Five rising seniors enough to establish veteran presence for UT in 2012

From left: Willie Bohannon, Zach Rogers, Dallas Thomas, Mychal Rivera and Prentiss Waggner

From left: Willie Bohannon, Zach Rogers, Dallas Thomas, Mychal Rivera and Prentiss Waggner

Even with a short list of seniors to replace, Tennessee hasn't reached the point where it can simply count on another wave of veterans to step up and fill the leadership void. But the Vols are certainly getting closer as they head into coach Derek Dooley's third season with the program, and the pool of talent and experience in the current junior class appears to be deeper than the one on the way out — a group that was decimated by attrition and adversity.

The rising bunch of seniors has faced its share of difficulties as well, and while some pieces have fallen by the wayside, there are still enough around to help establish a veteran presence next year.

Here's a look at the top five soon-to-be seniors most critical to turning things around on and off the field in 2012.

No. 5: Willie Bohannon

Position: Defensive end

Tennessee's Willie Bohannon (86) celebrates sacking Florida's John Brantley (12) during the Vols' 33-23 road loss Sept. 17

Photo by Michael Patrick, copyright © 2011

Tennessee's Willie Bohannon (86) celebrates sacking Florida's John Brantley (12) during the Vols' 33-23 road loss Sept. 17

Junior campaign: 27 tackles, two sacks, four tackles for a loss.

Career stats: 49 tackles, five sacks, 10 tackles for a loss, one forced fumble.

Upside: Bohannon finally started establishing himself as a regular option for the Vols on the line at the end of last season, starting the last three games for a unit that was supplying pressure in the backfield and handling itself well against the rush. In the late-season win over Vanderbilt, Bohannon was a consistent threat on the quarterback and finished with three hurries. If he can convert a few more chances like that into sacks, Bohannon could be in position for a breakout season as a senior.

Group work: The Vols aren't likely to need Bohannon to do all the work as they move on without Malik Jackson and Ben Martin though, particularly if Jacques Smith is able to get his production to match up a bit more evenly with his considerable potential. UT also saw some encouraging things from freshman Jordan Williams in his first year with the program, but as the elder statesman now on the line, it should at least be up to Bohannon to set a strong example.

No. 4: Zach Rogers

Position: Wide receiver

Tennessee wide receiver Zach Rogers (83) escapes Buffalo defensive back Najja Johnson (22) during first half action against the Buffalo Bulls in Neyland Stadium Saturday, Oct. 1, 2011.   (MICHAEL PATRICK/NEWS SENTINEL)

Photo by Michael Patrick, copyright © 2011

Tennessee wide receiver Zach Rogers (83) escapes Buffalo defensive back Najja Johnson (22) during first half action against the Buffalo Bulls in Neyland Stadium Saturday, Oct. 1, 2011. (MICHAEL PATRICK/NEWS SENTINEL)

Junior campaign: 14 receptions for 189 yards with a touchdown.

Career stats: 31 catches for 415 yards with two touchdowns, a long of 72 yards.

Upside: Rogers might not have the size or durability to be a featured target on the perimeter, and he's occasionally put some critical balls on the ground over the last couple years. But there aren't many veterans around to throw the ball to, and his speed and understanding of the game can still make Rogers a productive and integral part of the attack as he heads into his last season with the program. Nobody questions the work ethic of the Nashville native, and along with those couple drops, Rogers also stuck his nose in as a blocker and made a few difficult grabs to prove his toughness.

Group work: The lack of depth at receiver was exposed last season when Justin Hunter went down in the third game, and his absence changed pretty much everything about the passing attack. Da'Rick Rogers was still a major factor, but a cast of young guys along with Zach Rogers wasn't capable of maintaining the fast pace the Vols set early on with Hunter. A couple more pieces should be added to the equation, including recent commit Alton Howard, but Zach Rogers could be a nice option to work on defenses from the slot.

No. 3: Dallas Thomas

Position: Left tackle

Paul Efird/News Sentinel
Tennessee's Dallas Thomas responds to questions during a media luncheon on Aug. 1.

Photo by Paul Efird

Paul Efird/News Sentinel Tennessee's Dallas Thomas responds to questions during a media luncheon on Aug. 1.

Junior campaign: Started all 12 games, part of a unit that allowed just 18 sacks

Career stats: Has earned 25 consecutive starts on the line

Upside: Thomas doesn't seem to get much credit for the work he's done over the last couple seasons, probably due partly to the fact that his quiet nature doesn't command much attention. But despite the assumption that at some point Antonio Richardson would pass him on the depth chart, Thomas has made himself a fixture up front and doesn't appear willing to simply hand off his role heading into his last season with the program. At 6-foot-5, 305 pounds, Thomas has pretty good size himself and moves well on the edge.

Group work: The development of Richardson will be worth watching when spring practice rolls around, and the rising sophomore is expected to push for more extensive playing time. But he'll have to earn it with Thomas and Ja'Wuan James bringing plenty of experience to the tackle position after two years as full-time starters — though that competition is a clear sign of progress as UT restores depth on the line.

