Some Fun for a Change
Tennessee avoided what would have been it’s first 8-loss season. The Vols also avoided a first-ever winless SEC season. But that is not the real story of this game.
Carson Anderson* (OL)
Corey Alexander (DB)
Ben Bartholomew* (FB)
Willie Bohannon* (LB)
Mychal Rivera (TE)
Steven Fowlkes* (DL)
Zach Rogers (WR)
Darin Gooch (OL)
Dallas Thomas* (OL)
Herman Lathers* (LB)
Prentiss Waggner* (DB)
Marlon Walls** (DL)
Rod Wilks* (DB)
**Fifth-year senior with first year at Hargrave Military
It didn’t exactly go as I would have drawn it up. – Prentiss Waggner
Nothing in life really ever does.
But these seniors, who wore the orange jersey on Saturday for the last time, have been through the mill like no others in the history of Tennessee football.
The fifth-year seniors came to the Vols via Phillip Fulmer.
Think about that.
Interim Head Coach Jim Chaney turned out to be the perfect elixir on a cold, cloudless Saturday afternoon and a Neyland Stadium filled with a lot of empty butt space.
He made it fun. His smile and enthusiasm was genuine, and infectious. The players looked like they were actually having a good time. Which is how it should be. Always. And especially on Senior Day.
The game was played by players coached by two lame-duck coaching staffs. Only one had the head coach willing to show up. That staff lost its eighth conference game of this wretched season.
Junior QB Tyler Bray followed one of his worst games ever with one of his best.
He distributed the ball to many well-deserving players for TDs, including seniors Zach Rogers and Mychal Rivera. And also to juniors Justin Hunter and Cordarrelle Patterson, who both like Bray, are expected to leave the Vols for the chance to play on Sundays.
After the game, Chaney had this to say:
I’m happy we won a ballgame. That’s where my brain’s at.
I was too, for a few minutes.
But I was mostly happy for the seniors. Listening to their post-game lockeroom interviews with Tim Priest, I was struck by their maturity.
Perhaps it has all been worth it after all.
And I’m glad that they don’t have to go through these next several days as Dave Hart goes through the process of hiring Tennessee’s next head coach and staff.
But we have to, and will do gladly, with lofty expectations that hopefully, some day, can and will be fulfilled.