Austin Ward: Playing young guys early in their careers proves a solid building block for Vols

Tennessee's Curt Maggitt, left, and A.J. Johnson (45) stop Buffalo running back Branden Oliver during a game on Oct. 1 at Neyland Stadium

Photo by Michael Patrick, copyright © 2011

Tennessee's Curt Maggitt, left, and A.J. Johnson (45) stop Buffalo running back Branden Oliver during a game on Oct. 1 at Neyland Stadium

Tennessee's football team couldn't afford to wait on its freshmen. Those young guys also had no interest in waiting to produce.

That combination didn't help the Vols finish the season with a bowl bid, but after again getting so many first-year players on the field and knocking out a few growing pains quickly, they could be in much better position to make a run moving forward in Derek Dooley's third season.

Assuming the development continues as planned for UT, starting with these five players after productive debut seasons, the program could be in good hands when the freshman label is officially shed and they return as experienced sophomores.

No. 5

MARCUS JACKSON

Position: Offensive guard

Data: 12 games, five starts, part of a line that allowed six sacks during games he started

Behind the numbers: Jackson showed up on campus and was instantly one of the strongest linemen the Vols had, which is both a credit to the way he prepared himself for the college level and a reflection of the rebuilding job the program was undergoing up front. Jackson wasn't quite as ready for the mental and competitive challenge of playing every snap right away, but by the end of his first campaign he had carved out a first-team role and looked like somebody who would be as hard to move on the depth chart as he is on the field at 6-foot-3, 326 pounds.

Next step: Dooley has moved relatively quickly to restock the line with talented, physical players, and the competition should be particularly heated on the interior as he prepares for his third year leading UT. Jackson gained valuable experience, James Stone and Zach Fulton have been on the field for two years at guard and Alex Bullard was a mainstay in the trenches after transferring from Notre Dame. After struggling at times to simply find five guys to roll with, the Vols should instead be trying to pare it down next fall.

No. 4

MARLIN LANE

Position: Running back

Data: 75 carries for 280 yards with two touchdowns; 17 receptions for 161 yards with two touchdowns; seven punt returns for 36 yards and seven kickoff returns for 143 yards

Behind the numbers: Lane certainly made a splash right away, making a pair of visits to the end zone in his debut and looking like just the multipurpose weapon the team needed in the backfield to complement starter Tauren Poole. Ultimately both the senior and the newcomer left some yardage on the field for various reasons, with Lane's health certainly among the issues that slowed him down late in the year. When he was sharp, Lane was making decisive cuts and blending that with speed to run away from defenders — like he did on a touchdown grab against Montana in the opener. But he wasn't the same guy all year, and the offseason scope on his knee provided some evidence why.

Next step: Poole is gone now, and with or without the veteran the Vols were going to need dramatic progress on the ground after a disappointing year for the tailbacks. Lane is surely the leading candidate to take over the majority of the work based on his experience and talent, assuming there is no lingering concern about his health — which there doesn't appear to be based on the expected full clearance for spring practice. Lane isn't going to be able to do everything himself, though, and whether it's the emergence of Tom Smith, expanded roles for Devrin Young or walk-on Jaron Toney or perhaps help from somebody not yet on campus, added depth will be just as critical as improved comfort for Lane.

No. 3

BRIAN RANDOLPH

Position: Safety

Data: 12 games, eight starts, 55 tackles, one takedown for a loss, one forced fumble, two passes defended

Behind the numbers: The defensive back didn't come in with the most hype of the class, and he might not have even received the most attention of any of the signees just in the secondary. But the coaching staff was always high on his intelligence and athleticism, and he delivered in a way that few others in the freshman class were able to last fall. There were occasional lapses and breakdowns along the way, which were to be expected, but by the end of his debut season he could be counted on to finish tackles and certainly appeared to be getting a better handle on his responsibilities at the back of the defense. Like a few other first-year players in the UT secondary, the loss of Janzen Jackson in August and an injury to Brent Brewer amplified the pressure, but the way Randolph handled the adversity bodes well for his future.

