Tennessee’s first SEC home game of the season Saturday night against Auburn is a chance for the Vols to climb back above the .500 mark. UT also could even its league mark with a big win on a big stage.
But head coach Lane Kiffin says it will take a determined effort from both side of the football to slow down the 4-0 Tigers.
“This is the third-leading scoring offense, third-leading in yards (both nationally), and so explosive in passing and the run game. They are really good and they are playing great.”
Tennessee’s defense ranks eighth nationally in yards per game but dropped to 33rd in scoring after faltering slightly in last weekend’s 34-23 win over Ohio. Kiffin says the defensive focus will be stretched by Auburn’s multiple offensive formations.
“Florida does a lot but I don’t think anybody maybe ever has done as much as these guys do. This (offense) is more confusing and has more things to deal with.”
Tennessee’s Thursday practice went for 90 minutes at Haslam Field. The Vols (2-2, 0-1 SEC) will finalize their game plan with a closed walk-through on Friday before staging final preparations for Saturday’s 7:45 p.m. Eastern time kickoff (Vol Network, ESPN.
“I thought it was a really good practice from the offensive perspective,” Kiffin said. “I wasn’t on the defensive end, but I thought guys were focused and they came very prepared today. We had good meetings, a very crisp practice and did a lot of really good things.
Kiffin said senior offensive guard Vladimir Richard is doubtful with a bum knee and that he would “wait and see” about junior defensive end Chris Walker’s possible return from a back injury.
“Obviously, they are both leaders for us,” Kiffin said. “Chris is our sack leader and a dominant player on defense; hopefully, he will be there.”