Tag Archive | Montario Hardesty

Don’t Touch Your Tongue to the Vols Rushing Game

Chris Low at ESPN.com notes that the Vols’ running game is not just cold. He labels it freezer burn.

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The Bloom of the Rose

In this age of instant gratification, the life of a head football coach, especially in the SEC, is filled with the stress of having to produce W’s, regardless of the circumstances.

I have written about this topic, on this site, a few times.

That brings us to this Saturday Night. Read More…

Blueprint for a Fantasy

Florida Gators vs. Tennessee Volunteers
Saturday 17 September 2011 | 3:30 pm EDT
Ben Hill Griffin Stadium | Gainesville, FL | CBS-TV 
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Contemplating the Vols’ visit to Gainesville this Saturday made me think about the last visit to The Swamp. Many predicted the No.1 Gators would destroy Tennessee that day and give Lane Kiffin the spanking that he deserved.

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Vols 2011: What to Look For

Another season is about to begin. Optimism rides high as it usually does across the Volunteer state. That’s what makes anticipation of each season a special time of year.

But, some of the August predictions (pardon the pun) from fans that I’ve been reading have a whiff of peyote. Remember, the majority of starting slots on this year’s squad are filled with freshman and sophomores.

Memories of the Flaming Sophomores of 1928?

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Vandy is Candy

Vanderbilt vs. Tennessee | 20 Nov 2010 | Vanderbilt Stadium/Dudley Field

7:30 pm EDT | CSS / ESPN3.com

Vandy’s entertaining head coach Robbie Caldwell summed up the state of his 2-8 Commodores quite succinctly:

“We haven’t been creating turnovers defensively, we haven’t moved the ball until right here recently offensively. Unfortunately our bright spot has been our punt team. That’s the one thing you don’t want to have showing good signs.”

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Hokies Gobble Up The Vols

Recap ♦♦♦ Box Score ♦♦♦ Play-by-Play ♦♦♦ Drive Chart

Lane Kiffin's head hurt Thursday night, too, just like mine. Photo by Amy Smotherman Burgess.

After you subtract the 55 yards the Vols lost by Jonathan Crompton getting sacked six times, Tennessee was left with 5 net yards rushing on Thursday night. Five. Thank goodness Montario Hardesty was able to get all 39 yards, or we would have been deep into negative numbers.

Tennessee head coach Lane Kiffin was quoted as saying “I was surprised we weren’t able to run the ball better.”

You and the entire Vol Nation, Lane.

Tip your orange hats to the Hokies, because they handed the orange arses back to the Vol players. Especially to Tennessee’s offensive line.

The Hokies were known as a great defensive squad against the pass, but known as a vulnerable unit against good running teams. The Hokies were known as one of the worst pass rush protection offensive lines in Division I, and the Vols were highly recognized as one of the nation’s best offensive lines against the dreaded sack.

I guess the magnetic field of the earth switched poles while everybody was busy unwrapping Christmas gifts last week.

It was the night of a blue moon after all… Read More…

Peach Bowl Game Preview

Welcome back, Vols, to the bowl game scene.

Sorry, S. Truett Cathy, but it's still the Peach Bowl. On second thought, after a little research, I'm not sorry at all.

A one-year layoff seems like a decade. That sentiment seems like it was motivation for Vol defensive tackle Wes Brown and company. “It’s all been about hard work and pulling together under coach Kiffin and really believing in each other,” Brown said upon arriving in Atlanta on Christmas. “We had a year last year where we were sitting at home for Christmas, and it was terrible to be honest with you. None of us wanted that again. We all went to work and made a promise to each other that wasn’t going to happen again. We were going to go somewhere, we’re going to end up somewhere and have a good time in January or December.”

Indeed it is good to be back playing in December/January. Considering our season’s performance, I think the opponent, the venue, and the date (a New Year’s Eve night) is a great way to end our season. We are fortunate to be where we are right now, and I’m looking forward to the challenge that the Hokies will give us. The matchup is terrific in many aspects. Here are my views on what should be a very entertaining game. Read More…

Goodbye Seniors: We Hardly Knew Ya

One of the aspects of college sports that distinguishes it from its professional counterpart is that your team’s players are generally more ephemeral and on a more predictable basis. And one of the great traditions is saying goodbye to the seniors. It is always their team. And saying goodbye, in the proper way, is important. Tennessee does that. This year’s Vanderbilt game was Senior’s Day, where each senior player was allowed to go through the famous “T” individually rather than as part of the team. I just got chills writing that sentence.

So here is my tiny salute to our seniors, the leaders of this year’s version of our Tennessee Volunteers. I’m thankful we will have one more look – at least at most of them – on New Year’s Eve. Admittedly, preparing this list introduced me to a couple of you them the first time.

So here’s to the seniors. From Brown to Williams.

Goodbye. It seems like we hardly got to know them. A list follows the jump. Read More…

The Streak Turns Silver

Recap /   Box Score /  Play-by-Play /  Drive Chart

The self-proclaimed biggest game ever played for a generation of Kentucky football fans in front of 70,981 turned into more of the same Saturday night:

  1. A dog-fight of a Boarder-State Rivalry War; and
  2. A Tennessee victory.

With a win on Saturday, Kentucky would have fulfilled a string of significant accomplishments for their improving program under coach Rich Brooks.

