Tennessee Vols fans are searching for answers after UT’s 63-38 loss to the South Carolina Gamecocks this past weekend.

Some fans seem to think the absence of linebacker Jeremy Banks, who wasn’t available for the game according to head coach Josh Heupel, was the reason for the loss.

Others think that locker room drama (involving Banks) was the reason the Vols lost to the Gamecocks.

The real reason is probably much simpler.

Tennessee just didn’t think South Carolina was going to give them a game.

For the first time this season, the Vols overlooked an opponent.

Linebacker Aaron Beasley essentially confirmed this on Monday during a media session with reporters.

“We didn’t have enough urgency,” said Beasley. “We thought we was going to come in there and everything was going to fall where it was supposed to, but it don’t work like that in college ball.”

“I assume we just felt like it was going to be given to us,” added Beasley. “We felt like we didn’t have to go out there and work for it. We thought they was just going to lay down. Props to them, they came out, they played a great game. They played physical. They’re a great team and they showed that Saturday.”

Those comments from Beasley, who, to his credit, played well defensively, basically confirmed that Tennessee let the outside noise affect them.

All week, we heard how the Vols were going to blow out the Gamecocks. Even the tone coming from South Carolina was very much “how many points will South Carolina lose by to Tennessee”. I don’t know if the Vols heard all of that noise, but they certainly played like they did.

The fact that Beasley acknowledges it, though, tells fans that Tennessee’s players are aware of what went wrong. And that should give fans some hope that it won’t happen again.

UT has a tough matchup with an improved Vanderbilt team on deck. If they win this game, they’ll get to 10 wins for the first time since 2007. And their Sugar Bowl hopes will stay alive. But if they lose, it’s going to be an extremely long offseason in East Tennessee.

Featured image via Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports