Brian Williams: 'It's go time' for Vols

UT has a chance to get back into SEC East race

Vols need to fix mistakes, continue to improve

Brian Williams can - and will - laugh and joke about most anything with his Tennessee men's basketball teammates.

But ask the 6-foot-10, 272-pound center about UT's 81-75 overtime loss to Florida on Jan. 11, and his smile fades quickly.

"Yeah, it still bothers me,'' said Williams, whose potential game-winning shot in regulation was blocked in the closing seconds by Gators forward Alex Tyus. "Ever since that game, I've been taking it to the basket harder.

"Then what really disappointed me about that game was I only played 20 seconds of that overtime, because I picked up my fifth foul.''

Florida (19-5, 8-2 SEC) has run away with the Eastern Division lead since beating the Vols, while UT (15-9, 5-4) is on the verge of falling out of contention. The teams meet at 6 p.m. on Saturday in Gainesville, Fla., in an ESPN-televised game.

"There's no better team for us to bounce back against than the top team in the East,'' Williams said. "It's go time.''

Vols coach Bruce Pearl did his best to get the wheels turning Thursday as UT took to the court for the first time since Tuesday night's 73-61 loss to Kentucky at Rupp Arena.

As much as the team got done, it was limited. Scotty Hopson (16.2 points per game) and Tobias Harris (14.6 ppg.), the Vols' two leading scorers, missed parts of practice on account of their ankle injuries.

"Cam (Tatum) was good, Brian was good, Mel (Goins) was good, but to not have Scotty and Tobias for the entire offensive portion of practice, it's hard to get better,'' Pearl said. "I'm not making any excuses, it is what it is.''

And trying to win at Florida is what it is - very difficult.

"They are talented, deep, they start three seniors and everyone who started for them a year ago is back,'' Pearl said. "They are a very confident team.''

Still, Pearl likes having the Gators left on the schedule.

"At this time of year, you need lots of statement games,'' Pearl said. "You look at our schedule, and everyone we have left is capable of beating us.

"But that's good, because all we have left are resume builders.''

Tatum said the team's aware this is the sixth road trip over the past eight games.

"It's definitely a grind,'' he said. "This is when it comes down to eating right, getting your rest and training properly.

"The opportunity is right there for us, but everyone has to step up. There's really nothing left to say.''

Injury Update: Hopson, who sprained his ankle in a Feb. 1 practice and missed the following two games, went through running drills but did not take part in any contact drills on Thursday.

Harris, who rolled his ankle on Jan. 29 at Ole Miss, but has not missed and games, took part in some contact work but missed approximately half of practice.

Gator Bites: Florida coach Billy Donovan is 14-15 all-time against UT, but the Gators have won the past two meetings . . . Florida is 6-1 against teams in the top 50 of the RPI, with Ohio State being the lone loss . . . The Gators are 16-1 when holding opponents to 70 points or less. Tennessee averages 72.0 points per game.

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Comments » 76

huntined#565710 writes:

Tell Williams it was GO TIME with about the 10th game of the season!!!

BigVolinCarolina writes:

I'm certainly pulling for us. The Vols certainly need to win at Florida on Saturday.

Odds are if teams have been inconsistent up to this point in the season that it's not likely to change. I hope every game from here on out is "go time". I'll believe it when I see it, though.

taylorsvolfan writes:

It is past go time and he needs to play as big as his size.

huntined#565710 writes:

in response to CantStandSaban:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Bet you feel bad about your LITTLE BROTHER beating you!!! we may shoot some bricks but you lost to BRICK SHOOTERS!!!

BigVolFaninSC writes:

Where's that team that beat Pitt earlier this year? It seems as if we peaked too early! Their backs are definitely against the wall! Let's see if they can make history! GBO!

orangecountyvols writes:

in response to CantStandSaban:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Speaking of "talking too much"...............

