John Adams: New UT defense is food for thought

John Adams

Tennessee's commitment to becoming a bigger football team was best characterized by defensive lineman Marlon Walls earlier this spring when he said he wanted to be a "healthy 300 pounds."

A college-age Shaquille O'Neal came to mind. I couldn't think of anyone else.

Walls has been gaining weight ever since he left high school, where he played as a 225-pound linebacker. But at 281 pounds, he's still a work in progress.

UT's new 3-4 defense is best manned by bigger linemen and preferably anchored by a nose tackle who is a couple of average human beings wide. This spring, the Vols will get by with 305-pound Maurice Couch at the position. Not until junior college transfer Daniel McCullers arrives this fall will the team fully appreciate the weight of the position.

McCullers was listed at 380 pounds when he signed with the Vols in February. So he's already about 75 pounds up on his competition when it comes to meeting the position requirements.

A nose tackle in a 3-4 alignment is expected to occupy space and blockers. If he blocks a pass once

a month or sacks a quarterback during the regular season, that's a bonus.

The expectations for the position are intriguing, especially when compared to other positions. Quarterback requires a vast array of skills. Speed matters almost everywhere. And no one under 6 feet will get a free ride through college as a pass-rush end or an offensive lineman.

But almost anyone can put on pounds. Put on enough of them and maybe you could play for the Vols.

The possibility is terrifying for the youth of the Big Orange Nation.

About mid-July, an astute set of parents might notice that their 10-year-old son has withdrawn from all organized sports and spent his savings on a small refrigerator for his room. They also might notice that he weighs more than the family pet. And the family pet is a St. Bernard.

"We thought your goal was to play for the Vols," they tell him. "Well, I bet Peyton Manning didn't spend his summers sitting around, eating."

"I don't want to be Peyton Manning," he says. "I want to be a Tennessee nose tackle."

Chilling, isn't it?

Tennessee ranked in the top 10 nationally in child obesity before the Vols switched to a 3-4. Is No. 1 now within reach?

Let's hope not. Instead, let's hope that someone in the athletic department is able to look beyond the line of scrimmage and see the potential health threat.

I'm not condemning the Vols' move to the 3-4. It might be better suited to their defensive personnel. But it's incumbent on UT to educate its young fans about the new defense.

Kids need to know they can't just eat their way into the starting lineup.

Nose tackles aren't carted on and off the field. They're required to run through the "T" like everyone else.

And they aren't confined to their own little corner of the field like kickers and punters. They actually have to practice with their teammates.

Most importantly, aspiring UT nose tackles should understand it's not enough to weigh 380 pounds. It needs to be a healthy 380 pounds.

John Adams is a senior columnist. He may be reached at 865-342-6284 or adamsj@knoxnews.com. Follow him at http://twitter.com/johnadamskns

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Comments » 51

mcgink2 writes:

Ummmm. Ok. Not sure why i just read that, much less feel inclined to post anything. Is this really the only thing JA could find to write about?

RoadTrip writes:

What a pathetic excuse for an article. However, would expect nothing more than this from JA.

lemme_axya_this writes:

Was that a football story or a Michelle Obama childhood obesity....... thing?

Clarkrm0706 writes:

What the He**? Most teams look for large individuals at these positions and (as we all know) Many of UT's recruits are from other states. I know with FB still in the off season that you have to search hard for reasons to slam TN but this is by far the largest stretch attempted thus far. Sad man, just sad.

ShaversChoicewasbanned writes:

What a waste of time...

CoverOrange writes:

Good point that could have been made about any football team but lost in JA's usual smarmyness toward the U of T.

Clarkrm0706 writes:

in response to Clarkrm0706:

What the He**? Most teams look for large individuals at these positions and (as we all know) Many of UT's recruits are from other states. I know with FB still in the off season that you have to search hard for reasons to slam TN but this is by far the largest stretch attempted thus far. Sad man, just sad.

LOL! Nevermind. I remember a comment (the comments that KNS staff act like they never read) from his previous story. Someone suggested that JAs small size was the reason for his bitterness. Then, like magic, we have an article slamming larger sizes. How pathetic

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

Take time to dig at the states obesity problems disguised as a UT fb story, sad...

