Trying to shake off loss, Tennessee faces Terry Bowden's Akron Zips

Bowden telling Zips to think: 'Why not us'

Charlie Daniel's cartoon for the Vols game against Akron on Saturday, Sept. 22, 2012, at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville.

Photo by Charlie Daniel

Charlie Daniel's cartoon for the Vols game against Akron on Saturday, Sept. 22, 2012, at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville.

As Neyland Stadium emptied out and Tennessee players tried to digest last Saturday's dismal loss to Florida, the mood was starkly different in Akron, Ohio.

Akron coach Terry Bowden was given a Gatorade bath and players presented him with a game ball in the locker room after the Zips' 66-6 shellacking of Morgan State. Bowden promptly returned the ball to the players and asked each of them to sign it.

"They were hungry to get a win because they've been so few and far between," said Bowden, who inherited a squad that went 1-11 last year. "When you get old like me, you realize how much these games mean."

Bowden is 56, and it has been 14 long years since he last coached in the SEC. He'll get another shot at an SEC opponent when the Zips (1-2) play Tennessee (2-1) today at Neyland Stadium (TV: CSS, 7:30 p.m.).

Bowden coached at Auburn from 1993-1998, a six-year stint marked by a meteoric rise and incredible fall. He was 0-2 against the Vols, losing the 1997 SEC championship game, 30-29, in Atlanta, and falling 17-9 at Jordan-Hare Stadium in 1998. He resigned under pressure only a few weeks later, less than a year removed from an SEC West title.

By the time Bowden decided to return from a decade-long coaching hiatus, there were few plum jobs available to him. So he's come back the hard way, winning at Division II North Alabama before taking a job at Akron in what is likely one of the lowest rungs on the Bowl Subdivision coaching ladder.

Still, Bowden has approached the job with enthusiasm and has aggressively tried to build up Akron's talent by going after transfer players, the same strategy he employed at North Alabama. The Morgan State win was much-needed fuel for win-starved players, but Bowden knows the task is much tougher today.

"We were playing from the short tees," he said. "We've got to go back on the pro tees now."

The Vols were hacking from the longest tee box last week but were leading Florida until late in the third quarter. The lead evaporated quickly and Tennessee ended up losing by 17 after a frustrating late-game meltdown.

"I was disappointed we gave up 21 (points) in four plays," said Tennessee coach Derek Dooley. "A couple of minutes go by and they grind some clock and all of a sudden you're down 17 with five minutes to go. Everything changes."

Bowden said earlier this week that he expected the Vols to be "mad as hornets."

"They're going to want to get back on track," he said.

Still, Bowden has reminded his players that upsets happen seemingly every week in college football.

"They put their pants on the same way we do," Bowden said. "Of course, they have to split them up the back a little bit to get their legs in."

Size is one advantage Tennessee will have on both sides of the line. After the Vols dismantled Georgia State two weeks ago, Dooley spoke of a massive talent disparity between the two teams. Bowden said his biggest concern is that Tennessee's physical advantage in the trenches will force the Zips out of their game plan.

"Any time you play a team from the Big 10 or SEC, your biggest concern is that their physical talents will overwhelm you," Bowden said. "You worry about what we do. Can we correct our mistakes, can we play our game, can we have no missed assignments and execute? If we do that, we'll have our opportunity. Every Saturday, somebody upsets somebody. We have to go out there with the mentality, why not us?"

Evan Woodbery covers Tennessee football. Follow him at www.Twitter.com/TennesseeBeat.

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Comments » 37

VolGrad writes:

Cannon fodder.

bigdisbig writes:

You know, Dooley is a good ole boy. He has tried as good as he can to be a winner at Tennessee. Thus far he has proven he cannot beat a quality SEC team and most likely he will lose to Ga, SC, Bama and Miss. State. He needs this win against Akron. I'm behind him in this game for he needs this win.

I had business down in Birmingham 2 days ago and believe it or not the Bama fans feel sorry for Tennessee fans. They know that Bama will once agan embarass the Vols and they truly want Tennesse to get their act together just to at least make a game of it. I was surprised at all the pity they have for the Vols these days.
One good thing Dooley has done is garner sympathy for the Vols from other SEC schools.
Can you appreciate that?

