John Adams: Vols prove that inaction can be a virtue

John Adams

College football teams usually have to accomplish something to receive praise.

But after all that has transpired elsewhere this preseason, Tennessee deserves credit for what it hasn’t done.

UT didn’t cancel the Oregon game.

Tennessee’s schedule is tough enough with the usual fare in the SEC East and national champion favorite Alabama from the West. But playing third-ranked Oregon in Autzen Stadium in the third game of the season is clearly the most daunting challenge on the schedule.

A trip to the northwest corner of the country will be compounded by what comes next: a Saturday afternoon in The Swamp, where the Vols have lost 11 of their last 13 games.

And to think that just a few years ago, former Tennessee athletic director Mike Hamilton and former football coach Derek Dooley courageously teamed up to cancel a road game with big, bad North Carolina.

Coach Butch Jones hasn’t ripped his own players.

In a move that should forever endear him to his returning players, Kansas coach Charlie Weis flippantly referred to his last team as “a pile of crap” at Big 12 media days.

He apparently regarded that as a shrewd recruiting move. His message: Anybody can play for us right away.

In fact, the only time Weis has been accused of being shrewd was when he coordinated the New England Patriots’ offense and had Tom Brady for a quarterback.

He was 1-11 last year at Kansas, set Florida’s offense back 50 years in one season as coordinator and was fired after four years as head coach at Notre Dame.

Tennessee didn’t sign Michael Dyer.

The former gun-toting Auburn running back was on the open market after having been dismissed from two schools and sitting out last season, presumably with the intent of working out a few personal glitches in his game.

His prior problems didn’t stop Louisville coach Charlie Strong from signing Dyer, who starred in Auburn’s victory over Oregon for the 2010 national championship.

Strong, who turned down the UT coaching job after last season, said Dyer deserved another chance. And he didn’t hesitate providing it.

Surely, Strong’s decision was based solely on his concern for a fellow human being and had nothing to do with the fact his team’s top two running backs are attempting comebacks from knee surgery.

Jones didn’t welcome a repeat offender back into his program.

Strong probably would sign running back Jeremy Hill, too, if he had the opportunity.

Hill recently was

reinstated to LSU’s team after pleading guilty to simple battery. That wasn’t his first guilty plea.

His arrest constituted a violation of his probation since he pleaded guilty to carnal knowledge of a juvenile in 2012.

Nonetheless, coach Les Miles — another great humanitarian — believed Hill deserved a third chance, as long as his team concurred.

So Miles let his players vote on whether Hill should be allowed to return to the team. Shockingly, they were in favor of it.

The coach must have been proud to know he had such a compassionate team.

No Vol has been arrested this summer.

Given the program’s history and what’s going on in the rest of college football, the Vols should be applauded for an uneventful preseason.

It’s also worth noting that UT players haven’t been accused of selling their autographs.

All the Vols have done this summer is improve their team grade-point average and make a greater commitment to community service, according to Jones.

But what they haven’t done is even more significant.

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 » 38

strops writes:

and adams hasn't written anything worth reading all summer!!!

SoFlaVol writes:

in response to strops:

and adams hasn't written anything worth reading all summer!!!

Actually, I liked this article and agree 100% with the points JA makes, that with all the negative press in college football this season, it's nice that UT has not been a part of it. Not that something couldn't occur before I post this, but I think the new staff has the players attention and has them focused on improving their game instead of "punching bouncers and barking at police dogs" or "gang raping coeds", etc. etc. etc. May the grace of inaction be upon us.

sameolvolalum writes:

I hate to be negative, but you seem to bring it out in a lot of us. Congratulations, JA! This is your most disjointed article yet!

jschariter#367312 writes:

I really want to see the team do better on the field, but I can not help but agree with Adams here. It is great to see the Vols make it from the end of last season till now with no negative extra curricula activities. I can live with a clean program, having the players play hard, and the wins will take care of themselves. I would rather be 8 and 4 with high character guys that represent the University well, than 11 and 1 with lots of off the field issues. Hope to see the Vols GPA improving so that we can really call them all student athletes. I pretty much held Dooley in low regard, but most of the folks on the field are now his recruits, and they are keeping their nose clean. I am sure the involvement and disciple from the current new staff has a lot to do with it.

10seVol85_Part_Deux writes:

Why all the negative comments about this article? I liked it, and I don't see a single thing negative about it. Some people just want to bash JA automatically, I think. I understand why that is, but come on folks. When he writes a positive piece about the Vols, don't discourage him.

