The Tennessee Vols beat South Carolina by 25 points this past weekend, but the final score could’ve looked a lot worse (for South Carolina).
Tennessee jumped out to a quick 28-0 lead in the first quarter, eventually beating the Gamecocks 45-20.
In the second half, the Vols’ offense stalled. Part of that was because of the second-half strategy by UT head coach Josh Heupel. Tennessee doesn’t have a lot of depth right now, so Heupel was trying to take it easy with a big lead. The Vols eschewed their normal up-tempo attack in favor of a more traditional slowed-down approach.
As a result, Tennessee scored only seven points in the second half.
The slowed-down approach isn’t the only reason the Vols’ offense came to a sudden stop in the second half.
Tennessee’s players didn’t necessarily have the same focus and intensity after halftime that they had in the first half.
That’s something that Vols senior offensive lineman Jerome Carvin is hoping to change moving forward.
“Coming out (of halftime), we kind of dragged out of it in a sense,” said Carvin on Monday. “We have to have the same mental focus and locked in as we did in the first quarter. And so, I feel like that’s probably the main thing. It happened the third quarter, we ended up stringing some drives together and end up scoring to put it away (in the fourth quarter), but we definitely have to start early out of halftime.”
Carvin is right. If the Vols are going to beat Ole Miss this week, they’ll need elite mental focus for 60 minutes. They can’t sleepwalk through the third quarter, otherwise, Ole Miss will run away with the game.
If you’re a Tennessee fan, you have to hope that the lackluster second half against South Carolina taught the Vols some extremely important lessons about keeping their focus and intensity for the entire game.
Featured image via Calvin Mattheis/News Sentinel / USA TODAY NETWORK