John Adams: Tennessee's football team should keep its goals realistic

John Adams

Goal-setting is an underrated part of college football. It's underrated because it's often not made public.

In some cases, you can guess the goals.

Alabama's goal is probably to win another national championship. Kentucky players are likely dedicated to keeping coach Joker Phillips employed for another season. And LSU players might aspire to not just make the national championship game again, but also gain at least 100 yards in it.

But I won't venture a guess on Tennessee's goals. I'd rather advise them instead. And I'm going to take three columns to do it.

Welcome to this column's first series since 2003 when I took two days to explain why Phillip Fulmer qualified as a good — but not great — coach.

The most important aspect of goal-setting is staying grounded. For example, Akron University players shouldn't have "No. 1 Or Nothing" taped to their lockers.

Nor should UT players. Instead, something along the lines of "Leave The Bottom Feeders Behind" would be appropriate.

I'm not opposed to naming names: Vanderbilt, Kentucky and Ole Miss.

I realize the Commodores are making progress under second-year coach James Franklin, the Wildcats beat UT last November and Ole Miss is competent when it has a Manning at quarterback. But only when the Vols' program is at death's door should it be mentioned in the same sentence with any one of the three.

You know how damaging the Kentucky loss was. Can you imagine the cumulative trauma from a loss to Kentucky or Vanderbilt a year later? Lane Kiffin would no longer be the most unpopular coach in UT history.

Beating Kentucky and Vanderbilt is a must. But beating them badly is preferred.

From 2001 through 2003, UT beat Vanderbilt by scores of 38-0, 24-0 and 48-0. That's how UT fans want to remember the series. And they want to remember the Kentucky series by the five consecutive games in which the Vols

hung half a hundred on the Wildcats (1996-2000).

Unfortunately for the Vols, they won't have a chance to hang anything on the Rebels this season. Ole Miss left the schedule with a 52-14 loss in 2010 at Neyland Stadium.

There is an upside to not playing the Rebels, though. At least no one will feel compelled to point out all the similarities in the two programs.

Ole Miss and UT each finished last in its division last season. The most famous quarterback from each school is a Manning. Both programs have employed Ed Orgeron and David Cutcliffe. Both have a huge fan base in Memphis. Both have had three different head coaches since the 2007 season. Both program's coaches appeared in the "The Blindside."

It's a wonder fans outside the Southeast can tell the Rebels and Vols apart. UT's first goal for this season: Make sure they can.

Coming Monday: A realistic goal for Tennessee in the SEC.

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 » 87

SportoVol writes:

A realistic goal for the KNS would be getting a new sports editor. The continual bashing of the Vols is worn out John. And yet another mention of Fulmer. Good grief man, let it go.

Volsfan1985 writes:

ok so what was the point of this part 1?

budd#207344 writes:

Because John Adams chooses to report what he sees as opposed to what Vol fans wish for he is vilified. If all you want to hear is good news go to the UT website. I want to hear opinions of those that are not UT fans so I can weigh what I see and hear and make up my own mind. I was looking for a good season until our starting QB had to act like a five year old. Now I wonder, if he can't understand that it is not good policy to throw beer bottles at cars then how can he learn to check into the right play.

xvolx writes:

Hey John, the sky is falling.

BMSvol writes:

i guess "leaving the bottom feeders behind" includes you, john

orange_eVOLution writes:

NC State is gonna be a win. Florida is gonna be a win and a beat down.

GO VOLS!!

tovolny writes:

John, we know you love us. But look, nobody has mentioned anything about goals to the team, except work out and practice to the max, and win the next game on the schedule. But, come on, how is "let's finish in the middle" going to serve as a war-cry? LSU is cycling down now, and UT is improving a little bit each day. Going back to new assistants moving in, new players moving in, old players shedding their injury shells, and old ex-players endorsing what Dooley is putting together, we are on course. We are rising, rising, rising, and we are better today because of what we did yesterday. We are rising, rising, rising...HHHHOOOWWWWWWLLLLLLL.

FWBVol writes:

in response to Nasty_Rat_of_the_Week:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

And Derek Dooley had more wins as a college head coach his first game at UT than the Chump in Gainesvile did.

You fail to mention that Ole Miss had more time to hire Freeze after firing Nutt than Tennessee did after Kiffin bolted two weeks prior to NSD.

