Adams: Vols still can strike QB gold

John Adams

Until now, the Tennessee-California connection had been highlighted by the relocation of a couple of families.

First, in the early 1960s, the Clampett clan struck oil in a Tennessee swamp and moved en masse to Beverly Hills. The rest is television history.

Then, at the end of the 20th century, the Clausen clan of Southern California headed eastward one quarterback at a time. Casey Clausen was Tennessee's starting quarterback from 2000 through 2003. A year later, his brother, Rick, helped lead the Vols to the SEC championship game.

There are a couple of surprising facts about the latest potential Tennessee-California connection: (1) The California quarterback in question is Jesse Scroggins, not Jesse Clausen; (2) The competition for his signature consists of Southern California, Florida and UT.

USC and Florida each has won a pair of national championships this decade. UT has had two losing seasons in the last four years and hasn't won so much as a conference championship since 1998.

Such history suggests that UT fans shouldn't be devastated if Scroggins chooses USC or even Florida over the Vols. Instead, they should take heart from Scroggins' consideration.

With two national championships in the last three years, Florida is the hottest program in the country. With seven consecutive seasons of 11 or more wins, USC is the most dominant program of the decade.

Yet here's UT, coming off a 5-7 season and a coaching change, holding its own with the powers that be. That's a testament to the program's tradition and the fast work of first-year coach Lane Kiffin and his staff. Scroggins' interest in UT provides compelling evidence that the Vols eventually will sign a quality quarterback - though perhaps not as soon as they would like.

Quarterback Chase Rettig's decision to commit to Boston College on Monday was another quarterbacking setback for the Vols, but it doesn't change my opinion. If UT's new staff could sign Wichita's Bryce Brown, who was regarded by many as the No. 1 high school running back in the country last season, it can sign a big-time quarterback, too.

USC's advantages are obvious in the pursuit of Scroggins. It's not only one of the top programs in the country. It's basically Scroggins' hometown team. Moreoever, there's the quarterback track record under coach Pete Carroll to consider.

When Carroll offers a scholarship to a quarterback, an NFL scout is usually the next guy in line. A quarterback seemingly can prepare himself for the NFL by inhaling the air at a USC practice (see Matt Cassel for details).

UT's advantage: What quarterback wants to sit on the bench?

Mitch Mustain can address that. He was good enough to start at quarterback for Arkansas as a true freshman in 2006. But after transferring to USC, he will begin this season as a third-stringer behind sophomore Aaron Corp and true freshman Matt Barkley.

Corp is a former Parade All-American with more running ability than what you would expect from a Carroll quarterback. Barkley, who graduated early and excelled in USC's spring practice, received a scholarship offer from Kiffin - then a USC assistant coach - as a high school freshman.

That's what the quarterback competition will be like at USC. That's nothing like what the competition will be like at UT, which lacks both talent and depth at the position. Whatever quarterback UT signs in this recruiting class, he will jump to the top of the depth chart for 2010.

Scroggins surely will weigh that in making his decision. But regardless of what he decides, the California-Tennessee connection likely will become more prominent.

As a former USC offensive coordinator, Kiffin will employ the same pro-style system at UT. Also, in an era where spread offenses are becoming more and more prevalent, the Trojans and Vols are bucking a trend. So, in a way - competition aside - they're in this together.

And for a 5-7 program with a first-year head coach to be competing with USC for the nation's premier pro-style quarterbacks signifies fast progress.

Sports editor John Adams may be reached at 865-342-6284 or adamsj@knoxnews.com.

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Comments » 82

VOLuptuous writes:

a positive comment from JA....dear Lord the apocolypse is upon us

utvolz#637682 writes:

We need help at the QB position in a bad kind of way. Come East Jesse!

VOLuptuous writes:

or apocalypse

boro_vol writes:

Good article John. No need to panic, even if Scroggins picks USC. If he picks UF. . .?

smashmouth98 writes:

come on Jesse, make Big Orange Country estatic

HallowedHill writes:

What have you done with the real John Adams?!

bluetick writes:

Word is it is USC so that is what everybody should be expecting. Since most realize that this is what might happen it would be smart to think of 'who's next' that can help us. I do not know much about the coach who will coach the QB's at UT, but I think it has a lot to do with the players coming to UT or not. Just think, if Peyton Manning was the QB coach, do you think we would have many quality QB's banging on the door to be coached by him?

