Some Fun for a Change

Tennessee 37  Kentucky 17
24 November 2012 | Neyland Stadium | ATT: 81,841
Recap | Boxscore | Play-by-Play | Drive Chart | Photos | Video
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Tennessee avoided what would have been it’s first 8-loss season. The Vols also avoided a first-ever winless SEC season. But that is not the real story of this game. 

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Carson Anderson* (OL)
Corey Alexander (DB)
Ben Bartholomew* (FB)
Willie Bohannon* (LB)
Mychal Rivera (TE)
Steven Fowlkes* (DL)
Zach Rogers (WR)
Darin Gooch (OL)
Dallas Thomas* (OL)
Herman Lathers* (LB)
Prentiss Waggner* (DB)
Marlon Walls** (DL)
Rod Wilks* (DB)

*Fifth-year seniors
**Fifth-year senior with first year at Hargrave Military

It didn’t exactly go as I would have drawn it up. – Prentiss Waggner

Nothing in life really ever does. 

But these seniors, who wore the orange jersey on Saturday for the last time, have been through the mill like no others in the history of Tennessee football.

Tennessee offensive linesman Dallas Thomas (71) greets coach Jim Chaney before the start of the game at Neyland Stadium Saturday, Nov. 24, 2012. (MICHAEL PATRICK/NEWS SENTINEL)

The fifth-year seniors came to the Vols via Phillip Fulmer.

Think about that.

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Interim Head Coach Jim Chaney turned out to be the perfect elixir on a cold, cloudless Saturday afternoon and a Neyland Stadium filled with a lot of empty butt space.

He made it fun. His smile and enthusiasm was genuine, and infectious. The players looked like they were actually having a good time. Which is how it should be. Always. And especially on Senior Day.

***

The game was played by players coached by two lame-duck coaching staffs. Only one had the head coach willing to show up. That staff lost its eighth conference game of this wretched season.

Junior QB Tyler Bray followed one of his worst games ever with one of his best.

Tennessee quarterback Tyler Bray throws downfield with Justin Hunter in the foreground. Will either player be back for their senior season? (ADAM BRIMER/NEWS SENTINEL)

He distributed the ball to many well-deserving players for TDs, including seniors Zach Rogers and Mychal Rivera. And also to juniors Justin Hunter and Cordarrelle Patterson, who both like Bray, are expected to leave the Vols for the chance to play on Sundays.

After the game, Chaney had this to say:

I’m happy we won a ballgame. That’s where my brain’s at.

I was too, for a few minutes.

But I was mostly happy for the seniors. Listening to their post-game lockeroom interviews with Tim Priest, I was struck by their maturity.

Perhaps it has all been worth it after all.

And I’m glad that they don’t have to go through these next several days as Dave Hart goes through the process of hiring Tennessee’s next head coach and staff.

But we have to, and will do gladly, with lofty expectations that hopefully, some day, can and will be fulfilled.

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8 responses to “Some Fun for a Change”

  1. tk says :

    those fifth year seniors need to write a book. id buy that first copy. congrats to all of them for hanging tough in a football world they never thought they would see.

    and id also like to take this opportunity to thank fred for another season of excellent journalism. i know this takes hours to do over the length of the season and its for nothing more than his love of sports and of volunteer football. i know first hand its in his blood and i love this blog and the chance to be a part of it

    • norcalvol says :

      Thanks, tk. I appreciate your participation throughout. Makes it worthwhile when readers also take a little time to post a comment.

      I’ll be posting about the coach search also.

  2. Sandy says :

    “The fifth-year seniors came to the Vols via Phillip Fulmer.”

    Whoa… that is something to consider. It has been “Rocky” for those boys.

    And I’ll second TK’s acknowledgement for the effort Freddie put’s into this. It’s always an interesting read… and it is a great way to help keep old friends connected.

    • norcalvol says :

      Thanks, Sandy.
      It is a great way for staying connected to old friends and new ones as well.
      It was great to see you on campus in September for the Florida game.
      Better days ahead for the Vols.

      • tk says :

        well some old friends, dw and orangebobber must have gotten so old they cant participate. i say we send them the way of dooley

        • norcalvol says :

          Let’s say that unlike Dooley, they’re welcome back if they want to return. Perhaps they will when we’re back to winning football games.

  3. rockytop78 says :

    I will echo TK’s remark, and observe that among the many things to be thankful for this past Thanksgiving, all of us are (or should be) grateful for Vols in the Fall, and the thoughtful and incisive analysis and commentary that we have had over the past season (and the past several seasons, in fact), along with the opportunity to throw in our 2-cents’ worth.

    Best damn blog on Vols football, ever.

    • norcalvol says :

      Thank you, RT. That is appreciated. And I’m thankful for your readership and interesting commentaries.

      I’m looking forward to following the coaching situation on this site with you all.

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