Next step: The Vols clearly put a premium on adding depth in the secondary last year, and that effort appears to have netted a solid building block in that process with Randolph at safety. How UT will fill in around him remains to be seen, particularly since rising senior Prentiss Waggner is perhaps more ideally suited to playing at cornerback. The competition should be heated among the cover guys, and if Brewer is able to return healthy and ready to again be a hard-hitting force at the other safety spot, the Vols could be in good shape in the backend.

No. 2

CURT MAGGITT

Position: Linebacker/defensive end

Data: 11 games, eight starts, 56 tackles, one sack, eight tackles for a loss, one forced fumble

Behind the numbers: The coaching staff could hardly contain its excitement during training camp as Maggitt started showing his stuff, and nothing that happened after the season opened did much to alter the expectations for him. The blend of size, speed and intelligence Maggitt brings to the table is rare, and based on the early returns after being thrown into the starting lineup right away, there might not be a limit to what he's capable of down the road as a sideline-to-sideline tackler and a potentially dynamic pass rusher. Before getting too carried away, Maggitt did have some injury concerns during his first season, missing one game with a calf problem, and he will be held out of contact during spring practice after having shoulder surgery. But if he stays healthy, the coaches might again find it difficult to hide their feelings about Maggitt.

Next step: The middle of the defense can't rely solely on Maggitt and classmate A.J. Johnson to handle all the heavy lifting, and how exactly the Vols will proceed at linebacker is a bit of an unknown at this point. Certainly in the spring UT will have a chance to get a good look at its options with Maggitt on the sideline, with Dontavis Sapp likely to be under the microscope with Herman Lathers also closely watched as he tries to return from injuries. But obviously the Vols would rather have Maggitt taking those reps in the spring to help continue his development, but that will have to wait for now.

No. 1

A.J. JOHNSON

Position: Linebacker

Data: 12 games, 10 starts, 80 tackles, seven takedowns for a loss, two fumble recoveries, one forced fumble

Behind the numbers: The volume of tackles is impressive enough for a player barely out of high school. But it was the way those hits were accumulated that really stood out with Johnson, who didn't seem satisfied to simply get a ballcarrier on the ground — they had to be driven to the turf. Johnson hardly needed any time to adjust his physical style of play to the collegiate level, winning a starting job on the outside during training camp and developing into one of UT's most productive defenders after just a few games despite occasionally looking like he might be playing out of position. With a full year in the weight room and more familiarity with the defensive schemes heading into his sophomore campaign, Johnson has a chance to do some special things for the Vols on defense.

Next step: For somebody with so much success right away, there wouldn't normally be much incentive to tinker around with a player after a season like Johnson had as a freshman. But the Vols could well make a move with Johnson from the outside to the middle depending on how the rest of the crew at linebacker develops, with the return of a healthy Lathers possibly the most important factor in that decision. If Lathers is able to play with the speed and play-making ability he was displaying late in the 2010 season, Johnson would appear to be a natural fit in the middle with Maggitt at the other outside spot. One way or another, Johnson is going to be heavily involved and a critical component of the unit, but where exactly he lines up remains to be seen.

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Comments » 85

dvhill100 writes:

CDD has bought in some studs. Now all this talent needs to take the next step, including CDD. We certainly have the potential to be good next year. I felt we took a small step backwards this year. Certainly the injuries and schedule made it difficult, but there wasn't the progress I was expecting. Hopefully a full year in the system and weight room and more discipline and better study will show improvement on the field.

VolinCalif writes:

Depends on how one sees progress, I thought we had progress but not success on the field. We played close to the hardest schedule in CFB and our injuries showed very early. The only true S-Up was KY. I saw a hot Off. in the early part of the year and a steady improvement on Def. thru the year. I think we will be there this yr depending on who we get as our new Coaches. 9 wins and a bowl win. Could be in the running for the SECE.

utfaninga writes:

Rajion Neal will be moved back to Tailback and will explode this year!
If the coaches have a brain that is....