No. 2: Mychal Rivera

Position: Tight end

Tennessee tight end Mychal Rivera (81) catches a pass from quarterback Matt Simms during the game against Alabama at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Ala., Saturday, Oct. 22, 2011.  (ADAM BRIMER/NEWS SENTINEL)

Photo by Adam Brimer, copyright © 2011

Tennessee tight end Mychal Rivera (81) catches a pass from quarterback Matt Simms during the game against Alabama at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Ala., Saturday, Oct. 22, 2011. (ADAM BRIMER/NEWS SENTINEL)

Junior campaign: 29 catches for 344 yards with one touchdown

Career stats: 40 receptions for 456 yards with one touchdown

Upside: The versatile weapon finished his second season with the program as one of the most productive players on offense, but it still seemed like the Vols weren't getting everything they could out of Rivera in the passing game. That wasn't necessarily his fault though, since the loss of wide receiver Justin Hunter changed his role and the need to use him more as a blocker also kept Rivera from perhaps turning in the statistical season the junior was capable of posting. When all the pieces are back on the field and healthy, Rivera can be a dangerous threat to a defense and is more than capable of creating mismatches in personnel.

Group work: The Vols have some young talent on hand already to complement Rivera and perhaps allow offensive coordinator Jim Chaney to use the multiple-tight end sets he desires, but neither Cam Clear nor Brendan Downs were ready to lend a regular hand as freshmen. UT picked up a commitment from another highly-rated player at the position last week with Justin Meredith offering a pledge, and the program could be in a pretty comfortable spot with depth there moving forward.

No. 1: Prentiss Waggner

Position: Defensive back

AMY SMOTHERMAN BURGESS/NEWS SENTINEL
Tennessee defensive back Prentiss Waggner hits Georgia wide receiver Michael Erdman during a game on Oct. 8.

Photo by Amy Smotherman Burgess, ©KNS/2011

AMY SMOTHERMAN BURGESS/NEWS SENTINEL Tennessee defensive back Prentiss Waggner hits Georgia wide receiver Michael Erdman during a game on Oct. 8.

Junior campaign: 48 tackles, two sacks, three tackles for loss, one forced fumble, seven passes defended, two interceptions

Career stats: 116 tackles, two sacks, six tackles for loss, three fumble recoveries, one forced fumble, 11 passes defended, seven interceptions, three returns for touchdowns

Upside: No matter where Waggner lines up, he's shown an uncanny knack for making plays. His junior campaign didn't produce quite as many highlights as the coming out party the season before, though a nagging injury, personnel losses around him and his own shifting role all played a part in cutting down his chances. Waggner isn't the most vocal guy on the roster, but he's earned respect for his willingness to do whatever it takes to help the team — and he's also not afraid to speak up if needed.

Group work: The surgery performed on his shoulder late last week will prohibit him from contact during spring practice, but that might allow the Vols to look closely at the other options they have in the secondary moving forward. UT has used Waggner all over the back end over the last couple seasons, and he seems best suited to playing cornerback. Brian Randolph emerged as a viable option at safety as a freshman, and that will be a fine place for the Vols to start when they go back to work. That should put the spotlight on a group of cornerbacks that didn't have anybody step up and claim the position outright last season after Waggner was forced to move to safety, because he could be back there in the fall.

Austin Ward covers Tennessee football. Follow him at http://twitter.com/Vols_Beat and http://blogs.knoxnews.com/ward.

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Comments » 96

oldster writes:

UT cannot beat Alabama, Georgia, Florida, or USC next year. I am not sure that they can beat NC St., Missouri, or the other team from the West that they will have to play. They should beat the rest, assuming that they can keep Bray and DaRop interested in participating. Therefore, my prediction is 6-6 or 7-5 at best. It is not lack of senior leadship I fear that they lack. I fear that it is lack of leadership from the head coach. His statement that a coach has a double standard in how he treats his players with stars getting preferential treatment struck me at the time as dangerous and now, with the revelations of the actions and attitudes of the stars mentioned above, I fear that the policy is fatal. He should have come down hard when the first opportunity came about (i.e. he should have dismissed everyone who participated in the bar brawl) during the honeymoon period in which no one expected much. Had he done so, I suspect fewer would have tried him since. Oh well, nice knowing you coach.

troubleinc writes:

Merry Christmas to the Vol Nation.

Pullingguard writes:

in response to oldster:

UT cannot beat Alabama, Georgia, Florida, or USC next year. I am not sure that they can beat NC St., Missouri, or the other team from the West that they will have to play. They should beat the rest, assuming that they can keep Bray and DaRop interested in participating. Therefore, my prediction is 6-6 or 7-5 at best. It is not lack of senior leadship I fear that they lack. I fear that it is lack of leadership from the head coach. His statement that a coach has a double standard in how he treats his players with stars getting preferential treatment struck me at the time as dangerous and now, with the revelations of the actions and attitudes of the stars mentioned above, I fear that the policy is fatal. He should have come down hard when the first opportunity came about (i.e. he should have dismissed everyone who participated in the bar brawl) during the honeymoon period in which no one expected much. Had he done so, I suspect fewer would have tried him since. Oh well, nice knowing you coach.

And, all that said on Christmas Eve...Geeze
you surely are not looking forward to the New Year... Cheer up, things are gonna improve in 12.

gwbask writes:

in response to troubleinc:

Merry Christmas to the Vol Nation.

same to you and also the rest of the Vol nation

ACWLY writes:

As a longtime Tennessee fan I can only say THANKS TO ALL OF THE SENIORS FOR STICKING IT OUT through the most ridiculous four years any recruit could ever have.... Sincerely, I THANK YOU!

allvol8 writes:

in response to troubleinc:

Merry Christmas to the Vol Nation.

Merry Christmas to you and yours...may all the Vol Nation have a very Merry Christmas...peace on earth !

