Do you fear that Butch Jones could bolt for another job?

This question is prompted by a comment I heard about, and the specific worry is that Butch might be lured back to his home state of Michigan.

The Wolverines football program has fallen to sub-standard, and their head coach might be shown the door by season’s end.

Could the powers in Ann Arbor come knocking for a certain head coach in Knoxville?

Well, perhaps they could. But to fully flush this out, you would be talking about a contract renegotiation/extension/buyout clause change as a way to protect what we have. And that prompts the next questions: What do we have? And is what we have worth a potential elaborate increase in an already lucrative contract?

Those ‘next questions’ are objectively premature, but I think all signs point to ‘we got the real deal now’.

And just like the case of Jon Gruden, why would Butch Jones even want to go to the University of Michigan? Yes, Michigan is his home state, but he didn’t attend/play for the University.

All such talk at this stage of the game is complete hooey. It is prompted by a nervous fan base that got spurned by Kiffin’s one-and-done (which in the opinion of many has turned out to be a GOOD thing).

Or, to be more accurate, if the VolNation has nothing to worry about, they will create something to worry about. Nothing new here.

What say you?

What is your prediction for Saturday’s game?

Something tells me that this will be a more difficult game for the Vols than last week’s opener. Why? For starters, it will be a bit of a short week (Sunday night game followed by a Saturday noon game). Plus, the noon game time is not a trivial thing to dismiss as a factor — it takes a while for the body clock to get set to be able to get totally ready, physically and mentally, for a game that is basically beginning on a Saturday morning. [Of course, this may be worse for our opponent since they have to travel, too.]

And, the crowd on a Saturday morning/afternoon will not be as rowdy as it was on a holiday-weekend Sunday night.

But there is also the opponent… Our defense will have more challenges with Arkansas State’s up-tempo offense. And, I think Arkansas State could handle Utah State (and they will get their chance on Saturday September 20 in Jonesboro, Arkansas).

So there you go… my crystal ball says Tennessee 31 Arkansas State 20.

What say you?

What do you know about Arkansas State?

Not much, which is why I went to the internet for some factual information of the last three seasons, which is of a nature to make a repeatable template…

Arkansas_red_wolves_logo

2011: Hugh Freeze, formerly Arkansas State’s OC, coached the Red Wolves for only this single season. 10-2 record (8-0 in Sun Belt Conference) and conference champs. They lost to Northern Illinois in the GoDaddy.com Bowl without Freeze — he resigned to take the Ole Miss job.

2012: Gus Malzahn, formerly Auburn’s OC, coached the Red Wolves for only this single season. 9-3 record (7-1 in the Sun Belt Conference) and conference champs. They beat Kent State in the GoDaddy.com Bowl without Malzahn– he resigned to take the Auburn job.

2013: Bryan Harsin, formerly Texas’ OC, coached the Red Wolves for only this single season. 7-5 record (5-2 in the Sun Belt Conference) and conference co-champs. They beat Ball State in the GoDaddy.com Bowl without Harsin — he resigned to take the Boise State job.

2014: Blake Anderson, formerly North Carolina’s OC, coached the Red Wolves………………………

Truly amazing stuff.

So, what do you know about Arkansas State? Go find something and report back!

What is keeping you up at night about this team?

A lot of positives came out of the Utah State game — positives that I think that can carry on at some significant level for the entire season.

But there is one negative that is going to kill us this season: We Can’t Run The Football.

Throw in a sorry performance by special teams, and ol’ George Cafego ain’t getting much rest down in the ground either.

What say you?

How many sellout crowds will visit Neyland Stadium in 2014?

At least one. That’s because 102,455 was the official count for Sunday night’s opener. Significant? Indeed, because it was the first sellout crowd for a season opener at Neyland Stadium since 2007.

I think it is a barometer for the health of the program.

Neyland_Stadium_full

So, to today’s question…

It is difficult to answer because it depends on some important factors: (1) W-L record; (2) Opponent; and (3) Starting time. When we win, the people come. When we play one of the hated big boys, the people come. And when we start games at noon, not as many people come. The last factor is unpredictable because the networks run the show and look at the first two factors to determine kickoff times.

The students seem to be in to the Vols big time right now, which is a significant additional factor. High-definition television, with a comfortable couch and easy-to-get-to food/drink/bathroom doesn’t help.

Nonetheless, here are the remaining home games, with asterisks (***) for my predictions for sellouts…

  • Arkansas State
  • Florida***
  • Chattanooga
  • Alabama***
  • Kentucky
  • Missouri

What say you?

Are you down with the piped in music?

Playing every time the Vols defense forces the opponent into a third down is the popular DJ Snake & Lil’ John song “Turn Down For What” changed slightly to “Third Down for What.”

 

It is a note for the Big Orange fans in attendance to make havoc and a reminder to the Vols defense to bring everything to the next play. And it’s allowed by a new NCAA rule allowing music to be piped into college football stadiums while the ball isn’t in play. 

After Sunday’s win, Curt Maggitt said, “That’s why you play defense. Third down is the money-maker. That’s the play, you’re making it or you ain’t. Third down for what, we’re just getting hyped. That’s the opportunity to get off the field.”

Utah State converted on just three of 14 third-down opportunities, with the last coming on a 3rd-and-3 in the final minute.

Do that against Florida (October 4) or Bama (October 25) and I’m buying DJ Snake & Lil’ John’s next CD.

What say you?

Are you more optimistic for this season now because of the opening win?

Tennessee 38  Utah State 7

This solid win was on the back of experience: on defense it was linebacker A.J. Johnson; and on the offense it was quarterback Justin Worley. For me, this performance sets the tone for 2014 in that this team will have strong leadership for all the heralded underclassmen that have come to Knoxville. We’ve been looking for this kind of mentorship for years. Tyler Bray? Great arm, but as any kind of leader, you’ve got to be kidding me.

So the answer for me to this post’s question is a resounding yes.

What say you?

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