Mr. Cantstandhimself...........or anything, put a lid on it or get with Claudette/Claudia and find something else to talk about........your favorite subjects. What a bonafide, creepy, jealous.....loser

VolunteerLifer writes:

Oh, NOW it's go time. I thought it was go-time when the season started, then I thought it was go-time when the conference schedule started, then I thought it was go-time when Coach Pearl got back on the bench. But that was then, and this time they really, really, really mean it.

dlobh writes:

in response to CantStandSaban:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Can't come up with any new material? 2-1 the last 2 years? Again, how about the last 3? Or would you rather discuss all-time? Number of SEC titles for UT vs Vandy? Football vs UT, maybe? Oh, yeah, I forgot. Women's bowling . . . we can't do anything with that one.

jhayes0926#638474 writes:

Can't see us beating the best team in the SEC. We just don't have the talent or the pg play to be consistent winners.

UF 67
UT 61

dlobh writes:

in response to CantStandSaban:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Look, everybody, CSS posted within 40 minutes of the publication of this article about basketball. He must just sit home and hit the refresh button on GVX so he can post his brilliant comments every time a new one comes out. Of course, since he's a "Vandy grad", he could be doing most anything, but, no, he'd rather spend his time on here reading about UT sports, of which he wishes his teams had maybe 1/4 the success. But he's always got women's bowling. And, admittedly, fine academics . . .

huntined#565710 writes:

in response to CantStandSaban:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

You still lost to BRICK SHOOTERS with low % shooting..If we go to the NIT you will be our first game!!

huntined#565710 writes:

in response to Claudettevol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Claudett, I see your women's coach will be at ESPN next year as FOLEY has a contract with ESPN to furnish them a announcer every 4 years and he has sent them a bunch!!

Down_The_Field writes:

i'll be happy if we can just box out.

VOLUNTEER_FEAR writes:

in response to CantStandSaban:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Ok ! When is the last time Vandy was in the top ten- Hmmmm - Never ! Now Tn is a mainstay in the top ten ever since Pearl became coach and even a number 1 ranking and also a number 2 and 4 seed in the dance . So let me tell you you loose talking smack about UT is Football or Basketball. You need to talk baseball and you might do better

Cjtgovols09 writes:

Cantstandsaban, Dont look now but your Commode-a-dores just lost the lead to Alabama

huntined#565710 writes:

Vandy played a great game tonight. I have no love for BAMA but they got some tough calls in the game. That was a great game to watch!!

murrayvol writes:

in response to Down_The_Field:

i'll be happy if we can just box out.

Likewise.

huntined#565710 writes:

in response to CantStandSaban:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I was talking to you about THIS YEAR and you went back to LAST YEAR remember? Now your team did play a great game tonight and got a great win. I think we both are 5-4 and neither one has a lot to brag about in the SEC.

Southland writes:

wow, sure someone needs to print off the comments and show the UT's mens team that has no heart that Vanderbilt people are talking smack. UT must be playing poorly if a commodore fan is feeling uppity

DoolanderVol (Inactive) writes:

in response to CantStandSaban:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Once again you were the one making excuses about Vandy having injured RB's. By the way quit living in the past. Since when does Vandy's sweep of Tennessee affect the RPI rankings this year. Need I remind you we own you in football and basketball. Some team in the first round of the NCAA will put you in your place.

If you love your son, you would quit coming on here and humiliating yourself. You can't spell to save your life. Since when did "understand" have an l in it?

You lied about attending Vandy. You can't even spell.

TennVol01 writes:

'It's go time' for Vols"

Really .... You are too late dude .. unless you can win the SEC tourney. Welcome to the NIT .... if your lucky.

dlobh writes:

in response to CantStandSaban:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

That was weak. Jealous? Hardly. Of what? You're the one who spends all his time on another team's website. It's fairly obvious who has the problem. There's no need to talk trash to Vandy about sports - you have nothing. Nothing. What championships? Women's bowling.

And you're a "Vandy grad" and you "want" let Bama sweep the state? BWAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

berry_time writes:

A little of subject but Chris Loftons dleague game will be on tv at 7 saturday on versus.

dlobh writes:

in response to CantStandSaban:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

No, you listen closely, you pathetic loser. Vandy has never been a major player in anything, except academics. What is your highest accomplishment in sports? Besides women's bowling, of course . . .

