Mike Strange: Vols used to play in the big ones

Mike Strange
AMY SMOTHERMAN BURGESS/NEWS SENTINEL
Tennessee tailback Tauren Poole is stopped by South Carolina's Eric Baker at Neyland Stadium on Saturday.

Photo by Amy Smotherman Burgess, ©KNS/2011

AMY SMOTHERMAN BURGESS/NEWS SENTINEL Tennessee tailback Tauren Poole is stopped by South Carolina's Eric Baker at Neyland Stadium on Saturday.

College football is on the edge of its seat. There's a big one Saturday night.

It's not at Neyland Stadium.

While Tennessee does the homecoming thing with Middle Tennessee State, the nation's eyes will be focused on Tuscaloosa, where No. 1 LSU and No. 2 Alabama stage what amounts to a preliminary round of the national championship.

It's as big a game as regular-season football can produce. And while it plays out, the Vols will be struggling far from the spotlight, just trying to win a football game for the first time in a month.

Just trying to score a touchdown, even.

I asked offensive coordinator Jim Chaney on Wednesday if he'd ever gone consecutive games without a touchdown.

He couldn't name names, but allowed it's probably happened.

"This is not the first time I've been deemed a bad coach,'' Chaney added with a chuckle.

It's been 10 quarters since the Vols crossed a goal line. By my research, UT hadn't gone without a touchdown in consecutive games since the 1959 season petered out with shutouts against Kentucky and Vanderbilt.

"It's frustrating,'' Chaney said. "As coaches we take it as hard as anybody does.

"We understand how the fans and everybody feels, and how our team feels.''

Not to kick a program when it's down, but those frustrated fans yearn for not only a touchdown but for the days when Tennessee plays in the big one again.

They occurred with regularity through the 1990s.

There were seven games in the decade in which both the Vols and their opponent were top-five teams. There were 10 others in which both

teams were in the top 10.

When No. 1 Notre Dame came to town in 1990, there weren't enough hotel rooms in town for the national media. It was the same in 1996 with Florida.

UT's most recent top-five showdown was when the No. 5 Vols shocked No. 2 Florida on Dec. 1, 2001.

The last time the Vols were involved in a battle of top-10 teams was against Georgia in 2005. Tennessee's last appearance as a top-10 team was in a 2006 loss to LSU.

There hasn't even been a game in which both UT and its opponent were ranked since the Vols (No. 16) beat Wisconsin (No. 18) in the Outback Bowl to end the 2007 season.

For now, just beating MTSU would be a relief. Then the goal can turn to winning an SEC game for the first time this season.

The Vols are 0-5 in the nation's bloodiest conference. Any league that has produced five consecutive national champions and is likely to add a sixth is no place for the walking wounded.

Anyone looking for an edge on Alabama-LSU wouldn't find much separation using Tennessee as a barometer. The Vols lost 38-7 to LSU and 37-6 to Alabama in consecutive weeks.

UT defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox didn't want to pick a winner.

"They could probably both go in the AFC West or something,'' he said. "Man, they're both very skilled.''

Chaney rates both the Alabama and LSU defenses with the best he has ever faced. But it's not the skill or the speed or the size that he admires most.

"The one common factor in both those teams,'' he said, "is they walk on the field every Saturday expecting to win.

"You say that about a lot of teams, but they really deep in their heart and their soul believe that.

"They both really believe they're going to kick your butt.''

As for Tennessee, the first step to getting that swagger back is just believing it can score a touchdown.

Mike Strange may be reached at strangem@knoxnews.com. Follow him at http://twitter.com/strangemike44 and http://blogs.knoxnews.com/strange.

Get Copyright Permissions © 2011, Knoxville News Sentinel Co.
Want to use this article? Click here for options!

© 2011 govolsxtra.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Discuss
  • Print

Related Topics

Comments » 95

SouthALVol writes:

I was thinking the same thing earlier today. I remember that Notre Dame game. My brother and I had to shout at each other sitting right next to each other it was so loud.

Classof72 writes:

"As for Tennessee, the first step to getting that swagger back is just believing it can score a touchdown."

No, the first step is recruiting more football players. Get enough good football players, and they'll swagger and believe and score touchdowns and make the coaches look smart. Remember the Alamo? They didn't have enough guys, either. While they were getting wiped out, Sam Houston was out recruiting the guys that won the war.

arkyvol writes:

the vols surrendered any claim to seriousness when they hired the moronic mike hamilton as a.d. you can set the failure clock by that seismic event. not one of his hires has ended up short of disaster. truly, he is emblematic of the age: severance packages for failed execs in inverse proportion to their competence. actually, i'm fudging here. a package for hammy based on that criteria would rival the national debt.

thevoice writes:

in response to Classof72:

"As for Tennessee, the first step to getting that swagger back is just believing it can score a touchdown."

