Game Preview: Tennessee vs Western Kentucky

Tennessee HelmetWestern Kentucky Helmet

Saturday 5 Sept 2009

12:21 pm ET

Neyland Stadium, Knoxville, TN

This game is about one thing and one thing only.

Lane Kiffin.

Lane Kiffin

Lane Kiffin

The majority of the Vol Nation received what they were clamoring for over the past couple of seasons. A new coach. They (we) had a say in the decision to fire Phil Fulmer. Now we are confronted with the result of that wish, a result for which they (we) did not have a say. That’s the way it always is. Fire the coach! Bring in whoever. Just rid us of this endless misery! Oh, thank you! Very nice. Did someone just open the window? Feels nice in here. Was getting pretty stuffy…

And that’s where we are. On the eve of seeing Mr. Kiffin’s methods, his approach, his philosophy, his leadership abilities – all manifested through the movements of his players. And their decisions. All in front of over 100,000 people.

How would you like to have a job like that?

For those of you old enough, what were you doing when you were 34 years old? For those of you who aren’t there yet, what will you be doing when you are 34 years old? When a couple of your staff who have just finished the project you planned and managed are scheduled to give a presentation on it, why not invite 100,000 people to attend? Maybe even televise it! Remember, their presentation will largely reflect your methods, approach, philosophy, and leadership abilities!

I know. It comes with the job. He’s getting paid millions, so it should be a tough profession. But it still has that human element. He’s no different than you and me in that respect.

Scared? I imagine you would be. Is Lane Kiffin scared? Likely. And, I hope so, because fear is a pretty good motivator at times.

And maybe fear explains Coach Kiffin’s unbridled remarks for which he has become nationally infamous. He certainly didn’t pick on creampuffs. Only two months out of the box, Mr. Kiffin came out with a beaut when speaking at at a breakfast in front of a thousand fans. He quipped, “Just so you know, when a recruit’s on another campus, you can’t call a recruit on another campus.” And then he followed with, “I love the fact that Urban had to cheat and still didn’t get him.”

Boy howdy! Who does he think he is? Steve Spurrier? Big Balls or Big Stupid? That’ll just have to play itself out. Starting 19 September. In Gainesville. Against the Number One team in the land. It’ll all play out. One way or another.

John Reaves

John Reaves

Or maybe he did it on a bet with his father-in-law. You know, the real estate agent who was arrested last year on gun and drug charges. Jeez, does anybody in the UT Athletic Department do background checks on job applicants?

Anyway, SEC Commissioner Mike Slive had to issue a reprimand over his fun-loving poke at a very healthy and powerful gator. Apology followed.

Oh yes, and then there were the comments about UGA’s recruiting, and the (rather funny) prediction of a recruit’s future livelihood of pumping gas if he chose the Gamecocks over the Vols.

Like I said. That’s where we are. Who we’ve got.

Now it is time to see where we are going.

So where are we going?

Always hard to say, but if injuries are any sign, and we haven’t even snapped a ball yet, maybe not very far. My pre-season prediction is 6-6.

Receiver Austin Rogers is out for the season. Denarius Moore might be. Gerald Jones might not be back until October.

This year’s story, apart from the coming splendor that is watching Eric Berry do his thing, just might be the frosh. Receivers Nu’Keese Richardson and Marsalis Teague look like they might be the real deal. Tailback Bryce Brown may take some pressure off Montario Hardesty. And other freshmen like OT Aaron Douglas and FS Janzen Jackson may see the limelight.

But the other part of this year’s story undoubtedly has to be Jonathan Crompton, who with Nick Stephens, fill the QB position for this year’s Vols. Nightmare on the Banks of the Tennessee River?

Very possibly. We’ll soon find out if Crompton’s problems were last year’s coaching or his own head. And an opponent like Western Kentucky is probably not a bad place to begin for Jonathan.

What is a Hilltopper?

No, not Science Hill H.S.

The Red Towel

The Red Towel

The Western Kentucky University Hilltoppers come to Neyland Stadium sporting an eight-game losing streak. Eastern Kentucky and Murray State were the only victims of last year’s WKU football program that finished 2-10.

AND THEY DIDN’T FIRE THEIR COACH!

THEY EXTENDED HIS CONTRACT THROUGH THE 2016 SEASON!

He must be something.

David Elson

David Elson

Head coach David Elson has been at the helm of the Hilltopper football program for six seasons. Before being named the head coach in 2003, he was an assistant coach since 1996, and he was WKU’s defensive coordinator during their I-AA national championship season of 2002. That’s right. WKU is not just a basketball school. They play a little football in Bowling Green, Kentucky. And even with last year’s 2-10 disaster, his record at WKU is a respectable 39-32. That means he must have done something right between 2003 and 2007. He did: 9-4 and 9-3 in his first two seasons, followed by 6-5, 6-5, then 7-5.

