Tennessee looking to Hogs as role model for success

Arkansas wide receiver Joe Adams (3) is held by guard Grant Cook (72) as they celebrate Adams' touchdown with offensive tackle Grant Freeman, right, during the second half of the NCAA college football game in Fayetteville, Ark., Saturday, Nov. 12, 2011. Arkansas defeated Tennessee 49-7. (AP Photo/Danny Johnston)

Arkansas wide receiver Joe Adams (3) is held by guard Grant Cook (72) as they celebrate Adams’ touchdown with offensive tackle Grant Freeman, right, during the second half of the NCAA college football game in Fayetteville, Ark., Saturday, Nov. 12, 2011. Arkansas defeated Tennessee 49-7. (AP Photo/Danny Johnston)

_________

I have always been a firm believer in putting your best players on the defensive side of the ball because defense wins championships. The main reason I have always believed that is very simple. Offensive players seem to have off days more often than defensive players. How often have you seen a quarterback have an off day passing the ball?

John Adams: Arkansas a special role model for Vols

John Adams
  • By John Adams
  • govolsxtra.com
  • Posted August 12, 2012 at 6:56 p.m.

However, I will be the first to admit that Arkansas last year was able to finish ranked in the top 5 with a subpar defensive team and an explosive passing game. Could Tennessee experience the same type of success this year?

The offense ranked 81st nationally in rushing. The defense was ninth in the SEC.

That’s no way to win a championship, right?

No. But Arkansas did OK for itself with a below-average running game and a pedestrian defense last season.

The Razorbacks passed their way to an 11-2 record and a fifth-place finish in both top-25 polls. Tennessee fans couldn’t ask for a better role model.

Arkansas had an accomplished passer in Tyler Wilson. UT has an accomplished passer in Tyler Bray.

The strength of Arkansas’ team was its receiving corps. The strength of UT’s team is its receiving corps.

So far, so good for the Vols. There’s a catch, though.

Although Arkansas proved you can pass your way to national prominence without honoring such traditional SEC virtues as running and defense, its special teams played a huge complementary role in its success.

You might remember Joe Adams, who seemingly became invisible in the face of five UT defenders on a touchdown punt return.

He led the SEC in punt returns last season, and two other Razorbacks ranked third and fourth in the conference in kickoff returns.

Arkansas’ Dylan Breeding led the SEC in punting average, and placekicker Zach Hocker ranked second in field goals made.

UT has a potentially explosive passing game like Arkansas’. Its defense could be just as good or better than the Razorbacks’ was last season. And its running game can’t help but be improved after outrushing only four other FBS teams.

But imagine if the Vols had special teams comparable to the 2011 Razorbacks. If that’s too much to ask, imagine what improvement top-40 special teams could provide.

The Vols ranked 61st last season in punt returns, 41st in kickoff returns, and 104th in net punting. They didn’t have any Lou Groza

candidates, either.

Maybe experience will help. Punter Matt Darr and placekicker/punter Michael Palardy, who wowed no one last season, return. Palardy needed only one scrimmage to boost special-teams optimism. He made all four of his field-goal attempts in Saturday’s first preseason scrimmage.

Punt/kick returner Devrin Young also returns. Though not in Adams’ class, he qualified as an upgrade for UT last season.

Recruiting could be a factor, too. Much has been made of the impact wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson could have on the passing game. He also could impact the return game.

“It’s hard to find better than Devrin from what I saw,” UT special-teams coach Charlie Coiner said. “But CP brings something to the table.”

He brings track speed. That was evident last season at Hutchinson Community College, where he returned 10 kicks for 482 yards and three touchdowns.

“CP is one of those guys,” Coiner said. “How good is he? I can tell you he’s fast and we’re glad we have him.”

Adams repeatedly showed the difference a big-play return man could make, But you don’t need last season’s Razorbacks to appreciate the impact of special teams. Just check out the last two college games played in the Georgia Dome.

Auburn recovered an onside kick, blocked two punts and had a 62-yard kick return in beating Virginia 43-24 in last December’s Chick-fil-A Bowl. A few weeks earlier, LSU defeated Georgia 42-10 in the SEC championship game, thanks in part, to special-teams play.

LSU’s Tyrann Mathieu had a 62-yard return for a touchdown and averaged 29.8 yards on four punt returns. Tigers punter Brad Wing averaged 50.8 yards on eight punts.

Those are other examples worth following when the Vols open their 2012 season in the Georgia Dome.