No, the first step is recruiting more football players. Get enough good football players, and they'll swagger and believe and score touchdowns and make the coaches look smart. Remember the Alamo? They didn't have enough guys, either. While they were getting wiped out, Sam Houston was out recruiting the guys that won the war.

I'll take it a step further. In my mind, we have to get ELITE players. Unfortunately a No. 20 recruiting ranking is "good" but will land you in the 8-10 spot in the SEC. Vandy has good players. Auburn has good players. The Mississippi schools have "good" players. To ever beat the likes of Bama, UF, USC, LSU, Arky, we need players as good as theirs. IMO again, we actually need players BETTER than those schools just to compete with the teams and their coaches. We're looking at a long, long road. In 10 years we may have No. 3 UT vs. No. 2 Bama. But, it's ALL about getting the best players in the country.

thevoice writes:

Furthermore, does anyone else have any reason to believe we'll have a better record next year? Sure, they'll have another year of experience. Duh, so will the other schools.

tdvol1989 writes:

in response to SouthALVol:

I was thinking the same thing earlier today. I remember that Notre Dame game. My brother and I had to shout at each other sitting right next to each other it was so loud.

That was definitely the loudest game I ever attended. I was in the lower deck at about the 10 yard line. My ears rang LOUDLY for 3 days. I remember holding the Rocket in check all day and then he took that end around. Jeremy Lincoln had the angle and Ismael was just that fast. Excellent onside kick and an almost at the goal line that got picked off. Pickens put on a show. Ricky Waters, Jerome Bettis, Carl Pickens, Todd Lyght, Alvin Harper ... The Rocket!

I have to admit that I miss those days too. Johnny Majors could not seem to get over that National Championship hump, but we showed up every single game ... except Bama. And, we did not fear anyone. You always felt like we could win ANY game against anybody anytime. And Majors gave me the funnest UT game ever. I was there for the 45-7 humbling of the Gators. Not sure there was ever a more satisfying game, ever!!!

DonK37920 writes:

Alabama went through a long slump also. They had a 4-9 record one year in the early 2000s and several other years where they were average(6-6 or 7-6) and barely made a bowl. Point being that these cycles happen to everyone. Bama turned things around very quickly even after losing to Louisiana Monroe during Saban's first year.
We can't expect to win with freshmen and sophomores, especially when we lose our best player the week before the season starts, our starting linebacker during fall camp, our starting QB, and our future NFL WR. Seriously, this team with Bray, Jackson, Hunter and Lathers is a totally different team and until we build depth that is lacking due to Kiffin's recruiting class bust, we can't expect much better. We will know a lot more about this staff and our talent level after next season, not this one!

tnfanincali writes:

in response to DonK37920:

Alabama went through a long slump also. They had a 4-9 record one year in the early 2000s and several other years where they were average(6-6 or 7-6) and barely made a bowl. Point being that these cycles happen to everyone. Bama turned things around very quickly even after losing to Louisiana Monroe during Saban's first year.
We can't expect to win with freshmen and sophomores, especially when we lose our best player the week before the season starts, our starting linebacker during fall camp, our starting QB, and our future NFL WR. Seriously, this team with Bray, Jackson, Hunter and Lathers is a totally different team and until we build depth that is lacking due to Kiffin's recruiting class bust, we can't expect much better. We will know a lot more about this staff and our talent level after next season, not this one!

i want to agree with you. I really do. I'm starting to wonder tho...

SeminaryVol writes:

LSU past records
1992: 2-9
1993: 5-6
1994: 4-7
1995: 7-4
1996: 10-2
1997: 9-3
1998: 4-7
1999: 3-8

Alabama past records
2000: 3-8
2001-02: combined 17-8
2003: 4-9
2004: 6-6
2005: 9-2
2006: 6-6
2007: 6-6

It all comes around. GBO!

oldorange writes:

I have been waching the Vols since 1964. During this time I've seen them go thorugh the ups and downs that every college team go through. I know you have to come up with a story daily to get paid. I also know that its difficult to do when a team is struggling. But is this all you got, man.
Really?

CrankE writes:

"They could probably both go in the AFC West or something" - Coach Chaney

Can we start by dealing with things as they really are? Reality. Coach Chaney, they aren't going to the AFC West. Your competition is not going to slump back to the level of Conference USA. Get it?

You are responsible for coming up with a plan to beat these teams. So far, you've failed to do that. Worse, you have failed to come up with a plan that will beat ANY conference team.

The pressure on Dooley and staff is very simple. Fans can tolerate losing in this rough time in UT Football history. What they won't tolerate is a team that is uncompetitive. Having a young team might be accepted as a reason for losing. It will not be accepted as an excuse for being uncompetitive. Maybe this coaching staff needs to go to the AFC West. Or the Mountain West. Or West Nebraska. Something.

