Adams vs. Hyams -- Football's greatest minds square off
You have media-types designated as head coaches for Saturday's Tennessee spring football game - though I won't mention any names.
You have former players participating in a flag football game at halftime.
And you only have to pay $5 to watch.
So it's not exactly a Florida-versus-UT kind of afternoon. But even if the atmosphere seems more conducive to bouncing a beach ball around Neyland Stadium, it's still serious business for the principal figures.
It's the last chance for players to impress their new coaching staff before preseason camp begins. It's also their last opportunity to solidify their status on the depth chart before the freshman class revs up the competition anew in August.
A spring game isn't the best format for judging synchronized performances. Scrimmages offer a better measuring stick in that you have first-team units working together.
Yet the individual match-ups can't be ignored. If you prove yourself down after down against the player in front of you, the coaches will notice; they've got all summer to review the video.
First-year UT coach Derek Dooley also will notice the players who raise their level of play in a game situation. He said he has been surprised throughout his career by how differently some players perform - good and bad - when the competition is transported from the practice field to the stadium, and a coterie of onlookers no larger than a football family is multiplied hundreds of times by the influx of the general public.
No competition is more significant than at quarterback. For what it's worth, both junior college transfer Matt Simms and freshman Tyler Bray threw the ball well at times in Thursday's practice. Bray was particularly impressive when he hurriedly scooped up a low shotgun snap before hitting a receiver in stride 20 yards down field.
And that's the last nice thing I will have to say about anyone on the White team. I would expect UT fans to follow my lead.
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How can any true UT fan cheer for the White team?
Answer: You have a relative on the team, or your boss has a relative on the team.
Otherwise, it makes no sense for you to muster so much as a polite clap on behalf of the White.
You don't live in Big White country. You're not a member of the Big White nation. Bruce Pearl doesn't don a white sports jacket for rivalry games. He didn't paint his chest white.
Who wears white jerseys in Neyland Stadium? The opponents. That's who.
Cheering for the White Saturday is no different than cheering for the Tide or Gators. You might as well do the chomp and shout "Roll Tide!" while you're at it. And if you're planning on wearing a white shirt to the stadium, complete your outfit with a red baseball cap with a white "A" on it.
But I will be wearing orange.
Orange 27, White 7: Don't get the wrong idea. The game prediction has nothing to do with my coaching allegiance to the Orange team. It's simply an objective evaluation of what I saw in practice Thursday, coupled with an in-depth analysis of the two rosters.
While perusing those rosters, I figured out how the players conducted Wednesday night's draft. Seniors drafting for the Orange and White teams took selecting their first three players. The Orange then drafted the next 35 players.
The White took what was left.
John Adams may be reached at 865-342-6284 or firstname.lastname@example.org.