For now, Steve Stripling thinking defense for Cincinnati

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Cincinnati, a team in transition after the departure earlier this month of coach Butch Jones and both coordinators, plays Duke tonight in the Belk Bowl.

Jones left to take the job at Tennessee, so defensive line coach Steve Stripling will serve as interim head coach. Incoming coach Tommy Tuberville will also be on hand to watch but won't have any input on game day.

Jones went 23-14 at Cincinnati the last three years.

The Bearcats (9-3) finished tied for the best record in the Big East but are left with only five full-time coaches from Jones' staff to work the game. They'll have new coordinators calling the shots on both sides of the ball.

Stripling led Central Michigan to a 44-41 win over Troy in the 2010 GMAC Bowl before joining Jones' staff. Stripling, who'll call the plays on defense, said his biggest concern had been keeping his team focused through adversity.

He said the play calls won't change.

"What we've tried to do from the beginning, because this is such a different situation for them, is try to find some normalcy,"said Stripling, who will serve as defensive line coach at UT. "You try to keep them in their comfort zone and keep them focused."

Duke (6-6) hasn't won a bowl game since 1961.

Coach David Cutcliffe called this game the next step in trying to build a winning tradition and raise the level of expectations of the players, similar to what coach Mike Krzyzewski has done in basketball.

"This is national exposure for us,"said Cutcliffe, a former UT offensive coordinator. "The NFL is not playing. We're it. We're the game. So people across the country who maybe heard a little bit about Duke football, if they see us play as well as we can play, I think they will be a little shocked. We have a lot of speed and a lot of skill. So this can have a huge impact for us."

And Cutcliffe said the Blue Devils are on the verge of something special.

"I don't plan on not making a bowl again — and that's the mentality I want every player to have. ... When I talked to coach Krzyzewski, there is no question what the expectations of a Duke basketball player are," Cutcliffe said. "And that's the opportunity we have to create really big expectations."

Despite the changes, the Bearcats come in as 7-point favorites. That's largely because they have a high-powered offense that'll be facing a Blue Devils defense that collapsed down the stretch.

After a rare win over rival North Carolina to go 6-2, the Blue Devils lost their final four games to Florida State, Clemson, Georgia Tech and Miami.

During that stretch, Duke's defense surrendered a whopping 51 points and 294.5 yards rushing per game.

That should play into Cincinnati's hands.

Led by senior tailback George Winn, the Bearcats enter the game ranked 31st in the country in rushing. After serving as a backup for most of his career at Cincinnati, Winn has emerged as a leader on offense, running for 1,204 yards and 12 touchdowns.

Duke will need its offense to be in high gear.

Renfree completed 66 percent of his passes for 2,760 yards with 18 touchdown passes and eight interceptions.

Cincinnati features a bend-but-don't-break defense.

"We kept teams off the scoreboard, which is big," Stripling said. "I think that's going to be the key."

Stripling laughed when asked if he foresees a high-scoring affair.

"Well, I'm a defensive guy, so I don't think that way," he said. "Ultimately I think this game will be about which defense steps up to the challenge."

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Comments » 20

Pullingguard writes:

will be an interesting view for Vol fans to see how the talent of Cincinnati measures up against one of weaker teams of ACC

MarbleCitySon writes:

in response to Pullingguard:

will be an interesting view for Vol fans to see how the talent of Cincinnati measures up against one of weaker teams of ACC

I don't think it will be as much of a preview of talent as much as it will be of the work ethic of the players and the type of system that CBJ has installed there. I'll be interested to see how much fight the dog has in it.

LovinMyVols writes:

Hard game for me. Want Cincy to win for Coach Jones, but want Duke to win for Coach Cut.

Is this the Ghost of Vols past versus the Ghost of Vols Future?

lomas98 writes:

Most vol fans will probably judge coach stribling on this game, which is unfair. If they lose, most will think he cannot motivate and is not a good coach. If win, most will think well it was just duke. Butch jones has nothing to do with this ream anymore, so don't judge him based on the kids fight or interest. It is just another bowl game and who knows what team will show up.

HollySpringsVOL writes:

Good luck, CDC!

born2ride writes:

We now have a BIg East coaching staff at an SEC school.

Noogaorange writes:

in response to born2ride:

We now have a BIg East coaching staff at an SEC school.

Why don't you just ride off into the sunset?