UTByrd writes:

Strange story. If Adams does not tell us of Marlon eating his way to 300#'s, we, as well as the children he is so worried about, wouln't have a clue that this overeating was happening. Maybe he should write an article criticizing his journalistic efforts.
Go VOLS!!!!!

tovolny writes:

I suppose this is comedy, maybe words of light, or written by someone who just wants to amuse themselves while poking fun at Tennesseans. The 3-4 defense is probably used by half of the college and NFL teams. It is not something new being around about 30 years now. A good 3-4 needs a good noseguard type player in the middle. The noseguard stereotype, being the player targeted by Adams, is known by the posters and readers of this site. Besides, the Vol Defensive Coach has indicated that we will be using all defensive sets. The 3-4 is the base with various sets and looks that at times might even adapt the old Buddy Ryan stuff used by the Chicago Bears. Sunseri is on record saying that if a defensive player comes to Tennessee, the NFL will have plenty of video to observe players performance using all the defenses of the NFL. See the KNS videos.

I cannot connect with Adams' reasons or why he thinks Tennessee football fans enjoy his writing. If you are a Vol fan and get off on his stuff...then knock yourself out. If I want some comedic entertainment, then I will checkout Leno or Letterman...John Adams
are you kidding me?

frblalack writes:

Adams is downright delusional. At some point he should be carted away in a strait jacket if he thinks this article is funny. What a waste!

EALVOL writes:

Adams made reference to top ten lists in this excuse for journalism, but this article has to rank in the top ten most stupid articles he has ever written, and there have been more than a few like that. I Wish there was a top ten list for the worst sports writers in the SEC. Care to guess where he would fall?

CoverOrange writes:

in response to BIVOLAR_BEARE:

Take time to dig at the states obesity problems disguised as a UT fb story, sad...

Top ten but not number 1. It is a national problem. Read a few years ago that Michael Jordan, in his prime, would have been classified as "obese" by current medical standards.

volsreign writes:

Well there's 3 minutes I'll never get back.

rbut5252#220065 writes:

If Adams was making an effort at humor, he failed miserably. What a waste of space...would have been much better to put an advertisement in this spot.

Voluvr writes:

I'm confident the goal is adding muscle not blubber.

orangegrass writes:

I wish this guy would make up his mind. D if they do and D if they don't. Adams, go get a real job and go to work for a living. You have way too much time on your hands.

VolinCalif writes:

Come on you guys. This is a pretty good article. I like it almost as much as John's story about how to run from an Alligator. Make sure you run in a Z pattern. One should surely appreciate that information. And warning that you should stay in a healthy weight zone is also important. Some may not know that there is a possibility of still being healthy at 380lbs. I like this art.

bbmon13#478091 writes:

Again - a quality column requires a lotta effort - you Adams detractors are forgetting, he's not gonna put a lotta effort into columns like this.

During media days or on any given day, a reporter might interview 5-10 different players. A reporter can write articles off that one days worth of interviews for the next month if he tries - without having to do any additional work....just refer back to that particular day and pull out the next person interviewed or the next quote - articles can be written around single sentence quotes.

The point is - John Adams is not a lot different from today's typical journalist - there's not a lot of work or effort put into these pieces. To them, they think it's clever or funny. To other journalists, same thing, they think it's clever or well done.

To the general reading public, collective rolls of the eyes - that's why there is such a disconnect between the public and the print media....the print media still write as if it's 1975.

A better work might be explaining the difference between the 3-4 and 4-3....why is one better than the other....does it take two years for the players to grasp the 3-4?? if so, why so? Spend 15 minutes on the phone with some 3-4 experts - how important is a big nose tackle? why? can you win or be effective without the big nose tackle? why or why not? examples of such....

Rather than that, Adams chose to say - hey, if this guy eats a lot, he'll get bigger!!

Tell us more Mr Science....

volfaninutah writes:

Does this "richard Cranium" ever write anything good about the University of Tennessee? Seems to me he would try to write something that inspires the readers and the fans. But he always spins a personal agenda or idea with his stories that always come off as if a freshman student has written it for extra credit. Adams is a strange bird, or someone that intentionally tries to stir the pot... and usually does.

