Published September 7, 2010 - 9:27am
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Tennessee opens its real season this weekend against the Oregon Ducks. Both Tennessee and Oregon are 1-0 coming into the game and both pitched shutouts. It figures to be a battle of conference pride. Here are five things about Tennessee vs. Oregon that you need to know.
1. Justin Wilcox is the defensive coordinator for the Tennessee Volunteers. The name Justin Wilcox should not mean that much to anyone other than a Tennessee fan; however, Wilcox was the defensive coordinator last year at Boise State who defeated Oregon 19-8 in 2009 in the “Punch Game”. Oregon only netted 31 rushing yards against the Wilcox coached defense. Hopefully he can draw something up that has a similar outcome for the Vols.
2. Oregon is likely the fastest team the Vols will face all year. For Oregon, there is speed all over the place. Their water boy can probably run a 4.55 40. Oregon rattled off 720 yards of total offense, and that set a school record in its opener. They won by 72 points, which is the largest margin of victory in their school’s history.
3. Tennessee will be without one of their team leaders in wide receiver Gerald Jones. Coach Derek Dooley confirmed Monday that Jones will miss the game because of a broken hand he suffered in the opener. In 2009, Jones had 46 catches for 680 yards and four touchdowns. Jones also figured to be the starting punt returner this year. His veteran presence will be missed in this one.
4. The Ducks’ starting running back LaMichael James did not play in the opener. Because of James’ suspension, Kenjon Barner started and carried the rock 17 times for 147 yards and 4 touchdowns. Barner also had a touchdown reception from quarterback Darron Thomas. LaMichael James will be back for this one in Knoxville.
5. Tennessee’s magic number is 200 yards rushing. The Vols will have to keep the Oregon offense on the sideline. 200 rushing yards should be enough to kill the clock and keep Oregon’s offense at bay and enough to have a positive effect on the outcome. Running backs Tauren Poole and David Oku hope the young offensive line can open up some running lanes for them in this one.