MikeInTN writes:

in response to oldster:

UT cannot beat Alabama, Georgia, Florida, or USC next year. I am not sure that they can beat NC St., Missouri, or the other team from the West that they will have to play. They should beat the rest, assuming that they can keep Bray and DaRop interested in participating. Therefore, my prediction is 6-6 or 7-5 at best. It is not lack of senior leadship I fear that they lack. I fear that it is lack of leadership from the head coach. His statement that a coach has a double standard in how he treats his players with stars getting preferential treatment struck me at the time as dangerous and now, with the revelations of the actions and attitudes of the stars mentioned above, I fear that the policy is fatal. He should have come down hard when the first opportunity came about (i.e. he should have dismissed everyone who participated in the bar brawl) during the honeymoon period in which no one expected much. Had he done so, I suspect fewer would have tried him since. Oh well, nice knowing you coach.

Wow, are you the leader of "The Legion of the Miserable"? Get a grip!!!! MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL THE VOL NATION!!!!

GerryOP writes:

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.

voloffaith writes:

in response to GerryOP:

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.

"And may God bless us every one...." Wise men still seek HIM.....

willblitz4bacon writes:

Merry CHRISTmas to all.. including trolls :-)

frblalack writes:

in response to oldster:

UT cannot beat Alabama, Georgia, Florida, or USC next year. I am not sure that they can beat NC St., Missouri, or the other team from the West that they will have to play. They should beat the rest, assuming that they can keep Bray and DaRop interested in participating. Therefore, my prediction is 6-6 or 7-5 at best. It is not lack of senior leadship I fear that they lack. I fear that it is lack of leadership from the head coach. His statement that a coach has a double standard in how he treats his players with stars getting preferential treatment struck me at the time as dangerous and now, with the revelations of the actions and attitudes of the stars mentioned above, I fear that the policy is fatal. He should have come down hard when the first opportunity came about (i.e. he should have dismissed everyone who participated in the bar brawl) during the honeymoon period in which no one expected much. Had he done so, I suspect fewer would have tried him since. Oh well, nice knowing you coach.

I TOTALLY disagree with your assessment of our coach and his policies. If I remember correctly, at the time of the bar incident Coach Dooley cancelled his plans and returned to campus as quickly as possible. He then carefully reviewed the incident while using restraint as opposed to rushed judgement. Your idea of dismissing them all obviously means you've lived a perfect life, and you have no compassion for anything other than pristine behavior by any UT student athlete.

Our coach handled an immature reckless incident with WISDOM and CLASS! I suppose if you were the coach we'd have no players at season's end. But then I suspect you've not really done a lot of coaching. I think your comments are irresponsible in that only negativity is revealed. Why not focus on the positive behavior later exhibited by so many of the young men involved due to the handling of the unfortunate incident with dignity and discretion by their Coach?

All Vols - All the time - Vol for Life

Volfan4445 writes:

in response to brown-bag-vol-fan:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

theres Ben Bathomlew the full back, Rod Wilks a strong safety, who could maybe start next year
teauge... hes alright
and some linebackers that never see the feild

Merry Christmas everone and Go Big Orange

cyclonevol87 writes:

in response to oldster:

UT cannot beat Alabama, Georgia, Florida, or USC next year. I am not sure that they can beat NC St., Missouri, or the other team from the West that they will have to play. They should beat the rest, assuming that they can keep Bray and DaRop interested in participating. Therefore, my prediction is 6-6 or 7-5 at best. It is not lack of senior leadship I fear that they lack. I fear that it is lack of leadership from the head coach. His statement that a coach has a double standard in how he treats his players with stars getting preferential treatment struck me at the time as dangerous and now, with the revelations of the actions and attitudes of the stars mentioned above, I fear that the policy is fatal. He should have come down hard when the first opportunity came about (i.e. he should have dismissed everyone who participated in the bar brawl) during the honeymoon period in which no one expected much. Had he done so, I suspect fewer would have tried him since. Oh well, nice knowing you coach.

Wow hopefully you will see some vols ghost from years past tonight and wake up tomorrow and not be such a scrooge,Merry Christmas dude!

atributetoLombardiwasbanned writes:

in response to oldster:

UT cannot beat Alabama, Georgia, Florida, or USC next year. I am not sure that they can beat NC St., Missouri, or the other team from the West that they will have to play. They should beat the rest, assuming that they can keep Bray and DaRop interested in participating. Therefore, my prediction is 6-6 or 7-5 at best. It is not lack of senior leadship I fear that they lack. I fear that it is lack of leadership from the head coach. His statement that a coach has a double standard in how he treats his players with stars getting preferential treatment struck me at the time as dangerous and now, with the revelations of the actions and attitudes of the stars mentioned above, I fear that the policy is fatal. He should have come down hard when the first opportunity came about (i.e. he should have dismissed everyone who participated in the bar brawl) during the honeymoon period in which no one expected much. Had he done so, I suspect fewer would have tried him since. Oh well, nice knowing you coach.

"UT cannot beat Alabama, Georgia, Florida, or USC next year."

Pure speculation at this point.
Nothing more.

Olcrow writes:

Gotta figure Gators will be breaking in a new OC unless they promote from within,which is what they are going with for their bowl game anyhow,I'd rather Charlie had stayed! Merry Christmas to all!

volsbandit writes:

Well, I guess we can't use that "young" excuse anymore.

Olcrow writes:

Also Herman Lathers should qualify for another season and does anyone know anything about Greg King.I saw him on the sidelines dressed out this past year but not in the action.

