I’d like to harp on something Dr. Saturday had in his post this morning. First this from Urban Meyer…
“I remember looking out there and there's 10 minutes left in the game and there's no no-huddle (offense being run by UT), they are down by, I think it was 23-6 and the urgency ...” "... [W]e're not trying to impress the pollsters, we're trying to win the game. I think a lot of it had to do with the way they were playing. That made our life a little easier.''
Than this from the Doctor…
“Under most circumstances, that would be the obvious analysis. Where it concerns an offense quarterbacked by Jonathan Crompton, however, the connection between putting the ball in the air and winning becomes more tenuous: Crompton had already thrown one interception that led to a Gator field goal, and when the Vols did finally get aggressive -- running a deep stop-and-go on 4th-and-1 to keep a last-gasp drive alive -- it was picked off again. I wonder if Meyer considered that, sometimes, handing off is trying to win.”
I think the Doc hits the nail on the head in this. After the game a lot of rival message boards were saying that we were just trying to lose respectably, and cover the spread rather than trying to actually win the game. The problem with this assertion is that you have to realize you have to play with the hand you’re dealt. I think we were all in agreement that heading into this game our best chance to win would be to run the ball, play keep away and play tough defense. So suddenly when theres 10 minutes left in the game and we’re down by 17 our best chance to win is to have Jonathan Crompton run a pass happy no huddle offense and try to pick apart one of the best secondarys in the country? I think there is a far better chance that Montario Hardesty or Bryce Brown breaks free on a big run than Jonathan Crompton completes 6 consecutive passes in a 2 minute drill.
It’s like anything in life really. You recognize there are certain realities and you deal with them. Like it or not, there doesn’t appear to be a standout quarterback on this roster. Our coaching staff recognized that the best chance to move the ball would be to run it until we can run it anymore and then run it again. You can say they were just playing it safe but the fact is that with the backs we have and our defensive talent you can win football games this way. It’s obviously not an identity we want to have long term but with the way this staff recruits and the attitude and discipline they instill in our players, I love where we are headed.
So Urban Meyer can call it whatever he wants and say we made it easy for him. But the bottom line is this Tennessee team in its 3rd game with a new staff took your Juggernaut to the wire, knocked around your golden boy for 60 minutes in your own backyard, and you were relieved to take a knee and call it a day.