KFDLaw writes:

CDD inherited a mess, just like President Obama, but it remains to be seen if leadership qualities will finally surface this year. The Kentucky debacle was a big step backwards in the program. The verdict is still out on whether these players want to play for CDD. Losing four coaches and several commitments over the past couple of weeks makes me wonder about unspoken problems.

Witch_Doctors writes:

Witch Doctor say Ward steps up! Witch Doctor say the old goats careers of washed ups hate these but Witch Doctor say readers REALLY write your checks...really.
Bones never lie.

jobrando#216494 writes:

All I want to know is who the DC is going to be. If it's not Shannon a huge meltdown is going to occur. Book It.

Witch_Doctors writes:

in response to jobrando#216494:

All I want to know is who the DC is going to be. If it's not Shannon a huge meltdown is going to occur. Book It.

Witch Doctor say settle down Beavis!(lol) looks like its going to be Tues. before official if true.
Bones never lie.

hewwheel writes:

in response to jobrando#216494:

All I want to know is who the DC is going to be. If it's not Shannon a huge meltdown is going to occur. Book It.

Only from the so-called fans

jobrando#216494 writes:

in response to hewwheel:

Only from the so-called fans

Yep....in this matter it's a bunch

hewwheel writes:

If CDD continues to bring in this level of talent the Big Orange, we'll be stocked pretty well in a couple of years. The level of talent we haven't seen since the mid-90's. Oh, but wait, CDD doesn't do anything well... That's sarcasm for those of you who aren't very bright.

FWBVol writes:

in response to jobrando#216494:

All I want to know is who the DC is going to be. If it's not Shannon a huge meltdown is going to occur. Book It.

I know most UT fans don't care about what's happening at Florida, but the Gators have been without an OC for more than a month and we've been without a DC for less than a week.

I'm one of those that is anxious to see who the DC will be, but I'd rather CDD go about the hiring in stealth mode than to hear multiple names and have multiple disappointments.

The national coaches convention is this weekend and I'm sure CDD is talking ot a lot of coaches about all the openings at UT. I won't be surprised if we have the staff in place by the early part of the week and I'm hopeful the coaches are all guys Volunteer fans everywhere can get excited about.

jobrando#216494 writes:

in response to hewwheel:

If CDD continues to bring in this level of talent the Big Orange, we'll be stocked pretty well in a couple of years. The level of talent we haven't seen since the mid-90's. Oh, but wait, CDD doesn't do anything well... That's sarcasm for those of you who aren't very bright.

If this DC hire is not a big splash then Dooley is toast. It's all about the fans in the stands. Bennet or Spangler want even make a ripple in the water but Shannon can get it done. Like your argumentative buddy said it may be Tuesday before we know.

VolinCalif writes:

There is a little BS here on the left coast. Some from the LA have it that Shannon is set as the DC. those are mostly from So. Cal trolls. I have family in Wa. and they say the word up there is that UT really wants Steele and it is already set. But like Witchie would would say better to wait and see than to look out ones belly button. I can't find a single true source on these rumors.

givehim6 writes:

There were times during the 2011 seson I yelled WE ARE UT! Other times I was just proud of out guys for playing well in what I still think was one of the toughest schedules in the SEC. Then there was the UGA game and USC game were I was speechless. But UK I'm still in shock about that one. The 2013 Vol have leared much, but need to play strong in every game, and finish well.

VolinCalif writes:

Ever been really depressed? I know it is the coaches that must protect against that mode. But there are times that isn't possible. The year was over and the kids were really down. So what can we say other than "been there done that"

sambad writes:

in response to jobrando#216494:

If this DC hire is not a big splash then Dooley is toast. It's all about the fans in the stands. Bennet or Spangler want even make a ripple in the water but Shannon can get it done. Like your argumentative buddy said it may be Tuesday before we know.