SEC1 writes:

in response to Olcrow:

Gotta figure Gators will be breaking in a new OC unless they promote from within,which is what they are going with for their bowl game anyhow,I'd rather Charlie had stayed! Merry Christmas to all!

heard the same thing last year, gators breakin in a new coachin staff ut wins, but it looked like ut was the ones with a new coaching staff as gators posted 7 in a row

Olcrow writes:

in response to SEC1:

heard the same thing last year, gators breakin in a new coachin staff ut wins, but it looked like ut was the ones with a new coaching staff as gators posted 7 in a row

I know the Gators are rebuilding,they proved it when they signed Damien Jacobs.Every troll on here said good teams don't go after JC players,good teams are already established and shouldn't have to go after JC players.

BluezVol writes:

in response to SEC1:

heard the same thing last year, gators breakin in a new coachin staff ut wins, but it looked like ut was the ones with a new coaching staff as gators posted 7 in a row

Please take some Viagra and visit the Gator board. You'll be happier that way.

oldster writes:

in response to Pullingguard:

And, all that said on Christmas Eve...Geeze
you surely are not looking forward to the New Year... Cheer up, things are gonna improve in 12.

You think I am down? Heck, the Mayans said the world is going to end in 2012 and Obama is going to get re-elected. A non-winning football season for my favorite team pales beside those possibilities.

oldster writes:

in response to MikeInTN:

Wow, are you the leader of "The Legion of the Miserable"? Get a grip!!!! MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL THE VOL NATION!!!!

Nope, just realistic.

oldster writes:

in response to frblalack:

I TOTALLY disagree with your assessment of our coach and his policies. If I remember correctly, at the time of the bar incident Coach Dooley cancelled his plans and returned to campus as quickly as possible. He then carefully reviewed the incident while using restraint as opposed to rushed judgement. Your idea of dismissing them all obviously means you've lived a perfect life, and you have no compassion for anything other than pristine behavior by any UT student athlete.

Our coach handled an immature reckless incident with WISDOM and CLASS! I suppose if you were the coach we'd have no players at season's end. But then I suspect you've not really done a lot of coaching. I think your comments are irresponsible in that only negativity is revealed. Why not focus on the positive behavior later exhibited by so many of the young men involved due to the handling of the unfortunate incident with dignity and discretion by their Coach?

All Vols - All the time - Vol for Life

No, I have not lived a perfect life. I have not, however, engaged in any fight where there was such a disparity in numbers on my side. In other words, I never acted like a thug or punk. I also have significant compassion and understanding of the young. I defended people charged with criminal actions for several years here in Knoxville. This action was not an excusable immature act. It was an action which put on display the basic characters of the people involved. They showed lack of courage and a pack mentality that I would not want on any of the athletic teams I have coached and certainly would not on a team for which I was being paid over 2 million to coach. Further, Dooley would still have had players on the team and all of them would have known not to engage in such behavior or to screw with this coach. I am not being negative in my outlook, I am being realistic. I believe that had he set this example that there is a better chance that Janzen Jackson would not have tried the coach as he did. However, had Dooley not put up with the stuff he did and dismissed Jackson after failing his second chance, the message that I would have had him send after the bar brawl would have been enforced. In any event, with or without Jackson being dismissed to reinforce such message, I believe that the attitudes of our stars would not evidence themselves as negatively as it has been reported they have been. As Barney used to say, nip it. Had he done that, it is unlikely that the bud would be blooming into the toxic plant that seems to be the current Vol roster. I hope I am wrong, but I do not think the future will prove me to be so.

oldster writes:

in response to 10seVol85:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Stupid, really? If I am right, I will have the satisfaction of saying and knowing I was. If I am wrong, then I will be happy that my team exceeded my expectations. I am simply trying to set myself up for a win win situation. Of course, I thought I did that this season when I predicted 6-6 regular season before it started. Gee, losing a win win situation really sucks.

OrangePsyched writes:

Yeah if Obama gets re-elected the mayans will be right. IF we stay healthy next year 8-4 is possible. Of course we could go 5-7 if things go bad. If we go 8-4 we've turned the corner and the future will look bright as we will have something to sell recruits.

LostVOLinLouisiana writes:

Vol for Life
I would like to take the time to say congratulations to the former Dooley’s Dog’s Louisiana Tech. 8-5 it was a great season for who they are. They lost to Houston by 1 point, Southern Miss by 2 points, Miss State by 6 points in OT, and TCU by 7 points. Their only bad loss came from a struggling Hawaii by 18 points. At 8-4 they won the WAC conference and represented Ruston well in the Poinsettia Bowl even though they lost. I have lived in Ruston Louisiana for 4 years and have lived in Louisiana for 15 of the last 18 years. I was raised with my blood running orange and I’m a Vol fan for Life. I get up every Saturday during football season praying for Tennessee to win and LSU to loose. As you can see, I’ve had a bad year and the Tiger fans do love to rub it in.

LostVOLinLouisiana writes:

Vol for Life Cont.