ScottEmge writes:

in response to DonK37920:

Alabama went through a long slump also. They had a 4-9 record one year in the early 2000s and several other years where they were average(6-6 or 7-6) and barely made a bowl. Point being that these cycles happen to everyone. Bama turned things around very quickly even after losing to Louisiana Monroe during Saban's first year.
We can't expect to win with freshmen and sophomores, especially when we lose our best player the week before the season starts, our starting linebacker during fall camp, our starting QB, and our future NFL WR. Seriously, this team with Bray, Jackson, Hunter and Lathers is a totally different team and until we build depth that is lacking due to Kiffin's recruiting class bust, we can't expect much better. We will know a lot more about this staff and our talent level after next season, not this one!

Yes, Alabama did go through a long slump and a few inferior coaching staffs before they got tired of losing. They finally ponied up the big bucks to hire a talented coach with a winning record who could recruit elite players.
The question is, how long will the Tennessee athletic dept. keep dinking around trying to get coaches on the cheap before they get tired of UT having a losing program? When they do, maybe they will follow Alabama's example and put up the big bucks to get a football coach with a winning track record who can recruit and take Tennessee back to the ranks of elite football programs.
I hate to upset the Derek Dooley fans here, but he is not the coach we will have to have to accomplish this.

AirForceVol2786 writes:

in response to thevoice:

Furthermore, does anyone else have any reason to believe we'll have a better record next year? Sure, they'll have another year of experience. Duh, so will the other schools.

No, I don't see a better record next year. Probably 5-7 next year and 5-7 this year. Dooley is just in way over his head at this point.

TheFuj writes:

It is hard to believe we just now want a TD, much less a win. To have one of the largest stadiums, largest football budgets, great overall facilities, but cannot even compete is just hard to take. You keep thinking we will get better--"coach will coach them up". I just don't know. I think about next year. Do I really think they will be better. Are we better from last year to this year? The o-line was mostly Fr last year, they have to be better this year, right?
It is recruiting. I don't anybody is coaching anybody up. If we do not get some big time recruits, it will be more of the same.

abnerPeabody writes:

in response to oldorange:

I have been waching the Vols since 1964. During this time I've seen them go thorugh the ups and downs that every college team go through. I know you have to come up with a story daily to get paid. I also know that its difficult to do when a team is struggling. But is this all you got, man.
Really?

Old,I am right there with you. Saw my first game against Ga.Tech in 1956.

You may not like the story,but what else can they write? Truth will stand when the world is on fire.

powert#205805 writes:

in response to arkyvol:

the vols surrendered any claim to seriousness when they hired the moronic mike hamilton as a.d. you can set the failure clock by that seismic event. not one of his hires has ended up short of disaster. truly, he is emblematic of the age: severance packages for failed execs in inverse proportion to their competence. actually, i'm fudging here. a package for hammy based on that criteria would rival the national debt.

+1

Mike Hamilton was the Barack Obama of athletic directors.

SharpDressedMan writes:

in response to Abdul_Wauhatchie_Tiftonia_Rahman_of_Orange:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Your username, regardless of whether it is serious or even supposed to be funny, tells the whole story about you.

volsn3 writes:

Urban Myere was never a big name and look what he had handed to him in Gainsville. Nick Saban handed Les Miles his meal ticket. Could any of these three done anything different with the VOL team we have to field these days. Hell no, they can't control the injuries or the mess other coaches leave them. Give Dooley his time and then take a look in four or five years, some of you might just jump on the band wagon by then, and I hope I am there to knock you off cause you are not welcome on the true BIG ORANGE WAGON

mikec1000000 writes:

It gets really old reading posts and articles about "I remember when" or "We were good back in...". Let's move on. I love the Vols as much as anyone, but enough with the "woe is me" nostalgia! Interview and write about the current teams, their successes or failures, the people trying to correct those failures, or what the staffs of the troubled teams are trying to do to get back on top. If the current coaches cant rebound the teams, then write about why they should be replaced. Don't tell me about the glory days when the teams are struggling. The glory days dont win football games, basketball games, or any other sport.

VolFaninDC writes:

in response to powert#205805:

+1

Mike Hamilton was the Barack Obama of athletic directors.

Mike Hamilton was the George Bush of ADs. Bush messed things up and then left. Others are left with trying to clean it up.

Volunteer-Varmint writes:

in response to tdvol1989:

That was definitely the loudest game I ever attended. I was in the lower deck at about the 10 yard line. My ears rang LOUDLY for 3 days. I remember holding the Rocket in check all day and then he took that end around. Jeremy Lincoln had the angle and Ismael was just that fast. Excellent onside kick and an almost at the goal line that got picked off. Pickens put on a show. Ricky Waters, Jerome Bettis, Carl Pickens, Todd Lyght, Alvin Harper ... The Rocket!

