Tennessee’s first two scoring drives on Thursday had one big thing in common besides the result. The drives were incredibly fast, both during the play and in transition. As a result, Tennessee’s first two drives not only set the tone for the offense but also gave a look into what Josh Heupel’s new style would bring to Knoxville.
In reality, the Tennessee offense wasn’t just fast. Tennessee’s offense in week one was the fastest in all of college football.
“Tennessee was No. 1 in the FBS in plays per minute in Week 1 at 3.37,” according to UT Stats & Info.
The Volunteers ran 88 plays in week one, the second-most in college football behind Colorado State’s 89 plays. In those 88 plays, Tennessee had four touchdown scores on the ground and one in the air. In addition, Tennessee was able to update a statistic of theirs that hadn’t been reached since 2015. Tennessee’s 88 plays against Bowling Green were the most offensive plays from the Vols in a non-overtime game since they hosted Georgia on Oct. 10, 2015. In addition, Tennessee did win that game in Neyland Stadium by a score of 38-31.
However, Tennessee head coach Josh Heupel still wants to pick up the tempo even more. And the players know that, too.
“Our biggest challenge is just making sure tempo [is there],” Tennessee OL Jerome Carvin said on Wednesday. “Our coaches harped on it that it was kind of too slow. Yeah, it was too slow. We’ve got to go faster, push the tempo faster, even more.”
Carvin continued to talk about the responsibility of the center position when trying to push tempo and speed.
“The center’s main job is tempo,” Carvin said. “So I have to do a better job of that.”
Carvin wasn’t the only Tennessee offense player to say that the offense needs to go faster. Vols’ WR Cedric Tillman also echoed the same thing. Tennessee could have run their offense even quicker, but the defense on Thursday gave them looks they weren’t entirely prepared for.
After one week of play, the Tennessee offense is officially the fastest in all of college football. But with a challenging opponent in Pittsburgh on Saturday, will Tennessee be able to keep up the pace, or will they fall behind in the race?
The Tennessee Volunteers will host the Pittsburgh Panthers on Saturday, Sept. 11, in Neyland Stadium. Currently, Tennessee is an underdog to Pittsburgh at home.