Here is my point…when Nick Saban left LSU the next 2 years everyone gave him credit for LSU’s wins and not their current coach Les Miles. So should we give CDD some credit for the turn around this year at Louisiana Tech. 8-5 is considered a bad year at Tennessee but it’s a great year with a WAC championship here in Ruston. 4 years ago I decided to take my family to a football game. Louisiana Tech was playing Hawaii who was ranked in the Top 25. At that time Colt Brennan was Hawaii’s quarterback. We showed up 20 minutes before kickoff and went to the ticket booth to purchase our tickets. All 6 of us sit at the 50 yard line 3 rows up. That’s how bad it was. When CDD came to town Louisiana Tech became Dooley’s Dogs and a new excitement was in the air for football in Ruston. The next time we went to a game we showed up over an hour early and had to sit in the upper level of seating. That was a big turnaround from getting to sit at the 50 yard line lower level. I think CDD should have stayed in Ruston a few more years and Ruston would have been ecstatic with 7 to 9 wins a year. It would have given him time to sharpen his skills as a head coach and he could have proven himself and then went to the big time. But he didn’t do that and he is now coach in Knoxville. I have every right to be a LSU fan, I have lived most of my adult life in Louisiana but I’m not I’m a Vol for life. I have heard so many negative comments from the vols fans on this site this year and it makes me sick. I’m torn because I don’t want to see the Vols get another coach and have to start all over again. I’m like most of the fans and pretenders on this site and am not sure if CDD can get it done. But my point is that this negative talk about our own team and coach does nothing but hurt the near future of our team in recruiting and moral. CDD is going to be the coach next year and we should all hope that during this off season he makes the adjustment he needs to and learns from his own mistakes and brings our team around to what we expect from Tennessee football. If he doesn’t make it better next year, give him his check and let’s get behind our next coach. Until then, support our coach and players. If I can do this in Louisiana sitting beside the 13-0 Tigers it should be pretty easy for you to do it in Tennessee. VFL

Stepchild_nFL writes:

in response to SEC1:

heard the same thing last year, gators breakin in a new coachin staff ut wins, but it looked like ut was the ones with a new coaching staff as gators posted 7 in a row

I don't typically respond to trolls but I have a lot of Gator friends and you know you guys are screwed. Muschump is over emotional as a head coach and with some of the best talent in the country he is going to mess it up, if it is business as usual. You are going to go through the same thing as we have gone through. TN is on the upswing. I dont know what your Gators are doing but if TN don't get ya, Ohio State will own you.

Pullingguard writes:

in response to oldster:

You think I am down? Heck, the Mayans said the world is going to end in 2012 and Obama is going to get re-elected. A non-winning football season for my favorite team pales beside those possibilities.

Two of those things will certainly happen in 2012.... Vols will have a winning season, and Obama will be elected...Why those two? The Vols schedule, and the opposition and performance of those who hope to beat Obama.

BamaVol writes:

in response to oldster:

UT cannot beat Alabama, Georgia, Florida, or USC next year. I am not sure that they can beat NC St., Missouri, or the other team from the West that they will have to play. They should beat the rest, assuming that they can keep Bray and DaRop interested in participating. Therefore, my prediction is 6-6 or 7-5 at best. It is not lack of senior leadship I fear that they lack. I fear that it is lack of leadership from the head coach. His statement that a coach has a double standard in how he treats his players with stars getting preferential treatment struck me at the time as dangerous and now, with the revelations of the actions and attitudes of the stars mentioned above, I fear that the policy is fatal. He should have come down hard when the first opportunity came about (i.e. he should have dismissed everyone who participated in the bar brawl) during the honeymoon period in which no one expected much. Had he done so, I suspect fewer would have tried him since. Oh well, nice knowing you coach.

You sound like Fulmer lawyer. It will take two more years for Dooley to have UT back. Fulmer started all this. Then Hamilton finished it. Those two people just about finished a great program. and you sir are quilty of being a half --s Vol fan.

bigOutfan writes:

Merry Christmas to ALL! We have much to be thankful on this blessed day. Hope you all get to spend time with your families.

Olcrow writes:

in response to LostVOLinLouisiana:

Vol for Life Cont.

Here is my point…when Nick Saban left LSU the next 2 years everyone gave him credit for LSU’s wins and not their current coach Les Miles. So should we give CDD some credit for the turn around this year at Louisiana Tech. 8-5 is considered a bad year at Tennessee but it’s a great year with a WAC championship here in Ruston. 4 years ago I decided to take my family to a football game. Louisiana Tech was playing Hawaii who was ranked in the Top 25. At that time Colt Brennan was Hawaii’s quarterback. We showed up 20 minutes before kickoff and went to the ticket booth to purchase our tickets. All 6 of us sit at the 50 yard line 3 rows up. That’s how bad it was. When CDD came to town Louisiana Tech became Dooley’s Dogs and a new excitement was in the air for football in Ruston. The next time we went to a game we showed up over an hour early and had to sit in the upper level of seating. That was a big turnaround from getting to sit at the 50 yard line lower level. I think CDD should have stayed in Ruston a few more years and Ruston would have been ecstatic with 7 to 9 wins a year. It would have given him time to sharpen his skills as a head coach and he could have proven himself and then went to the big time. But he didn’t do that and he is now coach in Knoxville. I have every right to be a LSU fan, I have lived most of my adult life in Louisiana but I’m not I’m a Vol for life. I have heard so many negative comments from the vols fans on this site this year and it makes me sick. I’m torn because I don’t want to see the Vols get another coach and have to start all over again. I’m like most of the fans and pretenders on this site and am not sure if CDD can get it done. But my point is that this negative talk about our own team and coach does nothing but hurt the near future of our team in recruiting and moral. CDD is going to be the coach next year and we should all hope that during this off season he makes the adjustment he needs to and learns from his own mistakes and brings our team around to what we expect from Tennessee football. If he doesn’t make it better next year, give him his check and let’s get behind our next coach. Until then, support our coach and players. If I can do this in Louisiana sitting beside the 13-0 Tigers it should be pretty easy for you to do it in Tennessee. VFL

Well said,the majority of true vol fans agree with you but there are always a few people (I'm sure you have a few in the Bayou too) that you just can't take anywhere without them showing their backside

oldster writes:

in response to BamaVol:

You sound like Fulmer lawyer. It will take two more years for Dooley to have UT back. Fulmer started all this. Then Hamilton finished it. Those two people just about finished a great program. and you sir are quilty of being a half --s Vol fan.