UT - national championships in football, track, swimming, womens' basketball. Vandy - women's bowling . . . and you'll never win anything else. Ever.

VOLUNTEER_FEAR writes:

As I said when first game of sec TN will finish 8-8 in conf play and get anywhere between 18-21 wins and will be a 9 seed in the big dance not NIT . Where is your money ! any takers

VOLUNTEER_FEAR writes:

RPI IS TOO GOOD NOT TO BE IN DANCE AND ALSO GET A GOOD SEED

shipperman#280095 writes:

in response to VOLUNTEER_FEAR:

RPI IS TOO GOOD NOT TO BE IN DANCE AND ALSO GET A GOOD SEED

What are you smoking? If, and that's a big if we get to the NCAA, we will NOT get a high seed, and we will be one or two and done at best. And he!! yeah, I will bet ya, and am sure that a lot of people would take your money

bigdisbig writes:

Will someone please tell Brian Williams he is 6'10 and 272 lbs? He plays like he is 6' 125. How can you be that big and get pushed around?
How can you not block out and "own" the paint?

VOLUNTEER_FEAR writes:

in response to shipperman#280095:

What are you smoking? If, and that's a big if we get to the NCAA, we will NOT get a high seed, and we will be one or two and done at best. And he!! yeah, I will bet ya, and am sure that a lot of people would take your money

That may be the case but they look at your most recent past as well two sweet sixteens and elite eight in the last three years . The RPI will move our seed up it will be a ten seed at the least . I am saying nine . THe RPI is in the top five. this is what they judge mostly on and we have several good wins. I think 18 wins gets a ten seed and 20 wins a 9 seed or better.

vol75 writes:

Weak SEC + weak post play + weak point guard play + controversial coach = NIT. I am a diehard Vol fan. But reality is what it is. I hope Williams, Pearl, et al prove me wrong.

BigOSammO writes:

Get the win. Go Vols.

lomas98 writes:

How hard is it to just IGNORE the trolls posts? Apparently pretty hard for most.

tmartin writes:

GO TIME???????? Give me a break

And a good coach would tell him, "Its not your fault you missed the shot, its my fault for putting the ball in your hands."

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to dlobh:

Can't come up with any new material? 2-1 the last 2 years? Again, how about the last 3? Or would you rather discuss all-time? Number of SEC titles for UT vs Vandy? Football vs UT, maybe? Oh, yeah, I forgot. Women's bowling . . . we can't do anything with that one.

I lived in Nashville a while back and BOWLING is all they had to do there! Everything was closed by 10PM! Well there were thedance clubs ...yuch!

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to bigdisbig:

Will someone please tell Brian Williams he is 6'10 and 272 lbs? He plays like he is 6' 125. How can you be that big and get pushed around?
How can you not block out and "own" the paint?

His problem really isn't literally being pushed around. His problem is handling the ball underneath the basket! He tries , for the most part to rid himself of the ball rather than using fakes and his body. Same effect tho' makes him look weak. I think he needs to use his legs more to push to the basket. Holding the ball with both hands might help too.

brokendownoldvol writes:

I thought every game was go time. Especially KY.

dvsvol writes:

When we had 6 - 7 scholorship players in Pearl's 1st year, we pressed the inbound pass with venom. A loose ball? It was OURS!!! In fact, we scrambled after the ball when it was firmly in the other team's control until it BECAME a loose ball. Our undersized kids fought and crashed the boards as though they thought they were giants. That worked well enough to win the SEC. Isn't that the year we beat eventual national champion Florida? TWICE? That season I had never been more proud of any VOL team. Walking through the stands pregame was that team's pledge to play with a superhuman effort. They were more concerned with making a layup that went tamely off of the backboard and THROUGH THE HOOP than they were with a highlight reel attempt at a slam that bounced SO IMPRESSIVELY off the rim and into the 20th row of the stands (which we see so often this year). I miss that 1st team. Alot. They didn't need to bemoan after games "we will get IT fixed by the next game".