I have to admit that I miss those days too. Johnny Majors could not seem to get over that National Championship hump, but we showed up every single game ... except Bama. And, we did not fear anyone. You always felt like we could win ANY game against anybody anytime. And Majors gave me the funnest UT game ever. I was there for the 45-7 humbling of the Gators. Not sure there was ever a more satisfying game, ever!!!

I don't remember Majors' Vols thumping the gaterds 45 - 7. I do remember Foolmore's thrashing in the rain of 45 - 3.

That was the year he was "acting" head coach while Majors was in the hospital with open heart surgery.

I may be getting forgetful in my old age, but I think I'm right...

lomas98 writes:

Continued success has a lot of components to it. Good coaching, good recruiting, players developing, players not leaving the program or getting kicked out, and leadership from upperclassmen to pass the torch to the younger guys. Unfortunately even the seniors on this team now do not know what it is like to win and instill that in the younger guys. They have lost more games than any senior class I can remember and a chic fil a and music city bowl loss. I think in the past the younger guys could look to a guy like Al Wilson or Leonard Little or Marcus Nash or John Henderson or Will Overstreet and I could go on and on. Point is these younger guys do not have senior leaders to lean on now from a leadership standpoint where they can say "that will be me in a few years". The younger guys are the most talented and just not in a position to be an on field leader.

jobrando#216494 writes:

in response to thevoice:

Furthermore, does anyone else have any reason to believe we'll have a better record next year? Sure, they'll have another year of experience. Duh, so will the other schools.

I say yes we will. When the game plan is built around your starting QB's abilities and he goes down. Then you start over unless you have a QB cloned in the back ground. We did not so it's starting over. I'm hoping Worley will be showing dramatic improvement in the ARK game. We all know Dooley will be on the hot seat next year and have to show dramatic improvement or he may not get his 4th year.

underthehill writes:

in response to thevoice:

Furthermore, does anyone else have any reason to believe we'll have a better record next year? Sure, they'll have another year of experience. Duh, so will the other schools.

I think there is good reason to believe the TEAM will be better..hard to say about the RECORD..your point about other teams being better appears to be valid..what Vandy is doing is totally unexpected..you have to wonder what will happen if they have 2 or 3 good recruiting classes..Wilcox is getting the job done on defense..It's obvious the challenge for TN is to get the offense capable of competing and I have no confidence they can do that w/Chaney..hope I'm wrong but there is no evidence I am..Even with the injuries the offense should be better..Chaney joking about his coaching is like D Rogers taking it so serious about dropping passes... Not a good sign..

volspaws writes:

in response to CrankE:

"They could probably both go in the AFC West or something" - Coach Chaney

Can we start by dealing with things as they really are? Reality. Coach Chaney, they aren't going to the AFC West. Your competition is not going to slump back to the level of Conference USA. Get it?

You are responsible for coming up with a plan to beat these teams. So far, you've failed to do that. Worse, you have failed to come up with a plan that will beat ANY conference team.

The pressure on Dooley and staff is very simple. Fans can tolerate losing in this rough time in UT Football history. What they won't tolerate is a team that is uncompetitive. Having a young team might be accepted as a reason for losing. It will not be accepted as an excuse for being uncompetitive. Maybe this coaching staff needs to go to the AFC West. Or the Mountain West. Or West Nebraska. Something.

One of the best posts all season. Fans can tolerate the losses if we're able to see improvement and a team willing to fight, scratch and claw. Unfortunately, it's hard to look at any postion on the field and say "we're better there now than we were at the start of the season"..the one possible exception being linebacker.

wallingdad writes:

in response to volsn3:

Urban Myere was never a big name and look what he had handed to him in Gainsville. Nick Saban handed Les Miles his meal ticket. Could any of these three done anything different with the VOL team we have to field these days. Hell no, they can't control the injuries or the mess other coaches leave them. Give Dooley his time and then take a look in four or five years, some of you might just jump on the band wagon by then, and I hope I am there to knock you off cause you are not welcome on the true BIG ORANGE WAGON

dont understand your comment about Meyer. he was a big name. he turned around bowling green, went on to a BCS game at Utah and an undefeated season (if i remember correctly) and took over for a very pathetic ron zook coached team. Meyer was not handed anything. as much as it pains me to say he has earned everying he has attained.

