Alabama not just another team to Vols

'Bama not just another team to Vols

Derek Dooley reviews the UT-LSU game

Players back Simms; Dooley says he can do better

Vols coming out flat in second half?

Adam Brimer/News Sentinel
Alabama running back Trent Richardson, front, carries for a 65-yard touchdown run against Tennessee on Oct. 23, 2010, at Neyland Stadium.

Photo by Adam Brimer

Adam Brimer/News Sentinel Alabama running back Trent Richardson, front, carries for a 65-yard touchdown run against Tennessee on Oct. 23, 2010, at Neyland Stadium.

Tennessee is trying its best to treat it like just another game.

This week, that approach has seemingly hit a snag.

The Vols have attempted to make every team nameless in practices throughout the season. But when a series is easily identified by a nickname, even if Third Saturday in October is inaccurate on the calendar, it's no secret which programs are involved.

They've attempted to make every player faceless, but that's not really working either thanks to the intimate knowledge the Vols have with the other roster and the national attention it has been receiving on top of that.

Even the traditional approach of throwing out the records and rankings for a heated rivalry is difficult to always do right now considering the disparity currently between the two sides.

UT is clearly well versed in just about everything relating to No. 2 Alabama as it gears up for a crack at its longtime foe on Saturday (TV: ESPN2, 7:15 p.m.). So rather than treat the Crimson Tide like everybody else, in some ways the Vols are instead focusing on both the familiarity and the traditional contempt as they gear up for a trip to Bryant-Denny Stadium.

"(Linebackers coach Peter) Sirmon did say it again, that it's another week, a nameless, faceless opponent," senior Austin Johnson said. "But you know, when you think of Alabama, you always want to leave the University of Tennessee saying you beat them.

"It's definitely something a little bit more than that to me. I want to beat these guys, and I'm going to prepare to the best of my abilities this week to make sure that happens."

Johnson is obviously aware of the challenge if he's going to get his first

victory against the Crimson Tide (7-0, 4-0 SEC) and end a four-game losing streak in the series for the Vols (3-3, 0-3 SEC). And he had plenty of company as a handful of his teammates met with the media on Monday before practice heats up again this morning.

Johnson offered high praise for running back Trent Richardson and called him even better than Mark Ingram, a Heisman Trophy winner and first-round draft pick who used to share the load with the junior at Alabama.

Defensive tackle Daniel Hood called the Crimson Tide "exponentially more physical" on the offensive line than LSU, a team that piled up 237 yards rushing and seemed to physically wear down the Vols last week in a 38-7 win.

Even Vols coach Derek Dooley got in the act, labeling this Nick Saban's best Alabama team and calling the defense the most physically dominating he's "seen in the modern era of football."

But for all the respect the Vols publicly paid to their opponent, that doesn't necessarily mean they've softened their opinion of the Crimson Tide.

"I think it's a big rivalry," running back Tauren Poole said. "It's been here longer than I've been living, so it's definitely important to the state of Tennessee, state of Alabama, just to everyone.

"But we have to make it a rivalry. We can't go out there and get blown out and not make it a game. We have to go out there and continue to fight for this rivalry, for the tradition of this game and work our best to be in this game with this good football team."

Alabama might have the best one in the country, and even after just losing in lopsided fashion to the only team currently ranked above the Crimson Tide, the Vols seemed willing to put them ahead of LSU.

They'll have a much better idea of where the teams at the top stand after the weekend — but they're certainly not counting themselves out in a chance to shake it up.

"I think everybody knows who's on Alabama's team, how much talent they've got and what kind of team they are," Hood said. "Saban's brought that with him everywhere he went, and that's what makes them a good team. That's what we want to be like, but I'm focused on this year, and we can't think about previous years.

"Records don't matter, nothing matters when it comes to the Third Week of October. It's Tennessee and Alabama."

This week, the names actually matter to the Vols.

Austin Ward covers Tennessee football. He may be reached at 865-342-6274. Follow him at http://twitter.com/Vols_Beat and http://blogs.knoxnews.com/ward.

