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David Elson left some room for interpretation, mixing modern-day political correctness with good-old-fashioned coach-speak. Not much, but he allowed for a little wiggle room.

The Western Kentucky football coach discussed Saturday's season opener on a conference call Monday morning, and the top Hilltopper seems to have a pretty good idea of what Tennessee may try in Saturday's season opener.

"It's all kind of educated guesses, but we think they're going to try to run the football," Elson said on the hardly-a-national-secret game plan for UT. "That's what they're known for. Their quarterback situation -- not that it's unsettled, because they've named the starter -- but I just think any time things are new you want to go with that comfort level in everything you see."

Regardless if you're heading to Knoxville, Atlanta, Stillwater, Okla., or your living room for the first weekend of the season, there are a few things that are not up for debate. We know these things, because, well, we know them, and sometimes it's just that simple.

We know that the "neutral site" that is the Georgia Dome for Saturday's Virginia Tech-Alabama game will be decidedly crimson in color and loud by nature.

We know that the point spread can't be high enough for Florida's opener because the Gators' fourth-stringers were more highly recruited than Charleston Southern's starters.

We know that the Southeastern Conference -- a league with only two experienced and established starting quarterbacks at season's dawn -- will be dominated by catch phrases such as "eight men in the box," "have to stop the run," and "make them throw it to beat us."

Take Elson's theory, for example. Without a lick of tape to study or anything more than a ballpark's guess to what Lane Kiffin will do in his college head coaching debut, we know the Vols have to run, right?

You can turn to Bryce Brown, Montario Hardesty et al and a senior-laden offensive line. Or you have quarterback Jonathan Crompton, who can be euphemistically described as inconsistent, and an injury-riddled receiving corps. It's not rocket science or a matter of national security from the start.

Cloaks and daggers aside, it's hard to fathom the Volunteers doing much more than pushing through Western Kentucky, climbing the Hilltoppers with an offense that looks more 1959 than 2009. If they can run it 75 times and mix in a few of these crazy forward passes, the Vols will add a layer of questions to their conquest.

A cruising win Saturday protects the element of unknown, which for the time being is an asset for these Vols. There is no video, scouting report or preconceived notions for their offense. Sure, a number of the pieces are the same -- the line still is going to be physically strong, Crompton is unlikely to wake up and resemble Peyton Manning any time between now and kickoff, etc. -- but how Kiffin and Co. will deploy them when it counts is a mystery for the most part. And this side of Brown's splendid gifts, that may be the Vols' biggest offensive weapon entering the season.

That great conundrum is a gift that knows few limits. As much as Kiffin's energy and enthusiasm have delivered a much-welcomed and needed jolt of anticipation during the offseason to the fan base, a non-Phillip Fulmer game plan should be met with an even greater eagerness.

There still may be cause for a third-and-8 draw or the obligatory bubble screen on second-and-14, but now those calls can be rationalized as either a tip of the helmet to tradition or an attempt to surprise rather than the status quo.

No, in this much ballyhooed season of change, Saturday's offensive plan should be vanilla. It should be the stuff that produces three running backs (Brown, Hardesty and maybe David Oku) with more than eight carries each and possibly two (Brown and Hardesty) with more than 100 yards. It should offer enough controlled passing attempts to allow Crompton to gain a little confidence and the youthful receivers to get a little experience.

Come Saturday, the pregame offensive meetings should seem very familiar to the older Vols, because the wise plan would make Fulmer smile -- and make defensive coordinators in Los Angeles and Gainesville and Athens wonder.

If Kiffin's Vols want to light it up and share their system with the world, that's certainly their right. But there's one more thing we can add to the list of things we know: If these Vols are forced to bring out the trickery and the five-wide sets Saturday, they are going be in trouble this year.

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