BigOrangeFever76 (Inactive) writes:

in response to bigdisbig:

You know, Dooley is a good ole boy. He has tried as good as he can to be a winner at Tennessee. Thus far he has proven he cannot beat a quality SEC team and most likely he will lose to Ga, SC, Bama and Miss. State. He needs this win against Akron. I'm behind him in this game for he needs this win.

I had business down in Birmingham 2 days ago and believe it or not the Bama fans feel sorry for Tennessee fans. They know that Bama will once agan embarass the Vols and they truly want Tennesse to get their act together just to at least make a game of it. I was surprised at all the pity they have for the Vols these days.
One good thing Dooley has done is garner sympathy for the Vols from other SEC schools.
Can you appreciate that?

You had business down in Birmingham this week? I did not realize Summer's Eve had a factory down there. But I will admit, you are the perfect spokesperson!

TylerBray4Heisman writes:

in response to BigOrangeFever76:

You had business down in Birmingham this week? I did not realize Summer's Eve had a factory down there. But I will admit, you are the perfect spokesperson!

And the award for Diss of Year 2012 goes to..

volaholic45 writes:

No outcome abainst the Zips will turn the page from last Saturday. Only beating a big hitter will do.

buzzkiller writes:

This game ought to be a walk over. If not, the moving vans will show up. (For you younger fans, it happened to Bill Battle after yet another excruciating loss to Alabama, and he had a far better overall record than Dooley.)

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to volaholic45:

No outcome abainst the Zips will turn the page from last Saturday. Only beating a big hitter will do.

Well of course. BUT losing will not help our cause in any way shape or form!!!

I ain't worried about losing. We'll win unless Bowden has the Heavenly AD on his side. But we definitely will need to work on some things during this game like we didn't do at Ga.St. I'm more worried about fixing problems than I am about running up the score. I'd settle for UT 3 Akron 2 if we fix those problems in the process. The Dawgs will not roll over I'm thinking. Bulldogs don't seem to know that trick yet. Maybe we can teach it to them.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

PLUS Go Mocs beat Appy.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to buzzkiller:

This game ought to be a walk over. If not, the moving vans will show up. (For you younger fans, it happened to Bill Battle after yet another excruciating loss to Alabama, and he had a far better overall record than Dooley.)

Dooley's team would kill Battle's. No disrespect to Battle meant. Battle's teams were decent for that day but no where near Bear's. I hate Alabama but they built a strong tradition. Some would say "bought" a strong team or two? Probably as it wasn't as unaccepted back then.lol(notice the hints of sarconic overtones)

Squid_Vol writes:

BigOF76 - That was hilarious...well done.

volaholic45 - +1. Hard to get UGA off of the radar today.

KingDanno (Inactive) writes:

The FL game was very important. Dooley just can't seem to beat a ranked team. When he finally does one day (who knows when), we don't need to say oh he's the man now, think about all those losses. C'mon Dooley!! Why can't you play in the 2nd half? I don't get it. I wanted him gone last year. And everyone said oh they'll give him another year. This dude better start putting in applications to some smaller schools, or better yet, go back into law where shite talks and bs walks!

Rock85 writes:

Dooley has beat 2 top 20 teams EVER. To finish 2nd in the East he would have the best season of his life.. Not gonna happen this is good as it gets..

mocsandvolsfan writes:

OK. I looked. lol you really did post some hate last year.

Ignore this guy coach. We don't all hate you. Well we don't all love you either. But I at least don't hate. I think you should get this season and next to turn it around. This year's still in the making.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

btw as we've often said. The reason we can't seem to play in the second half is depth. This year we also have some depth problems. It's not a bad but still exists. Better management of the game and better substituting will help I think. Hope anyhow. Dooley's words.

bigdisbig writes:

in response to BigOrangeFever76:

You had business down in Birmingham this week? I did not realize Summer's Eve had a factory down there. But I will admit, you are the perfect spokesperson!

Some little mama's boys just can't take the truth huh? You go drink your doolaid and watch your sissy vols beat up on yet another small school while the real SEC schools play a man's game.

SewaneeVolFan writes:

in response to bigdisbig:

You know, Dooley is a good ole boy. He has tried as good as he can to be a winner at Tennessee. Thus far he has proven he cannot beat a quality SEC team and most likely he will lose to Ga, SC, Bama and Miss. State. He needs this win against Akron. I'm behind him in this game for he needs this win.

