Previewing South Carolina at Tennessee: Topics for Discussion on the Vols' Offense

 

  • Can we stop the run? The biggest question for our defense is probably whether or not we can slow down Montario Hardesty and Bryce Brown. We've had trouble against the run in recent weeks, and it won't get any easier against these two backs and the Vols' experienced offensive line.
  • Perhaps even more importantly, can we stop the run without completely giving up on our pass defense? In a couple of words, probably not. I'm just not convinced that we're good against the run without safeties in the box, certainly not against Tennessee. Our interior just isn't playing well enough right now.
  • Does it matter whether we defend the pass or not? This time last year, you could basically stack the box and dare Tennessee to pass, as Jonathan Crompton and Nick Stephens simply weren't capable of making you pay. Right now, Crompton is playing a little better than last year. Is he playing so much better that he can really brutalize an aggressive defense for more than a play here and there? Perhaps we'll find out.
  • Relatedly, should we move Eric Norwood into the middle? Last night on Rocky Top Talk, cocknfire mentioned that it might be a good idea to move Eric Norwood to the middle so he could help out against the run. I'm a little torn on this. On the one hand, Norwood is big enough and is a good enough tackler to help plug the middle of the field. I love Shaq Wilson, but certainly, it would seem that Norwood would be a better ILB than Wilson. (And Wilson might be better suited to the outside.) However, what you lose by making this move is Norwood's ability to run around in the backfield and make big plays. Is that something we want to give up?
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