Adams: Nothing taken for granted

John Adams

Since Derek Dooley is the son of well-known parents, it's only natural to make comparisons.

When you hear him address boosters, you might think of his mother, Barbara, a regular Southern belle with a flair for speaking. But when Tennessee's first-year head coach synopsized his first opponent Monday afternoon, it was as though he was channeling his inner Vince.

During Vince Dooley's heyday as Georgia's head coach, he was famous for speaking glowingly of the most infirm opponent. Building up an opponent is a common practice for most coaches, but Dooley's dad elevated it to an art form.

He could sort through a pile of statistics and uncover minute evidence why an opposing team should make the denizens of Sanford Stadium quiver with fear. His look was as significant as his research. Naturally stoic, he could readily produce a look of grim concern at the mere mention of an opponent as foreboding as say VMI.

In fact, as Vince's SEC champions-to-be of 1966 prepared for their second game of the season against the Keydets, he probably presented the opponent as an amateur version of Vince Lombardi's Green Bay Packers. Such characterizations were a source of amusement to the media as well as the Dooley household.

"We used to joke about it," Derek said. "I made fun of him all the time.

"That's part of being an immature 11-year-old. My son does that with me."

Derek didn't have to coach long to appreciate his father's wisdom.

"Every time that you overlook somebody or don't take them seriously, you get embarrassed," Derek said. "I think the biggest thing my dad always did was (have) his teams prepare for (an opponent's) best. If you prepare for their best and expect their best, then you are going to be ready."

So it's not surprising to hear Dooley praising the UT Martin Skyhawks, who will open the season at Neyland Stadium on Saturday.

"They've won a championship," he said. "They've gone to the playoffs. Right there, you know because of their success you're going to be up against something.

"This will be their biggest game of the year. I know there are probably a lot of players on their team who are probably not happy that Tennessee didn't want them. So we expect them to play their best.

"And their best is good enough to beat us."

Roll your eyes if you are so inclined. The veteran Vols won't. All those Cowboys roaming the recesses of their mind won't let them.

Wyoming entered Neyland Stadium in November of 2008 having lost five of its previous six games by an average of 35.5 points. But it actually looked like a superior team in upending the Vols 13-7.

"It helped me realize that nothing is given," senior linebacker Nick Reveiz said. "Everything is earned. Everything is how you practice and respect your opponent. You're Tennessee, on your home turf, homecoming - they're not going to give you a win just because of that.

"You have to work for it."

You can't attribute that mind-set solely to Wyoming. In the last three years, the Vols have lost seven games by 20 or more points. They also have a recent history of getting jolted just when they appeared to have achieved a higher state of competence.

Last year, in a promising four-game stretch, the Vols routed Georgia by 26 points, almost upset eventual national champion Alabama, and outscored South Carolina and Memphis by a combined count of 87-41.

So what happens next? They get blitzed by Ole Miss 42-17.

In 2007, UT won three consecutive games, including two in the SEC, by double-digit margins. Next stop: Tuscaloosa, where a mediocre Alabama team hammered the Vols by 24 points.

I realize no history lesson would make the average fan assume anything but a one-sided victory over the Skyhawks. And the average 11-year-old would snicker at a coach's suggestion that UT Martin could put up more than a couple of series worth of resistance.

But the Vols don't think that way, which might explain why they defeated Western Kentucky 63-7 in the last season opener.

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

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Comments » 43

Bigger_Al writes:

Typical Adams "salt in the wound" blather. Nevermind that UT fired their head coach before the Wyoming game, he still uses that to support his flimsy logic.

How about North Texas State? Rutgers? Army? Duke?

mdvol writes:

Vols 38 - Skylarks 7

We are going to surprise some damn people.
We will upset either Florida or Alabama.

elbtenn#502977 writes:

in response to mdvol:

Vols 38 - Skylarks 7

We are going to surprise some damn people.
We will upset either Florida or Alabama.

