the season several players who have seen game action including D-lineman Kyle Phillips, linebacker Quart'e Sapp, defensive tackle Shy Tuttle, wide receiver Pig Howard (dismissed) and linebacker Curt Maggitt. 

Challenges

This game presents a considerable challenge for the Commodores.   Winning on the road in the SEC is something the Commodores haven't done this season. What better place to start than in Neyland Stadium?  Playing in Neyland is a tough draw though. The Vandy coaches should have the Commodores keep their helmets on as bottles and other objects have been known to be thrown in Neyland.  The noise from 100,000 or so fans, many of them mountain folk, can also make it tough to communicate. On the field, the Commodores need to find a way to score.  Over the past four games Vandy has tallied only 21 points offensively.  Maybe some fakes on special teams or a trick play like we saw against Kentucky could help get the job done.    


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