  • An 8-4 regular season, the first 8-win regular season since 1984.
  • A second place finish in the SEC East for the first time since the realignment of the conference in 1992 and best SEC finish since 1977 (when they tied for first with Alabama).
  • A likely New Years’ Day bowl date for the first time since the 1998 season (Outback Bowl, Jan 1, 1999 vs Penn State).
  • And perhaps, most importantly, an end to The Streak – 24 consecutive losses to their bitter, long-time, border state rival.

But, would have didn’t materialize. Read More…

And that was a d*mn good answer :)

So the TV crew is interviewing fans during pre-game festivities about their thoughts on the Tennessee / Vanderbilt rivalry.   A gentleman dressed in black and gold made the following comment:

” the Vandy UT rivalry is all about pride. And about what is best for Tennessee.. and shows the best for Tennesse”

And a gentleman dressed in Orange standing next to him replied:

“And that was a damn good answer”

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Vols Get McClustered, 42-17

Tenn at Ole Miss Scoreboard

Recap /   Box Score /  Play-by-Play /  Drive Chart

Go on and feel bad, sad, and even a little mad.

But above all, appreciate the performer you saw on the field, even though he wore blue and gray.

Dexter McCluster gains 282 yards against Tennessee

A typical view on Saturday - Ole Miss RB Dexter McCluster eluding a Tennessee Vol defender. AP Photo.

Ole Miss running back Dexter McCluster carried the ball 25 times. He gained 282 yards. That’s an average of over 11 yards a carry.

He scored 4 TDs on runs of 15, 23, 32, and 77 yards.

He also gained 42 yards on 4 pass receptions. That’s 324 all-purpose yards.

Dexter broke the all-time Ole Miss records for most rushing yards in a game (formerly 242 yards by Dou Innocent in 1995) and most all-purpose yards in a game (formerly 317 yards by Deuce McAllister in 1999).

If Ole Miss had been playing anybody else, that would have been exciting to watch. Another performance showing the excitement of college football.

But it was against the Vols. And it was the most rushing yards ever given up by Tennessee to an opposing rusher. Ever. He busted it by 65 yards, formerly co-held by Mike Prichard (Colorado 1990) and Bobby Humphrey (Alabama 1986), both with 217 yards. And according to Knoxville’s Jimmy Hyams on the radio, McCluster became only the second opponent to rush for 4 TDs against Tennessee, equaling the mark of Southern Cal great Marcus Allen back in 1981.

Oh, and Dexter McCluster’s 282 rushing yards on Saturday were more yards gained on the ground than any team against the Vols this season.

Rushing Yards vs Vols in 2009

 

A humbling end to a very bad week.

WARNING: After the jump, there are a lot of photographs of Dexter McCluster enjoying open-field running. Read More…

Memphis in the Meantime

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It’s been quite a stretch of games. Auburn. Georgia. Alabama. South Carolina. Now it’s on to Ole Miss.

Aw, crap. I forgot. “Hey honey, do we really have to host this get together this weekend at our house? You know I’ve never even talked with my cousin from Memphis. I don’t even know him that well. And I don’t think I really want to. All he wants to talk about is basketball. For chrissake, it’s football season!”

“Dear, you knew we made this commitment weeks ago . It’s been on our calendar.”

“I know, I know. But can’t we say we caught the H1N1 or the R2D2 or whatever they call that pig flu?”

Do you feel the same? Hasn’t it felt like a bye week? Don’t you really wish you could do something else this Saturday? (I am, but I’m not telling anybody)…

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State of the Vol Nation – November 2009

VITF Roundtable

We are now eight games into this 2009 season and the Vols are even for the season at 4-4. With Memphis coming to town this Saturday night – the weekly pre-game buildup will be a bit on the sluggish side – it’s an excellent opportunity to sit back and take stock in where we’ve been, where we are, and where we’re going. I’ve invited the charter members of the Vols in the Fall commenters to answer a series of questions on the Vols, the SEC, and the national scene. I throw my two cents in as well. We all provided comments without seeing each others’ musings. A blind tasting if you will.

Since none of us know what we’re talking about when it comes to Tennessee Football, or anything else for that matter, this should rank right up there with the professional media. As somebody once said, some things are far too important to be left to the professionals.

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Tennessee 31 (21)South Carolina 13: Game Recap and Summary

Tennessee-S Carolina Scoreboard

Recap /   Box Score /  Play-by-Play /  Drive Chart

MAXIM #2: Play for and make the breaks and when one comes your way – SCORE!

92484972SL006_SOUTH_CAROLIN

The international sign for a fumble recovery. Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images.

Mission accomplished on Saturday. It was simply the difference. Three induced fumbles by the Vol ball hawks in the first half and an interception in the second were quickly turned into 24 points on All Hallow’s Eve down by the river. That’s right – 3 TD’s and a FG immediately after 4 turnovers. These weren’t turnovers that killed Gamecock drives. Instead, they happened in USC’s own half, allowing the Vols to start their drives from the C27, the C43, the C22, and the C47 because of the 4 Gamecock turnovers. Yes indeed – make the breaks and when one four come your way – SCORE (EVERY TIME)!

However, in years to come, this game will not likely be remembered for the turnovers and resultant scores, but for the black jerseys.

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Game Preview: Tennessee vs (21) South Carolina

UT vs S Car

UT-USC Chess Match

This All Hallow’s Eve matchup gives us two of the great coaching minds of a generation. Will the game become a chess match between a high-powered Spurrier passing game against Monte’s vaunted defense?

To answer this question, let’s think about the major strengths and weaknesses of this season’s South Carolina Gamecocks, and the Vols on the opposite side of those weaknesses.

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