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Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Three-point stance: Vols need special teams help

By Ivan Maisel

1. New Tennessee Volunteers coach Derek Dooley said Saturday that the Vols “have a lot of work to do on special teams. I wish we had 15 more practices.” Tennessee finished 79th and 85th in punt and kickoff return defense, respectively. In the Not-a-Coincidence Deptartment, USC coach Lane Kiffin told the Los Angeles Times that he learned by watching Florida that he should play more front-line players on special teams.

2. TCU Horned Frogs, which will be expected to repeat its top-10 status, will play six home games. However, two of its “away” games are a few miles down I-30. The Horned Frogs will open the season against Oregon State at Cowboys Stadium. Three weeks later, TCU will play SMU in Dallas. Seven of the Horned Frogs’ first eight games are local. Too much of a good thing? That MWC showdown at Utah on Nov. 6 looms large.

3. In the Miami Hurricanes spring game, the teams not only scored points in the traditional way, but offenses scored a point for a first down and for crossing the 50-yard line. Defenses earned one point for a three-and-out and two points for turnovers. How true to the game is this scoring system? I went back to the 2005 “Bush Push” game. Final score: USC 34, Notre Dame 31. By the system that Miami used, the Irish won, 74-69.