Reading the Signs
Memphis vs. Tennessee | 6 Nov 2010 | Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium
8:00 pm EDT | CBS College Sports Network
Tennessee has a new starting quarterback. The Vols will sport a different punt returner. A new center is a likelihood, too. [UPDATE: and a new CB since Art Evans missed practices and has been informed of the meaning of “Exit-stage left”] These are some of the remedies unveiled by Head Coach Derek Dooley this week leading into the Memphis game.
Such changes give the paint a slightly glossier look as the Big Orange head into the stretch of games that will put the stamp on how 2010 will go down in the annals of Vols football history. Such micro-shifts don’t change the fact that this program is still in deep trouble – we don’t know if we’re at the bottom, or if the bottom has yet to be landed, or how long the bottom will last. Tennessee has suffered only two losing seasons – 2005 and 2008 – in the last two decades. This may be the third, and the worst, and perhaps the worst ever (if we lose at least two of the last four games, the Vols will end with at least 8 losses, the most of any Tennessee football team), a distinction nobody wants.
But there is hope. Last week’s game at South Carolina showed that this squad will not quit on the field – there is confidence that this team will take it to the opponent for the full 60-minute allotment. Too many mistakes – filled with unforced errors – still bleed through the fabric of this year’s team, but there continues to be a nearly continual sparkle of real quality through the cover of losing that remains draped across this campaign.
A convincing win Saturday night will lead us, with adequate momentum, to confront three straight SEC foes, two of which are among our most bitter rivals, and who are surely waiting in the weeds with a delight of anticipation to alleviate their own long-term suffering at the hands of Tennessee.
Thus, the real war of this season has yet to be fought. But, it’s right around the corner, ready or not. Until then, let’s swipe away a very bad football program with a convincing win in front of mostly orange-clad fans seated in the opponent’s den.
Then, we’ll be able to read the signs a bit more clearly.
Tennessee 40 Memphis 10