October 12, 2012

Dooley talking Mississippi State

Tennessee has had two weeks to prepare for Saturday night's showdown with No. 19 Mississippi State.

The Volunteers have won six straight meetings in the series but the two SEC programs have not clashed since 2008. Tennessee head coach Derek Dooley, who underwent hip surgery this week and will coach from the press box, believes the Bulldogs are a formidable opponent as they go in search of their first conference win.

"We are obviously playing a good football team," Dooley said. "They have won seven in a row, they know how to win and they are playing with a lot of confidence. They have a lot of good players on both sides of the football but the thing that kind of sticks out the most is that they play with great effort and toughness every snap and they are very sound. Their plus-11 takeaway margin is representative of how they play. They protect the football on offense, they prey on the mistakes of their opponents and they capitalize on them. It is going to be a big step for our team to go down there."

With the contest scheduled for a 8 p.m. primetime kickoff on national television, Dooley is expecting his Vols to walk into a hostile atmosphere at Davis Wade Stadium. He knows to have any chance of silencing the clanging cowbells his squad must get off to a fast start.

"Of course, the cowbells make it a little different. The 55,000 plus the cowbells. They are all rowdy, they all are. The home-field advantage usually occurs when the home team is playing really well and the visiting team is a little bit on its heels. You saw it in some of these games on Saturday. When you go out there and you play well, it diminishes the value of the home-field advantage. We've seen it in our stadium.

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