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Comments » 83

DooleyWagon22 writes:

The linebackers are going to be busy this Saturday. GO VOLS!!!

volfaninbuckeyeland writes:

Get ready for "Battle at the Little Bighorn--Pt. II" or "This Time They Take The Scalps." There was a time that I really looked forward to this game with a legitimate belief that UT would not just compete, but win. This year I just hope we bring more of our team back to Ktown that we leave in the ER. Last week, I predicted a loss of at least 21 pts. to LSU and 28 to Ala. I hope we can keep it that close. Wish the team the very best and appreciate the commitment these young men made to Tenn.

jobrando#216494 writes:

in response to TheBlue:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

You should take a look at this board and see your talking to very few people. They have all lost interest until right after the Bama game and then they will be back to vent for a day. It's just complete frustration. The sad part is next year it will be more of the same.

underthehill writes:

in response to jobrando#216494:

You should take a look at this board and see your talking to very few people. They have all lost interest until right after the Bama game and then they will be back to vent for a day. It's just complete frustration. The sad part is next year it will be more of the same.

I don't know if they have all lost interest..but who wants to be miserable?

GerryOP writes:

Those shirts the guys are wearing in the video pieces are horrible. What did Adidas do, look in their scrap barrel and stitch the scraps together to make some shirts? Awful, absolutely freakin' awful.

SIMSVOL writes:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

TarheelVol writes:

in response to volfaninbuckeyeland:

Get ready for "Battle at the Little Bighorn--Pt. II" or "This Time They Take The Scalps." There was a time that I really looked forward to this game with a legitimate belief that UT would not just compete, but win. This year I just hope we bring more of our team back to Ktown that we leave in the ER. Last week, I predicted a loss of at least 21 pts. to LSU and 28 to Ala. I hope we can keep it that close. Wish the team the very best and appreciate the commitment these young men made to Tenn.

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

VolinCalif writes:

in response to underthehill:

I don't know if they have all lost interest..but who wants to be miserable?

I don't think Fans have lost interest at all. We didn't play that bad against LSU. we made mistakes that killed us Matt was out for the big plays as one would expect. He wanted the win more than any of the fans. He just didn't settle down and threw the picks that put us to rest. Matt is a good QB not a great QB like Manning. But then who is. One has to be a great Field Gen ,Ath, and with a great arm to be a manning. But watch for Matt to lead very well and I think the players are up to the game. We'll play a good game bank on it.

traderjoe writes:

I don't know why we looked so bad against LSU and GA and so good against Montana and Cincy...lol

5-11 and we can keep doing that year after year unless KY improves. We have a very nice stadium.

VolinCalif writes:

Another subject, about the conflict between Ga/Vandy coaches. I don't think that is much worse than what I see The Muskrat doing each game. Many talked about Lane and his behaviour but Lane was never out of control like I see The new Fl coach.

The_Ghost_of_Duke_DeLuca writes:

When was the last time we were 29 point underdogs to Alabama?

When was the last time we were 29 point underdogs to anyone?

Fire Fulmer!

underthehill writes:

in response to TarheelVol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I like your style..r u a wrestlin fan?/

1963VOLS writes:

in response to TarheelVol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

i,m with ya vols21 bama17.GBO

DwayneElizondoMountainDewHerbertCamacho writes:

EVERY year there is some reporter that dusts off the "Alabama Needs No Introduction" article, changes the dates and win/loss/streak numbers and trots it out for public consumption.

Can somebody please report on something other than the fact that the players know this game is important???

trubleoj#657755 writes:

For god's sake catch the 6 yd pass that hits you in the belly on third and five.

volfaninbuckeyeland writes:

in response to SIMSVOL:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Sims, this is a chat board, not a story board, and yes, true fans don't have to view their team through orange colored glasses that distort an honest perspective of the current state of affairs. And by the way, I really tire of all the belittlement of Fulmer when in actuality we will never know what might have happened had he remained since he didn't. Kiffin came very close to a 9 win season, including what would have been a monumental victory over eventual NC Ala and he did it with Fulmer recruits! Taj Boyd is an example of some of the commitments that had planned to come to Tenn., but was told he would not fit in to the system. The only games during Kiffin's stint where we were soundly beaten was Ol' Miss & Va Tech. Who knows what might have been had Fulmer brought in an OC like Malzahn? I just think that a man who for decades gave his all for Tenn deserves a little more respect than what many on this site are willing to give him. All of us realize that we are in a "rebuilding" mode; the frustrating thing is, in spite of all of the injuries, that there just simply does not seem to be any significant improvement from where we were last year except in having the correct # of players on the field at any given time. You're delusional to think we go 8-4, but 7-5 does now seem attainable with the injury to Lattimore. I think a more objective scenario is 6-6 although Vandy's Commodores could sink the Vol Navy this year. Their coach has got them believing in themselves and that is something even UT might not be able to do after this week.