Several of our current guys could have played at their choice of schools. They've proved ability at Pitt and Nova, just not the drive to maintain the momentum. So, what's going on? Seriously, it was painful to watch the last 2 games as well as several others.
Answers? No. Questions? you betcha. Why do we quit pressing, NOW, when we finally have a deep bench? Why, when someone makes an inspired play must he go directly to the bench (where muscles tighten, losing all effectiveness when re-entering)? That old crew, who COULDN'T leave the floor because there literally were no viable, able bodies to replace them, actually seemed to enjoy the extra work! And there was certainly no lack of cohesion or teamwork; they had only their small group and a coach that put them into the right frame of mind, the right position, and in the proper physical condition to perform miracles. Why would anyone believe the benching/resting "strategy" we see now could lead to a cohesive unit? "Offensively", why do we gently toss the ball around to other perimeter players until the shot clock begins to expire and we heave up a desperation shot? Why do we look utterly lost so often? Why, on those occasions when a rebound does happen to COME TO US, resulting in a 3-on-1 fast break, does it seem to be so little advantage that this "team" STILL has trouble scoring? And, why do we dribble off our considerably large and slow-moving feet and miss routine passes? Is it because we must have that split-second advantage (gained by not watching the ball in to our paws) for that aforementioned highlight reel move? Does anyone else wonder just what we DO practice between games? Freethrows perhaps? I don't think that's it, do you? Revisiting basic skills drills would probably insult some of our prima donnas, but jeez Louise! I wouldn't care so much that this team is losing so pitifully if only they would give the effort of that 1st Pearl team. I miss my Tennessee basketball team of old. Alot. And I have questions, don't you?
...

ghost_of_which_doctor (Inactive) writes:

in response to VOLUNTEER_FEAR:

That may be the case but they look at your most recent past as well two sweet sixteens and elite eight in the last three years . The RPI will move our seed up it will be a ten seed at the least . I am saying nine . THe RPI is in the top five. this is what they judge mostly on and we have several good wins. I think 18 wins gets a ten seed and 20 wins a 9 seed or better.

Yes, it is all about the RPI and we have a good RPI number. Time to start winning again. Brian is right...It is GO TIME starting tomorrow night. Coach Pearl has a good track record at Gainesville so I like our chances tomorrow night!

richvol writes:

I'm losing faith that this team is going to do anything memorable this year. Lots of talking but not much substance. Many of us thought that this would be Pearl's deepest and best team of his tenure here. Both Pearl and this team have really been a disappointment.

brod writes:

in response to MrPearl_STILLHERE:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

mrpearlstill, you are talking with some sense now. what's gotten into you? this team does need to shut up, and elevate their level of play. it's one thing to say that it's go time, another to show it on the court.

GreeneVol writes:

in response to dvsvol:

When we had 6 - 7 scholorship players in Pearl's 1st year, we pressed the inbound pass with venom. A loose ball? It was OURS!!! In fact, we scrambled after the ball when it was firmly in the other team's control until it BECAME a loose ball. Our undersized kids fought and crashed the boards as though they thought they were giants. That worked well enough to win the SEC. Isn't that the year we beat eventual national champion Florida? TWICE? That season I had never been more proud of any VOL team. Walking through the stands pregame was that team's pledge to play with a superhuman effort. They were more concerned with making a layup that went tamely off of the backboard and THROUGH THE HOOP than they were with a highlight reel attempt at a slam that bounced SO IMPRESSIVELY off the rim and into the 20th row of the stands (which we see so often this year). I miss that 1st team. Alot. They didn't need to bemoan after games "we will get IT fixed by the next game".

