Adams: For starters, it's Western Kentucky

John Adams

Game recap: Tennessee 63, Western Kentucky 7

A recap of the game

The marquee might have read "season opener." But it looked more like a continuation of Tennessee's mock scrimmage a week earlier.

It was all-UT on Saturday in a 63-7 season-opening rout of Western Kentucky. And almost everyone was involved: offense, defense; veterans, freshmen; passers, runners.

Who scored that last touchdown? Was it David Oku or Smokey?

Who got the last sack? Was it Ben Martin or a tuba player?

Senior Montario Hardesty and freshman Bryce Brown each rushed for more than 100 yards. A cheerleader could have gotten 50 the way UT's offensive line was paving the field with Hilltoppers.

This was an everybody-is-a-star day at Neyland Stadium. With that in mind, a group-participation column is appropriate. No matter what I say, you say "But it was Western Kentucky."

Me: UT quarterback Jonathan Crompton threw more touchdowns in one game (5) than he threw all last season (4).

You: But it was Western Kentucky.

Me: I haven't seen UT's offensive line this dominant since it beat Florida in The Swamp in 2001.

You: But it was Western Kentucky.

Me: UT hasn't scored this many points since November of 2000.

You: But it was Western Kentucky.

I could go on and on, but you get my drift. As you can see, there's an advantage and disadvantage to opening a season or era (take a bow, Lane Kiffin) against what might be the worst FBS team in the country. Every dominant performance - and there were plenty of them - must be qualified.

You could take Western Kentucky's ineptitude a step further and suggest that it's one of the worst teams ever to stumble into Neyland Stadium. Certainly, it's one of the worst teams that wasn't from Louisiana.

Remember coach Phillip Fulmer's first season opener as a full-time head coach: 50-0 over Louisiana Tech (and it could have been worse)? Or how about the 70-3 victory over Louisiana-Monroe in 2000? Or the 59-7 pummeling of what was then the school known as Louisiana-Lafayette?

Qualify if you will but don't ignore the score, the yards (657 to 83 for Western Kentucky), or all the smiles on the faces of UT freshmen playing their first game in Neyland Stadium or the veterans playing their first game since the 5-7 debacle of 2008.

This was just what UT needed, particularly on offense. The Vols ranked 115th nationally in total offense last season. That team couldn't have generated 63 points against a team of cardboard cutouts.

The defense was just as dominant. Its physical superiority was matched by its intensity.

The way the Vols were having their way with Western Kentucky's offense, it's a wonder the secondary wasn't nodding off in the third quarter. Yet except for a third-quarter lapse on the Hilltoppers' scoring drive, the defense played as though the game was hanging in the balance on almost every snap.

Kiffin won't settle for less.

For example, take Brown's 34-yard run late in the third quarter. Kiffin celebrated by taking him out of the game.

"I was disappointed in his long run, the way that he finished it," Kiffin said. "We pulled him because he ran out of bounds.

"He didn't finish in the style we play with here. That was disappointing, but he'll learn."

You also learned something about Kiffin. The baby-faced 34-year-old head coach has a killer instinct.

Backup quarterback Nick Stephens didn't enter the game until midway through the fourth quarter with the Vols clinging to a 49-7 lead. His first play was a 27-yard completion to freshman Nu'Keese Richardson.

The play call was the on-the-field equivalent of Kiffin's off-season barbs, jokingly aimed at opposing programs. Remember what he said? He's just worried about UT.

He didn't have much to worry about Saturday.

But it was Western Kentucky.

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

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Comments » 76

imw8n4u writes:

I like it so far, WKU or not. I'm really looking forward to next week to see what we can do against them.

darbhoo writes:

I liked the new era. I'm behind Kiffin and the Vols. They were fired up and that never happened over the last few years. Keep it coming. As far as this article goes, remember...it was only John Adams.

rootin4volz writes:

Whoever it was, with 3 True Freshmen scoring, the video highlights will be one great recruiting tool..."Hey, come be a Vol and score as a freshman!" GO VOLS!!

InertGas writes:

Yes it was WKU but this team looked ready to play and appears to have a lot of young talent. The Vols could be the surprise team in the SEC this year.

DannyVol writes:

You: Adams is an idiot.
Me: Adams is an idiot.

NobodyCares (Inactive) writes:

Rather than playing a directional state school like Western Kentucky we could have be playing a directional city school like Charleston Southern.

nepperso#220348 writes:

John Adams believes cheerleaders can score touchdowns... and he probably believes John Adams can score cheerleaders. Neither is the case. Keep hating John, keep hating until two years from now Kiffin and his crystal football decline your interview request.

dwa7#337691 writes:

dang...........Adams enjoy this win..............It was BIG!

brokebackvol writes:

I must admit, I'm encouraged. Crompton (you've heard the boy called just about everything but a child of God) had an especially good day. All things considered, he sure deserved one. I'd like for him to have a special senior season and lead the Vols to a nice bowl game.

