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. (0.6)
Playing disciplined football.
Marquez Callaway’s two muffed punts gave LSU the lead early and set the tone for the evening. LSU is a sound, but far from dynamic football team. The short field provided by the turnovers, near turnovers, and failed 4
2. Play for and make the breaks and when one comes your way - SCORE. (0.1)
Being aggressive and opportunistic.
Tennessee played for, but did not really make the breaks against LSU. And it was the Tigers, not the Vols, who did the scoring.
3. If at first the game - or the breaks - go against you, don't let up... put on more steam. (2.1)
Positive responses to bad circumstances, regardless of the situation.
The short fields proved to be too much for the defense. The offense showed the will – but not the skill – to compete.
4. Protect our kickers, our QB, our lead and our ball game. (1.3)
Minimizing opponent opportunity to strike quickly or make a comeback.
Surprisingly competitive stats in this category driven by both team’s commitment to the run (or inability / unwillingness to pass).
5. Ball, oskie, cover, block, cut and slice, pursue and gang tackle... for this is the WINNING EDGE. (0.9)
All about fundamentals; the little things. Many of them, not stat-friendly.
Tennessee couldn’t run the ball, but LSU could. When combined with turnovers and failed fourth down conversions, the Tigers didn’t need to do much more.
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.
The kickers did well considering the weather conditions, the return teams did not. The short fields caused by Calloway’s fumbles and the muffed kickoff to open the second half spelled Tennessee’s doom. Its probably a stretch to say they cost Tennessee the game since the offense was never going to score many points. Still, the game would have been a lot more entertaining and who knows how LSU might have reacted with a little more pressure?
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 plan to shorten the game was sound. The decision to “go for it” in unconventional places was justifiable, if not exactly smart. After LSU’s short-field touchdown drive to open the 3rd quarter, the rest of the game was called with – and played with -- a “let’s get this over with” sense of urgency.
Bottom Line Seven Maxims Scorecard Result: 1.1
There’s simply not enough (healthy?) talent on either side of the ball. The team looked like they had the will to compete at the opening of the game, but the acumen, fortitude, and depth are all lacking to be competitive against SEC-level competition. (Sigh)