Your constant name-calling of Derek Dooley and your attempted backhand remarks about those who support the Tennessee football coach would be funny if you weren't so pathetic in your attempts to boost your own self esteem at the expense of others.

Rodney Dangerfield was funny with his "I get no respect" routine because he was poking fun at himself, but you lack any thing other than a dead troll mindset.

It's funny that all the while you attempt to slam Derek Dooley, you close with the VFL. Yes, there were Vols For Life before Derek Dooley started coaching Tennessee, but he conceptualized it and sold recruits on the idea.

A true Vol For Life supports the Tennessee coach because when the coach is doing well the Big Orange is doing well.

You need to start signing off TFL as in Troll For Life.

Tennesssee will be fine this year and then you'll have to find something lse to be miserable about.

snafu14u#241639 writes:

I'm usually a Adams supporter. I'd rather have someone give me an honest opinion than blowing a bunch of Big Orange Smoke up my Big Orange______, well you get the picture, but not in this case and I don't care how he's going to spin this. I've never motivated a staff or team by talking about how beautiful average can be to aspire to. Kinda leads to a average attitude. Maybe he can pull a rabbit out of his hat.......BonzaiVol

DannyVol writes:

in response to SportoVol:

A realistic goal for the KNS would be getting a new sports editor. The continual bashing of the Vols is worn out John. And yet another mention of Fulmer. Good grief man, let it go.

Perfect first comment for this garbage, Sporto. There isn't a newspaper in any SEC town that would tolerate this clown. Every single year right before the season, Adams takes it upon himself to attempt to dash hopes at a time when the entire football world is getting excited. In Fayetteville, they fire reporters for wearing the wrong hat; in Knoxville, they allow a columnist to badmouth the home team almost every week for the better part of a decade.

CapitolC writes:

Ouch - truth hurts. Wins are the ultimate statistic.

Timbo_Slice writes:

My first "suggest removal"! KNS, we seem to have a pest problem. Time to break out the d-con.

Timbo_Slice writes:

This teams goal needs to be to go into every single game on the schedule expecting to win! I'm not saying that they will or should win them all, but that should be the goal everytime they step on the field. I don't know why it would take two columns to say that? Go Vols!!!

klrigsby#1377153 writes:

in response to FWBVol:

And Derek Dooley had more wins as a college head coach his first game at UT than the Chump in Gainesvile did.

You fail to mention that Ole Miss had more time to hire Freeze after firing Nutt than Tennessee did after Kiffin bolted two weeks prior to NSD.

Your constant name-calling of Derek Dooley and your attempted backhand remarks about those who support the Tennessee football coach would be funny if you weren't so pathetic in your attempts to boost your own self esteem at the expense of others.

Rodney Dangerfield was funny with his "I get no respect" routine because he was poking fun at himself, but you lack any thing other than a dead troll mindset.

It's funny that all the while you attempt to slam Derek Dooley, you close with the VFL. Yes, there were Vols For Life before Derek Dooley started coaching Tennessee, but he conceptualized it and sold recruits on the idea.

A true Vol For Life supports the Tennessee coach because when the coach is doing well the Big Orange is doing well.

You need to start signing off TFL as in Troll For Life.

Tennesssee will be fine this year and then you'll have to find something lse to be miserable about.

Thank you well put

klrigsby#1377153 writes:

I need someone to please explain to me since I don't live in Knoxville or Tennessee although that is my dream why this guy drops Big stinking heaps of cow dung on the team and the coach. How has he stayed employed with this paper so long

RubyRed4 writes:

Has anybody EVER read the articles from other papers around the SEC??? It is the same thing, nothing different here in Knoxville. Journalists aren't gonna always write about pink balloons and candy hearts when it doesn't apply. Heads up........these sports writers aren't fans of your school, they are hired to do a job!!!

orangecountyvols writes:

Vols,

I just told Adams a realistic goal for himself is to forget about trying to be a decent journalist, but to continue with a more realistic approach, the sponsorship of Jeff Flowers on this site.

arkyvol writes:

adam's point is that the vols, with dooley as h.c., should reasonably expect to win over vandy, kentucky, and ole miss (whenever its on the schedule). anything else would be an upset.

sounds about right. (although the last kentucky game showed we can't take them for granted.)

AlexAndersonAAradio writes:

My gosh guys. Tell me one thing he said that was a lie?