Long_Black_Train writes:

Good article Mr. Adams ... and the truth. Go Vols...

BruisedOrange writes:

At least on my screen, the text had lots of odd typographic breaks. But it'll do just fine when formatted for print.

Well done, Mr. Adams! You've highlighted maybe the best news about our reviving program to date.

tovolny writes:

John, this really needed to be said, and by golly you said it well. The current Vols and coaching staff deserved a little credit for their efforts to clean up their image. You bounced a couple of volleys off LSU that was surprising, but I can't say a lot about that because I didn't take the time to checkout the situation. Miles knows how to file the rough edges off the discipline issues, so I expect by the end of August it will all evaporate in the gulf.

I rag you a lot, but when you do something right, I try to recognize that also. GOOD JOB.

Snapshot writes:

I think the article was a positive one overall. However comparing M. Dyer and J. Hill was off base. He refers to Dyer as "a former gun-toting Auburn back". He just happen to have a permit for it, a little detail that was left out. Dyer also graduated from Ark. Baptist recently. I heard an interview with Dr. Fitz Hill, the president of the school who spoke very highly of him and thought he had absolutely turned his life around. Time will tell. I just think a running back in his situation, who played a large part in Auburn winning a NC, would be worth giving a chance.

TexasVolMD writes:

Funny, I always thought Charlie Weis was a big pile of phooey.

TexasVolMD writes:

Funny, I always thought Charlie Weis was a big pile of phooey.

And KNS can print "phooey" but it replaces my direct quote with "phooey". Well done KNS

Coach_K writes:

I think Mr. Adams is missing the point here. It's not inaction that has shown us the positive signs we are seeing. It is action...action of lasting residuals. It's the action of instilling the principles of trust. Between all parties involved (between players and one another/ between players and coaches/ between staff and fans...). It's the actions taken to instill a principal of knowing your dreams are possible, if you should have the gusto to keep chasing them with focus. It's action of keeping the line even you are aware that some of your men won't make it, because football more than any sport teaches you that one TEAM will always have a fighting chance. I for one would to thank CBJ, CZA, and others for taking action with our young students that will last much longer than football. After all that is the job of the university, building young men and women to be better and more prepared than when they arrived for thier experience on the hill. I am excited to see what the coming years hold for the futures of this group of men and women who are willing to GIVE THEIR ALL FOR TENNESSEE TODAY!

murrayvol writes:

in response to 10seVol85_Part_Deux:

Why all the negative comments about this article? I liked it, and I don't see a single thing negative about it. Some people just want to bash JA automatically, I think. I understand why that is, but come on folks. When he writes a positive piece about the Vols, don't discourage him.

+1

For many to read John Adams is to bash him. This is a good article. It's accurate and pertinent.

I know Charlie Strong was higher on our search list than CBJ but given what I've seen over the last 9 months I wouldn't trade Jones for him or any other available coach. We're going to be glad we hired this guy. GBO

SeaBassHauling writes:

Not bad.....This is a step forward for ol JA....Not Bad at all...!

Coach_K writes:

p.s....saying some negatives about some1 else is not the same as being positive about yourself. Kinda like the don't make some1 else look smaller to make urself appear bigger thing my momma taught me.

mikethehistorystudent writes:

Good article and the writer makes some good points.

10seVol85_Part_Deux writes:

in response to TexasVolMD:

Funny, I always thought Charlie Weis was a big pile of phooey.

And KNS can print "phooey" but it replaces my direct quote with "phooey". Well done KNS

I commented on an article last year that had a quote in it where one of the coaches said a forbidden word. I tried to directly quote the article and it censored me. So why is it ok for them to use words in the articles that we can't use in our comments? Makes no sense.

Vol1973 writes:

Good article John. We now need to move on with some "what we have done"... win some big games this fall, surprise a lot of hotshot Teams and go to a bowl.

Go Vols !!

rbwtn writes:

I always hear about Tradition at the U of T. If we go by our past, tradition means we never turn tail and run from any team and that includes Oregon. Look at LSU last year we actually beat them. Who knows what will happen but I do know if you don't play them how can you beat them and how do you train your kids to play at another level unless you play teams at that level. We need to get rid of our loosing Minds and change to a Winning Mind-set. So far we have a Great Bunch of Kids I'm proud of them and back-em all the way.

gatorhator4eva writes:

good article by JA, people need to stop hatin just to hate.

hglover40#234154 writes:

JA always tells it like it is and that is why people rant about him. Sometimes he's not as funny as he probably thinks, but I don't recall reading an article were his facts were way off. And sometimes years later, we find out his his opinions also turned out to be true.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to SoFlaVol:

Actually, I liked this article and agree 100% with the points JA makes, that with all the negative press in college football this season, it's nice that UT has not been a part of it. Not that something couldn't occur before I post this, but I think the new staff has the players attention and has them focused on improving their game instead of "punching bouncers and barking at police dogs" or "gang raping coeds", etc. etc. etc. May the grace of inaction be upon us.