Twelvethirtyone writes:

in response to Abdul_Wauhatchie_Tiftonia_Rahman_of_Orange:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Whereas I can agree we will not play in a big game this year, I certainly disagree that we will never play in another big game with this coaching staff.
Let's look at what we have faced this year:
Montana is currently #9 in the FCS rankings. Granted it's the FCS, but they are still ranked very high.
Cincinnati is currently ranked #23 and has only one loss (to guess who?). They have beaten South Florida, Louisville and NC State along the way.
Florida was ranked #16 when we played them. They had Brantley and did not have the injury issues they faced for 2 or 3 games after playing Tennessee.
Buffalo... yeah, won't go there... they are just not good at all.
Georgia is currently ranked #18 and sits tied for the SEC East lead.
LSU is #1 in the country. 'Nuff said.
Alabama is #2 in the country. 'Nuff said.
South Carolina is ranked #14 in the country and I am not sold they were beatable without Bray, Hunter, Jackson, Lathers, etc. SC did not play their best game against us and our Defense played their best game of the year, IMO. The fact that we had our chances despite our obstacles is very encouraging.
Looking ahead, Arkansas is currently ranked #8. (ALL FBS rankings from AP Poll, FCS Ranking from FCS Now Top 25 poll)
So even though this schedule looked weak to some at the beginning of the year, I think it has been tougher than expected. It's hard to lose 4+ key players and expect a 8 or 9 win season. We should beat MTSU and KY, can beat Vandy, and anything is possible vs. Arkansas. Win at least 3 of 4, win the low end bowl game and guess what? We'll be 7-6 and 1 game better than last year with probably more adversity. So I am not giving up on this coaching staff yet! Go Vols! :)

VolnTex writes:

in response to SeminaryVol:

LSU past records
1992: 2-9
1993: 5-6
1994: 4-7
1995: 7-4
1996: 10-2
1997: 9-3
1998: 4-7
1999: 3-8

Alabama past records
2000: 3-8
2001-02: combined 17-8
2003: 4-9
2004: 6-6
2005: 9-2
2006: 6-6
2007: 6-6

It all comes around. GBO!

This is much needed perspective. We have to keep the big picture in mind along with the fact of ebbs and flows in sports.

But it also must be followed by the question: Are the Vols presently headed in the same direction as LSU and Alabama? With the present staff, are they on the same trajectory?

Pullingguard writes:

in response to SeminaryVol:

LSU past records
1992: 2-9
1993: 5-6
1994: 4-7
1995: 7-4
1996: 10-2
1997: 9-3
1998: 4-7
1999: 3-8

Alabama past records
2000: 3-8
2001-02: combined 17-8
2003: 4-9
2004: 6-6
2005: 9-2
2006: 6-6
2007: 6-6

It all comes around. GBO!

you know what changed both of these records and put them back into the limelight of college football...Getting the right coach in place.... Just hope Dooley does the same at UT, however; if progress is not shown in 2012 then a change should be made... right now we need to support him and hoping things change next year.

AlpharettaVol writes:

in response to Twelvethirtyone:

Whereas I can agree we will not play in a big game this year, I certainly disagree that we will never play in another big game with this coaching staff.
Let's look at what we have faced this year:
Montana is currently #9 in the FCS rankings. Granted it's the FCS, but they are still ranked very high.
Cincinnati is currently ranked #23 and has only one loss (to guess who?). They have beaten South Florida, Louisville and NC State along the way.
Florida was ranked #16 when we played them. They had Brantley and did not have the injury issues they faced for 2 or 3 games after playing Tennessee.
Buffalo... yeah, won't go there... they are just not good at all.
Georgia is currently ranked #18 and sits tied for the SEC East lead.
LSU is #1 in the country. 'Nuff said.
Alabama is #2 in the country. 'Nuff said.
South Carolina is ranked #14 in the country and I am not sold they were beatable without Bray, Hunter, Jackson, Lathers, etc. SC did not play their best game against us and our Defense played their best game of the year, IMO. The fact that we had our chances despite our obstacles is very encouraging.
Looking ahead, Arkansas is currently ranked #8. (ALL FBS rankings from AP Poll, FCS Ranking from FCS Now Top 25 poll)
So even though this schedule looked weak to some at the beginning of the year, I think it has been tougher than expected. It's hard to lose 4+ key players and expect a 8 or 9 win season. We should beat MTSU and KY, can beat Vandy, and anything is possible vs. Arkansas. Win at least 3 of 4, win the low end bowl game and guess what? We'll be 7-6 and 1 game better than last year with probably more adversity. So I am not giving up on this coaching staff yet! Go Vols! :)

Here's another fact to put it all in perspective: Sure, Georgia is in the driver's seat for the SEC East but is the beneficiary of an unbelievably weak SEC schedule. So far, the SEC opponents they have played are 4-22. They have ZERO wins over top 25 teams. Absent from their schedule are Bama, LSU, Arkansas. Not saying we are an acceptable team by any means, but our record might be a little different if the scheduling Gods had been a little more kind.

