John Adams: Fans can see the Power T at the end of the tunnel

John Adams

If a college football fan can't be optimistic at this time of year, there's no hope.

Preseason practice has been under way just long enough for every team's virtues to be magnified. If a coach singles out a player's performance in a scrimmage, a fan's imagination can raise the compliment to an all-conference level.

Preseason is the time for optimism in any sport. But in college football, there's more time for optimism.

Media Day 2011: Highlights and Outtakes from Neyland Stadium

The SEC is the best example of that. It stages its football media days the second-to-last week in July. While that qualifies as a kickoff of sorts, it still leaves you with six weeks before an actual game.

No wonder the impact of every positive critique is multiplied. And that's not true just for fans.

Every year about this time, I'm tempted to add another victory to my UT prediction.

Since last season, six or seven victories have been the most logical estimate for 2011. But eight doesn't seem nearly as unrealistic as it did in February — or even before last week.

You think fans didn't get pumped up when they saw that true freshman linebackers Curt Maggitt and A.J. Johnson were running with the first team in UT's first scrimmage last Tuesday. Suddenly, a supposed position of weakness seemed better fortified.

Fans also had to be encouraged by another depth-chart move. Alex Bullard, a transfer from Notre Dame, was starting at offensive guard by the end of the week.

UT's offensive line was reasonably well-manned before the influx of new players. Six players with starting experience returned.

Now you have Bullard at least temporarily taking a starting position. On the preseason depth chart, freshman guard Marcus Jackson was listed as a co-starter at the same position. And don't forget about heralded freshman offensive lineman Antonio Richardson, who has been limited in preseason while recovering from shoulder surgery.

The development of depth in the offensive line and the emergence of freshman linebackers at a position of need aren't just cause for optimism about the 2011 season.

This might be the last thing you want to hear a few weeks from the start of a new season, but I can't resist: Wait till next year.

I'm not writing off Tennessee's 2011 season. I'm pointing out progress.

When was the last time Tennessee fans could say with any degree of confidence: "Wait till next season"?

I didn't hear it a lot after the 5-7 season of 2008. And it wasn't exactly a rallying cry after the 7-6 season of 2009, either.

Even last year when the Vols finished 6-7, fans realized their 2011 team would be too young and inexperienced to win a championship.

This view is much different from this vantage point. You almost can see the Power T at the end of the tunnel.

The Vols now have one senior starter on offense and two on defense. Translation: They should be capable of winning the SEC East next season.

In the meantime, Vols fans can enjoy what's left of their ride through the tunnel.

John Adams is a senior columnist. He may be reached at 865-342-6284 or adamsj@knoxnews.com. Follow him at http://twitter.com/johnadamskns.

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Comments » 46

greatdaysahead writes:

I actually liked this article.

Gart5 writes:

Who hacked into Adams computer and wrote this article?

UTbassdrummer writes:

I still want 8 wins this year. Then I will gladly accept my consolation SEC championship next year.

:)

give_him_6 writes:

Wow...Adams writed well when he's on his meds!!!

CrankE writes:

Not next year. This year.

I refuse to lower my expectations for this team anymore. They came within a first down of beating LSU in Baton Rouge. They gift-wrapped 14 points to South Carolina-losing by...shazam!...14 in Columbia. They beat UNC in regulation as declared by the referee.

THIS year.

And fire John Adams.

Ayres_Hall writes:

Well, Adams has written a good article. We are still a year away.

No team can win the SEC with Sophs and Frosh in so many critical roles.

Be patient.

BigVolFaninSC writes:

A positive football article from Adams!...We can count on one hand how many times THAT statement has been made! If you read between the lines at the beginning, though, he left himself an out saying things get magnified between media days and opening day! TRUE Vol fans have NEVER lost sight of the Power T at the end of the tunnel! GBO!

orangeman1 writes:

Finally, next year expectations will be back to where they were prior to 2009. It seems like forever since UT won 10 games and competed for the SEC. I just hope Dooley can win SEC championships on a consistant basis to make UT fans happy.

hickoryvol writes:

in response to Witch_Doctors_Daddy:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I knew it was too good to be true, the no life had to show up in the midst of some good posts

BradleyJKinkaid writes:

in response to give_him_6:

Wow...Adams writed well when he's on his meds!!!