I'm with you. While I certainly agree that Adams is something of an acquired taste, he is not stupid and he occasionally makes sense. The expression about blind squirrels and acorns comes to mind. The thing that bothers me most about some of the less-discriminating criticism of Adams is that it seems to reject any possibility that he might EVER have a valid point, so people just tune him out. Worse, if he expresses support for a particular idea, the haters automatically reject it, thus all but removing that topic or idea as an item for discussion.

This is OK in everyday life to an extent, but the fact is that the world is full of people who are willing to disagree or even fight at the drop of a hat, not necessarily because of WHAT is said, but WHO is saying it. This implies that those who disagree with one's strong opinion are not only wrong, they are EVIL. We tend to reject the existence and validity of those who look, think, and act differently. There is no room for compromise in such a world view. Everything becomes an eternal principle that must be defended to the death; enemies can't be compromised with, they can only be destroyed. This may be true enough of Al-Qaeda but we now apply this principle to nearly every area of disagreement. "Compromise", the basis of civilized society, becomes a dirty word, whether referring to great things or small things. EVERYTHING thus becomes an occasion for conflict. I weep for my country.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to TexasVolMD:

Funny, I always thought Charlie Weis was a big pile of phooey.

And KNS can print "phooey" but it replaces my direct quote with "phooey". Well done KNS

Their board, their rules. Seems fair enough to me.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to Coach_K:

I think Mr. Adams is missing the point here. It's not inaction that has shown us the positive signs we are seeing. It is action...action of lasting residuals. It's the action of instilling the principles of trust. Between all parties involved (between players and one another/ between players and coaches/ between staff and fans...). It's the actions taken to instill a principal of knowing your dreams are possible, if you should have the gusto to keep chasing them with focus. It's action of keeping the line even you are aware that some of your men won't make it, because football more than any sport teaches you that one TEAM will always have a fighting chance. I for one would to thank CBJ, CZA, and others for taking action with our young students that will last much longer than football. After all that is the job of the university, building young men and women to be better and more prepared than when they arrived for thier experience on the hill. I am excited to see what the coming years hold for the futures of this group of men and women who are willing to GIVE THEIR ALL FOR TENNESSEE TODAY!

Good post. You have clearly stated some of the positive actions the program has taken so far under Jones. Adams simply couched the program's actions in terms of things it has refrained from doing.

In a way, I think you are stating how things look from the inside out, so to speak, in that coaches and players are DOING things to prevent the kinds of public spectacles Adams credits the program with avoiding.

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

Charlie Strong is building a quality program one criminal at a time..Good point, John.

baldingalum writes:

Very insightful article. Non-event stories are rarely covered anymore. Subtleties overlooked.

As for the clowns who continue to criticize everything written by JA, why don't you guys get together and write nirvana blogs.

BadBrad writes:

in response to SoFlaVol:

Actually, I liked this article and agree 100% with the points JA makes, that with all the negative press in college football this season, it's nice that UT has not been a part of it. Not that something couldn't occur before I post this, but I think the new staff has the players attention and has them focused on improving their game instead of "punching bouncers and barking at police dogs" or "gang raping coeds", etc. etc. etc. May the grace of inaction be upon us.

I just want to make the point that I think Dooley lacked as a coach, but he didn't lack a lot. He cleaned the "riff-raff" up so that Jones didn't have to... Any issues that come up from here on...we'll have to see how Jones deals with it. Dooley was not a winning coach, but he DID NOT allow a bunch of "stuff". Good player or not, if they didn't stay clean...he sent them down the road. His problem was that he didn't know how to connect with them.

Jones on the other hand, I think, is applying the old "child caretaker" addage: If you don't keep them busy, they'll keep you busy!...and I think he is doing just that! GBO!!!

DawgDayAfternoon writes:

As always, the inimitable Adams baits Vol fans, by closing strong, and they never get it.

