Record-breaking attack set for Mizzu

Jim Chaney

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Distractions stemming from hot seat talk and unfilled expectations blitz through the young minds of the Tennessee football roster.

Through it all, the squad is attempting to concentrate on what matters most — winning football games. If the Volunteers can take down Missouri this weekend, they'll get back to .500 at 5-5 and notch their first Southeastern Conference win since holding off Vanderbilt in overtime last November.

For Big Orange Country, speak of reaching for an even mark and a first league W not coming to November is underwhelming to say the least. This is a program with 13 SEC championships, 89 All-Americans and 43 NFL First-Round Draft picks.

This isn't your mother's SEC, but Tennessee (4-5, 0-5) still has as great of, if not better, resources and facilities and the highest recruiting budget in the country in order to keep the victory engine churning.

At least in one phase of the game, the Vols are producing as expected — offensively.

Tennessee posted 44 points on Georgia, 35 on South Carolina and 31 on Mississippi State. In ordinary seasons, that'd be enough to sweep those three games. This offense has totaled 331 points (4,366 total yards), which is the third-highest total through nine games in school history and the most since 1995.

When you have to go back to last century and a Peyton Manning led attack to find comparable numbers, you're getting it done.

While so much attention is centered on the inept Vol defense, and though the win total is hardly what it should be, Tennessee fans are witnessing offensive coordinator Jim Chaney's bunch clicking on all cylinders in history-making fashion.

"I don't know about all the numbers but every ballgame there's plays that you wish you could have done them again," Chaney said Wednesday. "There's 4-5 calls every game that you wish you could have taken back."

The NFL Draft is expected to hit that side of the ball hard with not only Mychal Rivera's and Dallas Thomas' graduation but with possibly four players leaving early — Tyler Bray, Justin Hunter, Ja'Wuan James and Cordarrelle Patterson.

Tennessee ranks in at No. 18 in the country in total offense, averaging 485 yards per game. Opposing them is a Missouri defense that is allowing just 327 per contest and has 19 sacks. Although, the Tigers (4-5, 1-5) have just five interceptions, they're tied for first in America in fumbles recovered (15).

"When you have talent and play hard, good things come your way. So, it doesn't shock me that they're ranked (22nd) in the country," Chaney said of Mizzu's defense.

The Tigers are fresh off holding a talented Florida attack to 14 points in Gainesville and confidence is building. They have an opportunity to get to a solid bowl game, just like the Vols, and the two are in tight contention in the standings. With Syracuse and Texas A&M remaining on the schedule, the visitors needs this one bad.

Kickoff at Neyland Stadium on Saturday is at 12:21. The SEC Network has the broadcast.

To hear more from the offensive staff following Wednesday morning's workout, check out the videos below:

Jim Chaney

Jay Graham

Darin Hinshaw

Sam Pittman

Danny Parker is currently the Managing Editor, Recruiting Analyst and Staff Photographer for InsideTennessee.com. He was previously the sports editor at Shelbyville Times-Gazette. He joined the InsideTennessee team July 2011.

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