Wow...sorry to pile on man, but you're not really doing much better.

Volunatic writes:

in response to UTbassdrummer:

I still want 8 wins this year. Then I will gladly accept my consolation SEC championship next year.

:)

Excellent work.

888657 writes:

in response to hickoryvol:

I knew it was too good to be true, the no life had to show up in the midst of some good posts

hickoryvol. Replying to her post, only satisfies her desire for attention, that was never presented as a child. There is no logic behind any of their post other than an attempt to get under the skin of a true VOL. Let them live their pathetic life, and enjoy the upcoming season. Our staff will have our men ready, and just be there to cheer them on. Go VOLS!

VolzsFan writes:

in response to orangeman1:

Finally, next year expectations will be back to where they were prior to 2009. It seems like forever since UT won 10 games and competed for the SEC. I just hope Dooley can win SEC championships on a consistant basis to make UT fans happy.

It was 2007 since they won 10 games and went to Atlanta. It will be decades before that happens again. Those expectations where derived from a 16 year Hall of Fame era and winning almost an average of 10 wins per year. Prior to 1992 no real fan had any expectations beyond eating good BBQ. We where spoiled by the greatest era in UT history. Those of you that think them Vols will be competing for an SEC East title next year are either a know nothing about sports fan or a know nothing about sports writer. Tenn is closer to 4 wins and moving Vandy out of the East cellar than they are to winning 8-10 or going to Atlanta.

Volunatic writes:

"Don't drink the kool-aid Adams is serving"

That is one sentence I never thought I would read.
Funny thing, though-- this is the 3rd column in the past two weeks in which John Adams has indicated that the Vols have a bright future, and that the current season might be enjoyable. Weird.

MGVOL22 writes:

in response to UTbassdrummer:

I still want 8 wins this year. Then I will gladly accept my consolation SEC championship next year.

:)

I don't know about you, but I want a Championship this year, just as I would every year for the VOLS...Will I be happy with 8, sure ....But I can see 9 for sure and want just what the players/staff do, a championship

757vol_fanatic writes:

Florida Gators:
Head Coach has 0 experience being a head coach. His defense was 81st (points allowed) in the NCAA last year.
Offensive Coordinator couldn't hack college football and got fired from Notre Dame. His NFL offense last year ranked 28 of 32 teams.
So UF has an unproven HC and a proven loser at OC.
The DC has 1 year experience as a DC. That was with Seattle in the weak NFC west, where a 7-9 team made the playoffs.
As much as you Gator fans come on here and talk you'd think you had an all-star staff.
Fact is Myer was a smart man and got out when it was crumbling. He built that team around tebow and knew that rough times were ahead. You've got a spread offense team with a pro style coaching staff. florida is on the down slide and th whole football world knows it but the gator fans. Look for a very interesting game in the Swamp this year and don't be shocked when UT wins.

As far as this season goes, I'm all in. I'm tired of seeing people say 8 wins is ok. Last time i checked this was Tennessee. I say we win the whole damn thing and smile about it. Yes i'm drinking the kool-aid and it is quite tasty. I'll be at Ben Hill Griffen Stadium when the Vols turn it into the Benny Hill show.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gpc5_3...

SECProudUT writes:

in response to Witch_Doctors_Daddy:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Some fans claim to be realist, when the fact remain they just have no spirit or confidence in the people they claim to be pulling for. Our coaches put their pants on the same way every day as the other coaches in the sport. So do our players. Our coaches have the experience necessary to coach up our young men, period. To think otherwise is to be a hapless fan, you know the ones that sit quietly in the stands, that go to the games emotionlessly, thinking they already know the outcome of the game before the kickoff. (If you were that smart you would own a portion of Vegas) I am not saying our team does or does not have the ability to win the SEC east, but I am a "realist" when it comes to being a fan. I AM A FAN OF THE TENNESSEE VOLS!!! AND DAMN PROUD OF IT!!!!