DwayneElizondoMountainDewHerbertCamacho writes:

in response to SIMSVOL:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

(1) A storyboard is a collection of dynamic pictures and text most commonly used as a visual aide during the planning period of a motion picture. These aren't storyboards.

(2) If we aren't Vols fans, then we are trolls...you don't have to hope. It's either one or the other according your logic.

And as for the team going 8-4 or 7-5...I'll make sure to remind you of this prediction at the end of the year. You're heaping accolades on a program for something you HOPE will happen. Hatching chickens and counting come to mind.

And I am a Vols fan. I could care less if you think that my criticism of the coach makes me a troll. I honestly do not care. I'm going to keep coming onto these MESSAGE BOARDS until Dooley has success or he gets fired. If he gets fired, then I'm going to come onto these message boards to brag about how I was right and you were an idiot. And then I'm going to hopefully enjoy the new, proven winner of a coach that is hired in Dooley's place.

If Dooley has success, then I will just fade away into the mists of my little troll world and enjoy the success of the Vols.

But I'm not worried about the second scenario because I believe that no amount of time will make Dooley a better coach or a winner. I will not act like some sheep and make excuses for the lack of talent and lack of production by this team simply because Dooley's butt occupies the front office. I heard the SAME arguments you just made in 2006, except applied to Phil Fulmer. Fulmer lost it and the university held on to him far too long simply because there was some kind of emotional attachment. Dooley never had it to begin with and you guys are doing the same thing.

Whatever...he'll get to call this season "Year 0.5" and then he'll produce nothing in 2013 and more people will be on my side of the fence than yours. Time is on my side. Eventually UT football will wise up, spend money like a modern program and actually have success.

decades_vol (Inactive) writes:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

wcirwin64#584242 writes:

in response to SIMSVOL:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Fulmer left it depleted ? check the recruiting rankings . . "02=#2, 03=#18, 04=#8,05=#4,06=#23, 07=#3 . . Fulmer's firing began the exodus of recruits & players.Then the Kiffin debacle left our cupboards completely bare. But I do agree that CDD is doing the best he can with what he has

VOODOOley-2011 (Inactive) writes:

in response to VolinCalif:

Another subject, about the conflict between Ga/Vandy coaches. I don't think that is much worse than what I see The Muskrat doing each game. Many talked about Lane and his behaviour but Lane was never out of control like I see The new Fl coach.

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

TheFuj writes:

29 point underdog!!! Cannot recall TN ever being a 29 point underdog. Started going to the games in the 60's and do not ever remember, not that I kept up with the spread then, being a 29 point underdog. That is like the UT Martin's or KY Tech, etc.

tennvolsman19651965 writes:

in response to SIMSVOL:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

You are the joke on here. And whatever you are smoking, pass that around. Because if you still think that the Vols are going 8-4, with all of our injuries, you are having some serious delusions. If you were a REAL Vols fan, you would understand that people have just as much right to get down on Dooley as you do to get down on Fulmer. Study up on Fulmers recruting classes that he left behind. I will never understand how a so called Vols fan can claim he knows anything about our current situation and keeps blaming Fulmer for the bulk of it, when it is obvious that between Hammy and Kitten, they left Dooley in this situation. Fulmer had a bad recruiting class his last year, but before that he was top 5. Maybe you have heard of a couple of the players Fulmer recruited during those last years......Eric Berry......Arian Foster......Luke Stocker. You are uneducated and therefore should not post on things you dont understand. Fulmer had 5 total 5 star recruits the year before he left. Look on Rivals today and tell me what team has 5 total 5 star recruits signed. Let me help you out.......NONE!

tennvolsman19651965 writes:

in response to volfaninbuckeyeland:

Sims, this is a chat board, not a story board, and yes, true fans don't have to view their team through orange colored glasses that distort an honest perspective of the current state of affairs. And by the way, I really tire of all the belittlement of Fulmer when in actuality we will never know what might have happened had he remained since he didn't. Kiffin came very close to a 9 win season, including what would have been a monumental victory over eventual NC Ala and he did it with Fulmer recruits! Taj Boyd is an example of some of the commitments that had planned to come to Tenn., but was told he would not fit in to the system. The only games during Kiffin's stint where we were soundly beaten was Ol' Miss & Va Tech. Who knows what might have been had Fulmer brought in an OC like Malzahn? I just think that a man who for decades gave his all for Tenn deserves a little more respect than what many on this site are willing to give him. All of us realize that we are in a "rebuilding" mode; the frustrating thing is, in spite of all of the injuries, that there just simply does not seem to be any significant improvement from where we were last year except in having the correct # of players on the field at any given time. You're delusional to think we go 8-4, but 7-5 does now seem attainable with the injury to Lattimore. I think a more objective scenario is 6-6 although Vandy's Commodores could sink the Vol Navy this year. Their coach has got them believing in themselves and that is something even UT might not be able to do after this week.

