Butch Jones opened up with a lot of exactly what you'd expect after week one. We know a lot more than we did last week, but there was plenty to improve on. We played a mostly clean game, but no one should be satisfied with their performance. Western Kentucky is a talented team with NFL players and an extremely dangerous linebacker. They're well-coached, good at getting mismatches in the offense and good at creating mayhem with their defensive front seven. They've played at Alabama and LSU, so they won't be intimidated by us. Jones said they reminded him a bit of his 2009 Central Michigan team that beat Michigan State and finished ranked.
Right. We got that. Good effort, plenty to improve on, WKU will be tough. But Jones also commented a little bit on some of the specifics:
- Justin Worley will want some of those throws back. He threw behind a couple receivers, but some of those throws that looked bad were because the receivers ran timing routes to the wrong depth. But Worley made good decisions and managed the game well. He pointed specifically to the first touchdown pass to Devrin Young--which looked really, really ugly from the stands--as a good decision. Jones said we need to do better on our deep passes, because no one is perfect on every play, so you need to hit big plays. Turn four yard runs into six. Turn five yard passes into thirty.
- Running backs try to bounce outside too often. Get the four yards that are available before you start trying to break it for a touchdown. Need more north and south running. As someone who's watched the Tennessee running game for the last two years, I say "AMEN!"
- Linemen need to finish their blocks on the second-level. Weren't doing a good job of that.
- Eye discipline was poor, especially for the young guys. Austin Peay hit a wheel route when our DB tried to sneak a peek into the backfield.
- The second-team as a whole did well, because it's hard to shut someone out, but Jones notes that he has been saying all year that we have serious depth issues, and the only way to fix that is recruiting.
- Jones notes that neither Marcus Jackson nor Dylan Wiesman played. The latter was just banged up from fall camp, the former didn't do anything wrong, but we needed to see what we had behind him, because Jackson was a known quantity. It's encouraging to me that the inept second-team line was actually a mix of second and third team. But it's still frightening.
- Jones called on Trevarris Saulsberry in particular as someone who has some explosiveness and can help if he can get his mental game right.
- Curt Maggitt and Jacques Smith will be game-week decisions. Loved the energy on the sidelines from those two.
- If you want more details, check out the comments in the open thread.