But the challenge confronting Elson and his Hilltoppers is that beginning this season, they are a member of the Sun Belt Conference, a respectible league that in spots plays some pretty exciting football.

So, good luck to them. Beginning 12 September when they host South Florida.

Oh, back to my original question. What is a Hilltopper? Yes. It’s somebody that attends Western Kentucky University. The campus sits atop the highest point in south-central Kentucky, a hill called College Heights. The highest part of the campus is call “The Hill.”

What do you know – UT’s sister university.

Who’s gonna win?

Considering David Duffy at ESPN.com picked WKU as Number Two of his Bottom 10, just behind North Texas State, you’d think this one is in the bag even before the pads go on.

Problem is, Mr. Duffy picked Tennessee as his Number Five of his same list. Only Idaho and Eastern Michigan stand between the Vols and the Hilltoppers.

Having said that, my pick is:

Tennessee 36  Western Kentucky 15

Go Vols!

Go Vols!

This Week’s Games Involving Upcoming 2009 Opponents

Thursday 3 September 2009

South Carolina at North Carolina State (7:00 pm ET)

Saturday 5 September 2009

Kentucky at Miami (Ohio) (12:00 pm ET)

Georgia at Oklahoma State (3:30 pm ET)

Charleston Southern at Florida (7:00 pm ET)

Connecticut at Ohio University (7:00 pm ET)

Louisiana Tech at Auburn (7:00 pm ET)

San Diego State at UCLA (7:30 pm ET)

Western Carolina at Vanderbilt (7:30 pm ET)

Alabama at Virginia Tech (8:00 pm ET)

Sunday 6 September 2009

Mississippi at Memphis (3:30 pm ET)

Advertisements

Tags: , , ,

10 responses to “Game Preview: Tennessee vs Western Kentucky”

  1. DW says :

    Freddy —
    Fantastic stuff! I can’t figure how you got into Environmental Consulting when you obviously should have been a sports writer/analyst!
    I’ll publish my Sat prediction here: TN 30 – WKU 13
    I’ll be checking in often.

  2. Bert says :

    wku is not a good team which is why it shouldn’t be much of a test for da vols…

    ut 37
    wku 10

    predicted highlight: bryce brown scores twice, runs for 100+ yards….

  3. Sandy says :

    OK… I’m going out on a limb and look at this thru orange-tinted glasses.

    Bryce Brown is the next freshman phenom running back (anyone remember Maurice Clarett?). Brown gains 180+ yards, freshman wide-receivers make some big plays. WKU is out-talented. Kiffin and the coaching staff have the team totally prepared, they let the dogs loose, and win going away 42-7.

  4. T K says :

    HELLO GUYS
    FIRST OFF GREAT JOB FREDDY………YOU HAVE MISSED YOUR CALLING!!
    ERIC BERRY SETS CAREER ALL TIME INTERCEPTION RETURN YARDAGE RECORD IN THIS GAME. THE DEFENSE SCORES ONE FOR THE VOLS IN THIS CONTEST. WKU EARNS A FIELD GOAL AND CROMPTON SCREWS UP AND ALLOWS THE HILLTOPPERS TO CAPITALIZE ON HIS MISTAKE FOR THEIR OTHER SEVEN POINTS. THE ORANGE WIN 38-10. LANE STARS IN HIS FIRST LANE KIFFEN SHOW AND IS NOT IMPRESSIVE. DOESNT HAVE THE DOWN HOME ATTRACTION OF BILL BATTLE.

  5. Orangebobber says :

    Vols will win this one 37-13 with the running game starting the damage. WKU will stack the line and send the house. QB’s will have to make the throws. Recievers will be tested early. Terry will send me the prize pack and everyone in orange will be excited.

  6. NorCalVol says :

    So, we’ve go the following game predictions:

    Tenn 36 WKU 15 (NorCalVOl)
    Tenn 37 WKU 13 (Orangebobber)
    Tenn 38 WKU 10 (TK)
    Tenn 42 WKU 7 (Sandy)
    Tenn 37 WKU 10 (Bert)
    Tenn 30 WKU 13 (DW)

    Sounds like we’re all in the same boat – herd mentality? Great minds think alike? None of us know what we’re talking about?

  7. T K says :

    JUST TWO COMMENTS……..I CANT BELIEVE FREDDY DIDNT REMEMBER CLARETT. THAT JUST SHOCKS ME FREDDY WITH ALL YOUR SPORTS KNOWLEDGE……..AND MY SECOND COMMENT, AND I HOPE IM NOT GETTING SEXUAL HERE, BUT WHAT THE HELL IS AN ORANGEBOBBER????????

%d bloggers like this: