When it comes to hyperbolic statements, perhaps no coach is better than Shawn Elliott.
However, the Gamecocks interim coach may have a point when it comes to his latest praise.
Elliott stated that Tennessee’s special teams unit has no equal, and has the facts to back his point.
Tennessee leads the SEC in kickoff return yardage, averaging better than 40 yards per return. Vols return specialist Evan Berry has returned three kickoffs for touchdowns, including a 100-yarder a week ago against Kentucky.
“They have the best special teams unit in our conference and maybe the country,” Elliott began. “Forty yards per kickoff return? Who’s kicking it to him and why? Let me tell you one thing. It better be out of the end zone because even if it’s in the end zone he’s bringing it out.
“He’s special. They’re well-coached in the special teams area, with great players, great return guys and the guys who set it up. They’re a threat and something you’ve got to have a plan for, and not just an every-day, ordinary plan.”
Elliott continued to drop praise on the Vols when he opened Tuesday’s press conference, showing respect for their offense.
South Carolina’s interim coach suggested Joshua Dobbs and Jalen Hurd are among — if not — the best offensive tandems at their respective positions in the SEC.
“They’re a much-improved team,” said Elliott. “They’ve got a great head coach in Butch Jones and a quarterback, running back situation that’s one of the best combinations offensively in the conference. They’re very, very good. They’ve got a lot of tools, and if not for a couple of plays here and there, it’s probably a much different season for the Tennessee Volunteers.
“We’ve got our work cut out for us. We’ve got to continue to improve as a football team as we have the past few weeks, adding some wrinkles to try and move forward to get an SEC win, and that’s our goal.”
Dobbs ranks seventh in the conference in passing with 1,505 yards and tied for fifth with 11 touchdowns compared to three interceptions. His backfield mate, Hurd, is sixth in the SEC with 725 yards rushing and nine touchdowns.