About Adams and the Kool-Aide, Your momma says go lie with the bones

TKG_VOL writes:

I think 8 wins is very do-able this year. 4 OOC games. 3 wins in east ( maybe 4) and maybe squeek by 1 in the west.

voloffaith writes:

in response to MOUNTAINofOKEMO:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Johhny I've told ewe how this make believe stuff can start messing with reality.

MOMMA has spoken.....

Imagine if the president started doing this all of a sudden we would all be concerned...just sayin' .

On topic Mr. Adams almost encouraging to a point....

arkyvol writes:

another reminder that people are prone to forget what's important. thank god east tennessee is not the emptying plains of nebraska, the sunbaked mudhole of central oklahoma, the rust belt of ohio, or three blocks from watts. whether the vols win or not (and mostly they will), the mountains and lakes and rivers and forests are still there.

voloffaith writes:

in response to Tweetdriver63:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Want another interesting factoid? There is an article On gator Burton and not nary a one of them chomper fans has even commented on it as of last time I checked. Agitation not adulation is their creed evidently.

Bufforange00 writes:

next year 19 to 20 returning starters. And what if we win 8 or 9 games this year? Next year's team will be a beast!

tovolny writes:

John Adams could be a decent SW if he did work like this all the time. What I don't like about John Adams is his timing. He appears anti-Vol when he alludes to things of the past representing UT low points. I have always felt that he works to discourage recruits. A lot of his work appears to be for the purpose of dissuading the young men by exposing anything that is negative while failing to mention all the positives. At first, I thought Adams was just "telling it like it is" and offering the objective view. But, now I am convinced that he is just anti-UT. I did enjoy this item today...I was surprised...and I hope ole John keeps it up.

MusicCityVol writes:

Great read from JA. The Vols are making progress.

Dear Arian...
http://www.checkerboardchatter.com/20...

Kelly8 writes:

UT could win the East this year if we weren't getting two guaranteed losses from our brutal West rotation. I think we will beat LSU at home, and lose to Bammer and the Hogs on the road. Next year is the year.

GerryOP writes:

in response to 757vol_fanatic:

Florida Gators:
Head Coach has 0 experience being a head coach. His defense was 81st (points allowed) in the NCAA last year.
Offensive Coordinator couldn't hack college football and got fired from Notre Dame. His NFL offense last year ranked 28 of 32 teams.
So UF has an unproven HC and a proven loser at OC.
The DC has 1 year experience as a DC. That was with Seattle in the weak NFC west, where a 7-9 team made the playoffs.
As much as you Gator fans come on here and talk you'd think you had an all-star staff.
Fact is Myer was a smart man and got out when it was crumbling. He built that team around tebow and knew that rough times were ahead. You've got a spread offense team with a pro style coaching staff. florida is on the down slide and th whole football world knows it but the gator fans. Look for a very interesting game in the Swamp this year and don't be shocked when UT wins.

As far as this season goes, I'm all in. I'm tired of seeing people say 8 wins is ok. Last time i checked this was Tennessee. I say we win the whole damn thing and smile about it. Yes i'm drinking the kool-aid and it is quite tasty. I'll be at Ben Hill Griffen Stadium when the Vols turn it into the Benny Hill show.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gpc5_3...

Thanks! It wasn't hard to visualize Little Willie and Big Chuck doing a hippity-hop dance to that tune. They'll make sure that visits to Benny Hill are entertaining. What in the hell was Folly thinking?