Awesome rebuttal to an uneducated delusional individual. I am also getting so sick of ingnorant people not recognizing Kitten managed to win with a Fulmer recruited class.

Take_Back_Knoxville writes:

Someone get on the phone and get The Stick back from Fulmer. Bring back The Stick! Bring back The Stick!

http://articles.sun-sentinel.com/1999...

Classof72 writes:

"...in some ways the Vols are instead focusing on both the familiarity and the traditional contempt as they gear up for a trip to Bryant-Denny Stadium."

Contempt? For Alabama? I don't think so. Who writes this stuff? Who pays to read it? For the determined know-nothings out there, the Alabama-Tennessee game is played in a tradition of mutual respect. Don't take my word for it, Mr. Ward; ask John Majors.

Contempt is reserved for Vandy. It remains to be seen if the 2011 Vols are as good as Vandy.

This year the tradition is all that Alabama can be expected to respect. We Vols have a way to go to be respectable in the SEC.

powert#205805 writes:

in response to wcirwin64#584242:

Fulmer left it depleted ? check the recruiting rankings . . "02=#2, 03=#18, 04=#8,05=#4,06=#23, 07=#3 . . Fulmer's firing began the exodus of recruits & players.Then the Kiffin debacle left our cupboards completely bare. But I do agree that CDD is doing the best he can with what he has

The key words being "the best he can", which isn't very good. We need a coach who has proven he can win. No more hires with loosing records. This is Tennessee dadgumit. Hamilton is gone. It's time to get back to winning instead of worrying about what the bathrooms look like.

crimsonviper writes:

in response to TheBlue:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

What's up with the cut and paste festival,bub? Trying to get a job writing for the KNS? Good luck.

brod writes:

29 point underdog. that sounds about right. bama will call off the dogs in the second half and just run, run, run.

GainesvilleVol1 writes:

I just don't see how you can put any blame on the coaching staff at this point. From what I have saw, we are playing 4 quarters, not very well at times, but it's due to youth and inexperience. I haven't seen quit like I did several years ago. They say losing builds characater, well we should be very solid on characater after this season.

Very young team, not much depth, multiple injurys to our key players equal losses. We will get better in time, however this is a sport where not many are given much time.

GO VOLS!!

volfanz writes:

in response to SIMSVOL:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I appreciate your optimism, but if you think were going 8-4 this year, you need your head examined....7-5 still has a slight possibility, but looks very, very doubtful. I love the vols as much as the next guy, but I am also a realist.....There is a chance we may only win one SEC game and that is against Kentucky. Never thought things would be this bad, but we have to face reality and admit to our deficiencies. We will have to wait longer for a winning record and a chance to regain our past form within the conference.

volfanz writes:

in response to volfaninbuckeyeland:

Sims, this is a chat board, not a story board, and yes, true fans don't have to view their team through orange colored glasses that distort an honest perspective of the current state of affairs. And by the way, I really tire of all the belittlement of Fulmer when in actuality we will never know what might have happened had he remained since he didn't. Kiffin came very close to a 9 win season, including what would have been a monumental victory over eventual NC Ala and he did it with Fulmer recruits! Taj Boyd is an example of some of the commitments that had planned to come to Tenn., but was told he would not fit in to the system. The only games during Kiffin's stint where we were soundly beaten was Ol' Miss & Va Tech. Who knows what might have been had Fulmer brought in an OC like Malzahn? I just think that a man who for decades gave his all for Tenn deserves a little more respect than what many on this site are willing to give him. All of us realize that we are in a "rebuilding" mode; the frustrating thing is, in spite of all of the injuries, that there just simply does not seem to be any significant improvement from where we were last year except in having the correct # of players on the field at any given time. You're delusional to think we go 8-4, but 7-5 does now seem attainable with the injury to Lattimore. I think a more objective scenario is 6-6 although Vandy's Commodores could sink the Vol Navy this year. Their coach has got them believing in themselves and that is something even UT might not be able to do after this week.