Florida is still most likely a loss, though. 9-3, 10-2 are both possible.

Laydbakvol writes:

The point is, in previous years, we would have had to be content at the end of the day with a 17- 13 win against a Western Kentucky, while other SEC schools opened their seasons with blowouts. I am a CPF fan and hated to see him go, but this is a pretty nice feeling. Really looking foward to the next two weeks.

tenndave writes:

I am not sure the big teams can score enough points on us to secure a win. This defense can carry this team a long way and with this stable of running backs, keep it close to the 4th and fresh legs can make a big difference. Could be 8-4 but I suspect it may be much better than that. Go Vols

vols45 writes:

Adams, you think you have been annointed to smack down anything good that comes out of Neyland Stadium..........and your journalistic style proves that you are just a pierce in disguise with an opinion-making keyboard at your disposal. You and the KNS suck!!!!!!

senracjr writes:

Adams
Did you notice Tennessee did better against WKU than the Gators did against...ahem....Charleston Southern high school?

vols45 writes:

Sorry about that Adams..........I meant to say pierce in disguise, but I was so pissed off at your "It Was Just Western Kentucky" that my fingers got ahead of my brain. You do that a lot bashing the Vols!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wilsonctyvol writes:

So what if it was just Western KY - all you are is John Adams, just another overrated columnist with nothing to do but spoil the fun of a 63-7 shelacking of a much lesser opponent. Hey they (WKU) chose to take the check we're giving them - and we needed someone to hit really hard out of the gate. Sorry Mr. Adams - You can't take this from us......

tennesseebee writes:

We have been desperately missing that killer instinct. It is important to get these guys' offensive wheels turning, but they need to realize that it won't be this easy every week. Go Vols! Great job!!

newtonrail writes:

in response to Wilsonctyvol:

So what if it was just Western KY - all you are is John Adams, just another overrated columnist with nothing to do but spoil the fun of a 63-7 shelacking of a much lesser opponent. Hey they (WKU) chose to take the check we're giving them - and we needed someone to hit really hard out of the gate. Sorry Mr. Adams - You can't take this from us......

I can't see Adams in Press Box at Football games from my seats, but I can see him at BB games. The man looks like he's sucking on a lemon continually. A real sourpuss and his writing shows it 99% of the time. Like we are really so dumb that we don't know that WK just switched to FBS from C Subdivision?

xvolx writes:

you're wrong Adams. the worst team on that field was last years Tenn. team. Just keep your liberal thoughts to yourself. We'll go with Kiffin football.

jphilli5#240013 writes:

Evenif John is right...Which I have some strong issues with, he should not forget the University that raised him. There will be payback with his negative spin on everything. The man has to be single. No one could take his practical approach to the finer luxuries of life. F... HIm and the papyrus he scribes upon.

snapper writes:

Mr. Adams was asleep during game.
He wanted to stay up late to watch HIS LSU Tigers play!

twicevolalum writes:

in response to The_Four_Horsemen:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

And Wyoming ruined your life??? Please, I was happy that everyone was able to get themselves up and to the stadium given that the coach had been fired and the team completely decimated from the season. I've heard more BS today about that Wyoming game. What I remember about that game were the completely, totally, utterly classless jerks who showed up to the boo the team at that game. Why don't you go drink another shot of Jack Daniels and scream Go Vols and maybe you won't have to think about Wyoming again and how it destroyed your life.

go_vols_go writes:

John Adams is a product of a Lee Corso and Kirk Herbstreet on and off again love affiar.... This clearly explains the negative tone towards any excitment in the Big Orange Nation.

arkyvol writes:

mediocre writing and analysis.

but, its john adams!

you were expecting grantland rice?

jhnshft writes:

Way to be average Adams. This was a big win. Sure the Vols beat the snot our the UL-Monroe in the Manning era etc. but if you remember, those teams were actually good too. The Vols have squeaked past terrible teams and played down to their competition for the last few years.

Call it running it up or whatever, but its good to see this team stay focused and play hard for four quarters even when the game is won.

DannyVol writes:

If ever there was proof that "Hack Adams" needs to be ran out of town, this is it. In good times or bad, he is nothing but a flat tire. I cannot imagine how any UT fan in Knoxville could subscribe to KNS.

kman29 writes:

in response to senracjr:

Adams
Did you notice Tennessee did better against WKU than the Gators did against...ahem....Charleston Southern high school?

exactly how did Tennessee do better against Western Kentucky than Florida did against Charleston Southern?

Half Time:

Tenn- 28
WKU- 0

Florida- 42
CSU- 3

End of 3rd qtr.

Tenn- 35
WKU- 7

Florida- 55
CSU- 3

Its great that Tennessee left starters in through the 4th qtr. but while they did that so they could score 4 TDs in the 4th qtr. UF was playing backups the entire 2nd half.