I agree that Kiffin has done a great job in his short time in regards to putting UT on the map and recruting along with the other coaches, but a quality QB in this class sure would help. If not then I PRAY that what we have on the team this year can be coached up to be a great QB. That is ONE thing that Cutcliff can be commended on IMO.

SuperVolfan writes:

I thought the Clampett's were from Arkansas.

HallowedHill writes:

in response to boro_vol:

Good article John. No need to panic, even if Scroggins picks USC. If he picks UF. . .?

Sic Monte's and Coach O's defense on him?

teampenny#658108 writes:

Good article this time John. A thought, when most everyone is heading to a spread offense and you are not-you need to be sure of your logic. Check who has been winning the NC's. Been awhile since USC did. Go Vols

bnakk#240693 writes:

Poor research....everyone knows that the Clampetts hailed from the Ozarks: not Tennessee.

the10sevol writes:

not to split hairs, ja, but the clampett's home was always referred to as "the hills". I never heard a direct reference to Tennessee, and as a Tennesseean, i was sensitive to it. heavily implied, but not stated, imo.
otherwise, an outstanding article.
GBO

RockinTop writes:

This is spot on! I for one agree that these guys are making HUGE strides considering all of those things that JA mentions....heck, we got Brown....and we have or had Jesse at least thinking about it!! That says alot....CLK & crew have made some big strides....as JA said....the fact that we are competing in the recruits with USC etc....says it all (yeah ok and UT is also a premier program too).

With all the hubbub....it would sure rock some people's world if Jesse signs with us....heck, if he is after attention ....imagine the attention he would get with everyone saying he is USC and he signed with the VOLS....man, that would ROCK! Come on Jesse!

Go Big Orange! I can hardly stand it! Come on kick-off!

utchris writes:

Grayson was on campus today

DennisVols writes:

Scroggins may or may not commit to UT on his assigned day of commitment.
It would help other recruiting areas if he would.
The big thing working against UT right now is the un-proven.
CMK is a proven DC and it is no wonder why UT has excelled in signing or getting commitments on the defensive side.
Many will look at the success CLK had as an offensive cord at USC but others will look at what happened in Oakland. Many more will take a "wait and see" approach. A lot is riding on this year, maybe too much but it is what it is. 5-7 last season and a losing season just 3 years before that.
A new coaching staff shows signs of change but for top rated QB's stability is their biggest concern.
Programs like USC, UF, and even B.C. have what appears to be stable coaching and you know what you are going to get.
With Coach Kiffin and the rest of the offensive coaching staff you see a alot of success. All have won either NCAA or NFL title games and wear the hardware on their fingers as proff. What has yet to be proven is how this staff can coach together and turn UT back into a championship team.
Commitments right now are verbal and as we saw this year on signing day verbal is another word for maybe.
If UT finishes with as much as a 8-4 record this year most will consider it a major step forward, a win in the bowl game even more promising. If Crompton improves to as much as a decent QB it will show that the coaching is good considering what is being said about him now following last season.
I have more faith than most concerning Crompton. I saw how he could play the year before last when he stepped in for Ainge in the LSU game. The difference in that year and last year was who was coaching him and what style of offense he was forced into.
This offense is suited for Crompton and the biggest obsticle facing CLK and staff is rebuilding confidence.
So look for improvements, some will be bigger than we expected and yet it will still not be all we can expect to happen in the next couple of years.
A good year this year and you can expect some of the QB commitments to be just that "verbals" and they will take a serious look at UT again.

movol53 writes:

Let me tell you a story bout a man named Jed;
a poor mountaineer, barely kept his family feed.
Then one day he was shootin' at some food and up from the ground came a bubbling crude; oil that is, Texas tea.
Well the first thing you know old Jed's a millionaire;
kinfolk say Jed move away from there;
said california is the place you ought to be;
so they loaded up the truck and moved to Beverly . . .
Hills that is swimming pools, movie stars.