Won't is the proper word, not want. So much for toast.

Witch_Doctors writes:

in response to jobrando#216494:

If this DC hire is not a big splash then Dooley is toast. It's all about the fans in the stands. Bennet or Spangler want even make a ripple in the water but Shannon can get it done. Like your argumentative buddy said it may be Tuesday before we know.

Witch Doctor tell you the truth if you not like it its not being argumentative. Witch Doctor worry jo one of those that only happy when sad.
Bones never lie.
(WE Won today..beat the Gators..should make you a little up beat..Witch Doctor say if never celebrate ANYTHING Tennessee its hard to think you are really FOR Tennessee..) just a thought

GloryDays writes:

It would be nice to redshirt some of these freshman. One thing that is really lacking on this team is older leadership.

Olcrow writes:

in response to jobrando#216494:

All I want to know is who the DC is going to be. If it's not Shannon a huge meltdown is going to occur. Book It.

You think think Chief would be a meltdown? I Would like to see either Shannon or Chief.Could you imagine the recruiting pitch with Chief's D just coning off of a national championship game,although our talent level here will probably never match what LSU has this year or what we had in 98.

therightstuff writes:

People keep bringing up the Kentucky loss....who was the last Coach to lose to both KY and Vandy?
Johnny Majors and not in his 2nd year. True the DC hire is critical but it is what happens on the field that counts next year. And for those wanting the big name, big money coach...Rod was a bust at Mich, Weiss a bust at ND, Rutgers ? ...thought Schirrno(-1sp) was all everything, the guy from Boise that went to Colorado, Kelly doing ok at ND but not setting world on fire....guess I'm saying nothing is a given. Be patient Vol fans. I'm all orange.....

BamaVol writes:

in response to therightstuff:

People keep bringing up the Kentucky loss....who was the last Coach to lose to both KY and Vandy?
Johnny Majors and not in his 2nd year. True the DC hire is critical but it is what happens on the field that counts next year. And for those wanting the big name, big money coach...Rod was a bust at Mich, Weiss a bust at ND, Rutgers ? ...thought Schirrno(-1sp) was all everything, the guy from Boise that went to Colorado, Kelly doing ok at ND but not setting world on fire....guess I'm saying nothing is a given. Be patient Vol fans. I'm all orange.....

You are correct, good post.

OwensboroVol writes:

I was disappointed with the way Tauren Poole played his entire senior season. I saw Marlin Lane make several runs that showed that he truly is something very special and I felt like he should have been starting. He didn't get a whole lot of yards, 8 to 10, but the cuts he made were from instinct and were the type that you just can't coach. If he is healthy this year, I just believe he is going to have a break out year. He may be the best at UT since Jamel Lewis. He is a different type of runner than Jamel, but he has that something special that you just can't put your finger on, but you know its very special.

Halls3 writes:

in response to Olcrow:

You think think Chief would be a meltdown? I Would like to see either Shannon or Chief.Could you imagine the recruiting pitch with Chief's D just coning off of a national championship game,although our talent level here will probably never match what LSU has this year or what we had in 98.

Chief has already turned down UT according to many reports. I wish we would have hired someone besides Kiffin so Chief would have stayed. This defense is very talented & he would have made it a Top 15 defense. Even in the 2000s with the so-called talent drop off (I say it was the SEC just got a lot freaking better) he was always in the Top 15 in defense. Anyways, I believe UT could do better than Randy Shannon. He inherited an defense at Miami with NFL players all over the field & didn't do a whole lot with it to be honest. Miami was never as strong defensively as they were talented. I know a lot of people may not like the idea but Brent Venables from Oklahoma would be an outstanding hire. OU has very little defensive talent & he does a lot with it considering the offenses he faces week in & week out. Plus, I think if the team doesn't produce & Dooley is fired he would be a great hire for head coach.

willblitz4bacon writes:

in response to KFDLaw:

CDD inherited a mess, just like President Obama, but it remains to be seen if leadership qualities will finally surface this year. The Kentucky debacle was a big step backwards in the program. The verdict is still out on whether these players want to play for CDD. Losing four coaches and several commitments over the past couple of weeks makes me wonder about unspoken problems.

