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Practice Notes: Vols coaches, players not fazed by secondary play

The Vols were burned through the air on Saturday, but it hasn't affected their confidence.

Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

The biggest takeaway from the Tennessee Volunteers win in Saturday's game against Bowling Green wasn't the Vols' offensive explosion that netted 59 points and over 600 yards of offense; the biggest topic of conversation afterwards was Tennessee's secondary that allowed 433 passing yards to the Falcons.

Fans and analysts alike have been searching for answers to why the secondary struggled so much against Bowling Green, but Tennessee's coaches and players don't seem particularly worried about what was perceived as a major breakdown against the Falcons. As defensive coordinator John Jancek put it, it was a combination of both Tennessee's mistakes and Bowling Green's talent that played into it.

"I really think (Bowling Green's) quarterback is a great player," Jancek said after practice Tuesday afternoon. "He was really accurate and put the ball on the money. We were playing a lot of man, and that was good to find out about ourselves."

Jancek went on to say that the defense played more zone coverage and two-deep later in the game, and that seemed to relieve some of the pressure individually off the secondary, as the defense looked better in the second half and didn't allow as many big plays as in the first half.

"We didn't play well as a defense," Jancek stated, "and the kids know that. It was a disappointing performance, and we have to get better in a hurry." Jancek went on to note that many of the issues may not be attributable to coverage breakdowns so much as to just great play by Bowling Green's quarterback. "Our yards after catch were only 3.6 yards," Jancek said of Bowling Green's receivers, "So it's not like they were catching it and running past our defense. We were in position, there were just some great catches.

"I don't think (the secondary players) have any confidence issues. Show me a corner that's never been beaten. It happens. We have confidence in them as their coaches."

Another issue fans had was with Tennessee's pass rush. While the Vols earned three sacks on the game, Bowling Green did a good job managing the pressure. "We have to get more pressure," Jancek stated. "I thought we'd get more pressure with our front four...but man they were getting rid of the ball quickly too."

Senior safety Brian Randolph echoed Jancek's confidence, saying the Bowling Green receivers "made plays on us, and we can do a better job at not worrying about that play and it affecting the next one.

"We have to do a better job at not letting our emotions get the best of us. Every now and then someone is going to get the better of you."