I hope it is the Bammers!

TNPilgrim writes:

Pre season enthusiasm is great - but let's try to keep it realistic. Maybe we can hope to upset Ole Miss or KY if we make it that far into the season without significant injuries. If that's the case, the OL and DL should have gained enough experience to be respectable. Hopefully, Dooley and his staff are good enough to develop their players so they'll show improvement as the season progresses, instead of getting worse like so many of Fulmer's teams did. This is a rebuilding year - it's important to keep things in perspective.

Mommasboy writes:

Put down the kool-aid people...6-6 would be a great start to our rebuilding. These people that think we are going to beat Bama or UF are the same fans that boo us when the going gets tough.

Noiseboy writes:

Well said Pilgrim. Should be 2-2 after September. I think the outcome of this season hinges on how well the Vols do in Athens and what they do with the following bye week. Last season that was the span where Crompton became a QB. A great effort at Georgia (win or lose) could be the springboard to elevate the level of play heading into Bama week. Of course, UT could also exit Athens looking like a Mash Unit after 2 brutal SEC road games back-to-back. I just don't want to see Tennessee lose 8 this year when they and Ohio St. are the only two left to have never lost more than 7 in a season of original D-I programs. And don't think those players from 2008 aren't thinking the same thing.

leedsvol2007 writes:

Well Vince, Bear Bryant, and Lou Holtz could build up an opponent to the level of the defending Super Bowl Champ.

And now that John can't see practice he has to stretch for something to write about. I'll bet it makes him pine for "Pound the Rock".

GoVols!

BigBadVol writes:

I don't understand all the pessimism. It's not like TN doesn't have some talent. They will be competitive.

coach799 writes:

The naysayers keep bringing up the injury thing, but we have the best strength & conditioning guy in the business. This will be a special season because of the unity of this team and the skill coaches we have.

GO VOLS!

flatrock writes:

UT-Martin is better than Western Kentucky.

CroKev writes:

in response to flatrock:

UT-Martin is better than Western Kentucky.

This year W. Kentucky gets to open up against #8 Nebraska on Saturday. Got to hand it to them for their courage. I doubt they'd run from playing anybody (including N. Carolina...).

DannyVol writes:

Hateful little stooge. Adams was probably the kid who played by himself at recess while the real boys were practicing becoming men. However, once in a while they'd come over and rough him up good, Lol! 45 years later he is trying to get even with his incoherent little columns.

DannyVol writes:

By the way, in reference to the North Carolina game, what difference does it really make? Look at this and next year's schedule and then look at the rest of the SEC's. If you see any real differences in strength of schedule between us and our rivals then complain. But as for 2010 and 2011, the Vols are still one of the few SEC teams playing top 10 quality non-conference opponents (Oregon and Cincinnati) both years. Aside from playing Florida St. every year, which has been in a down-cycle for years, Florida plays Miami of Ohio, USF, and Appalachian St. this year and UAB, Florida Atlantic, and Furman in 2011.

We haven't ducked anyone in the 25+ years I've been a fan and have typically opened every season with a marquee game -- and we don't have a watered down schedule next year either. If we had bought out Cincy, then I might take issue with that; but our 2011 schedule is still nothing short of murderous.

As far as "sending the wrong message to the team" do you really think that our 18-22-year old players have the time or inclination to dwell on not playing NC after a grueling 2010 season, offseason workouts, spring practice, summer workouts, fall camp, and then facing a 2011 schedule which features games vs. Cincinnati and at Florida, Alabama, and Arkansas? Unless they are reminded by bitter fans and journalists, it's even possible they won't even remember it.

hcjournals#206623 writes:

