Mike Strange: Vols have plenty to be thankful for

Tennessee offensive coordinator Jim Chaney, left, talks with head coach Derek Dooley during the Orange and White game at Neyland Stadium Saturday, April 16, 2011.  White won the game 24-7 over Orange.

Photo by Adam Brimer

Tennessee offensive coordinator Jim Chaney, left, talks with head coach Derek Dooley during the Orange and White game at Neyland Stadium Saturday, April 16, 2011. White won the game 24-7 over Orange.

Today, as a nation, we pause for a day of Thanksgiving.

Well, we pause to stuff ourselves and watch football on TV, but also to give thanks.

Jim Chaney jumped the gun.

Last Saturday night at Neyland Stadium when the officials ruled Eric Gordon's overtime interception would stand for a 27-21 Tennessee victory over Vanderbilt, Chaney thundered through the back of the press box toward the elevator.

"I give thanks we finally got a break,'' Chaney shouted, or words to that effect.

"Yes, I was certainly giving thanks,'' Tennessee's offensive coordinator confirmed Wednesday with a laugh.

"I was just so tickled. It seemed like we got a little break there at the end of the ballgame. It all just builds up on you and when things go your way ... ''

In the past year or so, it seems, so many things have not gone Tennessee's way. The athletic department faces challenges in all its major sports. The athletic department itself looks considerably different from what it did a year ago.

When the Vols or the Lady Vols are challenged, the ripples of worry and discontent spread across a wide pond. Few entities affect our extended community more.

It would do everyone good to pause and reflect that things are rarely as tough as they appear, especially compared to how tough some other folks have it.

"Oh, man,'' head coach Derek Dooley said Wednesday morning, "where do you begin?

"We get so caught up sometimes in winning and losing and the results of a game that we lose sight and lose perspective.''

The original Thanksgiving was in 1621. The Pilgrims were thankful to have survived crossing an ocean in a wooden ship not as big nor nearly as comfortable as some of the yachts in the Vol Navy.

Not thankful their luggage wasn't lost or that the buffet wasn't bad. Thankful they survived, literally.

President Abraham Lincoln in 1863 decreed the nation should set aside a day of Thanksgiving each November. It was a time of horrific strife, and not just between Auburn fans and Alabama fans.

Today, we worry about finding jobs or keeping jobs. But most of us will eat well and flip the remote between one game and another.

And, Tennessee fans, perhaps you can give thanks that the worst is over.

On the football front, 2012 will almost certainly bring more competitive days. Would you trade UT's problems for Penn State's or Ohio State's?

Men's basketball showed this week in Maui that the season shouldn't be as utterly bleak as projected in the first year after Bruce Pearl's exit.

There is a new athletic director getting up to speed and optimism that a new baseball coach will energize an underachieving program.

There's no sugarcoating the fact that UT's greatest icon, Pat Summitt, faces a difficult battle. Take heart that she has the unwavering support of her son Tyler and a veteran coaching staff. And wouldn't Oklahoma State's program take that scenario in a heartbeat?

"I'm just blessed,'' said Dooley, "not just because of the job I have. I'm lucky to have it, but just the health, the family, the love, all that.

"You've got to keep it in perspective every year and that's why I like Thanksgiving for everybody.''

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

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Comments » 13

huntined#565710 writes:

We ALL have a lot to be thankful..

movol53 writes:

Any time you think you are in a tight spot or have it "bad" look around you; don't have to look far to see someone in much worse shape than you.

UT will be alright. Some just want it NOW!!!
GBO - - VFL

pingkr62 writes:

Things can ALWAYS be worse. We should all be thankful for what we have, and will have in the future. G.B.O. !!!

drum56 writes:

in response to MOUNTAINofOKEMO:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Urban is not gonna walk into a situation like Dooley did at Tennessee! Get a clue!

oldster writes:

I am thankful that I have UT sports to take my mind off the serious economic and political issues that are tearing my beloved country apart.

TommyJack writes:

in response to oldster:

I am thankful that I have UT sports to take my mind off the serious economic and political issues that are tearing my beloved country apart.

hear, hear, seasoned one.

TommyJack writes:

in response to slaw_way:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

State of OH recruiting not exactly infertile.

clvolfan writes:

in response to MOUNTAINofOKEMO:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Urban is not going to have it very easy in what was called the Big 10.He beat the c#@p out of UT all those years they were on the downward spiral.Hope we can get a shot at them in a bowl game,when our program is much better.

Tennfan4075 writes:

in response to slaw_way:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Not so fast Tatersauce. Urban Myer's first three classes were so filled with top rated talent even the University of Florida admin. opened an investigation to make sure Myer was playing by the rules. I know Myer is a little fickle and has trouble making up his mind, but recruiting and coaching he knows, unlike Dooley I am afraid.

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/73...

Tennfan4075 writes:

in response to clvolfan:

Urban is not going to have it very easy in what was called the Big 10.He beat the c#@p out of UT all those years they were on the downward spiral.Hope we can get a shot at them in a bowl game,when our program is much better.

The only problem with that logic is the SEC was,is and always will be tougher than what was or is now called the Big Ten, so it only makes sense Myer will probably be successful at Ohio State. As for getting a shot at Ohio State under Myer, it may be a while before I would take that shot because from all indications the Vols climb back up that downward spiral may be just as long if not longer as the fall. Be careful for what you wish, it may just come true.

ProwlinAndGrowlinSmokeyDog writes:

Everyone needs to forget their troubles and enjoy this beautiful Thanksgiving Day with their family and count their blessings.

GO VOLS!! SKIN THE 'CATS!!
UT 35
UK 17

Smokey says HAPPY THANKGIVING and EAT LOTS OF TURKEY!!!

Tennfan4075 writes:

in response to slaw_way:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

No actually Myer's last 3 years were better than the first 3 32-7 as opposed to 31-7 with one NC and almost another had it not been for playing in the same conference with Bama.
2005 9-3
2006 13-1 National Championship
2007 9-3
2008 13-1 National Championship
2009 12-1 Loss to Bama the National Champions
2010 7-5

CoverOrange writes:

in response to TommyJack:

State of OH recruiting not exactly infertile.

Definitely not infertile but definitely different kind of crop.

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