8ball writes:

in response to orangecountyvols:

Vols,

I just told Adams a realistic goal for himself is to forget about trying to be a decent journalist, but to continue with a more realistic approach, the sponsorship of Jeff Flowers on this site.

Who is Jeff Flowers, did he play for UT chatt?

GONAVY writes:

in response to RubyRed4:

Has anybody EVER read the articles from other papers around the SEC??? It is the same thing, nothing different here in Knoxville. Journalists aren't gonna always write about pink balloons and candy hearts when it doesn't apply. Heads up........these sports writers aren't fans of your school, they are hired to do a job!!!

Duck! Incoming! :)

Classof72 writes:

Adams is going to take three columns to say the team needs to do better. Brilliant. Why didn't we think of that? That's why Adams gets the big bucks. And the style. Don't forget the Adams style. It is, as Bob Woodruff described his own oratory, "the rhetorical equivalent of a blocked punt."

The difference between Adams and Dooley is that if neither improve, we won't have Dooley to kick around anymore.

UTistheOLEMISSoftheEAST writes:

Good column. Also good timing as I sit here watching a replay of last season's ut vs. Kentucky game. I know the truth hurts but mentioning ut with the bottom feeders of the SEC seems about right. Once again, them vawls want to shoot the messenger. Some of you clowns are predicting ut will hang 50 on NCST. You better wake up. Reality is gonna sting. Vawls lose the opener by 10 and finish the regular season 6-6.

(Kentucky just won again:)

rtrchatt writes:

in response to tovolny:

John, we know you love us. But look, nobody has mentioned anything about goals to the team, except work out and practice to the max, and win the next game on the schedule. But, come on, how is "let's finish in the middle" going to serve as a war-cry? LSU is cycling down now, and UT is improving a little bit each day. Going back to new assistants moving in, new players moving in, old players shedding their injury shells, and old ex-players endorsing what Dooley is putting together, we are on course. We are rising, rising, rising, and we are better today because of what we did yesterday. We are rising, rising, rising...HHHHOOOWWWWWWLLLLLLL.

LSWho is cycling down... obviously you watch a limited amount of college fb or your a 12 yr old.

OrangePride writes:

I think we will all know what kinds of goals are "realistic" after the first danged game. My hope is that this team has a LOT higher goals and expectations of itself than what JA is suggesting. IF....we go in and take care of business against NCS and FLA, I think we have a really good shot at a great season. And I for one do NOT have GA and South Carolina already chalked up as automatic wins for those guys. Come in to that GA game on a winning streak, and we might well pull off the upset. The key will be to get out of the gates fast and build some confidence, unity, and team spirit. And just by the way, has anyone else noticed that about half the decent football articles on here these days are reprints from OTHER papers? And forget recruiting news....may as well go to ESPN or Rivals for that 411. Thanks KNS....great work. GO VOLS!!

OrangePride writes:

Uhhhhhhhhhh......raccoondude.......did you want to clue everyone in on just what this clip has what to do with Vol football? Or you are just bored with Mr. Adams.

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

Let's see..Whip that person that lines up in front of you..GBO!

BristolTnVol writes:

8 wins would be a realistic goal this season

BristolTnVol writes:

in response to UTistheOLEMISSoftheEAST:

Good column. Also good timing as I sit here watching a replay of last season's ut vs. Kentucky game. I know the truth hurts but mentioning ut with the bottom feeders of the SEC seems about right. Once again, them vawls want to shoot the messenger. Some of you clowns are predicting ut will hang 50 on NCST. You better wake up. Reality is gonna sting. Vawls lose the opener by 10 and finish the regular season 6-6.

(Kentucky just won again:)

Just watched the same replay, Bray's last game. He looked bad. Hope the roids he did this spring help his game.

bbfn writes:

in response to Nasty_Rat_of_the_Week:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Sorry, but the vols aren't going to beat Vandy this year. Wishful thinking.

Rumblefish writes:

Wow Adams....you're boring. Same 'ol rhetoric from you, different day.

Jack Lail, how/why does Adams keep getting approval for these re-stated articles?

I don't personally care whether Adams likes the Vols or not, but beating a dead horse like he does is just plain boring!

thevoice writes:

in response to budd#207344:

Because John Adams chooses to report what he sees as opposed to what Vol fans wish for he is vilified. If all you want to hear is good news go to the UT website. I want to hear opinions of those that are not UT fans so I can weigh what I see and hear and make up my own mind. I was looking for a good season until our starting QB had to act like a five year old. Now I wonder, if he can't understand that it is not good policy to throw beer bottles at cars then how can he learn to check into the right play.