Tennessee was never mentioned but it was heavily implied!!!
Go to you tube and listen for your self.

Snapshot writes:

in response to bnakk#240693:

Poor research....everyone knows that the Clampetts hailed from the Ozarks: not Tennessee.

No research to it,everyone knows the Clampetts are from Tennessee! Or at least you should.

movol53 writes:

in response to Snapshot:

No research to it,everyone knows the Clampetts are from Tennessee! Or at least you should.

In the series Granny refers to "growing up in Tenn"; she set so many boys hearts on fire they call that place the Smokey Mtns. Also, Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs did visit the Clampetts because they were friends "from back home". Flatt and Scruggs ARE from Tenn. However, there were times in the show that names of nearby towns (of back home)were mentioned; Joplin, Branson and Eureka Springs come to mind.
See wikipedia "Beverly Hillbillies" So there could be an arguement for either the hills (mtns) of Tenn or the Ozarks of Southern Missouri/ Northern Arkansas. I'm currently in the Ozarks - - dreaming of the hills of Tennessee where I grew up.

RJ_Vol writes:

in response to movol53:

Let me tell you a story bout a man named Jed;
a poor mountaineer, barely kept his family feed.
Then one day he was shootin' at some food and up from the ground came a bubbling crude; oil that is, Texas tea.
Well the first thing you know old Jed's a millionaire;
kinfolk say Jed move away from there;
said california is the place you ought to be;
so they loaded up the truck and moved to Beverly . . .
Hills that is swimming pools, movie stars.

Tennessee was never mentioned but it was heavily implied!!!
Go to you tube and listen for your self.

To balance out Adams' hillbilly doublespeak w/ a few more Tennesseans(but not so much w/ a California connection)...

Alvin C. York. Andrew Johnson. James K. Polk. Andrew Jackson. Aretha Franklin. B.B. King. Bill Frist. Davy Crockett. Fred Thompson. Howard Baker. Reggie White. Sequoyah. Wilma Rudolph. David Farragut. Morgan Freeman. Reese Witherspoon. Pat Summitt. Sam Houston. Cordell Hull.

movol53. This is not directed at you, but to J.A. who insinuated that Tennesseans are hicks based on a fictional TV series centered around the Clampetts. He needs to get a grip on that pen. Tennessee has a rich history of leadership, Olympians, freedom fighters, actors, singers,writers(of which J.A. is not) and people who shaped our country for the better. We are a people proud of our heritage. A backhanded attempt at humor should not be tolerated. I can think of one writer who I would like to see load up the truck and geaux to Beverly.

Adamkg12 writes:

I think that CLK should just go ahead and offer Scroggins cousin from Memphis a scolly. If it would guarantee us getting Jesse I think it would be well worth it. Come on Coach..... don't let him slip away!!!! Go Vols

movol53 writes:

in response to RJ_Vol:

To balance out Adams' hillbilly doublespeak w/ a few more Tennesseans(but not so much w/ a California connection)...

Alvin C. York. Andrew Johnson. James K. Polk. Andrew Jackson. Aretha Franklin. B.B. King. Bill Frist. Davy Crockett. Fred Thompson. Howard Baker. Reggie White. Sequoyah. Wilma Rudolph. David Farragut. Morgan Freeman. Reese Witherspoon. Pat Summitt. Sam Houston. Cordell Hull.

movol53. This is not directed at you, but to J.A. who insinuated that Tennesseans are hicks based on a fictional TV series centered around the Clampetts. He needs to get a grip on that pen. Tennessee has a rich history of leadership, Olympians, freedom fighters, actors, singers,writers(of which J.A. is not) and people who shaped our country for the better. We are a people proud of our heritage. A backhanded attempt at humor should not be tolerated. I can think of one writer who I would like to see load up the truck and geaux to Beverly.