Twelvethirtyone writes:

in response to AlpharettaVol:

Here's another fact to put it all in perspective: Sure, Georgia is in the driver's seat for the SEC East but is the beneficiary of an unbelievably weak SEC schedule. So far, the SEC opponents they have played are 4-22. They have ZERO wins over top 25 teams. Absent from their schedule are Bama, LSU, Arkansas. Not saying we are an acceptable team by any means, but our record might be a little different if the scheduling Gods had been a little more kind.

Good point :) Another interesting stat: Current combined record for all Tennessee opponents pre-MTSU: 48-17... That's what we have played so far... a 73.8% win pct. :)

ProfessionalHandicapper writes:

in response to DonK37920:

Alabama went through a long slump also. They had a 4-9 record one year in the early 2000s and several other years where they were average(6-6 or 7-6) and barely made a bowl. Point being that these cycles happen to everyone. Bama turned things around very quickly even after losing to Louisiana Monroe during Saban's first year.
We can't expect to win with freshmen and sophomores, especially when we lose our best player the week before the season starts, our starting linebacker during fall camp, our starting QB, and our future NFL WR. Seriously, this team with Bray, Jackson, Hunter and Lathers is a totally different team and until we build depth that is lacking due to Kiffin's recruiting class bust, we can't expect much better. We will know a lot more about this staff and our talent level after next season, not this one!

The reason Bama went through that slump was becaused they hired a Mommy's Boy in Mike Shula. Auburn did the same thing hiring a coaches son with Bowden. Now UT sinks into the abyss with another non chip off the ole block in Dooley. Three spoiled rich kids that couldnt start to be their fathers on the sidelines. Just another excuse in a list of many in the Big orange excuse club.
Funny Vandy played 11 true freshmen last year , lost their senior QB this season, lost their SEC frshman of the Year running back and return man in Norman, yet Vandy plays hard with no excuses.

allvols4life writes:

in response to ProfessionalHandicapper:

The reason Bama went through that slump was becaused they hired a Mommy's Boy in Mike Shula. Auburn did the same thing hiring a coaches son with Bowden. Now UT sinks into the abyss with another non chip off the ole block in Dooley. Three spoiled rich kids that couldnt start to be their fathers on the sidelines. Just another excuse in a list of many in the Big orange excuse club.
Funny Vandy played 11 true freshmen last year , lost their senior QB this season, lost their SEC frshman of the Year running back and return man in Norman, yet Vandy plays hard with no excuses.

No...what is funny is that when you joined in September you attempted to act like a real handicapper with no agenda, yet 2 months later you are bashing UT. 2 months ago, you were "a fan of no team" yet today you are a Vandy fan. Seems very similar to the one of many screennames of old Brett "CantStandSaban" Maverick to me.

volpreacher writes:

in response to thevoice:

I'll take it a step further. In my mind, we have to get ELITE players. Unfortunately a No. 20 recruiting ranking is "good" but will land you in the 8-10 spot in the SEC. Vandy has good players. Auburn has good players. The Mississippi schools have "good" players. To ever beat the likes of Bama, UF, USC, LSU, Arky, we need players as good as theirs. IMO again, we actually need players BETTER than those schools just to compete with the teams and their coaches. We're looking at a long, long road. In 10 years we may have No. 3 UT vs. No. 2 Bama. But, it's ALL about getting the best players in the country.

I wish it were that simple: I know this will be long but let me explain.
UT had #35 class in 2008 (Fulmers last)
#10 in 2009
# 9 in 2010
#13 in 2011
#13 in 2012 so far (Alabama 3.47 avg.
LSU 3.45 avg.
UT 3.39 avg.)
2009 classes:
Notre Dame #10, Oklahoma #13, Michigan State #17, Ole Miss #18, Auburn #19, Stanford #20, Nebraska #15, Oklahoma State#28,
2010 classes:
UCLA #8, Oregon #13, Ole Miss #18, Nebraska #22, South Carolina #24, Ohio STate #25, Stanford #26, Michigan STate #30, Oklahoma State #31
2011 classes:
Florida State #2, Notre Dame #10, Ohio State #13, Florida #12, Oklahoma #14, Nebraska #15, Ole Miss #19, Stanford #22, Oklahoma State #28, Michigan State #31

So you can see some have decent rankings aka Ole Miss and they have the worst SEC team probably other than Kentucky, UCLA with a #8 class, how's that working out?
But what about those terrible classes by Michigan State, Stanford, Ohio State, Nebraska, South Carolina. How's those working out?
As you can see Star ratings and rankings are basically for us fans to get really excited by but they don't really mean much. I'm not saying they don't mean anything, but as you see, it is NOT an indicator of how good you will be. So give Dooley time. He's fielding a team that is improving but young, with a lot of talent, but young, and one that stays out of the headlines for being in trouble (praise God) Go Vols.

budd#207344 writes:

in response to BodeaneVol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Oh yes there is.

volpreacher writes:

in response to ProfessionalHandicapper:

The reason Bama went through that slump was becaused they hired a Mommy's Boy in Mike Shula. Auburn did the same thing hiring a coaches son with Bowden. Now UT sinks into the abyss with another non chip off the ole block in Dooley. Three spoiled rich kids that couldnt start to be their fathers on the sidelines. Just another excuse in a list of many in the Big orange excuse club.
Funny Vandy played 11 true freshmen last year , lost their senior QB this season, lost their SEC frshman of the Year running back and return man in Norman, yet Vandy plays hard with no excuses.

