Neyland Stadium

A return to all-you-can-eat buffets?

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I don’t know about you, but this Vols fan is absolutely starved for offense. Downright ravenous. Plays, points, yards . . . I want it all. Not just every thing, but all of every thing. I’m desperate for an offense that is fun to watch, is what I’m saying.

Tomorrow, at Tennessee’s Orange and White spring game, we get our first real look at Josh Heupel’s team, and I’m hoping it’s like an endless buffet of delicious offensive productivity.

It is, after all, what they’re selling. You’ll recall that when Danny White hired Heupel from UCF, he was billed as an offensive guru. A few tweets to refresh your recollection:

Points: Check.

Yards: Check.

Tempo: Check.

Quarterback development: Check

Tasty offense: Check

Is it a pipe dream to hope that Tennessee’s offense can satisfy our appetites as early as this year? Has Neyland Stadium been renovated into a set for a Fantasy Island reboot? Maybe.

But here’s the thing. In 2015, Missouri’s offense was last in the SEC, putting up only 280.9 total yards per game. And they were last by a long shot, as the next-worst team averaged 326.5 yards per game. Heupel then arrived as offensive coordinator in 2016, and the Tigers didn’t just improve, they catapulted ahead to first in the SEC and averaged 500.5 yards per game! (I’m using my one exclamation point for the year right there.)

Last to first. In his first year. At Missouri.

Tennessee’s offense last year, by the way, wasn’t last in the league. It was only No. 11 with an average of 346.2 yards per game. It’s not crazy to think that the Vols’ offense can improve this season, perhaps even dramatically so.

But, look. I hear you. Shoot, I am you. I’m not just the same old Charlie Brown who keeps coming back believing he’s finally going to kick Lucy’s football this time. At this point, I’m more like Pawpaw Charlie, retired and sitting on the porch in the old man rocking chair sipping tea. I’m inclined to just watch from afar for awhile and see what happens before I dispatch my heart back to the front line. No way in Hades am I falling for that again. I’m much too seasoned, too broken for that. Too suspicious and skeptical. Too . . . smart for that.

Or am I?

. . . .

Last to first, you say? Really? In his first year? At Missouri? Huh.

Well, maybe I’ll just wander over and take a little peek at the buffet we’ve been promised. Does the tempo look tasty? Can I come back every 20 seconds for a new play(te)? Do they have all-you-can-eat yards and points? That sounds . . . good.

Yes, I know it’s practice. Yes, I realize it’s not exactly lunchtime yet. And yes, I understand that the spring trailer and the fall feature often have little to do with each other.

But right now, I just want to see the options and get a little whiff. Are we talking three choices of yesterday’s leftovers reheated with a light bulb, or are we talking a luxury Vegas or cruise ship spread?

Tomorrow may not hold any answers at all. But I hear there might be food, and everything tastes better when you’re hungry.

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4 months ago

This should be the appetizer for the big buffet this fall! I’m starving and need to put a few pounds on! Go Vols!

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Andrew Cooper
Andrew Cooper
4 months ago

I watched the game and kept in mind that this was a scrimmage and that lots of the defensive players weren’t suited up and that many snaps weren’t against the first team. I wasn’t judging this against real SEC competition. What I judged it against was the past few teams and what they showed in the Orange and White game. My take is that we looked competent. Vanilla offense and all still took shot after shot after shot down field and connected on a bunch of them. We had more big plays dialed up in the spring scrimmage than probably… Read more »