Week 5 Tennessee mailbag: Can the Vols put two tough losses behind them?
You’ve got questions, we’ve got answers. Tennessee plays Arkansas this Saturday in Knoxville, Tenn. and is looking to earn a bounce-back win.
The Vols are coming off a gut-wrenching, 28-27, loss to Florida after allowing 14 unanswered points in the game’s final minutes. Coach Butch Jones — once the most revered man in the Volunteer State — is beginning to lose the support of Tennessee fans, but could win some back with his first SEC victory of 2015.
Let’s get started.
Bryan Young: Has Butch Jones finally learned his lesson about sitting on a lead and playing not to lose?
Jason Hall: One would have assumed he did after blowing a 17-0 lead against Oklahoma, but last week’s game proved otherwise. Surely, Jones and his staff won’t want to have the same problems again. I would expect to see a more aggressive offensive scheme from Tennessee if it has another late-game lead.
Jermey Taylor: Where have our highly-touted receivers been all year? Is it play-calling or lack of development? We had more receiving yards last year with less talent and a different offensive coordinator.
Jason Hall: Good question. I think it’s obvious that Tennessee plays conservatively with a late-game lead and abandons the passing attack. I just don’t understand why the Vols wouldn’t put more faith into such a talented group of receivers. However, Jones hasn’t put forth much effort to pad receiving stats during his tenure. Tennessee has only had two 100-yard performances through the air since Jones’ arrival: Marquez North against South Carolina in 2013 and Pig Howard against South Carolina in 2015. Dobbs seems to like spreading the ball to different targets rather than focus on just one option.
Jeff Bise: Can UT finish games strong after feeling the sting of two 4th quarter collapses?
Jason Hall: One would think so. The Western Carolina game provided an example of Tennessee bouncing back after the disappointing loss to Oklahoma. But that was Western Carolina and not an SEC opponent. Most people learn from their mistakes. Jones shouldn’t be an exception to that theory.
Phillip Perkins: Can Josh Dobbs throw the ball or is the coaching staff not allowing him to?
Jason Hall: Great question. There’s speculation that the reason we haven’t seen Dobbs throw the football downfield is because the Tennessee staff thinks he can’t. But this is just people making assumptions, to the best of my knowledge. Again, we really don’t know because he hasn’t taken many chances against SEC competition.
Phil and Diane Coates: Why can’t UT fans put the two losses behind them and start looking forward to the games ahead?
Jason Hall: Tennessee fans are hungry for a turnaround. They’ve been fed promises since Jones’ arrival and want to see results immediately. It doesn’t help that many predicted Tennessee to be a dark-horse contender that could possibly upset Georgia for the SEC East division title. The disappointment is valid, but it’s not like this season is a lost cause. There’s enough winnable games remaining on the Vols’ schedule that would lead to an improved record. However, the team could be 4-0 right now without the late-game lapses.