Well said and I agree with the post 100%. I love the vols, but can accept the fact that the team is just not ready to compete within the SEC, especially with the injuries we have this season. Unfortunately, certain things aren't adding up, like how our Freshman offensive line from last year is doing worse this year as sophomores. I'm not pointing fingers, but am disappointed in the lack of overall improvement.....I will continue to always root for the vols and I will pray for next season!

allvol8 writes:

in response to TheBlue:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Clueless yourself.....awps opinion as well

willblitz4bacon writes:

in response to TheBlue:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

You must be a Kensucky fan right?

tennvolsman19651965 writes:

in response to mrkirker:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Well, most of those guys were 5 star recruits. And Kiffin didnt exactly take the SEC East the year he coached either. I still think that a better offensive coordinator would have made a big difference for Fulmer. We had the defensive coordinator, and he proved it last weekend.

orangecountyvols writes:

in response to willblitz4bacon:

You must be a Kensucky fan right?

Will, and fellow Vols,

Guys, we know this kid is just that........a kid.
Worse still, a kid that is a troll wannabe.

alaocala writes:

The Alabama Tennessee game has always been a benchmark of how season is going for each team. Coach Bryant considered the Tennessee game as one of, if not the most important game of his season. There have been many memorable games in recent years including a game with 5 overtimes and a game in 2009 that almost changed a national championship. This game will be no exception. The result could be one sided but the effort displayed by the players will be outstanding.

jobrando#216494 writes:

in response to CrippledCoon:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I think no more than 28-10...Bama will start playing reserves with the start of the 2nd half to rest the team for the LSU game. It's always possibe the 2nd team may run up it some. I think Worley should be given the keys and something good might happen

VOLS_SEC_RULES writes:

Sports do not build character. They reveal it.
- Haywood Hale Broun

Vol_in_Mich writes:

in response to CrippledCoon:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

ah, LSU

DwayneElizondoMountainDewHerbertCamacho writes:

in response to 10seVol85:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

"If you were a fan, you would be supportive of the coaches until they show they don't deserve it."

Does that include a coach's losing record at the school he coached at prior to coming to UT or does the UT hire completely erase history?

DwayneElizondoMountainDewHerbertCamacho writes:

in response to 10seVol85:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

hcjournals#206623 writes:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

hcjournals#206623 writes:

Hey Dwayne...Why not just save us the hassle and not post anyway? Just saying.....

OTPVol writes:

in response to VOODOOley-2011:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Tebow and Meyer rolled into one.

TheFuj writes:

in response to hcjournals#206623:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

My exact thoughts. Like Dooley, but we have to be better. My concern is that in all aspects we are really no better than we were last year. Probably only d-line. Most areas same or worse.

GiveHimSixMoreYears writes:

There are 120 schools in Division I football. Everyone of them has an offensive line coach that makes less than 1/4 of what Derek Dooley makes. Probably 110 of those coaches , after a game or two, can fix a problem with a center snap, or find someone who can snap the ball.

Derek Dooley, our head man, halfway through the season, can't oversee and correct this most fundamental problem. Neither has he said how he's going to fix it, except for vague references to bamboo and other excuses.

This is ineptitude on a whole new level. Face it - He's not an SEC coach and there's no progress. Dooley's lost and in over his head

givehim6 writes:

in response to jobrando#216494:

You should take a look at this board and see your talking to very few people. They have all lost interest until right after the Bama game and then they will be back to vent for a day. It's just complete frustration. The sad part is next year it will be more of the same.

Momma raised me like this "If you ain'te got nothing good to say, don't say noting". I know old time saying but still is in my head after all these years. Got to talk, so try to stay positive. If most have lost interest why do so many vent? I pretty much knew we were going to lose to LSU and fill UT will get slamed by Bama also. I just want UT to look competitive.

tennvolsman19651965 writes:

in response to hcjournals#206623:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Speaking of JUCO recruits: You might find this interesting.

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

VolinCalif writes:

in response to CrippledCoon:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

CC It could happen but I don't think so. This bunch of Kids are really pretty big and strong. There just aren't enough of them to stay fresh for a full game. It takes two to three years in the weight room for them to really get strong. I am sure you remember what was really important when you were in high school. and it was getting into things and it sure wasn't a weight room.

CrankE writes:

Here in the 205, they're not talking so much about Tennessee, but LSU.

The fans at least are looking ahead. I can only hope that their team is also looking ahead and looking past UT. The Vols will need any and all advantages they can get.

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