Loss to UCLA like bad case of déjà vu for fans, Tennessee
The first nine months of the
And then the Vols played someone besides Western Kentucky.
Saturday's 19-15 home loss to UCLA was like a bad case of déjà vu for anyone unfortunate enough to have watched much of the Vols' 2008 campaign. Despite a new head coach, new offensive assistants and a slew of new freshman playmakers, Tennessee's offense was every bit as painful to watch as it was a year ago. Quarterback
With 3:30 remaining, down 19-13, the Vols drove all the way to the Bruins' 3-yard line, where they faced third and goal. On consecutive plays, Kiffin called for a handoff, and on consecutive plays, UCLA's defenders stuffed ball-carriers
But even then, Tennessee's defense (which held UCLA to 189 yards on the day) almost saved the day. On the Bruins' ensuing possession, Vols LB
They lost four yards before turning it over on downs.
I can't say the result was entirely surprising. When I attended a Tennessee preseason practice last month, it was plainly obvious that quarterback play remained a glaring hole for the Vols. Most followers understood that this would be a rebuilding season for Kiffin, who will need at least one more big recruiting class to bring Tennessee's talent level back to respectability. Still, most were expecting the Vols to at least sneak into a low-level bowl game, and UCLA -- itself coming off a 4-8 season -- figured to be one of their more winnable games.
Instead, it's the Bruins that are now already half way to matching last season's win total.
Kiffin's team, on the other hand, can't come away from Saturday feeling too great about themselves, which is unfortunate timing. Next week ... they visit Florida.