John Adams is a senior columnist. He may be reached at 865-342-6284 or adamsj@knoxnews.com. Follow him at http://twitter.com/johnadamskns

1-7 SEC record was worst ever for Vols, Dooley on hot seat?

Tenn Football Coach Derek Dooley’s Mom on the Radio Uploaded by jebusfubar4 on Oct 7, 2011 I really enjoyed hearing Vince Dooley speak a couple of years ago at the Little Rock Touchdown Club and he said that his son Derek would do a good job at Tennessee if given enough time. Evidently Derek’s mom […]

Arkansas’ worst record against SEC foe in football?

Photo by HEATHER STONE/KNOXVILLE NEWS SENTINEL University of tennessee football Coach Phillip Fulmer signals for a time out during an October 9, 1993 game against Arkansas. Here are the records for the first 11 eleven years in SEC: OpponentsW-L929394959697989900010203Alabama4-7LLLWLWWLWLL Auburn5-1-5TLLWLLWWLWW Florida0-3   LLL      Georgia1-4LW      LLL Kentucky1-2      WL  L LSU5-6WWLLLLWLWLW Mississippi6-5LLWWWLWLLWW Mississippi State7-1-3LTLWWWLWWWW South Carolina7-4WWLWLLWWLWW Tennessee2-9WLLLLLLWLLL Vanderbilt2-0  WW        Summary40-2-483-1-43-1-42-66-32-62-66-24-43-54-45-4   I hate to reveal this but Arkansas’ worst record against a SEC football foe […]

What are the permanent cross-division opponents in future SEC football schedules?

 Third Saturday in October Uploaded by GrossE254 on Oct 24, 2006 The 2006 matchup proved to be another classic in the Tennessee Alabama rivalry. ____________ I like the new SEC schedule plan. Of course, the one permanent between divisions were hard to come up with although the Tennessee-Alabama game has a longtime history as does […]

Tennessee Football’s 10 Most Heartbreaking Losses, 1989-2007 (The Hogs made the list twice!!) Part 1

Photo by BYRON SMALL/KNOXVILLE NEWS SENTINEL Septermber 2, 1997 – University of tennessee football Coach Phillip Fulmer announced Monday, Nov, 3, 2008, his plans to step down. Here’s Fulmer talks with then UT quarterback Peyton Manning on the sidelines. The hogs made the list twice: Tennessee Football’s 10 Most Heartbreaking Losses, 1989-2007 By Will Shelton […]

Top football stadiums in the country (Part 8)

Vanderbilt Highlights vs. Arkansas – Oct. 29, 2011 Memphis 21 Tennessee 17 excerpt from “1996 Tiger Football Here is a list of the top football stadiums in the country. Power Ranking All 124 College Football Stadiums   By Alex Callos (Featured Columnist) on April 19, 2012  When it comes to college football stadiums, for some teams, […]

National Championship denied: Tennessee Vols miracle comeback in 1998 killed Razorbacks chance in November to pursue title

Photo by HEATHER STONE/KNOXVILLE NEWS SENTINEL University of tennessee football Coach Phillip Fulmer signals for a time out during an October 9, 1993 game against Arkansas. I will never forget this game as long as I live. What a sad way for a great game to end for my razorbacks. Tennessee Volunteers’ 1998 National Championship: […]

Tennessee defensive back Izauea Lanier is unable to stop a touchdown run by Arkansas running back De'Anthony Curtis at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville on Nov. 12, 2011. UT lost the game 49-7. (AMY SMOTHERMAN BURGESS/NEWS SENTINEL)<br /><br /><br />
” width=”607″ /></p><br /><br />
<p>Photo by <a title=Amy Smotherman Burgess, ©KNS/2011

Tennessee defensive back Izauea Lanier is unable to stop a touchdown run by Arkansas running back De’Anthony Curtis at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville on Nov. 12, 2011. UT lost the game 49-7. (AMY SMOTHERMAN BURGESS/NEWS SENTINEL)

Tennessee quarterbacks coach Darrin Hinshaw sends in Matt Simms in the fourth quarter against Arkansas at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville on Nov. 12, 2011. UT lost the game 49-7. (AMY SMOTHERMAN BURGESS/NEWS SENTINEL)<br /><br /><br />
” width=”607″ /></p><br /><br />
<p>Photo by <a title=Amy Smotherman Burgess, ©KNS/2011

Tennessee quarterbacks coach Darrin Hinshaw sends in Matt Simms in the fourth quarter against Arkansas at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville on Nov. 12, 2011. UT lost the game 49-7. (AMY SMOTHERMAN BURGESS/NEWS SENTINEL)

Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: