The Tennessee Volunteers, fresh off a blowout loss on the road to Alabama, will have another tough test this Saturday as they head to Columbia, MO to take on the Missouri Tigers.
We took some time recently to chat with the editor of Truman’s Tales, John Bauman, about the Vol’s upcoming game with Missouri.
Our questions are in bold, with John’s responses below.
Many Missouri fans know the storied history of the Tennessee program and know of the great players like Peyton Manning that have suited up for the Volunteers. On the other hand, Tiger fans kind of look down on the Vols and see them as an easy win. I know that when I first looked at the schedule, I bookmarked Kentucky and Tennessee as wins right off the bat. This is really unfair, because UT is a good football team with a brutal schedule. They are talented enough to compete and beat Mizzou, but Tiger fans don’t really recognize that. They tend instead to focus on the Vol’s poor record this season and in years past.
What challenges will Maty Mauk present for the Vols that maybe James Franklin wouldn’t?
Maty Mauk brings a very similar skill set to the one that James Franklin has. Franklin and Mauk can both throw in and out of the pocket, and use their feet as a weapon on offense. Franklin has a lot more experience with the offensive system and playing big time college football.
But Mauk does bring an extra element to the Tiger’s offense- a kind of “Johnny Football” like ability to create on the fly. There was a play last week when Mauk, after being flushed out of the pocket, shovel passed the ball five or ten yards to an unexpecting receiver for a first down. That is a play that Franklin would never try, because of its inherent risk and difficulty. But Mauk really believes he can make any throw, any play, and makes them. In that way he differs from Franklin.
Which Missouri player should concern Tennessee the most?
Michael Sam has been having a monster year for Missouri, so you have to point to him as the most concerning for Tennessee. Sam is a quick and powerful defensive end who will give the Vol’s offensive line plenty of trouble. You can really point to the entire Tiger D Line as a cause for concern- everyone is quick and can get after the quarterback. Shane Ray, Kony Ealy and Marcus Golden are some of the other names for Missouri that will be making plays in the backfield against Tennessee.
Do you think Josh Dobbs starting, and there being very little film on him, will be an advantage or disadvantage for Missouri?
It is an advantage for Missouri that Josh Dobbs is starting this game. Dobbs is very inexperienced, so the Tigers should be coax some mistakes out of him. Mizzou already has a great pass rush, and they will blitz early and often to try and make sure that Dobbs cannot get comfortable in the pocket. Also, Dobbs is a talented runner as well as passer, but Missouri has faced good running QBs before, like Connor Shaw last week. Despite there being little on film to look at, it is advantage for Missouri to face a freshman making his first start.
Tennessee and Missouri will kick off at 7:00 PM ET on Saturday night. The game will be broadcast on ESPN.