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Fear the flag: Tennessee Volunteer football penalties

Yesterday, I re-posted a breakdown of last year's penalty-plagued, field position nightmare against Georgia.  The Vols lost to a better team to be sure, but they absolutely killed themselves by getting hit with a pocketful of penalties at the worst times.

Have a look.  Twelve penalties for 78 yards:


  • False start, five yards at midfield.

  • Offsides, five yards at midfield.

  • Offsides, five yards to the UT6.

  • Holding, seven yards to the UT6.

  • Illegal block, nine yards to the UT8.

  • Offsides, five yards at midfield.

  • Illegal block, seven yards to the UT7.

  • False start, five yards at midfield.

  • False start, five yards at midfield, on back-to-back plays by our best offensive lineman!

  • Illegal block, 15 yards at midfield.

  • Face mask, five yards at UGA25.

  • Offsides, five yards at midfield.

And that does not count the multiple penalties that were either declined or offset against Georgia penalties on the same play.

Contrast that to this year.  Tennesse is currently ranked 11th in the nation in fewest penalties, averaging 4.4 per game, and 12th in the nation in fewest penalty yards, averaging 34.6 per game.  They were 93rd and 71st during The Season of Which We Do Not Speak.

As I've said before, in a game of inches, it's all about the little things.