I wonder about some of you posters. Yes other teams PLAY freshmen, but they don't start them or rely a lot of them like UT has the last two years. UT RELIED on 16 true freshmen last year, this year 17. Vandy plays hard with no excuses because people just expect them to lose. UT has to make people realize the reasons because of whiners like you and a lot of people on this board who want 10 win seasons every year no matter what the circumstances. Yes, I like to win, but I realize what has happened in the last 3 years.

Volunatic writes:

in response to tdvol1989:

That was definitely the loudest game I ever attended. I was in the lower deck at about the 10 yard line. My ears rang LOUDLY for 3 days. I remember holding the Rocket in check all day and then he took that end around. Jeremy Lincoln had the angle and Ismael was just that fast. Excellent onside kick and an almost at the goal line that got picked off. Pickens put on a show. Ricky Waters, Jerome Bettis, Carl Pickens, Todd Lyght, Alvin Harper ... The Rocket!

I have to admit that I miss those days too. Johnny Majors could not seem to get over that National Championship hump, but we showed up every single game ... except Bama. And, we did not fear anyone. You always felt like we could win ANY game against anybody anytime. And Majors gave me the funnest UT game ever. I was there for the 45-7 humbling of the Gators. Not sure there was ever a more satisfying game, ever!!!

The 1990 game vs uf was even better than you remember.
45-3.

volnvette03 writes:

in response to SouthALVol:

I was thinking the same thing earlier today. I remember that Notre Dame game. My brother and I had to shout at each other sitting right next to each other it was so loud.

Yes, I remember it well too! In fact, half the fans left when ND scored their last TD. The ones who stayed were really load. The Vols fought back and had a chance until the last interception. That was the only loss I came away from feeling both frustrated and proud.

Volunatic writes:

in response to MerlOT_GoVols:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Fulmer wasn't the "winningest active coach" when he was fired.
He was a couple hundred wins behind Paterno.
He didn't have the best record of active coaches, either. He had a very good winning percentage, but it was a percentage that declined every season after '01.

Volunatic writes:

in response to Volunteer-Varmint:

I don't remember Majors' Vols thumping the gaterds 45 - 7. I do remember Foolmore's thrashing in the rain of 45 - 3.

That was the year he was "acting" head coach while Majors was in the hospital with open heart surgery.

I may be getting forgetful in my old age, but I think I'm right...

No, you're thinking of 1992 when Johnny was in the hospital.
The Vols beat uf 31-14 that year.

Volunatic writes:

in response to wallingdad:

dont understand your comment about Meyer. he was a big name. he turned around bowling green, went on to a BCS game at Utah and an undefeated season (if i remember correctly) and took over for a very pathetic ron zook coached team. Meyer was not handed anything. as much as it pains me to say he has earned everying he has attained.

You're right that meyer had some serious accomplishments on his resume when he was hired at uf-- not only did the Utes go to a BCS game, they won it. (Granted it was against Pitt, but they were still a conf champ that season.)
I don't think that Zook's record at uf tells it all, though-- he was a good recruiter, and he left a STOCKED roster when he was canned. No way meyer would have taken the job otherwise.

Volunatic writes:

in response to Twelvethirtyone:

Whereas I can agree we will not play in a big game this year, I certainly disagree that we will never play in another big game with this coaching staff.
Let's look at what we have faced this year:
Montana is currently #9 in the FCS rankings. Granted it's the FCS, but they are still ranked very high.
Cincinnati is currently ranked #23 and has only one loss (to guess who?). They have beaten South Florida, Louisville and NC State along the way.
Florida was ranked #16 when we played them. They had Brantley and did not have the injury issues they faced for 2 or 3 games after playing Tennessee.
Buffalo... yeah, won't go there... they are just not good at all.
Georgia is currently ranked #18 and sits tied for the SEC East lead.
LSU is #1 in the country. 'Nuff said.
Alabama is #2 in the country. 'Nuff said.
South Carolina is ranked #14 in the country and I am not sold they were beatable without Bray, Hunter, Jackson, Lathers, etc. SC did not play their best game against us and our Defense played their best game of the year, IMO. The fact that we had our chances despite our obstacles is very encouraging.
Looking ahead, Arkansas is currently ranked #8. (ALL FBS rankings from AP Poll, FCS Ranking from FCS Now Top 25 poll)
So even though this schedule looked weak to some at the beginning of the year, I think it has been tougher than expected. It's hard to lose 4+ key players and expect a 8 or 9 win season. We should beat MTSU and KY, can beat Vandy, and anything is possible vs. Arkansas. Win at least 3 of 4, win the low end bowl game and guess what? We'll be 7-6 and 1 game better than last year with probably more adversity. So I am not giving up on this coaching staff yet! Go Vols! :)

Solid assessment of the 2011 schedule. Good post.