Several of our current guys could have played at their choice of schools. They've proved ability at Pitt and Nova, just not the drive to maintain the momentum. So, what's going on? Seriously, it was painful to watch the last 2 games as well as several others.
Answers? No. Questions? you betcha. Why do we quit pressing, NOW, when we finally have a deep bench? Why, when someone makes an inspired play must he go directly to the bench (where muscles tighten, losing all effectiveness when re-entering)? That old crew, who COULDN'T leave the floor because there literally were no viable, able bodies to replace them, actually seemed to enjoy the extra work! And there was certainly no lack of cohesion or teamwork; they had only their small group and a coach that put them into the right frame of mind, the right position, and in the proper physical condition to perform miracles. Why would anyone believe the benching/resting "strategy" we see now could lead to a cohesive unit? "Offensively", why do we gently toss the ball around to other perimeter players until the shot clock begins to expire and we heave up a desperation shot? Why do we look utterly lost so often? Why, on those occasions when a rebound does happen to COME TO US, resulting in a 3-on-1 fast break, does it seem to be so little advantage that this "team" STILL has trouble scoring? And, why do we dribble off our considerably large and slow-moving feet and miss routine passes? Is it because we must have that split-second advantage (gained by not watching the ball in to our paws) for that aforementioned highlight reel move? Does anyone else wonder just what we DO practice between games? Freethrows perhaps? I don't think that's it, do you? Revisiting basic skills drills would probably insult some of our prima donnas, but jeez Louise! I wouldn't care so much that this team is losing so pitifully if only they would give the effort of that 1st Pearl team. I miss my Tennessee basketball team of old. Alot. And I have questions, don't you?
...

A head-scratcher for sure..pretty much sums it up. I was once that proud too.

I think I'll just record the game and take a look after I know the outcome. That way, I won't be so worked up..my blood pressure can't take another game like the Vols played at Rupp on Tuesday.

bspurlingcac#225603 writes:

in response to dvsvol:

When we had 6 - 7 scholorship players in Pearl's 1st year, we pressed the inbound pass with venom. A loose ball? It was OURS!!! In fact, we scrambled after the ball when it was firmly in the other team's control until it BECAME a loose ball. Our undersized kids fought and crashed the boards as though they thought they were giants. That worked well enough to win the SEC. Isn't that the year we beat eventual national champion Florida? TWICE? That season I had never been more proud of any VOL team. Walking through the stands pregame was that team's pledge to play with a superhuman effort. They were more concerned with making a layup that went tamely off of the backboard and THROUGH THE HOOP than they were with a highlight reel attempt at a slam that bounced SO IMPRESSIVELY off the rim and into the 20th row of the stands (which we see so often this year). I miss that 1st team. Alot. They didn't need to bemoan after games "we will get IT fixed by the next game".

Several of our current guys could have played at their choice of schools. They've proved ability at Pitt and Nova, just not the drive to maintain the momentum. So, what's going on? Seriously, it was painful to watch the last 2 games as well as several others.
Answers? No. Questions? you betcha. Why do we quit pressing, NOW, when we finally have a deep bench? Why, when someone makes an inspired play must he go directly to the bench (where muscles tighten, losing all effectiveness when re-entering)? That old crew, who COULDN'T leave the floor because there literally were no viable, able bodies to replace them, actually seemed to enjoy the extra work! And there was certainly no lack of cohesion or teamwork; they had only their small group and a coach that put them into the right frame of mind, the right position, and in the proper physical condition to perform miracles. Why would anyone believe the benching/resting "strategy" we see now could lead to a cohesive unit? "Offensively", why do we gently toss the ball around to other perimeter players until the shot clock begins to expire and we heave up a desperation shot? Why do we look utterly lost so often? Why, on those occasions when a rebound does happen to COME TO US, resulting in a 3-on-1 fast break, does it seem to be so little advantage that this "team" STILL has trouble scoring? And, why do we dribble off our considerably large and slow-moving feet and miss routine passes? Is it because we must have that split-second advantage (gained by not watching the ball in to our paws) for that aforementioned highlight reel move? Does anyone else wonder just what we DO practice between games? Freethrows perhaps? I don't think that's it, do you? Revisiting basic skills drills would probably insult some of our prima donnas, but jeez Louise! I wouldn't care so much that this team is losing so pitifully if only they would give the effort of that 1st Pearl team. I miss my Tennessee basketball team of old. Alot. And I have questions, don't you?
...