I had business down in Birmingham 2 days ago and believe it or not the Bama fans feel sorry for Tennessee fans. They know that Bama will once agan embarass the Vols and they truly want Tennesse to get their act together just to at least make a game of it. I was surprised at all the pity they have for the Vols these days.
One good thing Dooley has done is garner sympathy for the Vols from other SEC schools.
Can you appreciate that?

Pity from 'Bama fans? Gracious. How far are they gonna take this condescension thing? The arrogance is mind-boggling.

We don't need no steenkin' pity! It's like the false solicitude I believe Bear once expressed to Hayden Fry hoping the the big bad Tide hadn't hurt any of Fry's smaller, less talented players. As I remember, Fry steamed about it ever after.

I can toss around trite phrases, such as every dog will have its day. After all, TN was one thrown-helmet penalty away from beating them a couple of years ago. The Tide may well crush UT this year -- they've looked awesome each time I've seen them.

But one of the great joys of sports is revenge and spoiling someone else's season. And as we all know, revenge is a dish best eaten cold.

Maybe it won't be this year, but I continue to believe that Derek Dooley will give us some delicious helpings in the near future.

mmclanus#373523 writes:

where is the fan thought the Vols were going to hang a 40 on the Gators? better get it this week, after the next 4 weeks he may hang himself!

mocsandvolsfan writes:

I believe he may have been thinking ahead a couple games.

RealisticVol writes:

Bowden said, "If we do that, we'll have our opportunity. Every Saturday, somebody upsets somebody. We have to go out there with the mentality, why not us?"
Especially since he has the perfect team to exploit our weak secondary. A little luck and a two touchdown lead and our pouty quitters will give up.

VolinCalif writes:

in response to mmclanus#373523:

where is the fan thought the Vols were going to hang a 40 on the Gators? better get it this week, after the next 4 weeks he may hang himself!

I'm right here Tonto. I still think we should have hung 40 on them. I will not go into the game analyzing thing again. We have been beaten to death with that, no it isn't BS but I can see it as well as anyone.
I for one think that Terry B. can coach. Say what you like he gave the Vols all they wanted when he was at Auburn and maybe a little more. This will be a pretty good indication of coaching skills because there just isn't any way that Akron is in the talent class of the Vols.
Again I like and believe in Dooley and this staff. But it is clearly the administrators responsible to identify problems and to fix them. Like it or not that responsible belongs to DD. I have no doubts that we will win this game handily but We should see that the staff has corrected several things. Attitude included. only young players on the field starting in the third qtr would make a statement.
Vols 9-3 Plus a bowl

usnavyvolfan__times_free_press_can_shove_it writes:

Soooo....here's a question. Why do some on here tell us that we need to fear Akron b/c they're coached by Terry Bowden, while at the same time Dooley is a nothing coach b/c he only has La Tech on his head coaching resume. Why does TB have a better chance of beating a power-conference school coaching a "nobody" than Dooley did when he was at La Tech?

usnavyvolfan__times_free_press_can_shove_it writes:

in response to usnavyvolfan__times_free_press_can_shove_it:

Soooo....here's a question. Why do some on here tell us that we need to fear Akron b/c they're coached by Terry Bowden, while at the same time Dooley is a nothing coach b/c he only has La Tech on his head coaching resume. Why does TB have a better chance of beating a power-conference school coaching a "nobody" than Dooley did when he was at La Tech?

Sorry, but let me know if I wasn't clear...I'm trying to point out the inconsistencies between the utter lack of respect to Dooley, while Bowden (and for that matter Bill Curry) seemed to get a free pass.

usnavyvolfan__times_free_press_can_shove_it writes:

in response to mmclanus#373523:

where is the fan thought the Vols were going to hang a 40 on the Gators? better get it this week, after the next 4 weeks he may hang himself!

Probably saying nothing b/c you guys have pointed that fact out 1,000,000 times....moving on....

usnavyvolfan__times_free_press_can_shove_it writes:

in response to VolinCalif:

I'm right here Tonto. I still think we should have hung 40 on them. I will not go into the game analyzing thing again. We have been beaten to death with that, no it isn't BS but I can see it as well as anyone.
I for one think that Terry B. can coach. Say what you like he gave the Vols all they wanted when he was at Auburn and maybe a little more. This will be a pretty good indication of coaching skills because there just isn't any way that Akron is in the talent class of the Vols.
Again I like and believe in Dooley and this staff. But it is clearly the administrators responsible to identify problems and to fix them. Like it or not that responsible belongs to DD. I have no doubts that we will win this game handily but We should see that the staff has corrected several things. Attitude included. only young players on the field starting in the third qtr would make a statement.
Vols 9-3 Plus a bowl

Wait! this JUST IN!!! The Vols did NOT score more than 40 points on the Gators! Yep...still old news...

