Mike Strange: SEC road win next big step for Tennessee

Mike Strange
Tennessee quarterback Erik Ainge leads the Vols to a victory over Mississippi State 33-21 in Starkville, Miss. , in 2007.

News Sentinel

Tennessee quarterback Erik Ainge leads the Vols to a victory over Mississippi State 33-21 in Starkville, Miss. , in 2007.

If you're wondering when's the last time Tennessee beat an SEC team other than Vanderbilt or Kentucky on the road, it was exactly five years ago from Saturday.

If you're wondering where that road win occurred on Oct. 13, 2007, it was at Mississippi State.

I looked back at the story I wrote that day. It seems the Vols fell into early-season habits, gave up two big-play touchdowns and fell behind 14-7.

Then they closed ranks, ground out a 33-21 win and left Starkville with a smile.

UT returns to Scott Field for the first time in five years Saturday. What Tennessee fan wouldn't leave smiling if the Vols revisited the same script.

Since that day, UT has lost at every SEC site except Vanderbilt — three times at Alabama and Georgia, twice at Florida and South Carolina.

The only conference road wins came at Vandy (2008, 2010) and Kentucky (2007, 2009).

The turmoil UT has experienced since 2007 is well documented. From rock bottom, there is a series of steps back to where Tennessee wants to be.

Winning Saturday night would be one of them.

"This is a good opportunity on the road against a good football team that has a lot of swagger right now,'' UT coach Derek Dooley said.

Mississippi State is 5-0 and ranked No. 19. Throw in two wins at the end of 2011 (Ole Miss, Wake Forest in the Music City Bowl) and the Bulldogs are riding a seven-game win streak. It's valid swagger.

The swagger Tennessee used to travel with has evaporated setback by setback. Dooley says he doesn't want this 2012 team to be bound with the baggage of the past. He wants it to stand on its own results.

Fine. Stand.

"It's going to be a big step for our team to go down there,'' he said. "We obviously need to learn how to finish the game.''

UT fans are growing impatient with the steps process. So far they've seen mostly small steps.

Winning the season opener in the Georgia Dome shouldn't be undervalued. Especially after N.C. State's upset over Florida State last weekend.

Going toe-to-toe with Florida well into the third quarter was a small step. Rallying from a disastrous start at Georgia and showing fight to the finish was another step.

Mississippi State will be favored Saturday. The cowbells will be clanging. The Bulldogs will be barking.

State hasn't been overwhelming against a mild schedule but the Bulldogs have proved one thing:

They know how to win.

That's the next step for this Tennessee team that wants to stand on its own. Closing the deal in a hostile environment.

Dooley's right, it's a big one.

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Comments » 39

atnvol#283282 writes:

Yes, the NC State win was better than originally thought....now give us more reason to believe the Vols are making real progress. Go Vols!

MooseandSquirrelVol writes:

"Fine. Stand."

Truer words never writ.

crappieking writes:

Please. No road wins this year or any other year as long as this circus of a coaching staff is in place. Get the checkbook out Hart or resign.

PHAT_VOL writes:

in response to crappieking:

Please. No road wins this year or any other year as long as this circus of a coaching staff is in place. Get the checkbook out Hart or resign.

Walt and King-of-Krap are spewers of great knowledge.
You two continue to battle for the troll award.

GO VOLS!!

sameolvolalum writes:

in response to PHAT_VOL:

Walt and King-of-Krap are spewers of great knowledge.
You two continue to battle for the troll award.

GO VOLS!!

Let's give that award to the most deserving recipient.......the KNS for allowing the field to be fertilized by this manure, and for allowing a use-to-be decent site for Vol fans to talk sports. Now there are about as many re-re-re-re-posted comments by social misfits as by the rest of us......and sometimes more.

PHAT_VOL writes:

in response to sameolvolalum:

Let's give that award to the most deserving recipient.......the KNS for allowing the field to be fertilized by this manure, and for allowing a use-to-be decent site for Vol fans to talk sports. Now there are about as many re-re-re-re-posted comments by social misfits as by the rest of us......and sometimes more.

LOL Sounds good to me!
Some people on here havent caught on that Walt is a troll. Thats really amazing.

orangecountyvols writes:

in response to PHAT_VOL:

LOL Sounds good to me!
Some people on here havent caught on that Walt is a troll. Thats really amazing.

