Tuesday, October 22, 2002
"It's an exciting week. It's always exciting to play in a rivalry game. It's what coaches and players are looking for in every season. This is certainly one of those games. I haven't had to circle this game on the schedule. Everybody scheduled it for me. I get about 100 emails a day about interest in this game. I know it's a big game to our fans as well as our players and should be a great football game. We're catching a good football team with a week off. (Tennessee has) Probably have gotten a little healthier, refreshed, some extra time to prepare for us. They are a very solid team in a lot of areas. Their defense--they've lost some great players off their defensive line but I think their d'line is playing pretty good. They've replaced them very well. Linebackers are solid. Secondary is probably as fine a secondary as there is. They play very very well. Great cover guys.
"Offensively, Tennessee always seems to have a good offensive line, a great tight end in Jason Witten. Great receivers---Kelley Washington, we all know about him. (Casey) Clausen is an outstanding quarterback and I'm sure that if he is unable to play then the other guys will be far more prepared to play now, so, whoever they put back there I know will do a good job for them.
"The kicking game is always a strength I think for these guys though they've been a little up and down at place kicker as a lot of us have been this year. So we will have to play well in every aspect of the game and be prepared to handle a very hostile situation and try to get our running game going and achieve some balance in our offense as we have and have some success in all those areas so that we can keep them off balance a little bit. Because if they know what you are going to do, they are pretty good on defense."
Do they have so many weapons on offense or is Kelley Washington so talented that you have to find him on every play and do something specifically for him defensively on every play?
"I think you have to know where he is and you have to do some things with him. That gets complicated at times because (Jason) Witten is such a factor for them. If they can get their running game going it gets a little more difficult, but I think Washington is a factor that you have to plan for in your game plan."
Due to the noise of Neyland Stadium, will you practice indoors a lot this week?
"We will practice with crowd noise. Whether it will be indoors or not we'll see as the week wears on. We will not be indoors today. As the week goes on, once we get the game plan started, then we may look at doing more of that."
Coach, do you take anything from their game against Georgia and our game against Georgia and kind of get an idea of how we can do against Tennessee?
"Well, if you look at that it's going to be a heck of a game. Their Georgia game was a good game and of course their starting quarterback did not play. The quarterback got better as the day went on and they got some points on the board and it was a close game. The defense I thought played very well, controlled Georgia's receivers pretty well for the most part. If you look at the statistics for what that's worth, we haven't played a common schedule, but we're both about in the same area offensively and defensively. I think we're two and three, three and four somewhere in there in offense and defense. The Georgia game I think is an indicator that it will be two pretty good football teams and be a very hard-fought game and not a lot separates the two teams."
Coach, defensively, what do they play? What's their basic set and what kind of stunts and stuff do they do?
"They base out of a 4/3 but they play a lot of 30. They're going to fit their personnel, whether it's four down linemen or three down linemen, to what kind of personnel you have in the football game. They like to stunt. They're going to move and do something on just about every play. They're going to combine zone blitz with man blitz and a lot of movement up front for their defensive linemen. They're much like Carl (Torbush) they make a very concerted effort to stop the run and play a lot of man coverage in the secondary. And their corners and db's are good man cover guys."
Coach, with Lane Bearden's situation, do you take any extra precautions there at all or there anything you can do to keep him from getting further hurt?
"We told Nick that he needed to make good snaps. And we do not expect Lane to cover. Other than that there's not a whole lot we can do---protect as well as we can but we always do. And Lane understands that. He has a great feel for the time and rhythm to get the ball off and things like that, so it gives you a little extra trust because of that."