Vol43 writes:

Big Voldaddy on the last game:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8pIrmj...

VolQB writes:

ANybody watching KY Cats running the ball vs FL? Whats the deal with the Vols?

usnavyvolfan__times_free_press_can_shove_it writes:

in response to Vol43:

Big Voldaddy on the last game:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8pIrmj...

Morgan Freeman said it best in Shawshank Redemption..."Get busy livin', or get busy dyin'" The choice is yours, Vols. I still believe...but I'm not the one taking the field. Yes, I believe you can beat UGA and Miss St and team Visor Boy. Heads high for 4 qtrs gentlemen! The ONLY place the other team should see defeat is ON the scoreboard, not on your faces! GBO!

usnavyvolfan__times_free_press_can_shove_it writes:

in response to VolQB:

ANybody watching KY Cats running the ball vs FL? Whats the deal with the Vols?

Damn! Just 3-0 at the end of ONE?

bigdisbig writes:

in response to SewaneeVolFan:

Pity from 'Bama fans? Gracious. How far are they gonna take this condescension thing? The arrogance is mind-boggling.

We don't need no steenkin' pity! It's like the false solicitude I believe Bear once expressed to Hayden Fry hoping the the big bad Tide hadn't hurt any of Fry's smaller, less talented players. As I remember, Fry steamed about it ever after.

I can toss around trite phrases, such as every dog will have its day. After all, TN was one thrown-helmet penalty away from beating them a couple of years ago. The Tide may well crush UT this year -- they've looked awesome each time I've seen them.

But one of the great joys of sports is revenge and spoiling someone else's season. And as we all know, revenge is a dish best eaten cold.

Maybe it won't be this year, but I continue to believe that Derek Dooley will give us some delicious helpings in the near future.

Dream on my friend about delicious helpings in the near future. Dooley is not the man to bring that. He just may beat someone this year but one big win does not negate the fact that his teams give up when the going gets tough.

usnavyvolfan__times_free_press_can_shove_it writes:

Well, now it's 17-0 gaytas.

Rockytopfan96 writes:

I really and truly believe in the Vols. Bray wasn't having a good day Saturday. Who can blame him. Don't give up on the Vols!!!

usnavyvolfan__times_free_press_can_shove_it writes:

in response to Rockytopfan96:

I really and truly believe in the Vols. Bray wasn't having a good day Saturday. Who can blame him. Don't give up on the Vols!!!

I was really hard on Bray after the game last week, and I still DO think he needs to man up a bit, but if he can convince himself that he's better than he showed, there's no limit to what he can do.

bigdisbig writes:

in response to usnavyvolfan__times_free_press_can_shove_it:

I was really hard on Bray after the game last week, and I still DO think he needs to man up a bit, but if he can convince himself that he's better than he showed, there's no limit to what he can do.

Bray can light up the weak teams but the teams with good defenses give him a problem mainly because his front line can't block because they aren't coached properly. Bray MIGHT be a good quarterback if he had time to throw. His receivers can't seem to catch consistantly when covered so its a no win for him against quality teams. Its only gonna get worse for him. If he were more mobile he might do better but he is slow so his arm is all he has. Its gonna get ugly for him agains the good teams so his stock will sink most likely.

UTistheOLEMISSoftheEAST writes:

in response to BigOrangeFever76:

You had business down in Birmingham this week? I did not realize Summer's Eve had a factory down there. But I will admit, you are the perfect spokesperson!

Says Mr. Massengill

laraccoon writes:

in response to UTistheOLEMISSoftheEAST:

Says Mr. Massengill

this is an example of someone who can finally smart off to someone without getting his clock cleaned . he can finally take off that dress !

UT4prez writes:

I'll skip the article and comments in the interest of time. I know everyone is on pins and needles. Ok, here it is. UT 45, Akron 10.

UT4prez writes:

Nice pick 6. Did I just see that Chuck Amato is Akron's defensive coordinator?

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