GerryOP writes:

Right now I have the same expectations that every coach and player on the field has ... 13-0 baby, 13-0.

rich182x writes:

WooooooooooooooooooooooHooooooooooooooo!!

bean3669 writes:

in response to slaw_way:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Wow! Ease up! GO VOLS!!!

JSamson7 writes:

in response to MOUNTAINofOKEMO:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Please, stop with the lame imitation of WD...

Volunatic writes:

in response to GerryOP:

Right now I have the same expectations that every coach and player on the field has ... 13-0 baby, 13-0.

Right on, Gerry!
(19 days)

JSamson7 writes:

in response to VolzsFan:

It was 2007 since they won 10 games and went to Atlanta. It will be decades before that happens again. Those expectations where derived from a 16 year Hall of Fame era and winning almost an average of 10 wins per year. Prior to 1992 no real fan had any expectations beyond eating good BBQ. We where spoiled by the greatest era in UT history. Those of you that think them Vols will be competing for an SEC East title next year are either a know nothing about sports fan or a know nothing about sports writer. Tenn is closer to 4 wins and moving Vandy out of the East cellar than they are to winning 8-10 or going to Atlanta.

So how do you explain UT being 2nd in total SEC titles? Shows your Football IQ as I believe UT has won 13 SEC titles overall & 3 between 80-90. Next!

keviningeorgia writes:

in response to Witch_Doctors_Daddy:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

It ain't koolaide. It's a BIG ORANGE Nehi...and a moonpie!

8-5 to maybe 9-4, I think. That depends on whether Kentucky breaks that spell. One day they finally will. They want that game badly and have come very close several times recently.

Very few big boy teams are as predictable as Tn. was on wins / loses last year. I am very confident UT will win at least 2, (maybe more) and will lose at least one that the experts say we shouldn't this year. Leaving 8 to 9 total wins (including a bowl).

You don't have to "write it down"! I trust your memory Vol fans...

givehim6 writes:

in response to orangeman1:

Finally, next year expectations will be back to where they were prior to 2009. It seems like forever since UT won 10 games and competed for the SEC. I just hope Dooley can win SEC championships on a consistant basis to make UT fans happy.

I think it was 99' or maybe 2000 I was on some Vols site, not sure if it was govols but anywas the Vol fans were complaining because I think we had a 9-3 record and this OLD MS or Miss. ST fan ( a early trool) Was bleesing the Vol fans telling use we should be happy with a 9 win season this Miss. team almost never had a +.500 year. I'd love to have a 9-3 year again.

keviningeorgia writes:

in response to VolzsFan:

It was 2007 since they won 10 games and went to Atlanta. It will be decades before that happens again. Those expectations where derived from a 16 year Hall of Fame era and winning almost an average of 10 wins per year. Prior to 1992 no real fan had any expectations beyond eating good BBQ. We where spoiled by the greatest era in UT history. Those of you that think them Vols will be competing for an SEC East title next year are either a know nothing about sports fan or a know nothing about sports writer. Tenn is closer to 4 wins and moving Vandy out of the East cellar than they are to winning 8-10 or going to Atlanta.

Your just wrong. You are spouting stuff off as if it were facts but it's not. The early Fulmer years were great. But if you think the Fulmer years overall were the best period in Tennessee history, you don't know Tennessee history.

Go invest in a press guide or look it up on the same internet you are using to spread your mistaken facts. 'Cause your just plain ol wrong...

keviningeorgia writes:

in response to Navalorange:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Snicker, snicker, snooorrrt (ouch! hate when I do that!).

UTKin1992 writes:

Eight wins isn't unrealistic...it very well may happen. However, it does stink to have such low excetations compared to a few years ago, doesn't it?

I guess Rome wasn't built in a day.

orangeman1 writes:

in response to UTKin1992:

Eight wins isn't unrealistic...it very well may happen. However, it does stink to have such low excetations compared to a few years ago, doesn't it?

I guess Rome wasn't built in a day.

