Vols atwitter for a turnout for spring game

Moore's threat part of Vols' ambition for spring game throng

Amy Smotherman Burgess/News Sentinel
Tennessee coach Butch Jones, left, talks with wide receiver Jason Croom, center, between plays last Saturday during a scrimmage at Neyland Stadium.

Photo by Amy Smotherman Burgess

Amy Smotherman Burgess/News Sentinel Tennessee coach Butch Jones, left, talks with wide receiver Jason Croom, center, between plays last Saturday during a scrimmage at Neyland Stadium.

Senior safety Byron Moore is so confident that Tennessee fans will break the school’s record for spring game attendance on Saturday, he’s threatened to leave Twitter forever if the crowd falls short.

For someone who seems to tweet in his sleep, that’s a bold threat.

“That’s my challenge to the fans. If we don’t break the record, I’m getting off Twitter,” he said with a laugh.

It’s an ambitious goal. The Vols drew 73,801 fans in 1986. The next closest crowd was 51,488 for Lane Kiffin’s first spring in 2010. A year later, the Vols drew 35,891 fans for Derek Dooley’s first season.

Spring game attendance — meaningless as it might seem — is increasingly drawing attention as a way to gauge a program’s “momentum” and as a visible sign of the fan base’s enthusiasm. Kentucky, which reportedly drew more than 50,000 fans to its spring game earlier this month, is a prime example.

At Tennessee, of course, the movement has a hashtag — “#FillNeyland” — that is gaining momentum on Twitter among players and recruits. Head coach Butch Jones, who has had a daily Twitter countdown leading up to Saturday, hasn’t backed away from high attendance expectations.

“It’s a chance for us to continue to prove that there’s no better place than Tennessee,” Jones said.

Moore said a large crowd would send an encouraging message to current players while demonstrating to recruits the passion of the fan base.

“I just think it will go a long way toward showing everyone around the program that with this new coaching staff everyone has bought in and is believing,” Moore said. “It also shows the recruits how big of an importance our fans put on the spring game.”

How much importance should fans put on the spring game? As a meaningful forecast of what to expect in 2013, the spring game won’t have much to offer. Coaches will be guarded. Backups and walk-ons will get ample playing time.

But other factors could help lure a big crowd. For one, parking and admission are free. No tickets are required, so spur-of-the-moment trips are possible. And the forecast calls for sunny skies and 63 degree weather at kickoff on Saturday.

“We do have the best fan base in the country and the most passionate fan base in the country,” Jones said. “We need to continue to make Neyland Stadium a home-field advantage. Anytime we get to compete in that venue, it’s special.”

Jones said he expected a “record number” of former lettermen to be in town this weekend.

“That’s going to be exciting,” he said.

Coaches will do their best to keep the game exciting, as well. Tennessee’s lack of depth won’t allow a true split of the roster, so the offense will compete against the defense on Saturday, just like the Vols have done in practice this spring. The defense will get a chance to earn points by making stops.

“I think the guys are really eager, and I think the fans are really eager just to see what the new coaching staff is bringing,” said offensive lineman Antonio “Tiny” Richardson, who is sitting out this spring with an injury. “I think people are excited to see the changes in the program.”

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

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Comments » 29

jack4444 writes:

Good weather forecast. Large crowd would be cool.

formerflgranny writes:

Granny will be there and sitting on the 50 yard line with my spit cup. Please forgive me if I get all excited and accidently throw my cup!

rockypop writes:

I would anticipate a large crowd, because there's a real good chance Tennessee will beat an SEC team.

RashaadSalabeb writes:

Let's get ready to R-U-M-B-L-E!

Looking forward to a great spring game.

Go Vols!

nocleats writes:

GO TO THE GAME!
Many quality recruits will be there.

fousejuntz#631620 writes:

Please show everyone! Do it for a soldier who can't be there!!!!! Go Vols!!!!!! Break the record!

Giverny writes:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

PHAT_VOL writes:

Less than 50,000.

orangecountyvols writes:

in response to Giverny:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Vols,

Just a few comments so far...........and all resembling someone with intelligence.

Then..........along comes an idiot....Giverny.
There always has to be one and fortunately, they are few on this site. We know who they are.

The rest of you go and enjoy yourselves.

Tennfan4075 writes:

I can tell by the number of comments the story and the game are not exactly on everybody's mind, but a nice day and a chance for the Vols to be competitive may fill a few more seats, but a record, no way. The excitement level will be more than Dooley (I hope) but less than LK, such is life on a merry-go-round.

volnbig11land writes:

God willing, I'm bolting out of urbanville, shaking the mud off of my shoes, and looking forward to a great weekend in the motherland.

p.s. trolls don't matter....

GBOEngineer writes:

in response to Giverny:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Maybe so, but he will make more money this year than you will in your entire life...

DukeDeLuca2 writes:

Thanks, Evan.

Just a note.

I know that you know when the game starts. I don't. Perhaps a majority of people reading this don't know.

Actually, I read the story just to find the start time. I have no interest in the kid's Twitter.