So again I ask, how did UT play better?

pdhuff#552644 writes:

Good start but UCLA will answer some more questions.

Adams, I simply read him and move on. It's an opinion.

eutefan writes:

John Adams is one of the greatest satirists ever to grace the pages of our local newspaper. Some of you Neanderthals are too uncultured to recognize it.

volfan2002 writes:

I'm glad we beat them by 56 instead of 13 to 10 like we probably would last year. It was a convincing win and gives one hope that we have a good team. UCLA will help answer that question a lot better.

757vol_fanatic writes:

in response to kman29:

exactly how did Tennessee do better against Western Kentucky than Florida did against Charleston Southern?

Half Time:

Tenn- 28
WKU- 0

Florida- 42
CSU- 3

End of 3rd qtr.

Tenn- 35
WKU- 7

Florida- 55
CSU- 3

Its great that Tennessee left starters in through the 4th qtr. but while they did that so they could score 4 TDs in the 4th qtr. UF was playing backups the entire 2nd half.

So again I ask, how did UT play better?

i don't know what he was talking about....oh wait maybe i do maybe we was reading more than the 2nd and 3rd quarter score..maybe he read something like this:

UT Offense: 657 total yards
UF Offense: 624 total yards

UT Defense: gave up 83 yards
UF Defense: gave up 323 yards

J. Crompton(UT) 21-28 233yds 5tds (2ints, 1 tipped)
T. Tewbow(UF) 10-15 188 1td
RUSHING
M. Hardesty(UT) 160 yards 1td
J. Demps(UF) 89 yards 2td

B. Brown(UT) 104 yards 1td
E. Moody(UF) 86 yards 0td

D. Oku(UT) 42 yards 2td
M Gillislee(UF) 41 yards 1 td

ya know this is taking way too long, but i think i made my point. just look at the box scores side by side and while wku is the worst DIV-I team, you actually played a DIV-II team.

oh yeah we even beat you in attendance.

VOLinDAWGland writes:

True it was just WKU, but under the prior staff this would have been a sloppy game with little intensity and the score would have been more like 34-13.

Madkels writes:

Adams, your wet blanket will not dampen the enthusiasm and joy from this win. This program is back on track where it deserves to be.

DarthVol writes:

For perspective: "UT won yesterday 63-7"

In 2007 UF(9-4) beat WK 49-3.
UT won yesterday 63-7

In 2008 Alabama(12-2) beat WK 41-7.
UT won yesterday 63-7

In 2008 VaTech(10-4) beat WK 27-13
UT won yesterday 63-7

In 2008 UT scored 61 pts in their last 4 games
UT won yesterday 63-7

For a fan base that was in dire need to see something good from a team wearing the Orange and White.
UT won yesterday 63-7

I get your article. It's not the negative slant that most think it is. You try to offer perspective when everyone else just wants to be excited. Given what we've seen over the last few years...bad timing.
UT won yesterday 63-7

As far as the statement that W.Ky might be the worst team in the FBS?...

"We got a German here who wants to die for his country! Oblige him!" -Lt Aldo Raine

FDGVOL writes:

The fact is JC or the Vols never got a game like this last year to build some confidence. Next weekend will give us a much better indication. The offensive line will be the match up to watch next week. Trust me Im a docter ;)

TheFuj writes:

What you have to like was the calling of time outs before the 1st half ended in hopes of a muffed punt, blocked punt, big punt returt, etc. We have been use to Fulmer just trying to get in the locker room. Of course WKU could have made a big play themselves, but Kiffen thinks of the big plays we can make and not the chance of a WKU big play.

OldNumber7 writes:

in response to DarthVol:

For perspective: "UT won yesterday 63-7"

In 2007 UF(9-4) beat WK 49-3.
UT won yesterday 63-7

In 2008 Alabama(12-2) beat WK 41-7.
UT won yesterday 63-7

In 2008 VaTech(10-4) beat WK 27-13
UT won yesterday 63-7

In 2008 UT scored 61 pts in their last 4 games
UT won yesterday 63-7

For a fan base that was in dire need to see something good from a team wearing the Orange and White.
UT won yesterday 63-7

I get your article. It's not the negative slant that most think it is. You try to offer perspective when everyone else just wants to be excited. Given what we've seen over the last few years...bad timing.
UT won yesterday 63-7

As far as the statement that W.Ky might be the worst team in the FBS?...

"We got a German here who wants to die for his country! Oblige him!" -Lt Aldo Raine

Well said.

volsfannsc writes:

Maybe Adams spin is always keep some type of controversy going. If so, you did a great job by looking at the posts. What I can't understand is that this team, these coaches, and these fans needed a BIG win and got one. After last season's turmoil, everyone needed a win like this just so they could take a deep breath of air. So sorry for all of us that the air was tainted due to Adam's odiferous gas! Is the glass always half empty for you Adams? What a pathetic attempt at journalism!