Caspian writes:

This Adams guy is hilarious. It took me a minute, though. I thought he was serious at first. Such a dry sense of humor. Classic!

Munsterlander writes:

Weak

DannyVol writes:

If you thought this article was funny or informative, you are...I hope we never meet. I cannot believe this man is still employed by the KNS. His articles are like Hee Haw's KORN branched out into print journalism.

Classof72 writes:

Mr. Adams should password protect his computer terminal. Some hacker keeps posting garbage under his byline. It never gets caught because nobody at KNS will look at his copy.

volthrunthru#658770 writes:

That column gives some interesting food for thought. If Tennessee parents are unable to curtail calories consumed by offspring, Doodley Coachright can help.

Trim Derrick Doodley's job depends on "success" of almost 400-pound football players. That is interesting irony---an intellectual morsel upon which football fans and UT alumni and alumnae can chew.

"Rotund" helps define success in football linemen. The percent who have diabetes later in life because of huge amounts of food they eat to become too-big-to-block, while aged ten to 25, would make interesting science. So would the number with heart disease or orthapedic troubles, in their forties, fifties and later.

Football is funny in a sardonic sense. A lot of multi-million-dollar coaches stay gainfully employed by pimping the health of a bunch of starpstruck young men, who are led to believe "The League" will make destroying their health "worth it," in colleges and universities across the land in America.

Then a bunch of broken-down old guys, often poorly dressed, show up at homecomings or special ceremonies designed to honor teams from bygone eras. Waving at the crowd, they sometimes look plainly pathetic---many not just broken-down, but financially broke because they did not graduate college. Coaches made their millions; players are pushed out many times, or allowed to fall through the grates onto the ash heaps of academia, as casualties of big-time football.

Many former players in those ceremonies have no degrees, having dropped out. Once physical tools are past middle age, their jobs in construction, working on car lots, etc., are no longer doable by often-injured-and-patched knees, shoulders and other joints.

Probably those big time coaches need be very glad coaching contracts no longer have morals clauses. The ultimate irony is linking all this in any way relates to anything but money, for these
"institutions of higher education."

Melancholy and sentiment obscure morality in these scenarios, as jaded old men realize they were fed a lot of bull about going to "the league," because of the coaches' connections, if they played at _______ University.

That is the menu at training tables across the land. Of course UT is totally different---except under Mike Hamilton, paragon of pulchritude and other virtue, whose idea of "Go Big Orange" was orange, white, dark blue, light blue, black and a periodic additional color, if athletics apparel companies paid to pimp school colors.

Such high-level morality certainly would not allow young men to be fed to the grist mill that is college football, like all those other schools. No, sir! No way. Big Orange is the color of a clean machine, all the way.

Go Vols.

CarlChilders writes:

I have a new term for articles like this: dunnage.

easleychuck writes:

This is an example of the type of reporting one gets when a columnist is too lazy to do any actual work.

SouthPaVol writes:

This article left my FB craving under nourished and unsatisfied. If I lived off of JA articles, I would be skin and bones

skm writes:

wow, j.a. even this liberal democrat is having a hard time defending your writing. did you come up with this while you were on the toilet? try harder friend. a lot harder.

orangecountyvols writes:

Vols,

One of our Vol friends suggested we ignore the troll Bodeane.......so perhaps we might consider the same action for Adams.

Have you ever listened to him talking actually? He and Climer sound exactly the same as their writing styles. Whiny.......

Bubba_Knows writes:

Bring me another wheel barrel load of Twinkies. I'm going to be a nose tackle for the Vols! Can the Golden Corral support two FOOLMERS?

Bubba_Knows writes:

I became diabetic just reading this article. Who knew?

underthehill writes:

in response to volthrunthru#658770:

That column gives some interesting food for thought. If Tennessee parents are unable to curtail calories consumed by offspring, Doodley Coachright can help.

Trim Derrick Doodley's job depends on "success" of almost 400-pound football players. That is interesting irony---an intellectual morsel upon which football fans and UT alumni and alumnae can chew.