Exactly, Dooley just needs to keep doing what he's doing and I have no doubt he will have UT competing for the SEC again. I do think after a few years fans will appreciate what they have in Dooley whether he wins the SEC consistently or just fields a competitive team that makes us proud by winning 9,10,11 games a year.

Vol_Stuck_in_GA writes:

"Every year about this time, I'm tempted to add another victory to my UT prediction."

I enjoyed this article, but when I read the above statement I had to scroll back to the top and double-check that it was Adams writing it. I didn't think he ever predicted any Tennessee wins?

Thanks for surprising me John!

Down_The_Field writes:

in response to GerryOP:

Right now I have the same expectations that every coach and player on the field has ... 13-0 baby, 13-0.

amen

johnson and maggitt = kiner and reynolds

GO BIG ORANGE!

Southland writes:

fans no longer seem to know what it means to have to wait for improvment. People will be calling for Dooley to be fired if we do not win 8-9 games this year. It was time for Fulmer to go but he spoiled us. I remember well that every year was another brick in the rebuilding process under coach Majors. Never got rebuilt just up and down, up and down but fans were not as spoiled back then. Hoping the Vols improve and Dooley grows as a coach. I doubt we will be close to a great team but the coaching staff sure needs to have improved enough that they can get the right number on the field this year

KevDVol writes:

Poole 2000 + Bray 3000 = 9-4 Citrus Bowl Champs

And, yes the Big Orange Doolaid is refreshing this time of year.

MrBamSeydu writes:

If Adam writes a pro-Vols article, it's a great article. If he says ANYTHING negative, it's the worst article in history.

DannyVol writes:

You all think Adams is being positive? He's merely trying to dash hopes when hopes are truly rising for the first time in years. That's the definition of a wet blanket, people. That's his entire gig.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to SECProudUT:

Some fans claim to be realist, when the fact remain they just have no spirit or confidence in the people they claim to be pulling for. Our coaches put their pants on the same way every day as the other coaches in the sport. So do our players. Our coaches have the experience necessary to coach up our young men, period. To think otherwise is to be a hapless fan, you know the ones that sit quietly in the stands, that go to the games emotionlessly, thinking they already know the outcome of the game before the kickoff. (If you were that smart you would own a portion of Vegas) I am not saying our team does or does not have the ability to win the SEC east, but I am a "realist" when it comes to being a fan. I AM A FAN OF THE TENNESSEE VOLS!!! AND DAMN PROUD OF IT!!!!

About Adams and the Kool-Aide, Your momma says go lie with the bones

This guy is a well-known troll, not a UT fan. You may have him confused with a TRUE Vol fan, formerly known merely as "Witch_Doctor" then as "Witch_Doctors_Ghost" and now, I think, as just "Witch_Doctors". You may safely disregard anything "Witch_Doctors_Daddy" says just as you would from any OTHER low-life troll.

Like you--and like increasingly many other Vol fans and even neutral observers--I think the Vols will take a big step up this year and I will be right there with them.

Colliervol writes:

in response to Southland:

fans no longer seem to know what it means to have to wait for improvment. People will be calling for Dooley to be fired if we do not win 8-9 games this year. It was time for Fulmer to go but he spoiled us. I remember well that every year was another brick in the rebuilding process under coach Majors. Never got rebuilt just up and down, up and down but fans were not as spoiled back then. Hoping the Vols improve and Dooley grows as a coach. I doubt we will be close to a great team but the coaching staff sure needs to have improved enough that they can get the right number on the field this year

Agree with most of what you said. If we get to 8 wins (and an upset or two) with this young team, it will be a great year. As noted before, people just do not realize the sad shape that this program was in when Dooley took over. Far worse than the average fan knew and you can lay that at the feet of Fulmer (for complacency his last 5 years) and Kiffin (for being the dimwit twerp that he was). The program was not decimated in a year and it won't be rebuilt in a year either. If you are that delusional, you need to take a course in Remedial Football 101. Patience is the order of the day. I'm just looking for improvement and then we'll go from there.

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