Thursday, September 2, 2010

My Worst Loss at Belmont

There were so many things that were disappointing about Tuesday that I've been contemplating what to write. Do I tell the whole story? Do I say nothing? Do I just wait and write about the next game or story?
Actually, the disappointment started at practice on Sunday. The coaching staff decided that we would not use conservative defensive tactics to get a result. We decided that we would stay in our 4-3-3 against their 3-5-2. We were going to play for development and not for the result. It meant that we would have to have exceptional individual and small group defending against Minnesota. Our defending in that practice was terrible. Maybe I should have changed my mind when I saw how poorly the majority of our team was defending. We trained well before the Clemson game, and we played well against Clemson. We trained poorly before the Minnesota game, and we played poorly in the game.
Tuesdays game helped us identify some things to work on to get ready for conference games. I think we learned from the experience. Ultimately, that was the goal all along.
In 2005 and 2006, my goal for the team was to compete and gain confidence from getting results. A good result then could have been a 1-0 win, a 0-0 tie, or even a 2-0 loss. We lost to Louisiana State 2-0, and I remember feeling really good about the result. We used tactics that allowed the players to play within themselves and allowed the team to have a chance to win the game at the end. The players worked together for 90 minutes, and it allowed us to become more cohesive, more competitive, and more confident.
That was not our goal this year against Samford, Vandy, Missouri, Clemson, and Minnesota. Our goal was to gain experience in our system against high level competition. Where we were exploited against great teams, we will fix before we play Mercer. The things that made us successful against those teams, we will use to our advantage against conference opponents.
We're not a bad 0-3 team, but I don't mind if our conference opponents think we are. Hopefully, after Sunday, we will be 1-3.
I am watching the USC football game. I might be the only person in Tennessee watching Lane Kiffin coach.

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