COLUMBIA SC - OCTOBER 30: Head coach Derek Dooley of the Tennessee Volunteers watches on against the South Carolina Gamecocks during their game at Williams-Brice Stadium on October 30 2010 in Columbia South Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
My apologies for not getting this up sooner and for its brevity. I've had some personal issues to deal with today that have made it difficult for me to devote much time to the blog.
If my post yesterday afternoon made it seem like I'm a little down on the team after the way they played yesterday, I should say now that we really have a great deal to be happy about after beating Tennessee 38-24. After all, this was only the fourth time that we've beaten the Vols since joining the SEC, and that means something regardless of whether or not the Vols are down, because it's important for us to achieve a sense that we're the third best team in the division. We also beat them by a fairly convincing margin; although the game had some tense moments, the final margin of victory was the second-largest for us in this series in the modern era. It was a convincing win, and maybe the burst of confidence that we should have gotten from the second half will carry over into the Arkansas game. It's also worth noting that we're now bowl eligible, which makes this the seventh straight year that we've been so. That's a good run relative to this program's history.
All of that said, we've clearly got our work cut out for us if we're to make it to the SEC Championship Game. After what happened in Jacksonville, we're going to have to beat Florida, and while I still think the Gators are beatable, it certainly appears that the return of Chris Rainey has provided a measurable boost to the UF offense. We're also going to have a tough road to hoe next week against Arkansas. If we can't figure out something quick for our pass defense, Ryan Mallett and his receiving corps may eat our team for lunch. Unfortunately, I think the big problem at this point is just poor execution on the players' part; I've now seen us play fairly poorly out of both soft and more aggressive coverage schemes, suggesting that maybe scheme isn't really the problem. That means that it's probably not going much better this year, other than if our guys show up and out of the blue have a great game, as was the case against Alabama. Beating Arkansas would certainly go a long way in my book towards making this a successful season; the Florida win now means that the the Arkansas game is immaterial to the SEC East title, but I think we can all agree that a win over the Razorbacks would be a nice addition to this season's resume.