Start saying it now......Guck the Fators......Someone will put it on a t-shirt. We have to start hating them now. Remember 1982. If you weren't born yet, google it. We beat Alabama after 11 years. All the stop signs around campus had a white BAMA stenciled in under STOP. Seeing STOP BAMA everyday for a month got people fired up. And believe, me....We used to help the team win by being the loudest and best fans anywhere.....if you don't remember that......Get ready.....We have the most intimidating sound factor in the country....The sound stays in. When we are disrupting the other team's offense and they get a delay of game penalty, we will be back. I'm not kidding. Ask the players. It makes a difference. See you there. I'll be the one asking everybody to get fired up....Go..........Big........Or go home........and .........Go.......Big....Orange.............It's here....It's finally here.....It's Football Time in Tennessee!!!!!

hcjournals#206623 writes:

Volnot Ham....You are an idiot..........Regional this.....Where were you in 1986 at the Sugar Bowl? Not only did we beat Miami but we handed the national championship to Oklahoma.....

TommyJack writes:

Hamilton should be given a contract extention.

RockyTop1_old writes:

in response to CroKev:

This year W. Kentucky gets to open up against #8 Nebraska on Saturday. Got to hand it to them for their courage. I doubt they'd run from playing anybody (including N. Carolina...).

I think it's more about the paycheck....

pomp_and_circumstance writes:

in response to leedsvol2007:

Well Vince, Bear Bryant, and Lou Holtz could build up an opponent to the level of the defending Super Bowl Champ.

And now that John can't see practice he has to stretch for something to write about. I'll bet it makes him pine for "Pound the Rock".

GoVols!

Stretch indeed. Austin covered this two days ago. John Media Adams sweeps up a few crumbs and has his "story" for the day.

Bigger_Al writes:

in response to slaw_way:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Uh, that's the 1st game after Fulmer was fired.

tnsportsman writes:

CDD is like Vince and that's a good thing! Great coaches make players understand and be ready for each team they play.

Big Orange, play ever play as though it is '4th and 1 for the National Championship, so says CDD!

This team will win and beat some teams that will surprise people. At least 8 wins, BOOK IT! And if they don't win 8 or more games, I will still be there every game, year after year until dead! I saw every game when UT was 0 & 6 and saw us win the last 5 that year.

Keep the faith always and except to WIN ALWAYS!

GO VOLS, WE ARE UT!

gnm53108 writes:

in response to tnsportsman:

CDD is like Vince and that's a good thing! Great coaches make players understand and be ready for each team they play.

Big Orange, play ever play as though it is '4th and 1 for the National Championship, so says CDD!

This team will win and beat some teams that will surprise people. At least 8 wins, BOOK IT! And if they don't win 8 or more games, I will still be there every game, year after year until dead! I saw every game when UT was 0 & 6 and saw us win the last 5 that year.

Keep the faith always and except to WIN ALWAYS!

GO VOLS, WE ARE UT!

After that 0 & 6 start they did win their next 5...They also won the sec the next 2 years.

I'm with ya sportsman...Always expect to win every time the Big Orange take the field.

Go VOLS!

DaddyVol writes:

Nashville News revealed last night that there are still tickets available for Saturday's game.

COME ON ORANGE NATION...

LET'S FILL NEYLAND STADIUM!!!!

Orangeblood13 writes:

in response to TommyJack:

Hamilton should be given a contract extention.

hmmm
pondering that one

DaddyVol writes:

NO EMPTY SEATS!!!!!!!!!!!!

FILL NEYLAND EVERY SATURDAY...

AVOL4EVR2 writes:

What is "Tommy Jack" Drinking..... Lane kool-Aid...Please pour it OUT!!!!

Tweedy writes:

Hope to see a good record from UT this year. Compete in every game!!! Make those mules into race horse's. Please!!!

TommyJack writes:

in response to AVOL4EVR2:

What is "Tommy Jack" Drinking..... Lane kool-Aid...Please pour it OUT!!!!