We really don't need your smart a=s posts!

GBO VFL17

SummittsCourt writes:

in response to born2ride:

We now have a BIg East coaching staff at an SEC school.

"We?" you use that term rather loosely.

Time for you to take a break, get out of the basement and go rub your grannies feet.

orangecountyvols writes:

in response to SummittsCourt:

"We?" you use that term rather loosely.

Time for you to take a break, get out of the basement and go rub your grannies feet.

Summitts Court,

Relax friend. You are recognizing another punk troll throwing the "we and us " stuff around. Remember for the future.......born to lose is nothing more than a troll.

OrangePsyched writes:

Folks just can't bring themselves to resist the urge to feed the trolls. Then we wonder why they keep lurking. In a perfect world they would just go away for lack of interest on our part. Go Cincy.

sameolvolalum writes:

in response to born2ride:

We now have a BIg East coaching staff at an SEC school.

Urbie took a WAC staff to FU. How'd that work out? Ride this!

wigmeister writes:

in response to born2ride:

We now have a BIg East coaching staff at an SEC school.

IDIOT!

rockypop writes:

in response to born2ride:

We now have a BIg East coaching staff at an SEC school.

Ask Notre Dame how the same is working out for them.

voldog70 writes:

in response to lomas98:

Most vol fans will probably judge coach stribling on this game, which is unfair. If they lose, most will think he cannot motivate and is not a good coach. If win, most will think well it was just duke. Butch jones has nothing to do with this ream anymore, so don't judge him based on the kids fight or interest. It is just another bowl game and who knows what team will show up.

Looked like Coach Butch Jones and the UC staff had a pretty good system for developing players and a good eye for talent. That was a 2-star quarterback throwing the 83-yard game winning TD to a 2-star tight-end and a 3-star LB icing the game with a interception return for a TD.

I know, it was only Duke, but I don't think we could have beat Duke or UC last year.

Enki_Amenra writes:

Who is this guy? He's not a premier coaching name! Well Tennessee fans, looks like Hart did a Dooley 2.0. We'll back in this same position in 3 years, nice work Hart. Get ready for another several years of terrible football on Rocky Top!

Hmm, this guy seems better than I first thought. The more I watch this guy talk, the more I think the hire may not have been so terrible. The more I learn about Coach Jones, the more I think we may have backed into a good hire, but Hart still screwed it up.

Maybe Hart knew what he was doing! The more I see of CBJ, the more I like him. Tennessee may have made the best hire in all of college football this year! Maybe Hart knew exactly what he was doing!

These are all the things I remember reading and some of them are even things I felt myself. Oh, how times on Rocky Top can change so quickly. It is a short walk from the Castle to the phooey House... that also means it's a short walk back to the Castle...

As the days pass, it seems more likely that Coach Butch Jones and his staff could be the ones to leave the phooey House and hit the path back to the Castle!

We've heard Coach Jones talk about his philosophy, particularly his assertion that our next Volunteer team will be one that takes care of the ball, doesn't throw interceptions or fumble on offense and on defence, they'll be sound and will create turnovers.

Continued in next post...

Enki_Amenra writes:

...Con't

Well, tonight, even though he was not on the sideline, we got our first look at a Coach Jones product on the field in the Belk Bowl.

Cincinnati versus Duke is wrapping up as I type this. Cincinnati's interim HC, Coach Stripling, will be headed directly to Knoxville after the game, to assume his role on Tennessee's new staff.

Watching this game, I couldn't help but be impressed. The fact that they are operating on half a coaching staff and have done so since mid-December is impressive. Surely there is handicap in those conditions, but the Cincinnati players held their ground and performed well, in the face of an uncertain future.

While COach Jones was not there, the Belk Bowl showcased some of the assertions made by Coach Jones. The on-field product, delivered by Cincinnati tonight, seems to confirm Coach Jones' claims of an efficient and secure offense. That offense was accompanied by a defense that, not only creates turn-overs, but capitalizes on their opponents mistakes.

The Bearcats closed the scoring with an interception returned for a touchdown, putting an exclamation point on the assertions made by Coach Butch Jones when he first arrived in Knoxville. Whenever he can, he's says the same thing.

After watching Cincinnati claim a win in the Belk Bowl, beating an overachieving Duke team, I am left feeling great about Coach Jones and his coaching capabilities.

