What we learned from Tennessee’s 28-27 loss to Florida
Tennessee suffered its second loss of the season on Saturday. In similar fashion to their Sept. 12 defeat at the hands of Oklahoma, the Vols gave up a 13-point lead in the fourth quarter. Perhaps even more heartbreaking, Florida’s 10-game win streak was extended to 11.
Here are three things we learned from the Vols’ Week 4 loss:
- Butch Jones is still coaching “not to lose” rather than to win: What else is there to say? Tennessee had another late lead and blew it trying “not to lose.” The odd thing was, when the Vols needed to drive downfield they could. They did it during the first overtime against Oklahoma, and again to force a last-second field goal attempt on Saturday. So what’s preventing Tennessee from doing the same thing as its opponents climb back into the game? It’s definitely the play-calling. It’s crazy to think that a team that scored its first touchdown on a double screen pass and converted on a fourth-down jump pass by its running back in the first half could be considered “ultra conservative” in its offensive approach. But that’s the Vols, a perfect example of team that looks completely different in the first and second half.
- Josh Dobbs is dynamic, but needs to pass more: Dobbs’ remarkable performance was marred by the fact that he didn’t pass enough, a continued criticism of the quarterback in this offense. He led the team in passing, rushing and receiving yards on Saturday, but threw for just 83 yards on 10-of-17 attempts. It’s great that Dobbs possesses the ability to make plays in various ways, but there should be more emphasis on him throwing downfield, especially with struggles in the trenches. In some cases, Dobbs decided to run rather than pass due to a collapsing pocket. But, in the case of Tennessee’s late play-calling, the quarterback wasn’t throwing enough to provide a serious threat of a passing attack.
- Butch Jones on the hot seat: The honeymoon between Vols fans and Jones has officially ended. Fans were skeptical after the Oklahoma loss and were less thrilled following Saturday’s game. The “brick by brick” promises have begun to wear thin. The foundation has been laid, now it’s time for Jones to win. The talent has been improving for years, but the coaching has been questionable. Jones’ decision not to go for 2 while ahead by 12 points was the most obvious lapse of Saturday’s loss. Jones is in his third year and — despite marginal success — could face the hot seat all season if he fails to close out games.