Bob Kesling is one of the best announcers in the country, and one of the great guys in the SEC. Following in the footsteps of the legendary John Ward, Tennessee has been blessed with two of the best. Bob once again is kind enough to offer his insights on Saturday’s showdown.
What did the six-game winning streak last year do for the program?
It certainly helped the confidence of the team. Coach Pruitt started preaching to his team that it had to learn to win. It took a goal-line stand at Kentucky and recovering an onsides kick versus Indiana late in the game to keep the winning streak going, but those were games Tennessee might have lost in previous years. The win at South Carolina was sealed when Tennessee recovered a Carolina muffed punt with 90 seconds to go. If the Gamecocks caught the punt, they might have been able to drive down and win the game, but Tennessee made a play on special teams. Another case of this team learning how to close out games.
The Volunteers look like a much better and much more confident team, can you point to what the turning point may have been?
Last year’s 1-4 started rocked everybody. Nobody could see that coming. Coach Pruitt and the staff kept the team together. The streak started last year with South Carolina where Tennessee completely dominated the second half. I think the team then realized despite the 1-4 start, it was still a good team and started to play like it.
What are the expectations from the Tennessee fan base for this season?
Improvement. A win over Georgia, Florida or Alabama would continue to point the program in the right direction. That is the next big step. Wins over two or all three of them would send this place into a tizzy.
What does Tennessee need to do to win?
A key in the win over South Carolina was Tennessee didn’t turn the ball over and scored a touchdown on an interception. That would be a good formula for success against Georgia. More consistent play from quarterback Jarrett Guarantano is a must.
What is your take on Georgia?
Rock solid defense again. Still searching for big plays from the offense and especially at quarterback.
What do see as the Vols greatest strengths?
The Offensive Line should be one of the best in the SEC. Depth and talent. If Tennessee can run the ball, the passing game will continue to grow. The Vols want to play fast and wear the other team down. With 10 offensive lineman, they can keep people fresh. Looking for some big play wide-outs other than Josh Palmer. The freshmen are talented and fast, but still learning.
In this surreal season, do you like the 10-game all SEC schedule?
Yes. The more SEC games the better I always say. Coaches might not like it a whole bunch, but for the fans, for this season, I think it is great.