The Tennessee Vols will travel to Baton Rouge this weekend to take on the LSU Tigers in a pivotal top 25 matchups.
This will be the first meeting between Vols head coach Josh Heupel and Tigers head coach Brian Kelly.
And based on what we heard Monday, Kelly might be setting his team up for failure against Tennessee.
Reporters asked Kelly on Monday about the challenge of defending the Vols’ up-tempo offense.
Tennessee’s offense runs a play nearly every 12 seconds (when they’re in tempo). That gives opposing defenses little time to adjust to the Vols’ offensive alignments.
For whatever reason, Kelly thinks playing fast doesn’t give Tennessee that much of an advantage. “In one instance, they can’t do a lot of things either,” said Kelly on Monday. “So if they’re going to snap the ball with 20 seconds on the clock, there’s not a lot of motion, there’s not a lot of changing formations. They’ve got to line up left to right, too. So to play fast allows you, obviously, a pretty clean look at what you’re getting. But on the other side, you’re right, you can’t do a lot defensively.”
I’m not sure Kelly has studied Tennessee’s offense that much.
Because he acts like the Vols are playing fast with no plan. And that’s not the case at all.
The crux of Tennessee’s offense is using wide splits and tempo to get the defense in conflict.
Essentially, the Vols will line up (and they do use some motion and various formations, despite what Kelly said on Monday), and they’ll run their play based on whether or not the defense loads the box to defend the run or drops defenders into coverage to defend the pass.
It’s a simple concept that requires complex execution.
Kelly is making it sound like the Vols are just going fast just for the sake of going fast.
Of all the various coaches that have played against Tennessee this year, Kelly is the only one that is somewhat downplaying the tempo aspect.
That’s probably not wise, considering we saw the Vols’ offense give teams like Alabama and Georgia a fit at times last season.
And last I checked, LSU is nowhere close to either of those teams.
This still has the potential to be a tough game, but Tennessee fans should feel a lot more confident about the Vols’ trip to Baton Rouge after hearing Kelly’s comments on Monday.