Hint: It's what they, the Vols, haven't accomplished (read won't accomplish under Butchie Boy) that counts. When the stomping commences at the hands of Oregon, Florida, S.C., Bama, Auburn, Mizzou, Vandy, and the mighty Dawgs, there will be plenty of time for Adams to weigh in and for Vol fans to whine; whine about all the usual suspects that "have it in" for you - Adams, ESPN, Charles Woodson, etc. That's what perennial 5-7 or 4-8 teams do.

BigBadVol writes:

Wow! If JA continues to give credit where it is due then I will back off of my criticisms of JA. Good article. CBJ continues to impress the fans and the press.

voloffaith writes:

in response to DawgDayAfternoon:

As always, the inimitable Adams baits Vol fans, by closing strong, and they never get it.

Hint: It's what they, the Vols, haven't accomplished (read won't accomplish under Butchie Boy) that counts. When the stomping commences at the hands of Oregon, Florida, S.C., Bama, Auburn, Mizzou, Vandy, and the mighty Dawgs, there will be plenty of time for Adams to weigh in and for Vol fans to whine; whine about all the usual suspects that "have it in" for you - Adams, ESPN, Charles Woodson, etc. That's what perennial 5-7 or 4-8 teams do.

Trollin....Trollin...Trollin down a river.......

On topic, Mr. Adams,that of the Adams family,merely stated the truth this time about things that be happening around us. Only bashing was the jab at pulling back from Tar Heel game. I for one am optimistic about this year with a serious dose of realism added. I know that with the current schedule and all the current unknowns with our team that realistic VOL fan sees a non-winning record. Doesn't mean we want one, but seeing many area's of concern. If I see progress and a 'no quit' attitude then I know the "brick by brick" is real and breeds optimism in the fan base. So they will play the games from coast to coast with the results being what they will be.

Snapshot writes:

in response to BIVOLAR_BEARE:

Charlie Strong is building a quality program one criminal at a time..Good point, John.

What exactly was that "criminal" convicted of?

Long_Black_Train writes:

in response to DawgDayAfternoon:

As always, the inimitable Adams baits Vol fans, by closing strong, and they never get it.

Hint: It's what they, the Vols, haven't accomplished (read won't accomplish under Butchie Boy) that counts. When the stomping commences at the hands of Oregon, Florida, S.C., Bama, Auburn, Mizzou, Vandy, and the mighty Dawgs, there will be plenty of time for Adams to weigh in and for Vol fans to whine; whine about all the usual suspects that "have it in" for you - Adams, ESPN, Charles Woodson, etc. That's what perennial 5-7 or 4-8 teams do.

Say what? What has UGa accomplished lately? A couple of minor changes in the game last year and the Vols would have but UGa. Of course, Uga has said for quite some time, better lucky than good! It is going to take more than luck for UGa to beat the Vols this year.

DawgDayAfternoon writes:

in response to Long_Black_Train:

Say what? What has UGa accomplished lately? A couple of minor changes in the game last year and the Vols would have but UGa. Of course, Uga has said for quite some time, better lucky than good! It is going to take more than luck for UGa to beat the Vols this year.

Yeah, Yeah...The same ole rehashed talk that you guys put on here about Derek Dummy for three years, and Sunseri all last summer. How'd all that brag work out for you. Now, you've got another savior, Butchie Boy. When his three years run out all you'll have a an extended string of 5-7s; the Dawgs will own the series 23-22, never to look back; you'll have about a 10 million dollar buyout; and the Dawgs will be going for 8 in a row with the next mid-major chump you hire.

GerryOP writes:

in response to DawgDayAfternoon:

Yeah, Yeah...The same ole rehashed talk that you guys put on here about Derek Dummy for three years, and Sunseri all last summer. How'd all that brag work out for you. Now, you've got another savior, Butchie Boy. When his three years run out all you'll have a an extended string of 5-7s; the Dawgs will own the series 23-22, never to look back; you'll have about a 10 million dollar buyout; and the Dawgs will be going for 8 in a row with the next mid-major chump you hire.

What has UGa accomplished lately?

hateNCloveTN writes:

how do you change your username on this site? I am finally moving back to TENNESSEE and no longer want to be associated with this other country across the mountains.

mtnbikrtn writes:

cr@p - this was a test.

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

in response to Snapshot:

What exactly was that "criminal" convicted of?

Never said he was a convict (convicted felon), just acting like a criminal.

Volumnus writes:

Alright, who wrote this article and what have you done with that dim wit, John Adams? The article actually made some sense, a reach in some places, but it made more sense that most John Adams offerings. Kidnapping and imprisonment against someone's will is a crime! What have you done with John Adams?

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