+1. Probably won't get a lot of 'at-a-boy replies with your comment due to its honesty, but it's right on. 5-7 to 7-5. Big game at the Dome.

thevoice writes:

in response to Classof72:

Adams is going to take three columns to say the team needs to do better. Brilliant. Why didn't we think of that? That's why Adams gets the big bucks. And the style. Don't forget the Adams style. It is, as Bob Woodruff described his own oratory, "the rhetorical equivalent of a blocked punt."

The difference between Adams and Dooley is that if neither improve, we won't have Dooley to kick around anymore.

Suggestion: stop reading JA articles. Freedom of reading preceded freedom of speech.

atnvol#283282 writes:

Thank you Coach Adams for these stunning facts....no one would ever have realized them without your revelation.

chuckfromwoodberry writes:

in response to bbfn:

Sorry, but the vols aren't going to beat Vandy this year. Wishful thinking.

coach franklin, your Summers Eve is leaking.

civilianvol_formerly_marinevol writes:

in response to SportoVol:

A realistic goal for the KNS would be getting a new sports editor. The continual bashing of the Vols is worn out John. And yet another mention of Fulmer. Good grief man, let it go.

I'm not a John Adams basher, and confess to enjoying most of his columns. But, I, too, am amazed at his obsession with Fulmer. I mean, he got what he wanted, and UT fired its most successful coach since General Neyland, so why won't he let it go?

VolzsFan writes:

Fulmer was not a good coach. He was a GREAT coach. His record of success is the best in UT history and will never be matched at UT. His record puts him as one of the top 5 in SEC history. I know the first ballot Hall of Fame is just killing Adams. HEY JOHN, YOU WHERE WRONG...AGAIN....LET IT GO.

lstbodeanvol writes:

in response to Nasty_Rat_of_the_Week:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Nasty Rat macho camacho packer park orange = VFL ??????? yes it does...verified foolish loser GO VOLS !!!!!!!

volbike writes:

Fulmer was not a great coach. He was a terrific recruiter and a great person. the evidence of having generally the third most players in the NFL most of the time but rarely finishing in the top ten, being outcoached by Saint Steve (and others) repeatedly,and getting run over by physical teams from the Big Eight. (Yes we beat the Big Ten Michigan and OSU because they did not go to the Rose bowl).
Phil philosopy was put the best and most players on the field and eventually the other team will get tire and our athletes willl make something happen to win regardless of our simplistic offense and defense both playing not to lose.
Unfortunately, other schools got even better coaches and caught up in talent and it was time for a change.

TheVolSnake writes:

in response to Nasty_Rat_of_the_Week:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Jeff

What you need to ask would your "dear friend" Phil Fulmer be pleased with your comments and your constant bashing, name calling, total disrespect and putting everything down. I have never seen a post where you had anything good to say.

I think Hall of fame coach Phil Fulmer would be embarrassed from what you are saying because 98% of your comments are defamatory and abusive to the university he loves and supports.

I could understand these rants and winning from a teenager or younger but even though you are an older gentleman your actions are very childish. Name calling really from an adult, I think this belongs on the grade school yards. His name is Dooley or head coach Dooley, how would you feel if every time you read a post and someone called Phil Fulmer a name?

I may not agree with the handling of Hall of fame coach Phil Fulmer, but I moved on and support the university, team, coaches and everything Vol.

Oh by the way every post you had that is defamatory and abusive I for one Suggest removal, you could say or make you points without being defamatory and abusive, but you refuse to do so. You should be ashamed being a 60 year old acting like a child.

civilianvol_formerly_marinevol writes:

in response to FWBVol:

And Derek Dooley had more wins as a college head coach his first game at UT than the Chump in Gainesvile did.

You fail to mention that Ole Miss had more time to hire Freeze after firing Nutt than Tennessee did after Kiffin bolted two weeks prior to NSD.

Your constant name-calling of Derek Dooley and your attempted backhand remarks about those who support the Tennessee football coach would be funny if you weren't so pathetic in your attempts to boost your own self esteem at the expense of others.

Rodney Dangerfield was funny with his "I get no respect" routine because he was poking fun at himself, but you lack any thing other than a dead troll mindset.

