Here’s your chance to weigh in on Tennessee football, via our mailbag column featuring the best questions supplied to SEC Country beat writer Mike Griffith from the Tennessee Volunteers Insiders page on Facebook or Mike’s Twitter account @MikeGriffith32.
Look for the Question of the Day Tuesday through Friday on the Tennessee SEC Country page.
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee’s offense, more so than the defense, has its work cut out for it during the bye week.
The Vols must improve across the board: They rank 107th in the nation in total offense through five weeks of the season.
Tennessee’s rush offense ranks 87th, and the pass offense is 92nd with an efficiency mark that’s 112th.
Knoxville SportsSource (Sunday, 11 a.m. ET, WATE-6) TV host John Pennington put out some revealing statistics on his Twitter account on Tuesday that show a lack of explosive plays and turnovers are at the root of Tennessee’s offensive struggles.
Still, the Vols’ players stand behind their coaches and don’t listen to people blaming the coaches for everything.
“A lot of people that say stuff like that probably haven’t even played football and don’t understand the magnitude of the situation,” senior tight end Ethan Wolf said. “Some things are out of the control of the coaches. At the end of the day, players have got to play.”
Tennessee football question of the day
“I still don’t understand why Larry Scott is our OC, he’s never been one and our offense is just so bad. Maybe put him back as the tight ends coach and get another OC?” — David Melton
Butch Jones said Larry Scott was evaluated last year for the offensive coordinator position, and he sat in offensive meetings and offered his input and ideas when Mike DeBord was the offensive coordinator.
Jones promoted Scott and brought in quarterbacks coach Mike Canales, who worked as the offensive coordinator at South Florida when Scott was an assistant coach on the Bulls staff.
South Florida rose to No. 2 in the rankings, beating Auburn in 2007, and the reunion of Scott and Canales appeared to get off to a good start in Week 1. The Vols rallied from two touchdowns down in the fourth quarter to beat Georgia Tech, 42-41, in double-overtime at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.
The Vols, however, began showing a lack of cohesion at Florida with two empty trips inside the Gators’ 20-yard line and 3 interceptions.
Tennessee’s offense continued to struggle in a 17-13 win against UMass on Sept. 23 before hitting rock bottom in the 41-0 shutout loss to Georgia — the first time the Vols had been shut out since 1994.
As Wolf said, much of the problem has been a lack of execution. Receivers have dropped 14 passes through five games, and the receivers have owned up to running imprecise routes.
Quarterback play has been somewhat sporadic as well. Starter Quinten Dormady lacks the mobility to be a playmaker with his feet, while backup Jarrett Guarantano has shown flashes of greatness, but also inconsistency.
Tennessee isn’t going to change the offense or the offensive coordinator near the halfway point of the season, instead focusing on how to help inexperienced players come along to the point they can execute the play calls.
Scott has been in tough situations before, taking over as Miami’s interim coach in 2015 after the Hurricanes suffered the worst loss in program history — 58-0 to Clemson.
Scott led Miami to wins in four of their five final regular-season games, and some players said they were hoping he would be named the permanent coach.