To RJ Vol

No offense taken.
I seldom make a comment but I read all of them.
I just people would have their facts straight before they type. Problem is most people don't want to state fact they want to state their opinion and that's OK however, many times the facts don't "connect" with some of the "logical opinions". But, I guess opinions don't need to be based on logic - - or true events. Yes, JA is a pain in the afterburner but he is the only one KNS could afford!!!!
By the wat great list of Tennesseans however there are many more.

98memories writes:

The Clampetts were from Bug Tussle, Tennessee. On the Tennessee side right on the TN and KY border. http://www.mapquest.com/maps/map.adp?...

jhayes0926#638474 writes:

who gives a rat's a-- about the Clampetts. Good Grief!!!! Anyone want to talk a little about football? 15 of the 23 comments are arguing about the Clampetts.

movol53 writes:

The last word about the Clampetts.
Even in the CBS write up they are not sure.
The article states that the Bugtussel, Tn is the hometown but the same article states that the Clampetts moved from Sibley (in the Ozarks). Sorry to take up room about this but at least this is a factual conversation unlike the 4 million times I've had to read someone wrting "First!!"
Go to:http://www.geocities.com/brer_wabbit/...

BasketVols writes:

in response to RJ_Vol:

To balance out Adams' hillbilly doublespeak w/ a few more Tennesseans(but not so much w/ a California connection)...

Alvin C. York. Andrew Johnson. James K. Polk. Andrew Jackson. Aretha Franklin. B.B. King. Bill Frist. Davy Crockett. Fred Thompson. Howard Baker. Reggie White. Sequoyah. Wilma Rudolph. David Farragut. Morgan Freeman. Reese Witherspoon. Pat Summitt. Sam Houston. Cordell Hull.

movol53. This is not directed at you, but to J.A. who insinuated that Tennesseans are hicks based on a fictional TV series centered around the Clampetts. He needs to get a grip on that pen. Tennessee has a rich history of leadership, Olympians, freedom fighters, actors, singers,writers(of which J.A. is not) and people who shaped our country for the better. We are a people proud of our heritage. A backhanded attempt at humor should not be tolerated. I can think of one writer who I would like to see load up the truck and geaux to Beverly.

You named some important Tennessee people but if you're looking for a true artist from Tennessee, then look no further than Knoxville for one of the most justly respected Tennesseeans. James Agee wrote "A Death in the Family" for which he won the Pulitzer Prize in 1957. Unfortunately, that recognition came after his death.

Read this book. It contains so much of Knoxville that you'll recognize and so much of Knoxville you never knew.

RockinTop writes:

in response to movol53:

To RJ Vol

No offense taken.
I seldom make a comment but I read all of them.
I just people would have their facts straight before they type. Problem is most people don't want to state fact they want to state their opinion and that's OK however, many times the facts don't "connect" with some of the "logical opinions". But, I guess opinions don't need to be based on logic - - or true events. Yes, JA is a pain in the afterburner but he is the only one KNS could afford!!!!
By the wat great list of Tennesseans however there are many more.

Opinions without knowledge is a caricature.

FLAVOLS writes:

So what! We will find a quarterback that will make a difference even if his name is not Scroggins.

makessense writes:

IS ther something that we can all do to get scroggins looking harder at tenn
can someone make a ( come to tenn scrogins website ) that everyone can go in and write letters to him so that he can see the passion the fans have for tenn and the level of excitement that he would bring to all of us
USC dosent hold a candle to us in fan suport or tradition its not even close
are stadium kills theres everything is better
all we need is a platform to show him
maybe someone reading this can come up with a good idea
maybe we can get his email adress and send him a few thousand letters or send a few thousand overnight deliverys to his house
Its not the end of the world if he dosent come for us
But it would be the end of his playing career at least for the next few years.

utvols420 writes:

Granny was from Tennessee but Jed moved from Arkansas To Beverly Hills.

Hounddog writes:

nough wi da hillbille stuf...let's play football. Hounddog

tngeoff2 writes:

Gold is good. Bring on the gold!

vol88 writes:

in response to SuperVolfan:

I thought the Clampett's were from Arkansas.