Fresca.

jandjhome#228397 writes:

6 and 6 is probably correct, with a little luck it could be 7 and 6.

hueypilot writes:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

gatorhator4eva writes:

in response to Mommasboy:

Put down the kool-aid people...6-6 would be a great start to our rebuilding. These people that think we are going to beat Bama or UF are the same fans that boo us when the going gets tough.

your kidding right? i have been a long time tennessee fan and i think we will beat florida or alabama. likely florida and not just because of my screen name. here's why and i have explained this several times in other posts. florida is a young team too. duh? they lost 22 of there 23 starters. tennessee has dominated the series up until last year when florida took the lead 20-19. thirdly, although not a great stat, tennessee has never lost more then 5 games in a row against florida in the series.(just how the series has played out, when one team wins they keep on winning for period of time. finally, 100,00 strong vols fans and this will be a game not to miss.

this is what can happen
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8cij--...

history about this rivarly
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Florida_...

tnsportsman writes:

in response to DaddyVol:

Nashville News revealed last night that there are still tickets available for Saturday's game.

COME ON ORANGE NATION...

LET'S FILL NEYLAND STADIUM!!!!

Want GREAT PR, MH? Take the extra tickets to every HS and Boys/Girls Club in Knoxville and make sure all the students and teachers has a ticket and POWER T Orange Shirt to attend the game!

If you want future season ticket holders, train them young.

I'm with you DaddyVol, FILL UP NEYLAND NOW!

GO VOLS, WE ARE UT!

tnsportsman writes:

Ingram at Alabubba had his knee scoped today and is out! One game so they say, LOL. Sorry about your luck there Ingram!

Go VOLS, WE ARE UT!

tnsportsman writes:

in response to gnm53108:

After that 0 & 6 start they did win their next 5...They also won the sec the next 2 years.

I'm with ya sportsman...Always expect to win every time the Big Orange take the field.

Go VOLS!

Thanks, gnm, LETS GET IT UP and support THE BIG ORANGE!

Hell, I'm leaving work today, going ahead and driving to G-10 to start now!

GO VOLS, WE ARE UT!

higgman55 writes:

in response to mdvol:

Vols 38 - Skylarks 7

We are going to surprise some damn people.
We will upset either Florida or Alabama.

Have you got inside info. that we are gonna upset someone, or is it just that same good feeling I have bout these VOLS?

shtooo (Inactive) writes:

Hamilton should be the highest paid AD in the land!!!!! (I just want to be as opposite of Volnothamiltonfan as possible)

Lizardgrad89 writes:

in response to gatorhator4eva:

your kidding right? i have been a long time tennessee fan and i think we will beat florida or alabama. likely florida and not just because of my screen name. here's why and i have explained this several times in other posts. florida is a young team too. duh? they lost 22 of there 23 starters. tennessee has dominated the series up until last year when florida took the lead 20-19. thirdly, although not a great stat, tennessee has never lost more then 5 games in a row against florida in the series.(just how the series has played out, when one team wins they keep on winning for period of time. finally, 100,00 strong vols fans and this will be a game not to miss.

this is what can happen
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8cij--...

history about this rivarly
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Florida_...

On Offense, Florida lost 1 QB, 2 WR's, 1 TE, 1 OL.
On Defense, Florida lost 2 DE, 3 LB, 2 DB
Florida lost 12 starters, 10 came back.

Hardly ""22 out of 23 starters".

Also, how do you figure UT dominated the series up until last year?

UF is 20-9 in the past 29, 18-6 since 1971, and 5-0 since 2004.

UT won the first 10 in the leather helmet days, and 3 of 4 from 2001 to 2004.

That is the ONLY dominance UT has ever held in the series, and frankly, the 2001-2004 results can be seen as an aberration in the larger scheme of things, since it fell right in the middle of the 18-6 UF run.

In the UF-UT series, the better team always wins, when it's UF. When UT is the better team, it's 50-50.

oskie_score writes:

Regardless of designation (FBS, FCS, or D-III) this Tennessee team can ill afford to take any opponent lightly.

There are no "given" victories.

