Vols’ OC sensing frustration from his receivers?

Despite an experienced quarterback and talented receivers, Tennessee ranks 11th in the SEC in passing offense heading into Arkansas.
Danny Moloshok/Getty Images

With all the options Tennessee has on the outside, it’s hard to believe after four games no receiver has gained over 100 yards on the season – although tight end Ethan Wolf has accumulated 126 receiving yards. 

Offensive coordinator Mike DeBord met with the media this week to discuss the Volunteers lack of a passing game heading into their second conference game. 

"I’m sure the receivers are probably a little frustrated," DeBord said. "I mean, if I was a receiver I would be, too. They’re competitors, they want the ball, everybody wants the ball. That day’s coming, so we’re going to get the ball to them and I told them that. But again, it’s what happens in the game."

It’s far too easy to criticize the team from the outside looking in simply by looking at the numbers. As poor as the passing numbers look, the rushing yards are equally as impressive, especially considering the question marks facing the offensive line heading into the season. 

"I’ve said this all along that every game kind of has a story to it, and the story of that game was that we were running the ball very effectively," DeBord said. "And you know, there were times I could have probably gone to the passing game but when the running game was going good, you know, we stayed with the running game.

"We’ve got to get our passing game involved more, and I will do that; we will do that. But in that game, you know, we were running the football. When you run for 250-plus yards against that defense, you’re being effective. So we were staying with that."

Games in the SEC are won more often than not by pounding the rock, not by throwing the ball all over the field. However it’s fair to say Tennessee may be going to the well too often, especially when the defenses know what’s coming in the fourth quarter. 

Arkansas currently ranks last in the SEC in passing defense, giving up 264 yards through the air after four games. If Tennessee fails to have a balanced offensive gameplan once again, it may be time to start to ask if they ever will this season. 

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