Tennessee will either put it all together against the University of Akron on Saturday night at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville or continue the Volunteers’ descent into a personal purgatory.
That’s what it might have felt like to the Vols after blowing a second-half lead against Florida last week. The Zips find themselves sandwiched on the schedule between the Gators and another SEC foe, Georgia.
“I don’t know if I’d rather they won that game [against Florida] or [lost] it. You get what you get,” Zips coach Terry Bowden said. “We’ll get them ornery, and that’s how it’s going to be. We just have to take them the way we get them.”
Bowden understands the landscape of the SEC courtesy of his time as Auburn’s coach and knows what the Zips could be walking into. However, he also knows what could be possible, and he only had to look to Western Kentucky’s upset over the University of Kentucky last weekend to reinforce it.
“There’s just too many cases to show guys. We’re not talking about being the one big win this decade,” he said. “We’re talking about the one upset this week. There will be one. If we go do our jobs, everything else would have to fall into place.”
Cranking it up
Give Bowden credit for using every method at his disposal to prepare his team for Saturday. Anyone walking into the Stile Athletics Field House, where the team practiced because of moderate rain, was inundated with guitar solos and driving bass.
Bowden had the building’s sound system cranked up, and Metallica’s Enter Sandman along with a couple of AC/DC tunes, including Back in Black, rocked the halls as a way to get the team ready for the noise that will await them from possibly 100,000-plus rabid college football fans.
“It blocks out all ability to communicate,” he said.
That was something that his team will face. As for the choice in music? Bowden has his own preferences.
“I’m a product of the ’70s and ’80s and that’s Molly Hatchet and that’s who I like,” he said.
Lost in shuffle
It was garbage time, but backup quarterback Kyle Pohl showed something in his quarter of running the UA offense after Dalton Williams’ injury. He completed 7-of-10 passes for three touchdowns.
“He did a great job,” Bowden said. “He was just so relaxed back there in the pocket. He didn’t overthrow people. He put things on the mark pretty good and I was pretty pleased with that. When you’re trying to build a program, backups don’t get a lot of work, so it was good to see him get in.”
Speaking of Williams
Williams didn’t participate in the entire practice as a precaution after sustaining an injury to his torso in last weekend’s game, but he did make all of the throws. He’s expected to run the entire practice today.
Talks with Harris?
Another member of Buchtel’s state runner-up team made his way to UA to talk to Bowden about joining the team, a source with knowledge of the situation said.
Nate Harris, a state championship runner, had been on scholarship at Indiana University. He was a deep threat as a receiver in the Griffins’ offense but was projected as a defensive back in college.
George M. Thomas can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the Zips blog at http://www.ohio.com/zips. Follow him on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/GeorgeThomasABJ and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.