Last week I predicted that Tennessee would romp on California in Berkley. I was wrong. Alot of weak points can be found in that loss.
First off is we need to tackle. We had 20+ missed tackles. In a game where both sides have great speed you have to wrap up. This is a key reason we gave up so many yards on so many plays. Some were just great plays by Cal but others were just botched tackles. I don't know how you fix a problem like that but the coaches have assured us(through the local paper) that they worked on fundamentals all week long. How big of an improvement it will be, I don't know but I would think that the coaches are going to try to set up a type of zone defense that would make it easy to get two guys gang tackling this week as to trust one on one match ups.
Second is defensive pressure. It was revealed after the game that plan for the defensive line was to get pressure on their own. Unacceptable. Cal was double teaming us all night. The defense only manged one or to hurries and rarely touched any body in the back field. Some linebacker need to rush in to keep the offensive line honest and not let them comfortable. The linebackers are your play maker against the run and the disruption we need for the pass game. Look to find one or two rushes from two if not all three linebackers in every series(if not more).
Lastly is play calling. We have to do better on third downs. Screen passes on third and long are a dead end. I count at least three screen passes where were facing long yardage. This just won't work against Cal and more than likely not against Southern Miss. Why were so conservative I don't know. We have to be aggressive. We had two long passes thrown against Cal that I remember. We have to get our plays to be more productive at the right times. I would say Cutcliff will take a few more chances with deep passes and maybe a couple of reverse hand offs to shake up the defense.
Cal is a different caliber team than Southern Miss is. Tennessee and California have one up on every team in college right now(seeing how they were the only teams to play ranked against each other) Tennessee will now have to prove something. We should able to win by about 17. If not we need to look at ourselves and fix whatever problem it is that is holding us back. I think that we will come ready to play after facing Cal in the opener and seeing we were weak in some spots. Look for alot of improvement and more speed on offense with Coker back in the line up.So I will say Tennessee by 21.