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September 8, 2012Saturday afternoon Tennessee opens the 2012 home campaign against an outmanned Georgia State football team. As heavy favorites, there's still plenty for the Vols to get done. We take a look at four keys to the Vols opening of Neyland Stadium with our gameday Cheat Sheet.
1. End it early -- As heavy favorites, the expectation is for the Vols to end things early. It's Tennessee's newest challenge. Handling success and refocusing for the next week. All week long, players have been told how good they are and the program has gotten national recognition for what they have done. The challenge is for this program to take care of what they haven't done. How the Vols play early will say a lot about their maturity.
2. Communicate -- Tennessee's defensive communication in week one was not very good in the first quarter but improved greatly throughout the game. The challenge this week is for the defense not to have to spend the game improving their communication, it's to open the game communicating better and eliminating busts.
3. Run it, run it, and run it some more -- Tennessee ran for ball for 191 yards against NC State. Rajion Neal had 57 yards after contact last week which is not a bad number for Neal in his return to the running back position. But Neal had three carries where he bounced it outside and lost 10 yards. Devrin Young did the same thing. As Tennessee moves forward in the season, they must continue to improve in the run game particularly with their running back play. It was flashy on Friday with moments of good and moments of bad. This week's challenge is to eliminate some of the bad.
4. Win short yardage -- Maybe the biggest disappointment from Friday night was Tennessee's inability to convert in three third or fourth and one situations. If this team is going to win throughout the fall, they must move the sticks and convert in those situations. They must win those situations Saturday afternoon against an inferior Georgia State team.