You're right. They were.

vol88 writes:

in response to jhayes0926#638474:

who gives a rat's a-- about the Clampetts. Good Grief!!!! Anyone want to talk a little about football? 15 of the 23 comments are arguing about the Clampetts.

chillax bro.

volhome writes:

in response to makessense:

IS ther something that we can all do to get scroggins looking harder at tenn
can someone make a ( come to tenn scrogins website ) that everyone can go in and write letters to him so that he can see the passion the fans have for tenn and the level of excitement that he would bring to all of us
USC dosent hold a candle to us in fan suport or tradition its not even close
are stadium kills theres everything is better
all we need is a platform to show him
maybe someone reading this can come up with a good idea
maybe we can get his email adress and send him a few thousand letters or send a few thousand overnight deliverys to his house
Its not the end of the world if he dosent come for us
But it would be the end of his playing career at least for the next few years.

Please, don't. As a fan you need to know your responsibilities. This is not one of them. All you are looking for with this suggestion is NCAA violations. We want to be a program that isn't on probation to be sure to get the best recruits. This is definitely not the way to do that. Let the coaches do their jobs, and let the University speak for itself. Rejoice when we get the best and then cheer them on. Don't break the rules to get them here.

Pullingguard writes:

in response to bnakk#240693:

Poor research....everyone knows that the Clampetts hailed from the Ozarks: not Tennessee.

Who would have thunk otherwise, for they would have been right at home in either place, especially if Jed could have played quarterback.

navyvolinva writes:

Austin Rodgers out for the season ACL injury.

Vol_Fan_N_NC writes:

I never thought I would see the day... Adams wrote a positive story about the Tennessee Vols FOOTBALL team... And this just in, hell is freezing over.

As for Austin Rogers going down for the season, I really hate to see that. But I've never really been a huge fan. Don't get me wrong, I never want to see a player go down, but I don't think it will be a huge loss.

navyvolinva writes:

in response to Vol_Fan_N_NC:

I never thought I would see the day... Adams wrote a positive story about the Tennessee Vols FOOTBALL team... And this just in, hell is freezing over.

As for Austin Rogers going down for the season, I really hate to see that. But I've never really been a huge fan. Don't get me wrong, I never want to see a player go down, but I don't think it will be a huge loss.

I cant agree with you more. But I'll give credit for any young player that wants to be and works hard to be a Vol. This means someone has to step up. When does the practices start?

govols082859#1369959 writes:

Looks like the North Koreans hacked into the KNS computer and wrote a positive article and put JA's name on it. Probably where the ARK/TN contrversy came up as the Koreans are nor up on American icons.
I'm sure he will correct that little situation with his next article.
Let's talk about football, or Ellie May (the only thing that keeps my mind off football!)

GerryOP writes:

FWIW, and it is worth very little. From that fount of knowledge Wikipedia:

"While Granny frequently mentioned that she was from Tennessee, the series never specified the state from which the Clampetts moved to California. However, they often referred to nearby towns such as Joplin, Branson, and Silver Dollar City, all of which are in southwest Missouri. Early episodes also contained several references to Eureka Springs, which is in northwest Arkansas."

Amen

GerryOP writes:

Well said DennisVol and JA.

It is bothersome that Kiffin & Co has not landed one of those "rock-solid-verbal-commits" from a bluechip QB, but this time of year ... still 204 days until NSD ... verbal commits are just that, verbal. Like Adams says, based on what Kiffin has accomplished so far, the sky is not falling.

No one, and I mean no one, knows what the UT offense will look like. Kiffin and we know what we hope it will look like, but no one has seen it "for real." Just as Sept '08 was critical for Fulmer, and some of us predicted that Sept '08 would be Fulmer's Waterloo, Sept '09 is critical for Kiffin. Finishing Sept at least 3-1 would be a good thing. The recruits, the press, the opposition would see the improvement in UT over the past few years and the bandwagon would get full. And many of the riders would be bluechip recruits.

Our '09 national TV debut (at least we hope it will be on national TV!) is UCLA at Neyland. That game is vital. We showed a lot of butt last year ... on national TV ... in the Rose Bowl and a big win on Sept 12 would be a big 1st step in repairing the image of Tennessee football. Then we would begin getting those bluechip "rock-solid-verbal-commits" than everyone is yearning for.