"Rotund" helps define success in football linemen. The percent who have diabetes later in life because of huge amounts of food they eat to become too-big-to-block, while aged ten to 25, would make interesting science. So would the number with heart disease or orthapedic troubles, in their forties, fifties and later.

Football is funny in a sardonic sense. A lot of multi-million-dollar coaches stay gainfully employed by pimping the health of a bunch of starpstruck young men, who are led to believe "The League" will make destroying their health "worth it," in colleges and universities across the land in America.

Then a bunch of broken-down old guys, often poorly dressed, show up at homecomings or special ceremonies designed to honor teams from bygone eras. Waving at the crowd, they sometimes look plainly pathetic---many not just broken-down, but financially broke because they did not graduate college. Coaches made their millions; players are pushed out many times, or allowed to fall through the grates onto the ash heaps of academia, as casualties of big-time football.

Many former players in those ceremonies have no degrees, having dropped out. Once physical tools are past middle age, their jobs in construction, working on car lots, etc., are no longer doable by often-injured-and-patched knees, shoulders and other joints.

Probably those big time coaches need be very glad coaching contracts no longer have morals clauses. The ultimate irony is linking all this in any way relates to anything but money, for these
"institutions of higher education."

Melancholy and sentiment obscure morality in these scenarios, as jaded old men realize they were fed a lot of bull about going to "the league," because of the coaches' connections, if they played at _______ University.

That is the menu at training tables across the land. Of course UT is totally different---except under Mike Hamilton, paragon of pulchritude and other virtue, whose idea of "Go Big Orange" was orange, white, dark blue, light blue, black and a periodic additional color, if athletics apparel companies paid to pimp school colors.

Such high-level morality certainly would not allow young men to be fed to the grist mill that is college football, like all those other schools. No, sir! No way. Big Orange is the color of a clean machine, all the way.

Go Vols.

If Adams inspired you to give us this "food for thought" then the article is worthwhile..you are saying something that needs saying..young people are not aware of the long term risks of playing football..and/or making it your life..

Volalumnus writes:

This issue does concern me and I have been thinking for a while how long is it till football as we know it is taken from us by some health panel in washington setting weight to size ratios that none of these guys can meet? They can do it... and with the trends getting larger and larger..., it will happen.. and those that get to be so large will have trouble ever playing. Will things be better? I don't know, but football will change.

underthehill writes:

in response to volthrunthru#658770:

That column gives some interesting food for thought. If Tennessee parents are unable to curtail calories consumed by offspring, Doodley Coachright can help.

Trim Derrick Doodley's job depends on "success" of almost 400-pound football players. That is interesting irony---an intellectual morsel upon which football fans and UT alumni and alumnae can chew.

"Rotund" helps define success in football linemen. The percent who have diabetes later in life because of huge amounts of food they eat to become too-big-to-block, while aged ten to 25, would make interesting science. So would the number with heart disease or orthapedic troubles, in their forties, fifties and later.

Football is funny in a sardonic sense. A lot of multi-million-dollar coaches stay gainfully employed by pimping the health of a bunch of starpstruck young men, who are led to believe "The League" will make destroying their health "worth it," in colleges and universities across the land in America.

Then a bunch of broken-down old guys, often poorly dressed, show up at homecomings or special ceremonies designed to honor teams from bygone eras. Waving at the crowd, they sometimes look plainly pathetic---many not just broken-down, but financially broke because they did not graduate college. Coaches made their millions; players are pushed out many times, or allowed to fall through the grates onto the ash heaps of academia, as casualties of big-time football.

Many former players in those ceremonies have no degrees, having dropped out. Once physical tools are past middle age, their jobs in construction, working on car lots, etc., are no longer doable by often-injured-and-patched knees, shoulders and other joints.

Probably those big time coaches need be very glad coaching contracts no longer have morals clauses. The ultimate irony is linking all this in any way relates to anything but money, for these
"institutions of higher education."

Melancholy and sentiment obscure morality in these scenarios, as jaded old men realize they were fed a lot of bull about going to "the league," because of the coaches' connections, if they played at _______ University.

