At some point you start to wonder how much more both the Tennessee fans and players can take.
Saturday’s game most definitely caused a few tears across Big Orange Nation, but its almost certain to say no one is hurting more than head coach Derek Dooley.
“I am proud of our football team,” Dooley said. “I don’t know if I have ever had a loss like that. I have never hurt like this before.”
As the clock struck zero at first glance it appeared Tennessee had stolen the game from no. 12 LSU in Tiger’s Stadium. Players were shaking hands, helmets were thrown and Rocky Top was ringing out….and then there was laundry.
After what seemed like a lifetime of celebration it was deemed that Tennessee had two many men on the field following substitutions from both teams.
“Our character is going to get tested more this week than the four quarters out there and I told the team that,” Dooley said. “This is hard.”
It took an untimed down for the Tigers to steal the win back from the Volunteers. Managing the emotions of winning and then realizing it wasn’t so proved too much for the Vols.
“We played great on special teams, we got turnovers, and every time things went bad we kept sticking with it,” Dooley said. “I was proud of the kids.”
The Vols seemingly had the football game won and the stolen away. Derek Dooley obviously felt his team was not given sufficient time to make substitutions.
“They changed personnel and ran a bunch of guys on the field. The rules are they should stand over the ball and give us a chance to substitute – I am going to have to look at the film to see if that was the case.”
Dooley never denied the penalty, but the second to last play wasn’t the first time Dooley mentioned the substitution time to the officials.
“We obviously had too many men on the field,” Dooley said. “We had some issues with changing personnel and we were complaining about it earlier.”
The Volunteers missed on a crucial fourth down conversion that would have helped to drain the clock as well as failing to stop the Tigers on a third and long.
“There were a lot of opportunities before that last play, there always are,” Dooley said.
As tough as it may be to swallow on thing rains true, its a loss for the Volunteers.