Offensive learning process is never ending for UT Vols
Nov 14, 2013 | 380 views | 0 0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Tennessee running back Rajion Neal runs for a touchdown against Auburn, in Knoxville.
Tennessee running back Rajion Neal runs for a touchdown against Auburn, in Knoxville.
KNOXVILLE — In the spring, offensive coordinator Mike Bajakian talked about the install process of the Vols' offense.

The basics were put into place.

In the summer, more was added to the playbooks for the Vols.

Where is Tennessee at with two games left in the season?

"It is a never ending process," said Bajakian. "The offense changes every year, changes every week for that matter. The nuts and bolts stay the same. It is a matter of how well our players progress, and learn, and develop. They have done a good job of applying themselves and we will continue to get better."

Bajakian and Co. are still less than a year into implementing their offensive plans for Tennessee.

"Again, in year one, the process of developing that identity, the process of developing that mentality, it is not an instant execution of what we are trying to develop," said Bajakian. "It takes guys time in the system, it takes guys time in the program to understand that. We are getting better and learning every day."

Bajakian would like an extra 15 practices Tennessee would get with a bowl berth to continue the implementation. Something possible if the Vols win their final two games.

"It is very valuable," said Bajakian. "It is like having additional spring football. Bowl preparation you get practices for your youth to develop. We have a lot of youth so it would be invaluable."

Let’s talk tackling

If John Jancek could pinpoint one aspect of their game that the Tennessee defense needs to improve on with two games left in the regular season, it would be tackling.

"It's been hit and miss," said Jancek. "It's been inconsistent throughout the year. Even in games where statistically we have performed well, there were times when we missed tackles that we should have made."

The Volunteers have not only played the hardest schedule since 1993, but they have also faced some of the most talented and mobile quarterbacks in the game.

"When you look at rushing statistics against us, the quarterbacks have been the most successful," Jancek said. "Whether it's been scrambling and taking off, skipping the pocket or designed runs where he's one-on-one with one of our defenders, we don't get him on the ground, so that's something that has to be addressed now and continued talked about in the offseason."

So far into the season, most college football teams do not hold live practices with full pads and tackling, but statistically speaking, the Vols defensive coordinator believes it is necessary for Team 117.

"We actually tackled live to the ground, which normally you don't do on a bye week near the end or the middle of your season, but it's such an issue for us that we felt like that's something that has to be addressed until we become a better tackling defense," Jancek said.

So far during their open date, Jancek has already seen the coaches' message being implemented in practice with improvements in simple tackling fundamentals.

"We're going to keep pushing them and we're going to keep coaching them hard each and every single day," Jancek said. "We're committed to the University of Tennessee, this football program and getting these guys better."