Exactly gentlemen. Walt, the Toddy kid - also known as Billy the kid, Jeffery, Brass whatever,Volszfan...............all are well known trolls. A few claim to be disgruntled Vol fans, but that's a smoke screen they use to hide behind. They're trolls, no doubt about it.

volaholic45 writes:

It's more than that - it is Dooley's last chance, after Florida and Georgia, for a win that will secure him for another year, assuming that a win against Bama or SC are out of reach.

FWBVol writes:

in response to crappieking:

Please. No road wins this year or any other year as long as this circus of a coaching staff is in place. Get the checkbook out Hart or resign.

I've said it before and I'll say again, anyone that wants UT to lose just so they can see a coach fired is no Tennessee fan.

Whether you like Derek Dooley or not, and whether you think he can get the program back into the national chase or not, there is no denying that since Derek Dooley is currently the head coach the quickest way to get to the title is for him to be successful.

I will give some of the negative Neds a morsel though. If Dooley is relieved of his duties the roster is in much better shape than the one he inherited and it would be easier for the next coach to win more quickly.

VolzsFan writes:

4-10. 1-7 over the past two years. That is DD's SEC record. That is what happens when you recruit kids none of the big boys wanted.

VolzsFan writes:

in response to atnvol#283282:

Yes, the NC State win was better than originally thought....now give us more reason to believe the Vols are making real progress. Go Vols!

No, it tells us that playing a team at home at night is ripe for an upset. It also tells us that FSU is not that good after all and that their coach is weak. NCSU will be 7-5 at best with a horrific schedule. They are not a good football team. But neither is UT.

laraccoon writes:

in response to FWBVol:

I've said it before and I'll say again, anyone that wants UT to lose just so they can see a coach fired is no Tennessee fan.

Whether you like Derek Dooley or not, and whether you think he can get the program back into the national chase or not, there is no denying that since Derek Dooley is currently the head coach the quickest way to get to the title is for him to be successful.

I will give some of the negative Neds a morsel though. If Dooley is relieved of his duties the roster is in much better shape than the one he inherited and it would be easier for the next coach to win more quickly.

all the ladies you are talking about are the same ones we used to hollar pass around during bull in the ring at football practice , you know the sissies . i guess they finally get someone to listen to them . too bad none of them could prove it when it counted !

MGVOL22 writes:

Just an FYI, there is a recruit named Princeton Harlan from TN…Look it up, but Tennessee better stop recruiting him NOW!!!

NashvillePreds writes:

Please win.
It is all there.
Bye week + Mississippi State = achievable victory
I remember when State came to Ktown in '03.
It was the early JP game. The GF and I just stayed in bed, b/c the victory was so assured.
Times change.
Please just win.

Go Vols

10seVol85_Part_Deux writes:

in response to crappieking:

Please. No road wins this year or any other year as long as this circus of a coaching staff is in place. Get the checkbook out Hart or resign.

If anybody had any doubt about crappy-king's fandom, he has now admitted to not being a fan of the Vols. He is outright pleading for Tennessee to lose.

Get off our site.

10seVol85_Part_Deux writes:

"Mild schedule." There's the understatement of the year.

UTistheOLEMISSoftheEAST writes:

in response to sameolvolalum:

Let's give that award to the most deserving recipient.......the KNS for allowing the field to be fertilized by this manure, and for allowing a use-to-be decent site for Vol fans to talk sports. Now there are about as many re-re-re-re-posted comments by social misfits as by the rest of us......and sometimes more.

If it weren't for trolls there would be very little knowledge posted on this site. You delusional, kool-aid drinking clowns for some reason think ut is important. ut is the laughing stock of college football. I heard Tim Brando on the radio prior to the ut vs. UGA game and he said ut fans are a joke. Very little knowledge and rooting for a team that has done very little in our lifetime. Sure, you backed in to a title in 1998. What else have you done? Slow you roll there kool-aid drinkers. ut is nothing more than a small pimple on the big butt of college football. Here's a thought: Beat Kentucky. LOL

EIGHT

(yes, I am a troll:))

UTistheOLEMISSoftheEAST writes:

in response to NashvillePreds:

Please win.
It is all there.
Bye week + Mississippi State = achievable victory
I remember when State came to Ktown in '03.
It was the early JP game. The GF and I just stayed in bed, b/c the victory was so assured.
Times change.
Please just win.

Go Vols

Please win? Really? That says it all.

How's that GF?