53 -- Fear The Kiffin...

bjlong38326#239292 writes:

mr drysdale was also from tn.,in one epesode granny chased him with a gun because her family was a feuding with the drysdale family in tennessee.

Psychovol writes:

Better go the JV route for insurance.

ctownvol writes:

in response to SuperVolfan:

I thought the Clampett's were from Arkansas.

I thought the Clampetts were from West Virginia. He was, after all, a poor "Mountaineer".

hotrodvol writes:

in response to GerryOP:

Well said DennisVol and JA.

It is bothersome that Kiffin & Co has not landed one of those "rock-solid-verbal-commits" from a bluechip QB, but this time of year ... still 204 days until NSD ... verbal commits are just that, verbal. Like Adams says, based on what Kiffin has accomplished so far, the sky is not falling.

No one, and I mean no one, knows what the UT offense will look like. Kiffin and we know what we hope it will look like, but no one has seen it "for real." Just as Sept '08 was critical for Fulmer, and some of us predicted that Sept '08 would be Fulmer's Waterloo, Sept '09 is critical for Kiffin. Finishing Sept at least 3-1 would be a good thing. The recruits, the press, the opposition would see the improvement in UT over the past few years and the bandwagon would get full. And many of the riders would be bluechip recruits.

Our '09 national TV debut (at least we hope it will be on national TV!) is UCLA at Neyland. That game is vital. We showed a lot of butt last year ... on national TV ... in the Rose Bowl and a big win on Sept 12 would be a big 1st step in repairing the image of Tennessee football. Then we would begin getting those bluechip "rock-solid-verbal-commits" than everyone is yearning for.

53 -- Fear The Kiffin...

Good post Gerry.

jeff1vol writes:

in response to RJ_Vol:

To balance out Adams' hillbilly doublespeak w/ a few more Tennesseans(but not so much w/ a California connection)...

Alvin C. York. Andrew Johnson. James K. Polk. Andrew Jackson. Aretha Franklin. B.B. King. Bill Frist. Davy Crockett. Fred Thompson. Howard Baker. Reggie White. Sequoyah. Wilma Rudolph. David Farragut. Morgan Freeman. Reese Witherspoon. Pat Summitt. Sam Houston. Cordell Hull.

movol53. This is not directed at you, but to J.A. who insinuated that Tennesseans are hicks based on a fictional TV series centered around the Clampetts. He needs to get a grip on that pen. Tennessee has a rich history of leadership, Olympians, freedom fighters, actors, singers,writers(of which J.A. is not) and people who shaped our country for the better. We are a people proud of our heritage. A backhanded attempt at humor should not be tolerated. I can think of one writer who I would like to see load up the truck and geaux to Beverly.

For the 1000 time... Sam Houston was born in Virginia. Good Lord, do they teach REAL history in Tennessee any longer?

CrankE writes:

KNS can still strike Sports Columnist Gold!

Not sure where the Clampetts came from but I think John may have come from the same bayou as Bobby Bouchez.

rootin4volz writes:

I'm telling ya, the fat lady hasn't even signed in at the dang theatre to start warming up yet. "Committed"? Yeah, right. We all know how long a "commitment" from one of these kids tends to last this day and age. We'll get one of these kids who has "committed" to another program. I mean, heck, CLK and CEO are on our side! GO VOLS!

tmartin writes:

in response to tweetdriver63#346474:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

that is completely incorrect. not counting crompton or stephens, our last 6 starting qb's were r. clausen, ainge, schaeffer, banks (leak may have started once), c.clausen & suggs. and one before that was matthews. i don't recall any of them going #1 or #3.

hueypilot writes:

in response to D_to_the_C:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Wouldn't get too worked up about this. Wake Forest has stocked it's football team with Floridians and this has led to their resurgence from perennial ACC doormat to contender. An earlier article by one of the new UT Assistant coaches stated that the good news was we are making inroads into Florida but now everyone is recruiting Florida. When we opened with Wyoming in Nashville a few years ago I remember both starting WR's and cornerbacks for Wyoming were from Florida. Everybody is recruiting there.

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