KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (UT) – Immediately after Saturday's loss to Florida, the Vols spoke about the need to use the game as a learning tool and how they would go back, look at the game film and find ways to correct their mistakes.
By all accounts, the coaches and players have all done exactly that.
Instead of dwelling on the loss, the Vols have tried to find ways to use that experience to their advantage, which has led to two strong days of practice.
"They have been really good," UT offensive coordinator Jim Chaney said. "It was a tough one on us. We struggled a little bit just talking to them about it on Monday when we got back together but we overcame that and they bounced back. We have had two good days of practice. We are excited about where we are sitting at right now emotionally. I think the leaders are showing up a little more which is a good thing."
One example of a change Tennessee will make as a result of last Saturday's outcome is relying more on the run game late in games, something Chaney realized after watching the game film.
"I feel like we are trying to do things more physical up front and we did," Chaney said. "I think if anything I look back on the ball game, I think I might have abandoned the run game too quickly, as we got towards the end of the third and early in the fourth, so that would be the biggest change. If you had to say something about the run game, I would say it was more in my hands than anything our kids did."
Although Tennessee didn't handle the adversity it faced in the second half against the Gators as well as it would have liked to, the team has recognized the issue and hopes the experience it gained will help it the next time it faces that situation.
Junior quarterback Tyler Bray was particularly upset with his performance, but Chaney was quick to point out that it shouldn't fall squarely on his shoulders and his development as a quarterback is an ongoing process.
"I think Tyler got frustrated towards the end of the ball game, as we all did," Chaney said. "We continue development of our football players. Tyler has been playing really solid football and we got a little affected, our whole team did. Offensively we did [get affected] towards the end of the game. We talked about it, we addressed it, we watched it on film and we will go out and try to correct it. The smarter we are and the harder we work to correct things we will usually get it done."
In his media session on Tuesday, Bray noted that the offensive's performance late in the game against Florida was so out of character that he didn't even finish watching the game film. That might have been slightly more sarcasm than reality though.
"That is not really true, I don't know why he said that," UT head coach Derek Dooley said. "We correct all of the film and I think Tyler's point was, you have to have a short memory when you play quarterback.
"I wasn't disappointed in our second half at all. We came out in the third quarter, put on a great drive to go ahead, 20-14. With three minutes to go in the third quarter we had a good football game and we were in command and then we had a five-six minute stretch where we made a lot of mistakes, where we let the game get away from us and we have to learn from it.
"Tyler has grown a lot as a quarterback, he is not where he wants to be. I think he is as disappointed as anybody about how we finished the game as a team and how he finished as a quarterback. I know the next time we are in that situation we will learn from it and improve."
Information provided by UT Sports Media Relations and UTSports.com.