No wonder newspapers are dying off. What's the point of buying a paper if the reader can't get basic information like we did when KNS was in its prime?

formervol1950s writes:

in response to Giverny:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

An inane comment if I ever heard one !

formerflgranny writes:

in response to Giverny:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

That is a nice grin on CBJ. The grin is proudly a grin of a nice coach who is very happy to be here and working hard to turn the program around. It is also a grin of a WINNER!!!!!!!!

thevoice writes:

in response to Giverny:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

That 83 and goofy grin got him $3M/yr. I'd say he's doing alright, more than 95% of Yale graduates.

gc_scvol writes:

Come on KNS. You have GOT to stop letting people(?) put this kind of sh!... On this site. Are you really needing readers that bad. Grow a pair and let the real fans have this site, instead of trying for more hits. Are you afraid to take a chance on your own site? STOP THIS SH.... NOW

gc_scvol writes:

in response to gc_scvol:

Come on KNS. You have GOT to stop letting people(?) put this kind of sh!... On this site. Are you really needing readers that bad. Grow a pair and let the real fans have this site, instead of trying for more hits. Are you afraid to take a chance on your own site? STOP THIS SH.... NOW

I was, of course refering to the giver.. IDIOT. Yes, I used the word IDIOT. Not really proud of that, but I find it the nicest word I can find to describe such a MORON. Dang another bad one.Oh, well you get the message.

CantStandCantStandSaban writes:

I'd be there if there wasn't three hours worth of asphalt between me and the stadium.

I think the 1986 record is safe, though. 70K + is muy ambitious.

antonio14313 writes:

i'd LOVE to see us break the record! but, i predict 55,000. go vols!

t

antonio14313 writes:

in response to DukeDeLuca2:

Thanks, Evan.

Just a note.

I know that you know when the game starts. I don't. Perhaps a majority of people reading this don't know.

Actually, I read the story just to find the start time. I have no interest in the kid's Twitter.

No wonder newspapers are dying off. What's the point of buying a paper if the reader can't get basic information like we did when KNS was in its prime?

saturday, april 20, at 2pm est. it'll be on espn3. i'm hoping that it'll be on sportssouth as well, but i'm not sure about that one. go vols!

t

BiGGiB writes:

I haven't been to an Orange and White Game since '96. I'm going this year. GBO!

orangecountyvols writes:

in response to gc_scvol:

Come on KNS. You have GOT to stop letting people(?) put this kind of sh!... On this site. Are you really needing readers that bad. Grow a pair and let the real fans have this site, instead of trying for more hits. Are you afraid to take a chance on your own site? STOP THIS SH.... NOW

GC,

I comment you for your remarks. So true.
The other day, another troll, Seven jumped on me saying I should have a website of my own. That is true also.........and I would if I could do so. Tell you what GC, I'd have you and many other loyal Vol fans on it, and believe me.......No TROLLS would have a China-man's-chance- in -**** of being on it.

In this latest smart alec remark from the troll,
notice the GVX staff did in fact go back and delete his childish comments. Maybe there's hope after all.

Anyway, back to the game. Who will be the closest with a crowd prediction? Hmmmmmm, just a guess...........

77,250

VolsFanInAfghanistan writes:

in response to fousejuntz#631620:

Please show everyone! Do it for a soldier who can't be there!!!!! Go Vols!!!!!! Break the record!

I'm right there with you. Where I work over here the internet sucks really bad. I'd love to hear it at least, not sure thats going to happen though. If I was home I would be one of those fans sitting up there going crazy just for the heck of it. To all the true VOLUNTEER fans, we're begging you, go show support for our home team. We're far from home, but we have TENNESSEE in our hearts over here.

volnbig11land writes:

in response to VolsFanInAfghanistan:

I'm right there with you. Where I work over here the internet sucks really bad. I'd love to hear it at least, not sure thats going to happen though. If I was home I would be one of those fans sitting up there going crazy just for the heck of it. To all the true VOLUNTEER fans, we're begging you, go show support for our home team. We're far from home, but we have TENNESSEE in our hearts over here.

Thanks to you both for your service, or as I like to say, "Thanks for taking your turn."

This retired Airman will be there, and thinking of my fellow Vets and Vol fans!

Go Vols!

VolYork45 writes:

Haven't been able to post much since my laptop broke and trying to comment on mobile difficult lol so I promise i'm not a troll or anything but my girlfriend and I will be there, coming from Dayton, OH. Excited to be back in Big Orange Country to watch the beginning of the Butch Jones Era. Go Vols!!

6972 writes:

in response to CantStandCantStandSaban:

I'd be there if there wasn't three hours worth of asphalt between me and the stadium.

I think the 1986 record is safe, though. 70K + is muy ambitious.

I share your sentiments. I am 6 hours away but can't wait to hear about the outcome Maybe KNS will give a good thorough write up.

lstbodeanvol writes:

there is also a Flowers dunking booth before the game..should be a great turn out for that as well

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

in response to lstbodeanvol:

there is also a Flowers dunking booth before the game..should be a great turn out for that as well

That made me laugh out loud..+1

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