The Cheat Sheet: UMass

Brent Hubbs, Publisher
Vol Quest

It's back to football for the Vols after a week of explaining and trying to recover from a disappointing loss at Florida.

Today, Tennessee hosts a winless UMass team in Knoxville. Here are our four keys for the Vols our weekly Cheat Sheet.

1. Be Passionate – Let's face it, this has been a rough week. The disappointment from last Saturday hasn't faded and isn't going to go completely away anytime soon. The challenge for Butch Jones & Co., is to channel the disappointment the right way. Jones has said twice this week that his program is "pissed." That's exactly what they should be, and they need to play that way on Saturday. No one feels sorry for them. Tennessee has played hard for three weeks. The team's effort has been really good. They need to play like they “want” to play today.

2. Start fast – Two weeks ago against a subpar team, Tennessee got out of the gates flying returning the opening kickoff for a touchdown. You probably shouldn't expect that on Saturday, but this team needs to get off to a fast start. It's a noon kickoff. There's great disappointment and frustration among the fanbase. There won't be 102,455 in the stands on Saturday. Tennessee should handle business against a winless UMass team, getting out of the gates fast is exactly what this team needs.

3. Tighten up – Tennessee's defense was better last week against Florida. Take out two plays in the fourth quarter and the Gators have around 200 yards of offense. But there are still some concerns about Shoop's defense, and one of those concerns is at cornerback. Through three games, Tennessee's defensive ends have more pass break ups than the cornerbacks. Against Florida, the fear of getting beat deep had the cornerbacks off the ball and backing up at the snap. The quick out and the slant was open frequently. UMass is going to throw it a lot, and the Minutemen run a short controlled passing game. The Vol corners need to react faster than a week ago and not give up so much ground.

4. Take care of business – Butch Jones always speaks of playing a clean game. Last week was far from it, with three turnovers and five penalties in the red zone alone. Tennessee is better than UMass. They should handle business. They need to do it in a clean fashion. Jones has harped all week about the details and improving with their details. It needs to show up Saturday early and often to turn everyone's focus to Georgia.

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