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Too many drawbacks for Vols to speed up offense

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - Tennessee coach Lane Kiffin isn't in a hurry to speed up his offense.

The Volunteers (2-3, 0-2 Southeastern Conference) found some needed offensive production from their 2-minute drill in a 26-22 loss to Auburn last week, but the coach said there are too many drawbacks to the speedier scheme to use it all the time.

'It's easy to sit here after that game and say, 'Well, you know, we should be in 2-minute all the time and no huddle,' he said.

Against the Tigers, Tennessee drove the field with 1:30 before halftime and scored on a Montario Hardesty touchdown run with 21 seconds left. Jonathan Crompton also led a successful 34-second, 79-yard drive at the end of the game, finding Denarius Moore in the end zone as time expired.

Tennessee also used the 2-minute drill to kick a 38-yard field goal before halftime in a 34-23 win over Ohio.

The Vols have been inconsistent at best when practicing the hurry-up offense, but Kiffin said the scheme might be an option when facing Georgia (3-2, 2-1) or other future opponents if the matchups are favorable.

'It's something that's real easy to have ready because you always prepare for 2-minute every week,' he said. 'It could be something that down the road we look into. It all depends on how the game's going.'

There are some advantages. Opposing defenses have less time to disguise their plays and wear out more easily when a snap-count happens faster, and coordinators tend to rely on only three or four plays to defend the hurry-up offense.

But a 2-minute offense usually limits what's been the Vols' strength this season on offense - the running game. Tailback Montario Hardesty leads the SEC with an average 115 yards rushing per game.

Hardesty still likes the idea of changing the pace a bit.

'I think we're all very conditioned for it, and it definitely would be a nice change up,' he said. 'I don't think that would change our approach to the game at all.'

The 2-minute drill also can cause problems on play-action pass plays unless the offensive line is completely sound in its pass protection.

And if the drill isn't successful, there's a risk of going three-and-out too quickly and wearing out the wrong defense.

'All of a sudden you're three-and-out, and it takes 11 seconds off the clock, and the whole thing only took two minutes (in real time), and your defense is right back out there,' Kiffin said.

SideBar: Georgia at Tennessee

When: Saturday, 12:20 p.m.

Where: Knoxville, Tenn.

TV/Radio: PTV/750-AM