No.5 Tennessee will take the field at a hostile Williams Brice Stadium later tonight. The Vols will look to improve their playoff chances with a winning draft tonight. Before the competition, Volunteer Country staff share their keys to the game.
Win the line of scrimmage
This is par for the course at any competition, but tonight South Carolina will look to pretest Tennessee with its defensive front. The unit is possibly the most talented Gamecocks overall. If Tennessee controls the line of scrimmage when they’re on offense, this game could turn ugly. The Vols will be able to create explosive plays on the field if they keep Hendon Hooker upright and rush the ball with the similar success they’ve had this season. Defensively, the Vols have a chance to hone their impressive run defense this week as the Gamecocks are without their top two rushers. Tennessee can step on the gas here and keep South Carolina behind the sticks.
Drown out the noise
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Ultimately, this will be the South Carolina Super Bowl. Spoiling the Vols’ playoff chances would be the highlight of their season at this point. This game takes place in front of a noisy, hostile crowd. Tennessee didn’t handle Georgia’s environment, and it cost her. Tonight doesn’t do justice to this environment, but it will still be noisy, especially early in the morning. The Vols need to drown this out and avoid setbacks early in the game to get going quickly and play at their pace.
Includes Spencer Rattler
Rattler did not illuminate the stat sheet this year. It was actually a disappointing season for him at Columbia, but he still has a lot of natural talent. When we say containment we don’t mean restricting him in his attempts etc. we mean keeping him in the pocket and from there getting him to hit you. He can create explosive plays with his large arms when he breaks and lengthens the play. He won’t hit you with his legs on downfield runs, but he can hurt you with his arms if you let him use his legs to extend plays.
Don’t get “beamer-balled”
You know it’s coming Shane Beamer will pull something about special teams. Will it be an onside kick to start a half, or a fake punt or field goal at some point in the contest? It will be something. Dating back to when his father was at Virginia Tech, the Beamer pride themselves on their special team tricks. The good thing about Tennessee is that they have Mike Ekeler, the best special teams coordinator in America. So Tennessee will be prepared, but Beamer knows that. So he’ll try to get even more creative with his approach. When you’re Tennessee, you don’t want to have South Carolina hanging around because of a special team mishap.