CDD is rebuilding I believe he loves Tennessee. Hussein Obama however...let's just say tune into THE SAVAGE NATION on 100.3fm mon- fri 7pm-9pm :-)

Halls3 writes:

in response to therightstuff:

People keep bringing up the Kentucky loss....who was the last Coach to lose to both KY and Vandy?
Johnny Majors and not in his 2nd year. True the DC hire is critical but it is what happens on the field that counts next year. And for those wanting the big name, big money coach...Rod was a bust at Mich, Weiss a bust at ND, Rutgers ? ...thought Schirrno(-1sp) was all everything, the guy from Boise that went to Colorado, Kelly doing ok at ND but not setting world on fire....guess I'm saying nothing is a given. Be patient Vol fans. I'm all orange.....

You are right nothing is a given. Patience is a virtue. But you can't honestly say that losing to Kentucky, digressing in many aspects of the game, & losing very ugly to many teams isn't reason to question this coaching staff. I had patience til the Kentucky loss. That game was gift wrapped for UT & they laid an egg. That is bothersome. The defensive coordinator position will not determine Dooley's future. Neither will recruiting. It will come down to actually winning games & right now he is, by all accounts, a failure as a coach. He has a record of losing. Yes he was the best we could do given the situation but that doesn't mean we should accept mediocrity. Tennessee has to recruit nationally & right now nationally UT is irrelevant. Look at Notre Dame post Lou Holtz. They are the biggest name in college football historically & they are completely irrelevant nationally. I think we have learned the grass isn't always greener since Fulmer's firing but as a donor I do not feel my money is being spent well. I guarantee that the UT athletic program has the money to pay off this coaching staff & hire an impact guy tomorrow. We are falling behind & I honestly believe we have 1 more shot of making the right hire & returning to glory or UT will become more like Notre Dame than Florida. A historic program that just doesn't get it done any more.

jobrando#216494 writes:

in response to Witch_Doctors:

Witch Doctor tell you the truth if you not like it its not being argumentative. Witch Doctor worry jo one of those that only happy when sad.
Bones never lie.
(WE Won today..beat the Gators..should make you a little up beat..Witch Doctor say if never celebrate ANYTHING Tennessee its hard to think you are really FOR Tennessee..) just a thought

If witch know the truth then you know much more than even Hart and Dooley and all the sports writers put together. That's the way you try to come across. Bones always turn to dust.

TommyJack writes:

in response to jobrando#216494:

If witch know the truth then you know much more than even Hart and Dooley and all the sports writers put together. That's the way you try to come across. Bones always turn to dust.

Don't diss da bones.

CityVol1 writes:

I see 7-5 next season.

*Definite wins: GaSt, Akron, Troy, Kentucky
*Probable wins: Vanderbilit
*Toss-ups: NC St, Florida, Miss St and Mizzou
*Probable loss: SC, Georgia
*Definite loss: Alabama

If the Vols improve than you can argue 9 wins is achievable. Dooley has to win the four gimmies, two of the toss-ups and one of the SC-UGA-Vandy series. If the Vols show improvement and don't have the tendency for these second half blow-outs than I think Dooley deserves to stay for seven wins.