EIGHT

bigdog45 writes:

I'm so sick of hearing fire Dooley get over it let him rebuild this dang program if you fire him now we want have a program ..
This team will go 8-4 and then a bowl game 9-4 so cheer up and shape up ...if you don't like it oh well don't post stupid stuff on here losers get behind a computer and your a tuff guy well I'm 6'3 350 so yea I'm telling you to calm down and Let Dooley get the recruits and speed we need to match up with the rest of the SEC it takes time Rome wasn't built in a day GEEZ

bigdog45 writes:

in response to UTistheOLEMISSoftheEAST:

Please win? Really? That says it all.

How's that GF?

EIGHT

Yeap back when UT had it All with Fulmer woohoo and Miss State had no body as coach right ? Well Fulmer is gone Thank god and Times are now changed for both programs

bigdog45 writes:

in response to atnvol#283282:

Yes, the NC State win was better than originally thought....now give us more reason to believe the Vols are making real progress. Go Vols!

Yes good point nice win for the wolfepack GO VOLS

licknpromise777#651578 writes:

in response to bigdog45:

I'm so sick of hearing fire Dooley get over it let him rebuild this dang program if you fire him now we want have a program ..
This team will go 8-4 and then a bowl game 9-4 so cheer up and shape up ...if you don't like it oh well don't post stupid stuff on here losers get behind a computer and your a tuff guy well I'm 6'3 350 so yea I'm telling you to calm down and Let Dooley get the recruits and speed we need to match up with the rest of the SEC it takes time Rome wasn't built in a day GEEZ

I agree I would rather talk game;player strategy.I always steer clear of the Fire Dooley talk but as a 40 year Vol fan Iam no longer alright being a SEC East bottom dweller or losing games to teams like MSU.As far as rebuilding goes Dooley's 2013 recruiting class so far looks like a bunch of 2nd string utility players.

RoadTrip writes:

OK - starting with Kiffin - 4 good Top 20 recruiting classes per all Rivals and other self proclaimed experts. How they panned out is a direct reflection on the coaching staff's abilities to recruit quality players and develop them.

Three years to get a system in place that works in the SEC. How many changes in coaching staff during the period? Since Dools has no experience as a coordinator on either side of the ball, that means he has been totally at the mercy of who was willing to take the jobs and how good Dools is at evaluating those candidates.

Game management. What game management? Second half collapses since he has been there, no ability to make adjustments. They are still not getting the right number of players on the field during games, using time outs in the process. They have a QB that doesn't know how to check off a play or they do not trust to check off a play. Not good.

Unity and player leadership. JJ, Duh'rick, Tyler, etc. Bad joke.

All from a once proud program that even won the east division with a self admitted substance abuser at QB just 5 years ago.

And now Mike Strange thinks the Missy State game is a big step. No, Mike, after 100+ years of top football on the Hill, a win over Missy is and should be an expectation. If it is not - and who can rightly say it is - then it is time to restore order in UT's universe. Today.

bigdog45 writes:

in response to licknpromise777#651578:

I agree I would rather talk game;player strategy.I always steer clear of the Fire Dooley talk but as a 40 year Vol fan Iam no longer alright being a SEC East bottom dweller or losing games to teams like MSU.As far as rebuilding goes Dooley's 2013 recruiting class so far looks like a bunch of 2nd string utility players.

Yea but AJ Johnson is a beast and Maggitt turf toe not helping any and if you go 9-4 after bowl you will get Speed And better players in recruit one big name will bring more and a Sturdy Coach ......Don't need another coach in 5 years geez that's all we need then back down the bottom we go ...:) GO VOLS

VolFanInTheBoro (Inactive) writes:

in response to UTistheOLEMISSoftheEAST:

If it weren't for trolls there would be very little knowledge posted on this site. You delusional, kool-aid drinking clowns for some reason think ut is important. ut is the laughing stock of college football. I heard Tim Brando on the radio prior to the ut vs. UGA game and he said ut fans are a joke. Very little knowledge and rooting for a team that has done very little in our lifetime. Sure, you backed in to a title in 1998. What else have you done? Slow you roll there kool-aid drinkers. ut is nothing more than a small pimple on the big butt of college football. Here's a thought: Beat Kentucky. LOL

EIGHT

(yes, I am a troll:))

You also think UT is important or you wouldn't troll this site 24/7. You are also a LIAR. No way Tim Brando would ever say that

Jakevol writes:

Yeah, Vols really need an SEC victory,, badly.

orangecountyvols writes:

Vols,

Hope CDD's recovery from the operation is a complete success and that the familiar coach on the sideline will be soon.........next game I am hearing.