That is the menu at training tables across the land. Of course UT is totally different---except under Mike Hamilton, paragon of pulchritude and other virtue, whose idea of "Go Big Orange" was orange, white, dark blue, light blue, black and a periodic additional color, if athletics apparel companies paid to pimp school colors.

Such high-level morality certainly would not allow young men to be fed to the grist mill that is college football, like all those other schools. No, sir! No way. Big Orange is the color of a clean machine, all the way.

Go Vols.

I have read your post several times and can't believe the truth in the content..you sound like you have first hand knowledge of what you write..I have not seen a better description of the "other side of playing football" and probably because no one really wants to think it exists..my son is one who now says he wishes he had never played football due to his current aches and pains...so I understand what you are saying..and I also know others who say that if they had it to do over they would play in spite of the aches and pains it caused...so there is 2 sides to the picture you paint..I do think it gives reason to believe college players should be paid money in addition to their scholarship..after all look how much the parasites (Athletic Directors etc.) get paid..

fearthehound writes:

in response to Caspian:

This Adams guy is hilarious. It took me a minute, though. I thought he was serious at first. Such a dry sense of humor. Classic!

I agree, was a tongue in cheek piece. Beats the heck out of the hit pieces he'll be putting out come football season.

Bigger_Al writes:

Dry humor? Yes, Adams attempts it often. But this is terrible.

RoadTrip writes:

How did that Creative Writing 101 class work out for you, Adams? Judging from the comments - not so much. Try harder next time to be more informative or if trying to be snarky, make sure the readers understand in advance that you are attempting it. Most will cut you a little slack if they know.

Now go to your room and do your homework before supper.

GONAVY writes:

in response to mcgink2:

Ummmm. Ok. Not sure why i just read that, much less feel inclined to post anything. Is this really the only thing JA could find to write about?

You took the very words from my mouth...

GONAVY writes:

in response to volsreign:

Well there's 3 minutes I'll never get back.

Too funny! :)

gohawks1 writes:

In other news, the rise in the Tennessee unemployment rate is blamed on the Vols football program because many players received scholarships instead of getting a job.

What a doofus...

volfanz writes:

Dear KNS,

Seriously, if you want better sports reporting and writing hire me...I am absolutely sure I could do better than Mr. Adams and probably for much less.

VOLS_SEC_RULES writes:

Wow, this story was pathetic.

Tennessee_Tod writes:

Adams move your rear to San Fransisco maybe people out there would appreciate your writing. Also make sure you don't write in the sports section because the people that would like the garbage you wrote, don't read the sports page.

SeminaryVol writes:

in response to volthrunthru#658770:

That column gives some interesting food for thought. If Tennessee parents are unable to curtail calories consumed by offspring, Doodley Coachright can help.

Trim Derrick Doodley's job depends on "success" of almost 400-pound football players. That is interesting irony---an intellectual morsel upon which football fans and UT alumni and alumnae can chew.

"Rotund" helps define success in football linemen. The percent who have diabetes later in life because of huge amounts of food they eat to become too-big-to-block, while aged ten to 25, would make interesting science. So would the number with heart disease or orthapedic troubles, in their forties, fifties and later.

Football is funny in a sardonic sense. A lot of multi-million-dollar coaches stay gainfully employed by pimping the health of a bunch of starpstruck young men, who are led to believe "The League" will make destroying their health "worth it," in colleges and universities across the land in America.

Then a bunch of broken-down old guys, often poorly dressed, show up at homecomings or special ceremonies designed to honor teams from bygone eras. Waving at the crowd, they sometimes look plainly pathetic---many not just broken-down, but financially broke because they did not graduate college. Coaches made their millions; players are pushed out many times, or allowed to fall through the grates onto the ash heaps of academia, as casualties of big-time football.

Many former players in those ceremonies have no degrees, having dropped out. Once physical tools are past middle age, their jobs in construction, working on car lots, etc., are no longer doable by often-injured-and-patched knees, shoulders and other joints.

Probably those big time coaches need be very glad coaching contracts no longer have morals clauses. The ultimate irony is linking all this in any way relates to anything but money, for these
"institutions of higher education."

