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Talking Points: Focusing on Turnovers, Big Plays, and Winning the 4th Quarter

July 19, 2012; Hoover, AL, USA;  Tennessee Volunteers quarterback Tyler Bray  talks to reporters during the 2012 SEC media days press conference at the Wynfrey Hotel. Mandatory Credit: Kelly Lambert-US PRESSWIRE
July 19, 2012; Hoover, AL, USA; Tennessee Volunteers quarterback Tyler Bray talks to reporters during the 2012 SEC media days press conference at the Wynfrey Hotel. Mandatory Credit: Kelly Lambert-US PRESSWIRE

FUNNY, IT'S THOSE THINGS THAT MAKE FOOTBALL FUN, TOO. Derek Dooley and the Vols are focusing on three key stats that are correlated to winning:

"Those are a lot of small, statistical things that we look at to measure ourselves but the primary indicators of winning and losing are three things: turnover ratio, big play ratio and winning the fourth quarter," Dooley said. "The data over the last four years of college football is unbelievable on those three things. "Everything we have adjusted a little bit offensively, defensively or on special teams is to either make big plays or create more turnovers and some of what we are doing every day in camp is working on trying to win it in the fourth quarter which takes a lot of grit."

IS THIS EVEN POSSIBLE? Raise your hand if you're surprised that we still have players who signed with Phillip Fulmer. That seems like decades ago.

HOLDER OF THE PURSE STRINGS. Good luck reining in the hype surrounding newcomer Cordarelle Patterson, who some folks are saying is every bit as good as Justin Hunter and Da'Rick Rogers. Tyler Bray's not helping, either, saying things like this:

Bray said Patterson has emerged as a virtual starter in the Vols' offense and was destined for a strong debut campaign. "CP is everything everyone has hyped him up to be. Go up and get the ball. Big, strong receiver," Bray said. "He's going to do very well in the SEC. "It's going to be very big. He's pretty much a starter already, so we're going to count on him to play a big role. Between the three of them, they should have a very good season." Big enough that Bray joked he could earn some extra cash, depending upon how he distributed the football. "There's a payment process going on right now. It's five bucks a ball, and touchdowns are 10," joked the quarterback.

More bits after the jump. - Meeting helped Sentimore find his game
"Coach Sal brought me in his office, sat me down and told me I wasn't playing the way he wanted me playing," Sentimore acknowledged. "And that I wasn't playing the way he knew that I could play. So I had to go work on it. I knew what it was. It was me not being in shape. So this summer I busted my tail to get in shape and now coach Sal is pleased with me."

Perseverance pushes Darrington Sentimore to first-team defense " GoVolsXtra
A slimmed-down Darrington Sentimore is no longer huffing and puffing through practice, and his perseverance has propelled him to the first-team defense.

Tennessee Vols try Justin King in fullback-tight end role (with video) |
Freshman Justin King was in a white offensive jersey Monday afternoon after practicing the first three days at outside linebacker. The Dunwoody, Ga., resident is working at a fullback-tight end hybrid position.

Senior Steven Fowlkes still turning Tennessee Vols' heads
First-year Tennessee defensive coordinator Sal Sunseri says with a straight face that he thinks Steven Fowlkes could make "a whole lot of money" playing in the NFL.

Veteran-laden Tennessee Vols offense operating smoothly
Tuesday wasn’t the best day of preseason camp for Tennessee's offense. But it wasn't that bad — not nearly as bad as it's been several times in recent memory.

Tennessee Vols' Mychal Rivera, Davante Bourque out with injuries
Starting tight end Mychal Rivera sat out with what coach Derek Dooley referred to as a "sprained" knee and is expected to miss "about a week," Dooley said, while freshman tailback Davante Bourque was sidelined with a neck injury.

Newfound perspective pushes Tennessee Vols' Corey Miller
Corey Miller didn’t always love football practice and usually didn’t love school ... until both things were taken away from the Tennessee defensive end.

Vols 'soaking' in educational activities in Italy " GoVolsXtra

"These guys are gentle giants off the court, but when they move into that arena, they've got to learn to find the animal in themselves," Bast said. "Machiavelli has a whole chapter on exactly that — on how the new prince has to find out how to be both animal and man. The centaur is an image for him and I saw guys' eyes light up at that particular moment. They connected it to their life experience."