The Tennessee athletic department needs an ambulance.
Don't worry. Point guard Trae Golden's hamstring didn't take a turn for the worse.
Wrong player. Wrong sport.
This is about football, and the players to come. It's about a program in need of emergency help.
New coach Butch Jones sized up the situation right away, hence the message to recruits: "Don't go where you're wanted; go where you're needed."
The need has never been greater. The Vols have suffered through three consecutive losing seasons and are now chasing Vanderbilt as well as Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, etc., in the SEC.
So the "go-where-you're-needed" message is perfect. It just needs amplification. Siren-size amplification.
That's where the ambulance comes in. Paint it orange and white. Play "Rocky Top" on the speakers. Drive it all over the Southeast for the last few days leading up to signing date. Get the word out.
The ambulance would send a couple of powerful messages, appealing to a recruit's humanity as well as his ambition. Here's a chance to help a program when it's down. Here's a chance for immediate playing time.
Don't say, "It's too late for this recruiting class." It's only too late if a student-athlete has validated his commitment in writing.
Players change their minds daily for all kinds of reasons, both practical and bewildering. So sound the siren in front of the recruit's house and see what happens.
But don't think of this as a Hail Mary approach to recruiting. Think of it as an integral part of UT's grand recruiting plan — strategic, rather than desperate.
Suddenly, Tennessee wouldn't just be the school with the checkerboard end zone. It would be The School With The Ambulance.
Remember the recruiting buzz generated by former UT coach Lane Kiffin and his wing man, Ed Orgeron, flying over Atlanta in a helicopter? Gimmicks work. Why else would former UT basketball coach Kevin O'Neill have introduced himself to a prominent recruit while wearing a gorilla suit.
If a coach disguised as a gorilla makes an impression, imagine the everlasting mark an orange-and-white ambulance would leave. Recruits who might never have given Tennessee a second thought would schedule a visit just so they could see the ambulance.
Once the Vols got a recruit on campus, they could dazzle him with their opulent facilities while educating him to the glory days of the mid-to-late 1990s when Tennessee dominated Alabama and only had to contend with Nick Saban in recruiting ventures against Michigan State.
You think Saban creates a stir when he visits rural America in pursuit of a potential contributor to his next national championship? Imagine what impact a Tennessee ambulance would have on the small-town populace. Folks would be talking about it for years.
And the only thing better than word-of-mouth advertising is word-of-mouth advertising from one recruit to another.
One Recruit: Coach Saban is coming to my school today.
Another Recruit: Big deal. The Tennessee ambulance is coming to my school today.
Saban's voice carries well, but not as well as a siren. The ambulance wouldn't just be louder. It would be newer, flashier and almost as hip as deer-antler spray.
And it could help regenerate UT's recruiting.