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. (3.8)
Playing disciplined football.
A dominant performance in Maxim 1. For all the offensive line and quarterback turmoil, protecting the ball was a real positive.
2. Play for and make the breaks and when one comes your way - SCORE. (3.1)
Being aggressive and opportunistic.
Two touchdowns off Southern Miss turnovers. The offense finally delivered on the short field the defense gave them.
3. If at first the game - or the breaks - go against you, don't let up... put on more steam. (2.2)
Positive responses to bad circumstances, regardless of the situation.
Not a lot of breaks went against Tennessee during this game. The emergency quarterback and patchwork offensive line meant that the clock-milking late in the game were justified. The defense did a nice job of “putting on more steam”.
4. Protect our kickers, our QB, our lead and our ball game. (2.0)
Minimizing opponent opportunity to strike quickly or make a comeback.
Jarrett Guarantano took a beating, which has become the norm. The consequence: a year of eligibility lost for Freshman Will McBride.
5. Ball, oskie, cover, block, cut and slice, pursue and gang tackle... for this is the WINNING EDGE. (2.1)
All about fundamentals; the little things. Many of them, not stat-friendly.
Tennessee got out-rushed, gave up more first downs that they got, and were laughably terrible on third down. But the defense made up for it, giving the offense two short fields while doubling up on both sacks and tackles-for-loss.
6. Press the kicking game. Here is where the breaks are made. (3.1)
Special teams held a special place in the General’s heart.
Turn back the clock night for the Special Teams! Evan Berry didn’t waste time making a difference (until he got hurt again). Another great performance for Trevor Daniel. Aaron Medley made his lone attempt from inside 40 yards.
7. Carry the fight to our opponent and keep it there for 60 minutes. (2.6)
Coaching staff’s gameplan… and the players’ execution of it.
Just enough offense to take advantage of the field position the Defense and Special Teams gave them. And the Vols didn’t beat themselves with turnovers and penalties. Hard to call 5 straight 3-and-outs to end the game “carrying the fight to the opponent for 60 minutes” but it can be forgiven considering the offense was a walking M.A.S.H. unit and the way both defense and special teams were playing.
Bottom Line Seven Maxims Scorecard Result: 2.7
No such thing as a bad win after going 0-for-October. It will take a similar effort on both Defense and Special Teams, plus a lot more offense to hang with a suddenly-frisky Mizzou next Saturday.