Derek Dooley and the Tennessee Volunteers took to Haslam Field on Tuesday morning to continue their preparations for the visiting top-ranked LSU Tigers.
Dooley’s message to his steam was simple — no matter the outcome give your all.
“The biggest thing I reminded them of is there is no shame in losing, there is no shame in getting knocked down, there is no shame in making a mistake, when you are in competition it is going to happen all the time,” Dooley said. “There is no shame in getting behind. The shame is when you don’t compete. The shame is when you get affected, you get emotional, you react and then you don’t perform after that.”
Dooley’s team took the Tigers to the wire in Baton Rouge in 2010, losing the game with no time left on the clock on an untimed down following a defensive penalty with time expiring. But, this is a new year.
One of LSU’s biggest weapons will be running back Spencer Ware, who has been bulldozing his way to 432 yards rushing and five touchdowns on the season.
Tennessee’s biggest problem, however, may be their own running game, which is actually averaging negative yards rushing against their two SEC opponents. Things won’t get any easier this week either. LSU boasts the No. 4 rushing defense in the country.
Dooley said there is no quick fix for the Vol rushing attack and to make matters worse Tennessee senior tailback Tauren Poole suffered a hamstring injury in the 20-12 loss to Georgia and did not take reps during Tuesday’s practice, according to Dooley.
“We are not going to go hand the ball off Saturday and some guy rushes for 220 and we say, 'Now we got it,'” Dooley said. “It’s not going to happen, so let's not start building excitement that there is some new answer.
“It is a daily grind. We get better, we get better and we get better. Everybody wants the quick fix, the magic pill that is going to make everything great. It doesn’t exist in life, doesn’t exist when you want to lose weight, you have to work and that’s it.”
The Vols will continue their prep work Wednesday morning at 9.