According to you, then to be a Vol fan one has to avoid reality. The facts are what they are. I am not going to ignore them, nor make them out to be better than they are. Further, one of the people to whom you referred greatly contributed to, if he is not solely responsible for UT having been a great program for almost 20 years. Fulmer would have gotten things headed back in the right direction quicker than it will be under the current circumatances. In fact, the record the past three years would have been better without a regime change. Fulmer knew his offense was stale and, thinking that Hamilton had granted him two years to get it done, hired a guy as Off.Coordinator that had a system which, unfortunately required the presence of athletes would could translate right/left to inside/outside which UT did not have (it should also be pointed out that if Daniel Lincoln had been worth a hoot he would have made very makeable field goals that would have produced victories over UCLA and Auburn, prevented Fulmer's firing which caused the loss to Wyoming, and produced an 8 win season which would, in turn have triggered an automatic one year extension to Fulmer's contract). In closing while I may be a half --s Vol fan for seeing reality, you sir are a ful --s for not.

oldster writes:

in response to Pullingguard:

Two of those things will certainly happen in 2012.... Vols will have a winning season, and Obama will be elected...Why those two? The Vols schedule, and the opposition and performance of those who hope to beat Obama.

If the latter occurs, then nothing else will matter. Gosh, that is a really negative thought for Christmas Eve or any other day. I don't drink, but the thought has driven me to it. G'night and good luck.

frblalack writes:

in response to oldster:

No, I have not lived a perfect life. I have not, however, engaged in any fight where there was such a disparity in numbers on my side. In other words, I never acted like a thug or punk. I also have significant compassion and understanding of the young. I defended people charged with criminal actions for several years here in Knoxville. This action was not an excusable immature act. It was an action which put on display the basic characters of the people involved. They showed lack of courage and a pack mentality that I would not want on any of the athletic teams I have coached and certainly would not on a team for which I was being paid over 2 million to coach. Further, Dooley would still have had players on the team and all of them would have known not to engage in such behavior or to screw with this coach. I am not being negative in my outlook, I am being realistic. I believe that had he set this example that there is a better chance that Janzen Jackson would not have tried the coach as he did. However, had Dooley not put up with the stuff he did and dismissed Jackson after failing his second chance, the message that I would have had him send after the bar brawl would have been enforced. In any event, with or without Jackson being dismissed to reinforce such message, I believe that the attitudes of our stars would not evidence themselves as negatively as it has been reported they have been. As Barney used to say, nip it. Had he done that, it is unlikely that the bud would be blooming into the toxic plant that seems to be the current Vol roster. I hope I am wrong, but I do not think the future will prove me to be so.

I hope you are wrong too!!! On that, we agree. By the way, which little league team did you coach? And how many of your players went home crying?

By your previous post predicting future Vol losses and Coach's dismissal, I get your drift. And You will be proven wrong. IMHO!

All Vols - All the time - Vol for Life

And MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL VOL FANS EVERYWHERE!

oldster writes:

in response to 10seVol85:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Bite my pair, butt munch. If you cannot see an attempt at light heartedness, then you need to grow a brain.

willblitz4bacon writes:

in response to LostVOLinLouisiana:

Vol for Life Cont.

Here is my point…when Nick Saban left LSU the next 2 years everyone gave him credit for LSU’s wins and not their current coach Les Miles. So should we give CDD some credit for the turn around this year at Louisiana Tech. 8-5 is considered a bad year at Tennessee but it’s a great year with a WAC championship here in Ruston. 4 years ago I decided to take my family to a football game. Louisiana Tech was playing Hawaii who was ranked in the Top 25. At that time Colt Brennan was Hawaii’s quarterback. We showed up 20 minutes before kickoff and went to the ticket booth to purchase our tickets. All 6 of us sit at the 50 yard line 3 rows up. That’s how bad it was. When CDD came to town Louisiana Tech became Dooley’s Dogs and a new excitement was in the air for football in Ruston. The next time we went to a game we showed up over an hour early and had to sit in the upper level of seating. That was a big turnaround from getting to sit at the 50 yard line lower level. I think CDD should have stayed in Ruston a few more years and Ruston would have been ecstatic with 7 to 9 wins a year. It would have given him time to sharpen his skills as a head coach and he could have proven himself and then went to the big time. But he didn’t do that and he is now coach in Knoxville. I have every right to be a LSU fan, I have lived most of my adult life in Louisiana but I’m not I’m a Vol for life. I have heard so many negative comments from the vols fans on this site this year and it makes me sick. I’m torn because I don’t want to see the Vols get another coach and have to start all over again. I’m like most of the fans and pretenders on this site and am not sure if CDD can get it done. But my point is that this negative talk about our own team and coach does nothing but hurt the near future of our team in recruiting and moral. CDD is going to be the coach next year and we should all hope that during this off season he makes the adjustment he needs to and learns from his own mistakes and brings our team around to what we expect from Tennessee football. If he doesn’t make it better next year, give him his check and let’s get behind our next coach. Until then, support our coach and players. If I can do this in Louisiana sitting beside the 13-0 Tigers it should be pretty easy for you to do it in Tennessee. VFL

Right on man..

SEC1 writes:

I don't care what vol nation think, but any time you drop one to KENTUCKY YOU ARE OFFICALLY AMONGST THE SEC BOTTOM FEEDERS

jobrando#216494 writes:

in response to slaw_way:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

anything less than 8 wins with this schedule then it will be time for regression again and starting over with new coaches.....no way 6 or 7 wins gets it done

Huttdawg100 writes:

in response to LostVOLinLouisiana:

Vol for Life Cont.

