There are plenty of questions surrounding the Tennessee Volunteers right now, but there is no question that Jauan Jennings is a tough SOB.
It’s hard to say that about the rest of the team right now. The Vols were completely outmatched against the Georgia State Panthers on Saturday. What made things worse was the dejected, woe-is-me attitude that followed behind every impactful Panther play.
Make no mistake about it. The Vols were soft on Saturday.
A wet paper bag.
Right now is the time for all haters of the Big Orange to shoot their shot — and with good reason. Outside of a 4-8 finish in 2017, Saturday’s loss may be the worst moment in a decade filled with unrivaled disappointments over the years.
But Jennings isn’t having it.
“What happened last week was unacceptable and it won’t happen again,” Jennings told the media on Tuesday. “I am the leader, so we’re going to get this right.”
“I didn’t sign up for a one game fight,” Jennings continued. “This is a 12 game fight. We can’t wait to get back on Saturday and show how prepared we are for this game.”
Jennings’ approach to leading the team is admirable, and something the Vols need in a big way. His teammates could stand to share in his attitude, as well.
The fifth-year senior has always been a fighter. He’s not afraid to hit someone in the mouth, nor is he afraid to take a lick. He doesn’t care about stats or records. He wants to win. Plain and simple.
On the other hand, I’m not sure if the majority of this team feels the way Jennings does. If they do, they sure aren’t speaking up, which only reinforces the point that Jennings is on a different level when it comes to the phrase “mentally tough”.
Saturday’s contest now marks the third straight game (dating back to last year) in which we saw the Vols come out and just lay down when the going gets tough. Missouri, Vanderbilt, and now Georgia State have dominated the Vols up front and in the more physical aspects of the game.
But Jennings can’t do this by himself. He is going to need help and he is going to need it soon. The Vols already have one leg through the ice and it’s just a matter of time before they’re completely submerged. The rest of the team needs to dig deep - starting with this week — and figure out how to not only get better on the field, but between their ears, as well.
As we all know, actions speak louder than words. Will the Vols make themselves heard on Saturday?