Since the 1930’s the University of Tennessee has been measuring themselves against seven keys to winning football as first summarized by General Robert Neyland. The Seven Maxim’s Scorecard is a quantitative and qualitative analysis of how, relative to that week’s opponent, the Vols’ performed against each of the seven directives. Grading is on a 4.0 scale, with a 4.0 being perfect, which is rare. In this analysis, it’s possible for Tennessee to have won without excelling on all fronts, but it is impossible to have performed well in all seven areas in a loss. Here goes:
1. The team that makes the fewest mistakes will win. (1.1)
Playing disciplined football.
Tennessee committed 3 turnovers on 3 consecutive plays in the second half. They had surprisingly little baring on the final score but were indicative of the effort and execution.
2. Play for and make the breaks and when one comes your way - SCORE. (0.6)
Being aggressive and opportunistic.
Tennessee scored off the one turnover it created, but made up for it with 4 turnovers of their own while being nearly doubled up in big plays.
3. If at first the game - or the breaks - go against you, don't let up... put on more steam. (1.5)
Positive responses to bad circumstances, regardless of the situation.
Mizzou’s touchdown at the end of the first half after Tennessee improbably tied the game at 17 was the needle that burst the Vols’ bubble. Still, the complete lack of what? …fight? …hope? …interest? …energy? In the second half was indicative of a team who have quit on their coach.
4. Protect our kickers, our QB, our lead and our ball game. (0.3)
Minimizing opponent opportunity to strike quickly or make a comeback.
It’s interesting that the one stat Butch Jones has never cared about (time of possession) is the one that Tennessee (just barely) won.
5. Ball, oskie, cover, block, cut and slice, pursue and gang tackle... for this is the WINNING EDGE. (0.3)
All about fundamentals; the little things. Many of them, not stat-friendly.
ESPN’s coverage of the game really hyped the fact that Tennessee has, statistically “the best pass defense in the SEC! …and one of the best in the country!” No they don’t. It’s just that nobody bothers to pass the ball when anyone can get whatever they want by simply running the ball.
6. Press the kicking game. Here is where the breaks are made. (3.2)
Special teams held a special place in the General’s heart.
Nothing really spectacular out of the Special Teams unit beyond the blocked PAT in garbage-time. But Special Teams were not the reason Tennessee got beat.
7. Carry the fight to our opponent and keep it there for 60 minutes. (0.7)
Coaching staff’s gameplan… and the players’ execution of it.
The Vols “carried the fight to the opponent and kept it there” for precisely 28 minutes and 45 seconds.
Bottom Line Seven Maxims Scorecard Result: 1.1
I honestly can’t tell if this team has quit on the coaches or if they’re really just that poorly prepared to play. Probably quite a bit of both.