What did we learn from Saturday night in Norman?
Oklahoma 34 Tennessee 10
Saturday September 13, 2014 / Memorial Stadium (Norman) / 85,622
Speed kills. This used to be an SEC mantra because the conference OWNED this aspect of football. But it’s everywhere, on both sides of the ball. “They can’t match our speed” is a long forgotten boast of the South.
Continuous defensive pressure wins games. The Sooners’ defensive front seven completely suffocated Tennessee’s hopes of doing practically anything with the ball. Combine that with size and deceptive looks and you have a recipe of how to get to the post-season playoff.
You don’t need piped in music to make a great college football atmosphere. I’ve been to many games in Norman. It’s not as loud as Neyland on its best day, but it always was an exciting venue. The OU band plays nice little hooks that are fast-paced snippets of energy. Tennessee is going in the wrong direction on this issue. The Pride of the Southland enabled this turn of direction because of their slow-paced, boring choices of sound.
Tennessee finally has a bona fide leader in Justin Worley. The guy was pressured all night long and took an amazing amount of physical punishment. But he blamed no one and kept on believing that his teammates could win. Seemingly out of it with 11:20 left in the game, Worley and his Vols were a tipped pass away from making it really interesting.
Cam Sutton is your next Volunteer on an All-American team. His Twitter handle is “Orange Swarm.” For good reason.
These are not your Dooley’s Vols. This group of players and their coaches are too legit to quit. No slumped shoulders. No sitting off by yourself (e.g., Tyler Bray). A lot of effort, everywhere all the time. Fight Vols fight with all your might / For the Orange and White / Never falter, never yield / …
The future is bright, but… Tennessee gained a lot of respect with their effort in the nighttime den of perhaps one of the best three or four teams in the land. But it’s still about baby steps. We are four wins away from a bowl game. The question is where they will and can come from. Vanderbilt and Chattanooga are a given. That leaves two to go. Notice I didn’t include Kentucky (see Saturday night in Florida). The season hinges on two home games: Florida and Missouri. Barring key injuries, it’s better than 50-50 that we are playing post-season football.
Give me your thoughts.