We will have to wait until next season before we can see our new-look Vols, but tonight we saw that our new Volunteers coach can back up his claims. It is settling to know he is not just giving a sales pitch, saying the things we want to hear.

Tonight we saw the product of what a real coach can give to young men. Without Coach Jones on the Cincinnati sideline, we can see that he truly changes these young men. The discipline and confidence he instilled into his players can be seen in their efforts on the field.

Having a coach who can turn young men into upstanding members of our community and the communities they call home later in life.

I like this guy and if he can back up his claims with results on and off the field, well I will certainly back him up as the right person to lead Tennessee and the young men who have committed themselves and their future to the Vols, as the place to catapult them into adulthood.

Go Big Orange!!!

Enki_Amenra writes:

for anyone who cares... please excuse my tyops in the posts above... I am on a smaller keyboard and forgot to spellcheck before posting...

oldster writes:

in response to Enki_Amenra:

...Con't

Well, tonight, even though he was not on the sideline, we got our first look at a Coach Jones product on the field in the Belk Bowl.

Cincinnati versus Duke is wrapping up as I type this. Cincinnati's interim HC, Coach Stripling, will be headed directly to Knoxville after the game, to assume his role on Tennessee's new staff.

Watching this game, I couldn't help but be impressed. The fact that they are operating on half a coaching staff and have done so since mid-December is impressive. Surely there is handicap in those conditions, but the Cincinnati players held their ground and performed well, in the face of an uncertain future.

While COach Jones was not there, the Belk Bowl showcased some of the assertions made by Coach Jones. The on-field product, delivered by Cincinnati tonight, seems to confirm Coach Jones' claims of an efficient and secure offense. That offense was accompanied by a defense that, not only creates turn-overs, but capitalizes on their opponents mistakes.

The Bearcats closed the scoring with an interception returned for a touchdown, putting an exclamation point on the assertions made by Coach Butch Jones when he first arrived in Knoxville. Whenever he can, he's says the same thing.

After watching Cincinnati claim a win in the Belk Bowl, beating an overachieving Duke team, I am left feeling great about Coach Jones and his coaching capabilities.

We will have to wait until next season before we can see our new-look Vols, but tonight we saw that our new Volunteers coach can back up his claims. It is settling to know he is not just giving a sales pitch, saying the things we want to hear.

Tonight we saw the product of what a real coach can give to young men. Without Coach Jones on the Cincinnati sideline, we can see that he truly changes these young men. The discipline and confidence he instilled into his players can be seen in their efforts on the field.

Having a coach who can turn young men into upstanding members of our community and the communities they call home later in life.

I like this guy and if he can back up his claims with results on and off the field, well I will certainly back him up as the right person to lead Tennessee and the young men who have committed themselves and their future to the Vols, as the place to catapult them into adulthood.

Go Big Orange!!!

You and I must have watched different games. While UC did get some turnovers (at least two of which were due to Duke freshmen making dumb mistakes), they showed an inability to stop a horrible running attack (104 in the country) or slow down the passing of Duke. Based on what I saw, UT will be remembering the defense of Sal Sunseri with fondness after this group of coaches gets through teaching the wonderful tackling techniques that the Bearcats displayed in NOT tackling a 175lb running back. Nope, I was more than not impressed. Hopefully, it was an aberration.

orangecountyvols writes:

Vols,

After watching Duke hitting so many screen passes and little dinks and dunks to backs coming out of the backfield...........it was looking like another Sunseri defense for a while.

That was a really exciting game.........but when it came down to crunch time, the Blue Devils found out why it has been over 50 years why they haven't won a bowl game.

Officiating was pretty shaky.........even for both teams.

Liked the comment about Lou Holtz's wife having the 20-some greatest years of her married life to Lou ( out of 51 ).

Vol_in_Mich writes:

in response to OrangePsyched:

Folks just can't bring themselves to resist the urge to feed the trolls. Then we wonder why they keep lurking. In a perfect world they would just go away for lack of interest on our part. Go Cincy.

Define troll. Just because you don't agree with another Vol fan does not make them a troll. There are plenty of "True Trolls" on here & yes, you shouldn't feed them. But some folks think it's a lot of fun to mess with them. Just don't let them get to you or take over a thread.
Happy New Year all "Real Vol Fans" & "True trolls"

GBO - Give em HeII Butch!

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