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Seven Maxims Scorecard: UMass

Measuring the Vols’ performance against General Neyland’s timeless standards: The Seven Maxims of Football

NCAA Football: Massachusetts at Tennessee Knoxville News Sentinel-USA TODAY NETWORK

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


1. The team that makes the fewest mistakes will win. (0.9)

Playing disciplined football.

Maxim 1

After a week of preaching preparation, attention to details, and focus on the little things, Tennessee had more turnovers, the same number of special teams miscues, and more penalty yards (including a 15yd. Unsportsmanlike Conduct on the bench) than a winless team that went independent because it wasn’t good enough for the MAC.

2. Play for and make the breaks and when one comes your way - SCORE. (1.6)

Being aggressive and opportunistic.

Maxim 2

Tennessee had one more big play but also one more turnover. They made the Minutemen look every bit their equal up until UMass’s starting QB left the game.

3. If at first the game - or the breaks - go against you, don't let up... put on more steam. (2.6)

Positive responses to bad circumstances, regardless of the situation.

Maxim 3

Tennessee’s defense rose to the occasion after each score and bad break. The offense did OK, but its hard to get too excited based on the level of competition.

4. Protect our kickers, our QB, our lead and our ball game. (2.2)

Minimizing opponent opportunity to strike quickly or make a comeback.

Maxim 4

The offensive line did not give up a sack and the defense knocked UMass’s starting QB out of the game. Otherwise the teams were essentially even. Major deduction for the offense’s inability to completely kill the clock in the 4-minute offense. UMass had the ball with a theoretical chance to win.

5. Ball, oskie, cover, block, cut and slice, pursue and gang tackle... for this is the WINNING EDGE. (2.2)

All about fundamentals; the little things. Many of them, not stat-friendly.

Maxim 5

Tennessee was out-rushed by UMass and gave up as many Tackles for Loss and Pass Breakups as they accumulated. They were not much better than UMass on this day and the Minutemen put up stats that were eerily similar to those posted by the Gators the week before.

6. Press the kicking game. Here is where the breaks are made. (2.6)

Special teams held a special place in the General’s heart.

Maxim 6

Vol punter Trevor Daniel arguably had the best day of anyone dressed in orange. Both coverage teams were solid and, while the Return teams didn’t put up a lot of numbers, UMass willingly gave up lots of field position to make sure that Tennessee’s dangerous return teams didn’t get good chances. Placekicking continues to be a problem.

Carry the fight to our opponent and keep it there for 60 minutes. (1.7)

Coaching staff’s gameplan… and the players’ execution of it.

Maxim 7

With very few exceptions Tennessee did not appear to be terribly interested in this game. That goes for the staff as well as the players.

Bottom Line Seven Maxims Scorecard Result: 2.0

Tennessee fans wanted answers after the annual Florida debacle. The answers they got were not the ones they’d hoped to see. The playcalling continued to be confounding, the substitution patterns – particularly the decision to play Guarantano for 3 series just as Dormady appeared to be getting into rhythm – just as maddening, and the on-field execution still far from crisp. Team 121 has one week to decide what kind of season they want to have. They cannot use injuries as an excuse and they cannot count on their coaches to make them better. The leaders in the locker room will determine the fate of this team and this season.