Here is my point…when Nick Saban left LSU the next 2 years everyone gave him credit for LSU’s wins and not their current coach Les Miles. So should we give CDD some credit for the turn around this year at Louisiana Tech. 8-5 is considered a bad year at Tennessee but it’s a great year with a WAC championship here in Ruston. 4 years ago I decided to take my family to a football game. Louisiana Tech was playing Hawaii who was ranked in the Top 25. At that time Colt Brennan was Hawaii’s quarterback. We showed up 20 minutes before kickoff and went to the ticket booth to purchase our tickets. All 6 of us sit at the 50 yard line 3 rows up. That’s how bad it was. When CDD came to town Louisiana Tech became Dooley’s Dogs and a new excitement was in the air for football in Ruston. The next time we went to a game we showed up over an hour early and had to sit in the upper level of seating. That was a big turnaround from getting to sit at the 50 yard line lower level. I think CDD should have stayed in Ruston a few more years and Ruston would have been ecstatic with 7 to 9 wins a year. It would have given him time to sharpen his skills as a head coach and he could have proven himself and then went to the big time. But he didn’t do that and he is now coach in Knoxville. I have every right to be a LSU fan, I have lived most of my adult life in Louisiana but I’m not I’m a Vol for life. I have heard so many negative comments from the vols fans on this site this year and it makes me sick. I’m torn because I don’t want to see the Vols get another coach and have to start all over again. I’m like most of the fans and pretenders on this site and am not sure if CDD can get it done. But my point is that this negative talk about our own team and coach does nothing but hurt the near future of our team in recruiting and moral. CDD is going to be the coach next year and we should all hope that during this off season he makes the adjustment he needs to and learns from his own mistakes and brings our team around to what we expect from Tennessee football. If he doesn’t make it better next year, give him his check and let’s get behind our next coach. Until then, support our coach and players. If I can do this in Louisiana sitting beside the 13-0 Tigers it should be pretty easy for you to do it in Tennessee. VFL

I don't know any Tennessee fan that isn't rooting for Derek Dooley to succeed here at Tennessee. We want to win, and we want to win now. The problem is: Dooley has done very little to evoke confidence in his ability to lead this team. After the Kentucky game, I would consider Dooley an underachiever.

That said, I'm rooting for Derek Dooley to right the ship. Nobody that's a Tennessee fan wants him to lose.

SavTnVol writes:

in response to oldster:

UT cannot beat Alabama, Georgia, Florida, or USC next year. I am not sure that they can beat NC St., Missouri, or the other team from the West that they will have to play. They should beat the rest, assuming that they can keep Bray and DaRop interested in participating. Therefore, my prediction is 6-6 or 7-5 at best. It is not lack of senior leadship I fear that they lack. I fear that it is lack of leadership from the head coach. His statement that a coach has a double standard in how he treats his players with stars getting preferential treatment struck me at the time as dangerous and now, with the revelations of the actions and attitudes of the stars mentioned above, I fear that the policy is fatal. He should have come down hard when the first opportunity came about (i.e. he should have dismissed everyone who participated in the bar brawl) during the honeymoon period in which no one expected much. Had he done so, I suspect fewer would have tried him since. Oh well, nice knowing you coach.

Man-O-Man, I bet the good people of Bedford Falls sure were glad that Ole George Bailey learned his lesson about good thing working there way out for the better and didn't take an attitude like yours.
Merry Xmas and Happy New Year to you oldster and I hope the positive thoughts and actions see there way into your sole this festive season and continue into the 2012 UT football season. Merry Xmas all!
I'm gonna ask Santa for a "Clarence" for oldster.

Huttdawg100 writes:

Tiny Richardson is too good to sit another year. I expect him to take the starting left tackle role by the end of the spring.

VolFanInTheBoro (Inactive) writes:

in response to SEC1:

heard the same thing last year, gators breakin in a new coachin staff ut wins, but it looked like ut was the ones with a new coaching staff as gators posted 7 in a row

Gators do have the Vols number but they didn't do much against anyone else

VolFanInTheBoro (Inactive) writes:

in response to Huttdawg100:

I don't know any Tennessee fan that isn't rooting for Derek Dooley to succeed here at Tennessee. We want to win, and we want to win now. The problem is: Dooley has done very little to evoke confidence in his ability to lead this team. After the Kentucky game, I would consider Dooley an underachiever.

That said, I'm rooting for Derek Dooley to right the ship. Nobody that's a Tennessee fan wants him to lose.

There are plenty of so called Tennessee fans on this site that want Dooley to fail. Packer_Park and MerlOTNot Vol come to mind

SevenT writes:

The Dog Days of Dooley are about 10 months away. It is going to be UGLY next season, but look at the bright side, it will be easy to pick up cheap tickets before the game because everyone will want to stay home rather than subject themselves to the worst Football team in the SEC

iowavol writes:

Merry Christmas to everyone! Have a great day and keep the season in perspective.

Oldster started this post chain with a very negative view toward the future. I agree with his comments about Fulmer and Hamilton, but it's time to move on - for me too. I have been one of the most vocal regarding the repercussions of Hamilton's leadership, but it's time to forget about him and Fulmer and Kiffin and Pearl and move on. We have good guys trying to rebuild something that is broken into something that is respectable and then championship caliber. Their processes require our support and not our continual negativity. Having said that....

