Butch Jones said throughout fall camp there were "too many balls on the ground," and he needed to see an improvement.
Jones was mainly referring to the wide receivers, but all the same, the Vols dropped the football in several crucial moments during their bittersweet 20-13 victory over Appalachian State.
Cam Sutton's first quarter fumble put the Mountaineers in prime field position to score a touchdown, which they did on the ensuing drive. Josh Dobbs tried to connect with Preston Williams for a touchdown in the first half, but the sophomore wide receiver couldn't hold on. The Vols had to settle for a field goal.
"You have to control what we can control and that's taking care of the football," Jones said after the game. "We've proven over time here that we do that. So we have to get those things corrected. There's a lot of teaching to be done."
Dobbs would throw a dart to Josh Smith on a drive in the second quarter which was originally ruled a first down, but overturned upon review. Dobbs would throw an interception to the end the first half.
As fate would have it, Josh Dobbs won the game by inadvertently slam dunking the football into the end-zone, whereupon Jalen Hurd.
"We turned over the ball more than they did and we were luckily able to come up with the win," Dobbs said. "Football holds are dreams, goals and aspirations and our coaches let us know fumbles are not okay and they're not acceptable."
So, on all sides of the ball, the Vols have work to do to keep the ball safe.