GR82BAVOL writes:

Well John, I won't say I was surprised by your piece today.

We know who we played, but you're really missing the point. When was the last time we beat a team we should've beaten by the margin we should've beaten them by? Remember NIU? Wyoming?

The schedule is set up nicely for the rebuilding VOLS. Next week, we'll face a tougher opponent, then a mighty tough one after that, then we'll settle in and see what we really have. For now though, give the VOLS and the staff their due, as this is the first time in a long time they did what they were supposed to do to a lower caliber team. No playing up and down to the level of the competition yesterday. It was a rout as it should've been and we've been waiting for one of those for quite a while.

seventysevenvol writes:

A complete team win. Everything worked. Need to have Crompton not pitch 2 interceptions against real competition, but this was impressive. I predicted 40something to 3. But, with starters still in the game tossing things around in the 4th quarter it got a little out of hand.
Now for the first real team we play in '09, UCLA.
Go Vols!
UT 24
UCLA 10

dw0731 writes:

in response to DannyVol:

You: Adams is an idiot.
Me: Adams is an idiot.

good one

dw0731 writes:

in response to nepperso#220348:

John Adams believes cheerleaders can score touchdowns... and he probably believes John Adams can score cheerleaders. Neither is the case. Keep hating John, keep hating until two years from now Kiffin and his crystal football decline your interview request.

Adams really has a way of tainting a dominating performance when he makes barbs about cheerleaders, smokey or tuba players could have scored touchdowns against WKU. Everyone knows that they are a weak team but give us all a break. That was fun yesterday even against a patsy.

StroVol writes:

in response to kman29:

exactly how did Tennessee do better against Western Kentucky than Florida did against Charleston Southern?

Half Time:

Tenn- 28
WKU- 0

Florida- 42
CSU- 3

End of 3rd qtr.

Tenn- 35
WKU- 7

Florida- 55
CSU- 3

Its great that Tennessee left starters in through the 4th qtr. but while they did that so they could score 4 TDs in the 4th qtr. UF was playing backups the entire 2nd half.

So again I ask, how did UT play better?

We don't have starters or back ups, if you dressed, you played, the defense rotated fifty vols dude.

CoverOrange writes:

"For example, take Brown's 34-yard run late in the third quarter. Kiffin celebrated by taking him out of the game."

Evidence JA wasn't paying attention. Every ball carrier came off the field after a big run. Hardesty, Oku, Brown and even Poole.

StroVol writes:

Desperate? No, but we are happy about taking care of business. Had wku put up 300 in offense, we might be pissed right now. No, basically wku had 0 yards. I like it

Liberal_Vol writes:

47 posts that cannot read satire. Mr. Adams is saying satirically, that most people will try to excuse away this great performance with 'It was only Western Kentucky'. Mr Adams, don't try to write intelligently in Tennessee - I'm so glad I got the heck out of that state. At least the football team is a bright spot to me from my life there.... Glad to see A VOICE OF REASON posted that he/she can read with comprehension.

537081 writes:

The crisp routes of the recivers,the qb throwing stiikes,and running backs not going down on first contact. It dosn't matter if its Wky or Florida that kind of stuff wins games

gslaton#227127 writes:

As a Tenn native and UT grad living in central Florida, believe me, the Gator nation still worries about their game with UT. They realize that the first two weeks of their season is just 10 more days of fall practice and that they won't know how good they are until Sept. 19th. The Vols will know more next week. But, I sure enjoyed yesterday. Go Vols!

oldsmokey67 writes:

in response to A_VOICE_OF_REASON:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

kentucky will be a pushover and ucla will be a good game that we should win.georgia a toss up.i won't comment on the other two. GO VOLS!!!!!!!

yabadabadoo1026 writes:

in response to nepperso#220348:

John Adams believes cheerleaders can score touchdowns... and he probably believes John Adams can score cheerleaders. Neither is the case. Keep hating John, keep hating until two years from now Kiffin and his crystal football decline your interview request.

this isnt a haten article----------all the man is saying is to keep it in perspective------we pounded the last rated D1 team comprrised mainly of freshman and sophmores

I was a great game and I'm as encouraged and feeling positive as the next guy but you people stay in the clouds without evaluating in the entire context. Some of you who now want to fantacize we are a top 20 team based on yesterday will do a complete reversal of thought if we struggle with UCLA.

A good feel game with lots of positives and reason to be encouraged but keep it in perspective---------it was truely no more competive than a scrimmage like he said-----------lets be encouraged and positive but not get delusional after one game against bad competition

mikevol1961 writes:

If this had been last years team the score would be
TN 9 WKU 7, I know it and everyboby else knows it.

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