We have a very good chance at winning 8 or 9 games next year. Here's why:
1. Schedule is much more improved. Limping through murderers row last year was extremely painful.
2. Healthy players returning - let's hope they stay healthy.
3. Youth gaining experience.
4. Confidence in the coaching staff is building in the team. Why, because most of the guys on the team are their players next year meaning less are someone else's who tend to question the leadership. With less negativity around the team, more positive, more confident leadership among the ranks will emerge. Critical how Dooley handles Da'Rick.
5. We will need top performances to be GA, FL and SC. But think about it, we were in all three of those games last year - with healthy more experienced players, those games are winnable.
6. I'm excited to see what Wilcox can do with more experienced linebackers and dbacks. If the offense can produce some points and stay on the field a little longer, our defense can play with anyone.
7. Good looking signing class. Best part is that they will make us practice better which will translate into better game performance. With any luck, we will not be forced to use so many, but will use because they are ready to be used.

wallingdad writes:

in response to VolFanInTheBoro:

There are plenty of so called Tennessee fans on this site that want Dooley to fail. Packer_Park and MerlOTNot Vol come to mind

realizing that Dooley is in over his head and cannot coach well (based on his overall record) and wishing him to lose are two different things.

All the Dooley lovers on this site cannot seem to comprehend that.

ULTIMATEVOLUNTEER writes:

in response to oldster:

UT cannot beat Alabama, Georgia, Florida, or USC next year. I am not sure that they can beat NC St., Missouri, or the other team from the West that they will have to play. They should beat the rest, assuming that they can keep Bray and DaRop interested in participating. Therefore, my prediction is 6-6 or 7-5 at best. It is not lack of senior leadship I fear that they lack. I fear that it is lack of leadership from the head coach. His statement that a coach has a double standard in how he treats his players with stars getting preferential treatment struck me at the time as dangerous and now, with the revelations of the actions and attitudes of the stars mentioned above, I fear that the policy is fatal. He should have come down hard when the first opportunity came about (i.e. he should have dismissed everyone who participated in the bar brawl) during the honeymoon period in which no one expected much. Had he done so, I suspect fewer would have tried him since. Oh well, nice knowing you coach.

The problem with that is most other teams do the same. So you can't have your cake and eat it too. If you came down hard every single time a player got into some trouble you wouldn't have a team to field and you for sure wouldn't be competing in the SEC for wins. A coach has to go case by case eventhough it looks bad.

RashaadSalabeb writes:

in response to frblalack:

I TOTALLY disagree with your assessment of our coach and his policies. If I remember correctly, at the time of the bar incident Coach Dooley cancelled his plans and returned to campus as quickly as possible. He then carefully reviewed the incident while using restraint as opposed to rushed judgement. Your idea of dismissing them all obviously means you've lived a perfect life, and you have no compassion for anything other than pristine behavior by any UT student athlete.

Our coach handled an immature reckless incident with WISDOM and CLASS! I suppose if you were the coach we'd have no players at season's end. But then I suspect you've not really done a lot of coaching. I think your comments are irresponsible in that only negativity is revealed. Why not focus on the positive behavior later exhibited by so many of the young men involved due to the handling of the unfortunate incident with dignity and discretion by their Coach?

All Vols - All the time - Vol for Life

I'm with you! We all knew we were in for an uphill battle. Hard work, getting people healthy, and good recruiting will get this thing back on track. Good things are going to happen and I'm expecting big things. I will be here to see it just like you will. Between the doomsday attitude of the trolls and the local newspaper, it makes me sick. We are on the way back! Others that don't want to see that happen....well they'll just have to deal with it!

Go Vols! Merry Christmas!

oldster writes:

in response to ULTIMATEVOLUNTEER:

The problem with that is most other teams do the same. So you can't have your cake and eat it too. If you came down hard every single time a player got into some trouble you wouldn't have a team to field and you for sure wouldn't be competing in the SEC for wins. A coach has to go case by case eventhough it looks bad.

Look, I do not think that a coach, parent, or the even the law should throw the book at a young person every time they err. The punishment should fit the crime. In the case of the bar brawl the mentality and character that the actions of 8 large, athletic men beating and kicking one,sinlge person displayed is not something that should be allowed in a team sport. Moreover, given the timing of the event vis a vis the condition and circumstances of the UT football program, it was the perfect time to set a tone. What Dooley did then showed his players the way he was going to act in disciplinary actions from then on. What he showed and said was that he was going to treat stars and players he needed better than lesser and/or "surplus" players. I cannot, but perhaps you can, help but think that this knowledge has exacerbated the problems he has had controlling the attitudes and behavior in the locker room and on the field about which we have heard so much since the KY game. Cutting off a limb with gangrene is pretty drastic, but allowing the poison to spread through the body is worse. I fear, that the poison has spread too far for Dooley. I truly hope that it has not. I might also add to those who think that I am depressed and/or unduly negative in my outlook about the Vols that I can see little about which to be enthusiastic except the old saw, "This too shall pass." I rooted for the Vols through the end of the single-wing era, Jim McDonald, Bill Battle, the loss to North Texas State, the beat down by Washington State (I sat through every minute of that disaster), and the first, lean years of Johhny Majors. I expect that I can put up with a few more years of this Mike Hamilton induced travesty that my beloved Vols have become - again. Hopefully (and I am more full of hope than that other substance), they will rise like a phoenix from the ashes of the pyre of the UT football program that Hamilton lit. I just do not expect it until we get an extreme makeover of our offensive line and a place kicker who can avoid his own snapper's butt.

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