Colleague Mike Strange pointed out the beauty of a fresh start a few weeks ago. I concur.
And as Tennessee football begins a new era, the time is right to make changes.
It should be noted that I've made recommendations before. It also should be noted that none of those changes were ever considered, much less implemented, by the powers that be.
But with new coach Butch Jones, perhaps UT will be more receptive.
More Vols Walking: Jones sparked my first idea at his introductory news conference when he stressed the significance of former players. He said they're welcome to watch practice anytime (although I assume he would make an exception for an ex-Vol now coaching at an opposing school).
He could further embrace former players by including them on the Vol Walk. It's not as though 30 or 40 more large men traipsing toward Neyland Stadium on game day would crack the pavement. What's the harm?
Tradition is one of UT's greatest attributes. You could accentuate it by having current and former players united for all their fans to see.
Twin Mascots: I've always thought UT has under played its blue-tick coonhound mascot. That's why a second Smokey would be a welcome addition.
Since Smokey IX just retired, you could call them "The Twin 10s." Imagine all the airtime they would get in Year One.
Better to have television commentators talking about your dogs than your defense.
Name Recognition: Fans no longer fill up Neyland Stadium on a regular basis. But those who are willing to pay for tickets, make donations and fight the crowd should be recognized for their efforts.
Have public-address announcer Bobby Denton name as many season ticket holders as he can in pregame, at halftime and during time-outs.
Promote Your Success: Winning — often by big margins — was taken for granted at Tennessee in the 1990s. Now that success occurs less frequently, it should be amplified.
An opponent goes three-and-out: sound a siren. Vols make a first down: shoot a musket. Vols score: fire a cannon.
Vols win: Sound the siren, shoot the musket and fire the cannon simultaneously; follow that with a 21-gun salute.
Reward Noise: Neyland Stadium can be very loud or very quiet. The loud
ness should be encouraged.
Just have a crowd monitor notify the concession stands. When the volume goes up, the prices should go down.
Play To Recruits: The JumboTron is a great tool. Use it.
Rather than just show highlights of past Tennessee games, show highlights of former UT players in the pros. The UT-to-the-NFL message is the best pitch you could make to a visiting recruit.
Scoreboard Watching: Scores of other games are standard on the JumboTron, but UT needs to take it a step further since some games mean more than others.
If Alabama is losing, show Nick Saban on the JumboTron with a recording of him saying "aw-right." If Southern California is losing, flash a picture of Lane Kiffin on the scoreboard with a recording of him saying "USC is a powerful place."
The crowd might make enough noise to lower the price of popcorn.