Yes, I agree with most of what you are talking about. In short,this team needs heart and leadership. They can still make a run. They all need to step up. GBO!

pj_ladyvolnMI writes:

To be fair...Brian didn't call the reporter and say "tell everyone that I said it's go time." The reporters go after these guys and ask questions to get quotes, and then we criticize them for saying something. Just sayin'...

I've also decided that Can'tStandSaban did NOT go to Vandy. I think he wants us to think he did so we'll think he's smart and value his opinion. But when he used "want" instead of "won't" his mask fell off. (If it hadn't already.) He may not have gotten into college at all.

Go Vols, Beat Gators!!

Signed, Summa C__ Laude Volunteer
(GVX won't let me write that...lol.)

vols1990 writes:

in response to CantStandSaban:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

you are literally ridiculous. you cannot stand the fact that UT fan base is state wide, and that historically the real University of Tennessee (UT not vanderbilt) has owned you in athletics, all the way down to the no name sports. i know its frustrating when you drive through nashville and there are more UT athletics billboards along the interstates, and just as many if not more UT supporters throughout nashville, but it's the facts of life. sorry that you support a snobby, private school that looks down on others, but you should really get off the Tennessee sports site and stop embarrassing yourself.

SunshineVol writes:

UT has two men’s basketball teams, one very good and one very bad. The bad team has been showing up at the games far too much.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to shipperman#280095:

What are you smoking? If, and that's a big if we get to the NCAA, we will NOT get a high seed, and we will be one or two and done at best. And he!! yeah, I will bet ya, and am sure that a lot of people would take your money

Unless the Vols completely blow the rest of the season, they WILL be in the NCAA and they WILL get an upper-half seed. They still have four games left against RPI top-50 teams. If they win two of them and the other three against SC and MS St., they will get no worse than a #6 seed. I'm not a betting man, but that is my considered opinion.

The_Mayor writes:

in response to johnlg00:

Unless the Vols completely blow the rest of the season, they WILL be in the NCAA and they WILL get an upper-half seed. They still have four games left against RPI top-50 teams. If they win two of them and the other three against SC and MS St., they will get no worse than a #6 seed. I'm not a betting man, but that is my considered opinion.

Agreed...Vols WILL without question be in the NCAA Tournament. At worst they will split their remaining games, and even if that's all they salvage, they will certainly be invited to the Dance.

I also believe the chemistry and a leader can and will be forged on this team down the stretch. CBP knows he had better pull out all stops, so we will not see a lack of preparation, game management or motivation from anyone wearing orange. That said, I just don't think Hopson has the inherent personality to be a leader...even if he puts for the effort to fake it...he is too moody and can't be counted on. Brian Williams is too passive and not accountable. Chism should have slapped some sense into Williams befor departing last year. This could have been Williams' team. I see Tobias being the one to step up and say, "let me put this team on my shoulders", much like freshman, Bray did after sitting and observing in the shadows until he had given all the upperclassmen the chance to assert themselves. I would love to see CBP pull Tobias into his office and have a man to man and charge him with the task and have free reign of taking this team over. Tobias is a born champion...it is easy to detect that quality in him...it cannot be coached. Go Vols

Unless they win the SEC Tournament or make it to the finals, I don't see them doing better than a 8 or 9 sede in the NCAA's.

davidray31#232814 writes:

The Vols still have a chance to make a great run. Scotty Hopson doesn't have to do it all,but he does have to do some. I know this team has a good resume for the tournament,but we might look up and have 13 losses on selection day.What then?

avolfan73 writes:

How many more times is a member of this team going to say "It's go time" or something to that effect?

samvol writes:

coach pearl is full of booboo...say what you will about me, it is what it is. this team will not perform under Pearl because they have zero respect for him.

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