Game Day Eve: Fencing In the Vols

This week’s game: Tennessee (3-2, 0-2 SEC) at No. 19 MSU (5-0, 2-0), Saturday, 8 p.m., ESPN2 (Joe TessitoreMatt Millen and Allison Williams)


Tennessee is gonna throw, throw, throw the ball, then throw it some more. Sure, the Volunteers will run it, and they’ve been pretty effective with that. But this is a pass-first offense, and maybe the best offense in the league, period. So how does MSU handle that?

In today’s Journal, you can read about the Bulldogs’ plans to fence in Tennessee. It’s all about being in the right position, and as you can see in the story, cornerbacks coach Melvin Smith used an interesting metaphor from his time on the farm to illustrate it. Gotta keep those cows hemmed in, now.

Let’s count how many times Smith says “position” or some form thereof in this next quote: “It’s about positioning yourself so you can do your job. That’s what my emphasis will be this week. And all of t the time, to make sure we’re in good position. That’s what we want our secondary to be: be in good position. You have a chance to do you job. In every defensive call, we have a designated position to be in and then you let talent do what talent is supposed to do.”

I counted four. I’m betting the Bulldog secondary will have a good grasp of that concept this week. If they don’t, well, corner Darius Slay knows what’ll happen.

“You let them get behind you, they’re real fast, so they’re going to get gone, they’re going to score,” he said. “They make plays deep down the field.”

• Tennessee, meanwhile, is still seeking its first SEC win, and not only that, it’s looking for its first win in October since 2009. Seriously.


Here’s the rest of this weekend’s SEC schedule (Georgia is off):

• Auburn at Ole Miss, 11:21 a.m., SEC Network

• Alabama at Missouri, 2:30 p.m., CBS

• Florida at Vanderbilt, 5 p.m., ESPNU

• Kentucky at Arkansas, 6 p.m., Fox Sports Net

• South Carolina at LSU, 7 p.m., ESPN

• Texas A&M vs. Louisiana Tech (Shreveport), 8:15 p.m., ESPNU

I am the online content coordinator for I also co-host The Memo and Prep Rally podcasts and host the Newsbreak program. Previously at the Journal, I covered Mississippi State athletics (2008-13), high schools (2004-08), and was on the copy desk (2002-04).

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