Orange_Power_T writes:

Walt, everyone here knows you're a miserable ol' soul and nothing could make you happy shy of a NC. Even then I think you'd find something wrong with one of the units.
jo, you remind me of my ex-wife, always stirring up the pot because your life is so un-exciting and mondane. Guys we live in an imperfect world and college football teams move in cycles. I can't think of two more historic programs than TN or Bama, and each have had their down cycles if you're willing to look at the record books. Like it or not, we (TN) are in a down cycle but we are starting to climb out of the cellar. It's a bit slower than even I like, but it is what it is and all the doom and gloom, name-calling, tantrum based stomping your feet, booking it, isn't going to change that. I worry about so-called fans who become so negative about their beloved program that they actually appear as though they would rather pull for another team. If that's the case....go! Short of that, your best bet at things getting better is to support your team in a positive manner. Sure it's okay to voice displeasure with incidents from time to time, but you two go way beyond that. I'd be willing to bet that it's been decades since you've said anything positive about TN. Take your misery and post elsewhere. WD found the Gator win to be an uplift, most of us are remaining positive about our recruits, and all I hear from you two are Doolisms that are about as insignificant as a pimple on my b#tt.

CityVol1 writes:

in response to hewwheel:

If CDD continues to bring in this level of talent the Big Orange, we'll be stocked pretty well in a couple of years. The level of talent we haven't seen since the mid-90's. Oh, but wait, CDD doesn't do anything well... That's sarcasm for those of you who aren't very bright.

UT seems to have a way of making coaches great recruiters: Fulmer, Kiffin, Dooley and their assistants are all "great recruiters". This might be true but I think the fan base forgets how great it is what we are selling.

It's easy to forget when the program is stuck in it's worst multi-year span since WWI. We don't even need the University or athletic dept leaders to be great, we just need them to stop the bleed of mismanagment.

lahvolman2 writes:

As bad as it was, I think a lot of you are missing the silver lining to the Kentucky loss.. #1.. Tennessee had lost money on three of the last 4 bowl games we played in, the lone exception being last years M/C Bowl and that was a lean 300 grand... This year we will bring in 28.5 million from bowl sharing per SEC post.. #2.. several players were able to have surgeries a month earlier because we missed a bowl thus giving them a much needed head start on recovery..#3..just allowing the dust to settle following such a dismal season and begin to regroup... just think how bad it would have been to squeak out a win at Ky. THEN lay down in a bowl game...I will say this though... if Dooley gets canned after this year, he has at the very least restored order and built a solid base for whoever might get the job next... VFL

snakeplissken writes:

in response to hewwheel:

If CDD continues to bring in this level of talent the Big Orange, we'll be stocked pretty well in a couple of years. The level of talent we haven't seen since the mid-90's. Oh, but wait, CDD doesn't do anything well... That's sarcasm for those of you who aren't very bright.

If you think the "talent" Dooley is brininging in is the same as that we had in the 90's, then you're not very bright.

Supersayin1 writes:

We got a glimpse of the Monster during the Cincy game, just wait til it's fully loaded on both sides of the football with dept and unleased in 2012! GO VOLS!!

Bigger_Al writes:

My hope is that we have a DC already, but we will announce it Monday evening, about an hour before kickoff of the BCS game. That way, the ticker will run the news for the whole game, with every recruit watching.

snakeplissken writes:

in response to Bigger_Al:

My hope is that we have a DC already, but we will announce it Monday evening, about an hour before kickoff of the BCS game. That way, the ticker will run the news for the whole game, with every recruit watching.

How lame and desperate to think a recruit is going to be watching the ticker with glee while the two best college teams are playing for a national championship. ROFLMAO

Witch_Doctors writes:

in response to jobrando#216494:

If witch know the truth then you know much more than even Hart and Dooley and all the sports writers put together. That's the way you try to come across. Bones always turn to dust.

Witch Doctor NOT making wild accusations and conspiracy theories(you)..NOT quoting false sources...NOT making wild predictions...NOT whining over what Hyams tells you to..makes me act like I know more than the Media?...Witch Doctor say thanks! (most is common sense really...but thats your cross not mine)
Witch Doctor not call you out for MOST all your wild claims.. remember? ("DaRick off the Team Witch Doctor!! take that to your bones!!...... 54321!! confirmed by WIVK!!)
Bones never lie

Witch_Doctors writes:

in response to WaltGoVols:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Witch Doctor not intruding Walt..Witch Doctor glad for all the victories we had under Fulmer...BUT. Witch Doctor say lets not forget most of his success was dependent on Florida failing to win out after thumping us.
Bones never lie.

