When South Carolina destroyed Georgia on October 6 by a shocking 35-7 score, the Old Ball Coach had his program ranked 3rd on the 6-0 W/L tally. How times have changed.
The public response to the Vols’ loss in Starkville last Saturday at Mississippi State was swift. It was also predictable since that game, before kickoff, was christened a crucial game in the career of head coach Derek Dooley.
I’ve stayed out of the Dooley-Must-Go vs. Dooley-Must-Stay debate, because I think it premature for a number of reasons. Highly entertaining, but premature.
This week, I’ve had the opportunity to take some long drives (for work) accompanied by broadcasts of various talk shows on the two major sports radio stations in Knoxville. A lot of hysteria. Some reasoned discussion. Mostly food for further consideration.
It all made me think about the time that the Tennessee Volunteer football program underwent a full-fledged rebuilding program, how the dark days of the last 2+ years are part of a genuine rebuilding phase requiring more than simply a ‘reloading’ effort, and most importantly how hiring even the best coach in the land to stem the tide of decline is not a sure recipe for a quick recovery.
‘It’ has already started. ‘It’ always starts with just a few comments, and then builds and builds until the noise is so loud that your either have to simply turn it off or you become pulled into it by some mysterious gravational force.
It’s basically a decision based on personality.
Kentucky vs. Tennessee | 27 Nov 2010 | Neyland Stadium
12:21 pm EST | SEC Network/ESPN3.com
Let’s not forget what Saturday really is.
Kevin Cooper, Chad Cunningham, Savion Frazier, Gerald Jones, Daniel Lincoln, Ben Martin, Denarius Moore, Nick Reveiz, Jerrod Shaw, Luke Stocker, Victor Thomas, LaMarcus Thompson, Chris Walker, Gerald Williams, and Tyler Wolf.
These are the senior lettermen. These are The Group That Never Quit, so eloquently named by senior wide receiver Gerald Jones.
On Rocky Top: A Front-Row Seat To The End of an Era. By Clay Travis. ItBooks; 337 pages; $25.99.
It is Monday, September 1, 2008. In the visiting locker room of the Rose Bowl Stadium, Phillip Fulmer, the second most successful coach in Tennessee football history in terms of wins, on his birthday, has just led his warriors in reciting Robert Neyland’s Seven Game Maxims. He then instills in his troops a feeling of timeless tradition before they take the field to open the 2008 season opener against UCLA: “Believe in your brothers all the way back to the twenties that have said these Maxims. Understand what you stand for by putting on that orange shirt and that T on your helmet.”
In less than three months, Coach Fulmer will be fired, and that timeless tradition will be tested by the hiring of a complete outsider, Lane Kiffin, who as we know now, will also be gone a season later.
Clay Travis, a sports columnist, an attorney living in Nashville, the grandson of a Vol who played for General Neyland in the 1930s, and an unabashed Tennessee football junkie who did not attend UT but traces his Vol fandom to watching the 1986 Sugar Bowl victory over Miami as a six-year old, was given access to the locker room and the sideline to write a book about a season that became one of the most memorable in the annals of Volunteer football. Read More…
This past week promised to be slow, until Lane Kiffin left for Trojan Town and started a coaching search party with a rock-painting contest and a T-shirt burning party.
Hammy Dusted Off Last Year’s Target List
After Kiffin dropped the bomb that set off the week’s nuclear chain reaction, Mike Hamilton hoped we would have a new coach by the end of Friday, or Saturday, or Sunday, depending on what you were reading. On Friday morning, when Tennessee was 0-for-4 or -5 or -6, again depending on what you were reading, it felt like we might not have a coach until the Orange and White Game, or maybe even an interim situation for a year. Read More…
UT Athletic Director Mike Hamilton let it be known what his working philosophy is:
“Most of you know that I have this feeling that you should always be prepared as an AD for any change that comes about. It is inevitable from time to time and that allowed us to get on the move very quickly and we are down that road. I don’t like to put too many timetables on anything of this nature, but everybody knows that we are about to hit a live recruiting period again and this is an absolutely critical time for our program as it relates to wrapping up recruiting and approaching signing day. We will work very diligently to bring closure to this process as quickly as possible so that we can bring the right head coach here for our student-athletes, for our university and for our fans.”
Feel better? I will when this is all over. I think. Depends, doesn’t it?
So, here’s not what makes sense, necessarily, but what’s being mentioned, as of this evening, by folks who should know (better)… Read More…
This past week I read about Phil Fulmer’s current endeavors. It was like reading about a long, lost friend or relative, because it feels like he coached his last game in about 1988. It’s easy to forget that he coached as recently as November 2008. It’s also easy to forget that he won 152 games as Tennessee’s head coach, second only to Robert Neyland.
In an interview in August 2009, he maintained that he wasn’t afraid of trying new things, presumably like hiring Dave Clawson, and like doing television work as an analyst for CBS.
He looked terribly uncomfortable on the tube this past Fall, and it always appeared as everybody was instructed to steer clear of putting ol’ Phil on the spot when it came to talking about his successor or anything the least bit controversial about the Vols. Read More…
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.
We’re gonna do our mid-week thing a little differently. Instead of one massive post as a game preview, we’ll break it up. First will be Up Next, a chance to pay a little homage to history as well as poke a little fun at the Vols’ upcoming opponent, followed later in the week where we’ll stick to the upcoming game in Game Preview.