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…