Dougb-VFL writes:

The football program will improve from playing the freshmen early and our linebackers will be some of the best in the nation next year. Witchdoctor is hilarious and a VFL all day every day(unless BB team is playing his alma mater!)Big congrats to Robert Meechum and Arian Foster for helping their teams advance yesterday. VFL

VolinCalif writes:

in response to Supersayin1:

We got a glimpse of the Monster during the Cincy game, just wait til it's fully loaded on both sides of the football with dept and unleased in 2012! GO VOLS!!

Yep! 9-3

TrouserCough writes:

"It's not the end of the world if we lose to Kentucky". Derek Dooley prior to the Kentucky game. Always remember Kentucky '11.

bvol1inSC writes:

in response to WaltGoVols:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Agree - and it is NOT simply "injuries"...or "young team." Those are excuses. Winners figure out ways to win - and BEAT THE TEAMS THEY ARE SUPPOSED TO BEAT. We sort of "lucked out" beating Vanderbilt - and then there was the KY debacle (and all associated with it to include Dooley's complete loss of control of his team and coaching staff). Dear God, I hope our "Moses" is right around the corner!

bvol1inSC writes:

in response to TommyJack:

Don't diss da bones.

Witch is a BONE!

hamptonvols writes:

Just saw this on FootballScoop.com

Tennessee: Word in San Antonio last night was that if anagreement can't be reached with Randy Shannon that Baylor defensive coordinator Phil Bennett would be asked to take the job. We'll keep you posted

Witch_Doctors writes:

in response to hamptonvols:

Just saw this on FootballScoop.com

Tennessee: Word in San Antonio last night was that if anagreement can't be reached with Randy Shannon that Baylor defensive coordinator Phil Bennett would be asked to take the job. We'll keep you posted

Witch Doctor bet if Shannon isnt theres gonna be a bunch of articles. "He was gonna but they couldnt reach an agreement". to save face.
Witch Doctor know nothing!
Bones never lie.

kcbigorngX writes:

in response to WaltGoVols:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Nobody listens to you anymore, Walt.

With each post, you continue to prove that you are just another alumnus with nothing Big or Orange in your heart.

bvol1inSC writes:

in response to Orange_Power_T:

Walt, everyone here knows you're a miserable ol' soul and nothing could make you happy shy of a NC. Even then I think you'd find something wrong with one of the units.
jo, you remind me of my ex-wife, always stirring up the pot because your life is so un-exciting and mondane. Guys we live in an imperfect world and college football teams move in cycles. I can't think of two more historic programs than TN or Bama, and each have had their down cycles if you're willing to look at the record books. Like it or not, we (TN) are in a down cycle but we are starting to climb out of the cellar. It's a bit slower than even I like, but it is what it is and all the doom and gloom, name-calling, tantrum based stomping your feet, booking it, isn't going to change that. I worry about so-called fans who become so negative about their beloved program that they actually appear as though they would rather pull for another team. If that's the case....go! Short of that, your best bet at things getting better is to support your team in a positive manner. Sure it's okay to voice displeasure with incidents from time to time, but you two go way beyond that. I'd be willing to bet that it's been decades since you've said anything positive about TN. Take your misery and post elsewhere. WD found the Gator win to be an uplift, most of us are remaining positive about our recruits, and all I hear from you two are Doolisms that are about as insignificant as a pimple on my b#tt.

