Today was National Signing Day.
In the South, NSD is the equivalent of a holiday such as Labor Day. In fact, some football fans think that Super Bowl Sunday should be followed by three consecutive days off, exceeding my favorite holiday season of Thanksgiving: Monday as a recovery day from the hype and glitter of the game/halftime/commercials, Tuesday as a catch-up day on what college football has been up to since the National Championship game, and Wednesday for more hype and glitter of a much different kind.
I’m not one of those football fans.
This morning, the University of Tennessee announced that Butch Jones, the University of Cincinnati’s head man for the past three seasons, is the choice of Dave Hart.
As of the time of the announcement, Jones was not the choice of the majority of the Vol Nation.
Even with the lucrative price tag of $18 million over six years, he likely wasn’t Tennessee’s first choice, or second choice, or third choice. He likely wasn’t in the top twenty of desired candidates for the vast majority of fans.
But, regardless of the secrecy of the actual process, executed priorities, and actual timeline of the search, Butch Jones is now the head coach of the Vols.
Grudenmania crashed and burned on Friday. The only thing that remains are ashes that still smolder.
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. Read More…
The Ancient Greeks saw the same patterns reproduced in all levels of the cosmos, from the largest scale all the way down to the smallest scale.
On Saturday night in Nashville, the Grecian Formula was in effect — the Volunteers exhibited the same deficiencies that we have seen all season long: (1) big plays/poor defense; (2) turnovers; and (3) coaching.
Today at 2:00pm EST, Tennessee AD Dave Hart took to the microphone. Then with his words, during an introductory statement and followup answers to questions from the media, Mr. Hart made it clear that he is his own man and is in control of the current coaching situation.
After last night’s disaster, the only surprise is that nobody knew at what time this would be announced.
An official announcement was released by the university this morning after 11:00 am EST.
Tennessee Athletic Director Dave Hart released this statement:
Derek and I met early this morning, and I informed him that I believed a change in leadership, despite the positive contributions he has made to the overall health of the program, was in the best long-term interests of Tennessee football. We will immediately begin the search for the best possible candidate to assume this leadership role.
The university’s statement also indicated that Dooley will not coach this coming Saturday against Kentucky. Offensive Coordinator Jim Chaney will be the interim.
A press conference will be held in Knoxville at 2:00pm EST. It is widely reported that Dooley will not be in attendance.
More will be posted later today, including a requiem on last night’s embarrassment.
Vanderbilt Commodores vs. Tennessee Volunteers
Saturday 17 November 2012 | 7:00pm EST
Vanderbilt Stadium (40,550) | Nashville, TN | ESPN2
Absolutely everything has been discussed this week within the VolNation. Everything except the upcoming football game.
In the first half, the Tennessee defense held Missouri to 7 points (scored on a kickoff return for a TD), only 27 snaps, no big plays (none >20 yards), no Red Zone visits, only 4 first downs, and only 64 total yards.
Then, after taking the second-half opening kickoff, Kendial Lawrence ran a rather simple misdirection running play up the middle for 77 yards and a TD.
It cut the Tennessee lead to 21-14.
It cut a big hole in what confidence Sal Sunseri’s defensive troops may have gathered during the opening half.
It cut open the floodgates of the habit of losing.
Missouri Tigers vs. Tennessee Volunteers
Saturday 10 November 2012 | 12:21pm EST
Neyland Stadium (102,455) | Knoxville, TN | SECN/ESPN3
This is one of the most interesting matchups of the season for Tennessee as well as being a game that holds little interest — all in the same bundle.
Tennessee’s offense set a new school record for most number of total yards in a game (718). Tennessee’s defense set a new school record for the most number of total yards allowed in a game (721).
Both of these events happened on the same day, in the same game, which also saw the most combined yards in any Tennessee game (1,439).
During his introductory press conference in 2010, Derek Dooley said that under his leadership, the Vols would play exciting football. Saturday was exciting, but Dooley didn’t have Saturday in mind when he said this almost three years ago.