Melancholy and sentiment obscure morality in these scenarios, as jaded old men realize they were fed a lot of bull about going to "the league," because of the coaches' connections, if they played at _______ University.

That is the menu at training tables across the land. Of course UT is totally different---except under Mike Hamilton, paragon of pulchritude and other virtue, whose idea of "Go Big Orange" was orange, white, dark blue, light blue, black and a periodic additional color, if athletics apparel companies paid to pimp school colors.

Such high-level morality certainly would not allow young men to be fed to the grist mill that is college football, like all those other schools. No, sir! No way. Big Orange is the color of a clean machine, all the way.

Go Vols.

Pretty dark stuff but ultimately . . . well yea. I'm surprised you didn't mention the growing evidence of head trauma for even sub concussive hits and the emerging threat CTE poses to former players. The NFL is about to be flooded with hundreds of lawsuits. Will colleges be far behind? Will the liability be too much for high schools and colleges to spring for? It will be interesting to watch.

gohawks1 writes:

in response to Sammy_Burklows_Revenge:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Wrong, Sambo. I see three steps beyond you... I and many other readers here see that buried underneath the "prose" is, once again, a derogatory message that demeans a great program. I am impressed, though, with how you take an article and related posts and turn them into an anti-Dooley matter when no mention is made of the HC. Quite a feat, even for you...

ALL_VOL75 writes:

pretty sure I now have eye cancer from reading this...

HopeisNotaCourseofAction writes:

in response to Tennessee_Tod:

Adams move your rear to San Fransisco maybe people out there would appreciate your writing. Also make sure you don't write in the sports section because the people that would like the garbage you wrote, don't read the sports page.

You have "your rear" and "San Francisco" in the same sentence, even Beevis and Butthead would get a chucle from that...

TKO writes:

How much time did you spend in the weight room Johnny? At least these men aren'tsitting around eating cheetos and talking about a reporter sitting on his arse.

tovolny writes:

in response to volthrunthru#658770:

That column gives some interesting food for thought. If Tennessee parents are unable to curtail calories consumed by offspring, Doodley Coachright can help.

Trim Derrick Doodley's job depends on "success" of almost 400-pound football players. That is interesting irony---an intellectual morsel upon which football fans and UT alumni and alumnae can chew.

"Rotund" helps define success in football linemen. The percent who have diabetes later in life because of huge amounts of food they eat to become too-big-to-block, while aged ten to 25, would make interesting science. So would the number with heart disease or orthapedic troubles, in their forties, fifties and later.

Football is funny in a sardonic sense. A lot of multi-million-dollar coaches stay gainfully employed by pimping the health of a bunch of starpstruck young men, who are led to believe "The League" will make destroying their health "worth it," in colleges and universities across the land in America.

Then a bunch of broken-down old guys, often poorly dressed, show up at homecomings or special ceremonies designed to honor teams from bygone eras. Waving at the crowd, they sometimes look plainly pathetic---many not just broken-down, but financially broke because they did not graduate college. Coaches made their millions; players are pushed out many times, or allowed to fall through the grates onto the ash heaps of academia, as casualties of big-time football.

Many former players in those ceremonies have no degrees, having dropped out. Once physical tools are past middle age, their jobs in construction, working on car lots, etc., are no longer doable by often-injured-and-patched knees, shoulders and other joints.

Probably those big time coaches need be very glad coaching contracts no longer have morals clauses. The ultimate irony is linking all this in any way relates to anything but money, for these
"institutions of higher education."

Melancholy and sentiment obscure morality in these scenarios, as jaded old men realize they were fed a lot of bull about going to "the league," because of the coaches' connections, if they played at _______ University.

That is the menu at training tables across the land. Of course UT is totally different---except under Mike Hamilton, paragon of pulchritude and other virtue, whose idea of "Go Big Orange" was orange, white, dark blue, light blue, black and a periodic additional color, if athletics apparel companies paid to pimp school colors.

Such high-level morality certainly would not allow young men to be fed to the grist mill that is college football, like all those other schools. No, sir! No way. Big Orange is the color of a clean machine, all the way.

Go Vols.

Hello John...is that you? I just don't see anybody else but you liking your articles.

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