It's funny that all the while you attempt to slam Derek Dooley, you close with the VFL. Yes, there were Vols For Life before Derek Dooley started coaching Tennessee, but he conceptualized it and sold recruits on the idea.

A true Vol For Life supports the Tennessee coach because when the coach is doing well the Big Orange is doing well.

You need to start signing off TFL as in Troll For Life.

Tennesssee will be fine this year and then you'll have to find something lse to be miserable about.

You raise a good point that people seem to forget. Lane Kiffin left UT 2 weeks before National Signing Day, and Coach Orgeron (and probably Kiffin) immediately started trying to sabotage UT's recruiting class. Mike Hamilton pledged to have a new coach on campus within a week. Great coaches were not standing in line waiting for the job, so Hamilton my have signed the best coach he could get under the circumstances, a second year coach with a losing record at LA Tech. I like Dooley, and hope he can turn the program around. But, we will know if he is the long-term solution in about 3 months.

BigbearVol writes:

Hind sight is 20/20, but how much worse could we be right now, if we'd have let Kippy do his thing, and left Dooley to do his thing at La. Tech? It still irks me how we slap down our own, to hire an outsider. Dooley is trying, but I'm just not feeling him as THE guy. IMO. I've had it with all this TROLL this, and TROLL that. This aint Middle Earth, but we sure do have a lot of SamWise kissing up to Frodo goin on around here. Let's just cleat up, and play to freaking WIN, EVERY week. GBO.

TheVolSnake writes:

in response to civilianvol_formerly_marinevol:

You raise a good point that people seem to forget. Lane Kiffin left UT 2 weeks before National Signing Day, and Coach Orgeron (and probably Kiffin) immediately started trying to sabotage UT's recruiting class. Mike Hamilton pledged to have a new coach on campus within a week. Great coaches were not standing in line waiting for the job, so Hamilton my have signed the best coach he could get under the circumstances, a second year coach with a losing record at LA Tech. I like Dooley, and hope he can turn the program around. But, we will know if he is the long-term solution in about 3 months.

The 2 week hiring and also having to hire all the staff before NSD really hurt but what was worse is what Dooley had to work with.

http://www.rockytoptalk.com/2011/10/3...

I think there is 9 players left from Kiffens class and somewhere around the same for HOF coach Fulmer last class, which is outlined in the article link above.

TheVolSnake writes:

Also you realize we started 32 true freshman over the last two years because of the mess before Dooley.

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

in response to BigbearVol:

Hind sight is 20/20, but how much worse could we be right now, if we'd have let Kippy do his thing, and left Dooley to do his thing at La. Tech? It still irks me how we slap down our own, to hire an outsider. Dooley is trying, but I'm just not feeling him as THE guy. IMO. I've had it with all this TROLL this, and TROLL that. This aint Middle Earth, but we sure do have a lot of SamWise kissing up to Frodo goin on around here. Let's just cleat up, and play to freaking WIN, EVERY week. GBO.

Nobody wants to lose and though I like Kippy..He would have had little effect on keeping players/team intact..It is what it is and now it's year 3 and the proof will be in the pudding..If CDD flounders he will be terminated and if he wins (which I believe he will) he should be allowed to carry on as HC at UT..Either way UT doesn't owe you or me a d@mn thing..They are the flagship university for the state of Tennessee whether we chime in or not..Be patient Vol backers!!

BolivrBob writes:

The goal for EVERY game is to win. One game at a time. Adams likes to dwell on EVERY negative thing with a "rub your nose in it" mentality. Many commentors are saying the same things opposing coaches are saying about us in the recruiting wars, aiding their efforts. With fans like these, who needs enemies. Looking forward to a great season. We will be MUCH better. Go Vols!

BolivrBob writes:

If a prospective recruit wants to find a eason NOT to come to the Hill, all they have to do is read this board and read comments from our own fan base. Good things are happening and it will be exhibited this season with wins. Go Vols!

BolivrBob writes:

And I'm sure Dooley doesn't give a shat about Adams "advice". Adams should be an expert in talking about bottom feeders. "Catfish Adams"

10seVol85_Part_Deux writes:

I get it. Nasty_Rat's_Ass is just a jealous loser. Jeffy just can't stand it that Coach Dooley is so much more successful in life than he could have ever hoped to be. The coach makes more money in a year than ole Jeffy makes in 20 years, and it just kills him, so he has to pretend Dooley didn't earn it. It makes him feel like less of a loser.

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