Dunn: Tennessee's offensive woes vs. Pitt not indicative of larger problem
By: John Dunn
Founder, Managing Editor, Host
The All Vol Call in Show
Tennessee's offense struggled mightily in the second half against Pittsburgh on Saturday, managing only a field goal in the second half of regulation. Prior to the season, the Vols' offense was tabbed as one of the most potent in the country. Following a lackluster second half performance against the Panthers, should Tennessee fans be worried?
The short answer: No. I do not expect the sputtery nature of the Vols offense in the second half to be much of a problem moving forward. This was a road game against a top-17 opponent (at the time). Although many will look at Pittsburgh's performance against Tennessee and say, 'they're not a very good team,' the Panthers' defense is actually pretty good.
Tennessee currently bolsters the nation's 23rd-ranked offense and will only improve from there. The Vols are a much better team at home, and seemingly all but one 'must-win' games are played at home this season. Tennessee gets Florida, Alabama, and Kentucky at home this season, all of which are currently ranked in the top-25. The Vols will have to travel between the hedges to take on the top-ranked defending national champion Georgia Bulldogs, which easily makes that the biggest road game remaining for Tennessee. An upset over Georgia would propel the Vols into the national conversation.
Although it would be a monumental upset, Tennessee plays fairly well historically on the road against Georgia. Currently, the Bulldogs have the nation's top-ranked defense. Tennessee has plenty of time to hammer-out the kinks in the offense in order to regain traction as one of the nation's best offensive teams.
With the Akron Zips coming to town on Saturday, expect the Vols to work on fine-tuning their execution and timing on offense. With Arkon being one of the worst teams in the country, it's a good opportunity to work in some exotic schemes without giving away too much to future opposition.
To summarize: Tennessee's offense will be fine. They're a much better team at home (as most teams are), and they will get it figured out. Do not let the second half offensive struggles against Pittsburgh detract from how well the defense played. The Vols defense has stepped up more than once this season. If they can continue to grow defensively, the offense will come easily. My advice? Relax. Tennessee will be just fine on offense. Hendon Hooker will make sure his guys do exactly what they're supposed to do.