Stay focused. Play hard. Everything else will take care of itself.

pj_ladyvolnMI writes:

in response to gatorhator4eva:

your kidding right? i have been a long time tennessee fan and i think we will beat florida or alabama. likely florida and not just because of my screen name. here's why and i have explained this several times in other posts. florida is a young team too. duh? they lost 22 of there 23 starters. tennessee has dominated the series up until last year when florida took the lead 20-19. thirdly, although not a great stat, tennessee has never lost more then 5 games in a row against florida in the series.(just how the series has played out, when one team wins they keep on winning for period of time. finally, 100,00 strong vols fans and this will be a game not to miss.

this is what can happen
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8cij--...

history about this rivarly
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Florida_...

Oh my gosh...first I got chills watching that video and then got teary, 'cause I knew my dad was there. (And he's gone now.) I want a day like that again...and I want to be there!

OrangePride writes:

If you were ever a coach, you have been in these situations where you are heavily favored and supposed to win by a margin of "name the score." But, as Coach Dooley points out, such opponents can become dangerous if you are not ready for "their best." One of the keys is to get out of the blocks early and hard. Most important is to really stay focused and avoid early mistakes and turnovers. Don't let those folks capitalize on breaks and become believers because they will make it a very long night if you do. So GO VOLS! GO HARD! AND TAKE IT RIGHT TO THEM!!

Orange_Smoothie writes:

I saw where Herbstreit had UT ranked 11th in the SEC, finishing in front of (only) Vanderbilt. Wow. I agree that we will make some noise and upset a few unfortunates who happen to overlook us.

To support this I point to last year's game, on the road, against soon-to-be National Champ Alabama -- an outsider watching that game would have walked away saying that the two teams he just watched were evenly matched tallent-wise (minus the kickers). Ditto the Florida game (minus the QB).

The fact is that we have immense tallent on both sides of the ball, so don't be all too surprised this fall when we "surprise" somebody that we were double-digit dogs to.

murrayvol writes:

in response to SECFB:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Just keep countin' those chickens and brushin' that tooth.

Lizardgrad89 writes:

in response to bigorangegoon:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

UF has gone 20-9 against UT since 1954.

THAT'S FIFTY-SIX YEARS OF BEING YOUR DADDY.

You keep thinking UT is at the same level as UF, we'll just keep proving you wrong every September.

I can see you are proud of the accomplishments of UT in your great-grandpappy's time, I prefer to be proud of the accomplishments in MY time.

Lizardgrad89 writes:

ALLVOLNC writes:
in response to Lizardgrad89:

On Offense, Florida lost 1 QB, 2 WR's, 1 TE, 1 OL.
On Defense, Florida lost 2 DE, 3 LB, 2 DB
Florida lost 12 starters, 10 came back.

Hardly ""22 out of 23 starters".

Also, how do you figure UT dominated the series up until last year?

UF is 20-9 in the past 29, 18-6 since 1971, and 5-0 since 2004.

UT won the first 10 in the leather helmet days, and 3 of 4 from 2001 to 2004.

That is the ONLY dominance UT has ever held in the series, and frankly, the 2001-2004 results can be seen as an aberration in the larger scheme of things, since it fell right in the middle of the 18-6 UF run.

In the UF-UT series, the better team always wins, when it's UF. When UT is the better team, it's 50-50.
----------------
Your comments hold about as much weight as a fart in the wind
------------------------------------------------
Really.

So, telling you we have double digit starters back has no meaning?

Pointing out that only delusional fools think UT had "dominated" Florida up until last year has no meaning?

Funny stuff.

Nothing I said was a comment or an opinion. It was fact. (Well, except for that last line. Upon reading again, that looks like opinion.)

However, here's an opinion:

You KNOW the truth, that UF is better at football (and frankly everything else) than UT, so you resort to insults to hide your realization of our supremacy.

(Oh, and BTW, when I say UF is better than UT, I don't just mean currently. I mean ALL TIME. Just wanted to clarify.)

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