Know where you are coming from "O-Power"...BUT: #1) Do not confuse CCM and CDD. Two different breeds of cat...CCM has emotional intelligence, CDD simply does not. CCM has the respect and trust of his players, CDD does not; #2) So - I agree, we have much to be encouraged about with CCM and Vol BB...as well as much to which to look forward this season and beyond; #3) FB & CDD are up in the air if you have any objectivity whatsoever - and unlike you, I simply can't accept mediocrity during rebuilding process. We won't get anywhere. The only positive I see in the last 6 months is the hiring of Jay Graham - which is a legit step in the right direction. But that was Hart's hire...not Dooley's; #5) I'm no less orange than you, but from my perspective, the most positive thing that could happen would be CDD OUT.

Witch_Doctors writes:

in response to bvol1inSC:

Know where you are coming from "O-Power"...BUT: #1) Do not confuse CCM and CDD. Two different breeds of cat...CCM has emotional intelligence, CDD simply does not. CCM has the respect and trust of his players, CDD does not; #2) So - I agree, we have much to be encouraged about with CCM and Vol BB...as well as much to which to look forward this season and beyond; #3) FB & CDD are up in the air if you have any objectivity whatsoever - and unlike you, I simply can't accept mediocrity during rebuilding process. We won't get anywhere. The only positive I see in the last 6 months is the hiring of Jay Graham - which is a legit step in the right direction. But that was Hart's hire...not Dooley's; #5) I'm no less orange than you, but from my perspective, the most positive thing that could happen would be CDD OUT.

Witch Doctor say what aptitude test results are you privy to that we aint? lol
Bones never lie.

bvol1inSC writes:

in response to CityVol1:

UT seems to have a way of making coaches great recruiters: Fulmer, Kiffin, Dooley and their assistants are all "great recruiters". This might be true but I think the fan base forgets how great it is what we are selling.

It's easy to forget when the program is stuck in it's worst multi-year span since WWI. We don't even need the University or athletic dept leaders to be great, we just need them to stop the bleed of mismanagment.

One of the best, most concise (not one of my strengths!), posts I've read here. Believe CCM is a keeper...and beyond that, Jay Graham a great hire (which I know was directed by Hart). Believe Hart will stop the bleed - but Dooley has created a dysfunctional mess for him to manage out of. Dream come true...Dooley is "promoted" to Asst Athletic Director (under Hart's wing where his legal training could be of some benefit to U.T.), any number of solid head-coaching candidates are available out of NFL. I still believe Chavis would return for HC oppty, Randy Shannon as DC...but it doesn't stop there. We desperately need new "SEC-minded" OC and O-coaches as well. If we simply have above average leaders with solid management skills and emotional intelligence, 8-9 wins is conceivable next year. The player talent is NOT even the issue for now.

SummerfieldVol writes:

in response to utfaninga:

Rajion Neal will be moved back to Tailback and will explode this year!
If the coaches have a brain that is....

I agree. He has alot of speed, BUT he has a problem holding on to the ball. If we don't have the ball we can't score. Someone told me that the General said, if they don't have the ball they can't score, that is why he put a big emphasis on defense.

bvol1inSC writes:

in response to lahvolman2:

As bad as it was, I think a lot of you are missing the silver lining to the Kentucky loss.. #1.. Tennessee had lost money on three of the last 4 bowl games we played in, the lone exception being last years M/C Bowl and that was a lean 300 grand... This year we will bring in 28.5 million from bowl sharing per SEC post.. #2.. several players were able to have surgeries a month earlier because we missed a bowl thus giving them a much needed head start on recovery..#3..just allowing the dust to settle following such a dismal season and begin to regroup... just think how bad it would have been to squeak out a win at Ky. THEN lay down in a bowl game...I will say this though... if Dooley gets canned after this year, he has at the very least restored order and built a solid base for whoever might get the job next... VFL

We're all obviously putting our opinions out here...I agree with everything you say EXCEPT the last sentence. I don't see how ANYONE can say, see, believe that Dooley has restored any order or built a solid base. He has, in fact, created a dysfunctional mess within the ranks of the players...AND coaches.

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