KNOXVILLE - From the management of game from the standpoint of substitutions and the quarterback to his team's ability to adjust to a storm delay, Derek Dooley found plenty of positives from the University of Tennessee's season-opening win over Montana on Saturday night.
That good might be not good enough, though, given how much the Volunteers' second-year coach talked up UT's next opponent.
Prior to last year, 33 wins in three years and two BCS games," Dooley said of Cincinnati at his weekly news conference on Monday. "That's a lot of wins. I looked at their starting 22, and I think 18 are upperclassmen: 11 seniors, seven juniors. I think they only lost one guy on defense in their top 11 production, so they've got everybody back defense.
"Their offense is one of those nightmare offenses because they've got a great quarterback who was all-conference. They spread the field and generate numbers by doing so and they have a fabulous running back who had over a thousand yards and a lot of speed. We're going to have to do a great job of tackling in space and we're going to have to do a great job of assignment football. This is a very good football team coming in, and we'll see where our team is."
Dooley was pleased with where he team was in handling a one-hour, 43-minute rain delay on Saturday night.
"I thought our team did a great job in the locker room, especially given the anxiety of a first game," he said. "There was so much anticipation of that moment, and then all of the sudden it's like we can't go. I was worried a little bit with all this anxiety and anticipation, but we did a good job."
Dooley also liked quarterback Tyler Bray's management of the offense and the three turnovers the Vols forced, which led to 21 points. The Vols also fumbled six times.
"It's inexcusable, surprising, that that happened," Dooley said. "We work on it every day. Hadn't had a big problem of that in camp, so we were very fortunate not to have any turnovers."
PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
OFFENSE: quarterback Tyler Bray (17-of-24 passing, 293 yards and three touchdowns
DEFENSE: senior linebacker Daryl Vereen (team-high six tackles)
SPECIAL TEAMS: junior defensive back Rod WIlks (team-high three tackles on kickoff coverage)
Defensive tackle Maurice Couch is day to day with a knee sprain. Freshman tailback/return specialist
Devrin Young will be re-evaluated next week. He can still catch punts, but he's not been cleared for contact.
Linebacker Herman Lathers had two of 11 screws removed from his fractured ankle, and the Vols believe he is between four and six weeks from a return.
More coverage in Tuesday's Times Free Press. Follow Vols beat writer Patrick Brown on Twitter for more continuous updates.