Volunatic writes:

in response to ProfessionalHandicapper:

The reason Bama went through that slump was becaused they hired a Mommy's Boy in Mike Shula. Auburn did the same thing hiring a coaches son with Bowden. Now UT sinks into the abyss with another non chip off the ole block in Dooley. Three spoiled rich kids that couldnt start to be their fathers on the sidelines. Just another excuse in a list of many in the Big orange excuse club.
Funny Vandy played 11 true freshmen last year , lost their senior QB this season, lost their SEC frshman of the Year running back and return man in Norman, yet Vandy plays hard with no excuses.

For a "professional handicapper", your ignorance of college football is rather remarkable.
Terry Bowden was 47-17-1 at Auburn, having inherited a team that went 5-6 and 5-5-1 the previous two years under Pat Dye.
Bama didn't hire Mike Shula because of his name. They hired him because no one wanted the job, due to NCAA sanctions and ongoing investigations, coupled with the fact that the roster was a mess after Dennis Franchione's abrupt departure to a lower-tier school (still a head-scratcher-- he didn't do well at TAMU, either) and the Mike Price debacle left them without a coach just prior to fall camp. He did well at recruiting, though, especially considering the circumstances.

Volunatic writes:

in response to allvols4life:

No...what is funny is that when you joined in September you attempted to act like a real handicapper with no agenda, yet 2 months later you are bashing UT. 2 months ago, you were "a fan of no team" yet today you are a Vandy fan. Seems very similar to the one of many screennames of old Brett "CantStandSaban" Maverick to me.

Yep, pretty obvious.

Volunatic writes:

in response to BodeaneVol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Good gracious. Please leave the politics out of here.

Pipe_Down_Otis writes:

I don't know if it's a depth problem or a coaching problem. Look at Vanderbilt. They have already won twice as many games as was predicted. Took Ga and Ark down to the last play, in a stadium that holds 35,000, and 20,000 of them were for the other team. Apparently, coaching can make a difference, even in the first year, with players their coach didn't even know back in Feb. So why can't we do that at UT, with 100,000 people dressed in Orange screaming their guts out, and the coaching staff in their second year? Maybe not with Ala and LSU, but with at least somebody?

jobrando#216494 writes:

in response to Volunatic:

Good gracious. Please leave the politics out of here.

It's obvious KNS does not monitor. They should be scanning for all kinds of political terms and kicking them out.

jobrando#216494 writes:

in response to Pipe_Down_Otis:

I don't know if it's a depth problem or a coaching problem. Look at Vanderbilt. They have already won twice as many games as was predicted. Took Ga and Ark down to the last play, in a stadium that holds 35,000, and 20,000 of them were for the other team. Apparently, coaching can make a difference, even in the first year, with players their coach didn't even know back in Feb. So why can't we do that at UT, with 100,000 people dressed in Orange screaming their guts out, and the coaching staff in their second year? Maybe not with Ala and LSU, but with at least somebody?

You got to be patient. In two more years we will have the senior leadership to compete with Vandy. Heck we will kick Middle back to their hoods Saturday. It starts Saturday and the big upset of Ark follows. Worley will be right on target. Not going to say the receivers can catch it though.

volsnationalchamps writes:

If Dooley doesn't get at least 8 wins next season, then 2013 is hot seat time. I really feel this season with Bray, Hunter, and Lathers its a different season, I'm not even including Janzen. With them I could see GA,SC and FL being wins. That Hunter loss was so big against FL. Schedule gets a little lighter without LSU so don't see any reason 8-4 at least next season hopefully better. We are recruiting some players, can't say he isn't, just need more depth and he is building it. I can't believe people forget what he took over. Give him 2 more yrs and see what happens, if by 2013 we are not contending he should be fired, I think we will see big difference though, will have Sr line, QB, WR's, Defense will be Jr's and Sr's. We have to get behind this staff and players. GO VOLS

CoverOrange writes:

in response to thevoice:

Furthermore, does anyone else have any reason to believe we'll have a better record next year? Sure, they'll have another year of experience. Duh, so will the other schools.

Difference is they will lose a substantial part of their experience base through graduation. We won't. Will that make a difference? Don't know.

Want to participate in the conversation? Become a subscriber today. Subscribers can read and comment on any story, anytime. Non-subscribers will only be able to view comments on select stories.

Features