I am also glad to hear one of the trolls admit he is a troll. That's a title I'd be ashamed to be bragging about. It just goes to convince us the clowns such as OleMessoftheEast, Jeffery, Volszfan, Crappy, Brass***, Seven, Eight, on and on.....are all bonafide losers. They are the frauds as N O so correctly indicates. It is a sick person who wants the Vols to lose because of their desperate wish to see the coach replaced.

That's pretty sick. However, when people are failing themselves they tend to attack those who have better incomes, better looks, etc.

When the Vols turn things around, these idiots will be under new screen names, much as they've already done. Then, they'll be "oh, I've always been a loyal Tennessee fan."
Yeah, right. The rest of us will be better fans of this site if the KNS staff cleans it up.

NashvillePreds writes:

in response to UTistheOLEMISSoftheEAST:

Please win? Really? That says it all.

How's that GF?

EIGHT

Hah.
I wonder what life would be like for you if you had friends, and didn't spend your time behind a keyboard in a vain attempt to matter. At least you have accepted your fate of being noise, and not of consequence in life.
Cheers.

mdvol writes:

VOLS by 2 TD's.

Collegefootballnews.com loves the Big Orange in this one....

http://cfn.scout.com/2/1228534.html

jobrando#216494 writes:

VOLS 42 Poodles 11

CoverOrange writes:

This is a margin game not a must-win. Dooley could go 0 for October, but undefeated in November and retain his position for another year. However, lose Saturday and there is no margin for error and the heat will be turned up under is chair.

SummittsCourt writes:

in response to crappieking:

Please. No road wins this year or any other year as long as this circus of a coaching staff is in place. Get the checkbook out Hart or resign.

Your lack of intellegence continues to astound. Time for you to put your big boy pants on and get a job and get off your mother's sofa.

rtrchatt writes:

in response to bigdog45:

Yes good point nice win for the wolfepack GO VOLS

NCS has beaten FSU in Raleigh 4 out of last 6 games. You are what your record says you are....average at best.

The idea your fan base thinks this is a good win shows where your program is.

VolFanInTheBoro (Inactive) writes:

in response to rtrchatt:

NCS has beaten FSU in Raleigh 4 out of last 6 games. You are what your record says you are....average at best.

The idea your fan base thinks this is a good win shows where your program is.

I'm sorry shen but I don't understand your pot stirring drivel. Explain to me how beating NC State who beat FSU isn't a good win

10seVol85_Part_Deux writes:

in response to rtrchatt:

NCS has beaten FSU in Raleigh 4 out of last 6 games. You are what your record says you are....average at best.

The idea your fan base thinks this is a good win shows where your program is.

Don't be a fool. Bama fans would be calling it a good win if they had played and beaten NC State early like we did, specially after NC State's win over FSU. You know it. We know it. STFU.

bigdog45 writes:

in response to rtrchatt:

NCS has beaten FSU in Raleigh 4 out of last 6 games. You are what your record says you are....average at best.

The idea your fan base thinks this is a good win shows where your program is.

They stopped FSU offense and coundn't stop us and not a big win your smart buddy

Mama_Also_Calls_Me_Precious writes:

This game could be a turning point for Dooley. This should be a ranked team they can beat. I know they have the offense to do the job, but will the defense show up?? If they win, it means a lot of momentum going into the big games wtih USC and Bama. USC is looking really good as is Bama. I don't think anyone expects Tennessee to win those two games, but I'm hoping we give them a great competitve game. Wins over Miss St, Vandy, Kentucky and Mizzou are a must though..

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to Mama_Also_Calls_Me_Precious:

This game could be a turning point for Dooley. This should be a ranked team they can beat. I know they have the offense to do the job, but will the defense show up?? If they win, it means a lot of momentum going into the big games wtih USC and Bama. USC is looking really good as is Bama. I don't think anyone expects Tennessee to win those two games, but I'm hoping we give them a great competitve game. Wins over Miss St, Vandy, Kentucky and Mizzou are a must though..

Hey! But what if we beat MissSt Bama and SCAR but lose to all the others?

Naw. but I think we can win out. Not likely as we'd have to win the lottery first. But we will beat Miss St. I can smell it!!

Go Bray. go Defense. I wanna see Hunter, Patterson, and the RBs all with a great show Saturday.
well just in case not all our defensive "schemes" work every time.

GO VOLS

TheEffect writes:

Those cowbells would give anyone a migraine!

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