Can you pass the mustard?
- May 29, 2009
Tennessee closes the regular season against Vanderbilt with a bowl bid firmly in pocket. In years past, Vol fans could look forward to this contest being a lopsided score fest that ended the season in style. In recent years, fans have been left to wonder whether we could get the win to get bowl eligible or even worse... just GET the win. Times change, and they change again. Let's have a quick look.
Keys to Victory:
1. Hit 'em Fast: Look for Heupel to perfectly script early drives as Vanderbilt tries to figure out how to keep up. 21 in the first quarter would be a nice start.
2. Win the bowl game: Vanderbilt has no bowl game, as usual. They like to play make-believe that this is their bowl game, so as such, we will be getting their best. Vanderbilt is bad, but they have improved over the year. Tennessee needs to take care of business here and not be caught unmotivated. As Georgia State once proved, inferior talent when properly motivated and prepared can beat superior talent when demotivated and unprepared. Don't expect Tennessee to be unprepared today.
3. Make a Statement: This game is about recruiting. Players have taken notice, but few have jumped in the boat since the season began. Tennessee needs to make a big statement today demonstrating their high-flying offense and how fun it is to be a Vol. Get those players who are on the fence to come to the orange side of the yard. This is especially true for 2023 kids in attendance.
4. Development: Copy from last week: This should be a game to allow for the younger players to show what they've got and reward them a bit for not taking their ball and going home to the transfer portal. Expect Heupel to go full-on for a half or through mid 3rd quarter... and then go full-on with the back-ups. The defense especially needs repetitons... though it seems like just about every able bodied man is out there already. See what Milton has. Give him a chance to show progress. If he leaves, we are in dire straits for next season, and he's always one play away, so let's see if he is developing or if we really need to take another 1-2 QB's from the portal.
Prediction: Heupel names his score. Lots of youth and seniors you've never heard of on senior day. Look for the Vols to lock this one up by the 3rd quarter and then play the older guys and some younger guys.