Comments by asleep#212036

Written on A season on the rebound: Vols roll into Sweet 16, send Cinderella Mercer home:

in response to murrayvol:

I've been critical of this team (and coaches) at times and they deserved it. They've got my praise and undivided attention now and they deserve that as well. GBO

Well said as usual. If folks could only keep in mind that NCAA basketball is only and always about the tournament. As much as we get frustrated at times about bad losses, bracket bubbles, seeding, etc..., right now does any of that really matter? Resoundingly - NO! And unlike Saint Bruce's teams of old, this team's assets travel outside TBA. Defense, rebounding, and a deliberate half-court offense work in any gym, at any time, against any team. Are we NCAA champs? No. Will we be? Probably not. But the point is that given some recruits, which should be a lot easier to get now, Martin's teams have the potential to be much more prominent nationally in the post-season than Pearl's. Don't get me wrong, BP put UT hoops back on the map and exciting they were BUT they were all offense, all the time - showtime for the big games, sure, but when it came time to grind it out in a tournament, SEC or NCAA, they just didn't have the style of game to make it happen. Congrats to Martin and this year's Vols!!

Written on Tennessee men's basketball team beats Mercer, punches ticket to NCAA tournament's Sweet 16:

in response to ProudVol:

BBB NOW!!!! I don't know about you but I cannot stand the current success. All this winning with class is really getting on my nerves.

I know - we really have not beaten anyone in the tournament - this has nothing to do with a well coached team - rather just the luck of the draw. That outstanding defense we are playing is all on the players and nothing to do with the coach. The motion offense, the team chemistry, the free throw shooting, the ability to figure out who is hot and ride them, the totally dominating rebounding - none of these things can be attributed to the coaching staff. We really need to replace this guy.

The fact is for three years this coach has had the volunteers red hot when it matters. He (we) got the big orange screw his first two years as both of those teams had resumes that deserved an NCAA bid (historically, playing well late has led to a nod from the selection committee). Had they gotten in they may have gone deep because they were playing so well. This team is playing as well as anyone in the country right now. I am not saying they will win it all, but I do believe that if they lose it will be in a very tight ballgame.

I will admit I have been frustrated with our inability to play good ball in November and December, but if that is what it takes to play this well in February and March, I'm all in. These guys look fresh and clearly they are having a great time on the court. Let's win two in Indianapolis and head to North Texas. Go Vols!!!!

Good call. Unlike football, there is a tournament in basketball and all you have to do is get in it and see what happens. The past two years those teams deserved a bid, even more than a couple of BP's teams, just didn't make it for whatever reason. The November through February frustrations aside, this team is built to go deep in a non-conference tournament: gnarly defense, domination in the paint, the ability to play both up and down or in the half-court - none of which, for all their "successes" could Pearl's teams do. They did catch a break with Duke going down but look at the numbers. With Richardson and Barton scoring like that, and Stokes and Maymon owning the paint, I really don't think Duke would have beaten them today either. Like we've all seen, when they're good, they can be scary good but when they're off, they can (and have) lose to literally anybody, i.e., TAMU, UTEP, and Vandy. Oh well, it's all good now and seeding no longer matters so let's enjoy the ride and hope we bounce some Wolverines back to Ann Arbor. Go Vols!!!

Written on Mike Strange: Vols remind us they can be a team with 'wow' factor:

There appears to be no middle ground with this team. When they're good, they're really, really good, like bracket buster, nobody-wants-to-play-them good. But when they're not, they are so mediocre that no game is safe. Sadly, there is no game they cannot win and no game they cannot lose. And there lies the quandary for the NCAA selection committee. If they win out the regular season they're gonna get in the tourney but the opportunities they have wasted to be a high seed are mind-boggling. They beat Virginia, Vandy, Arkansas, Georgia, LSU, and Bama to death (latter two on the road) but lose to TAMU and NC State at home and, gulp, UTEP. Toss in another TAMU road loss and a choke at Vandy and you see what they could have been. Just winning the games they were favored would have them have them at 23-6, an RPI likely in the low 30's, and an upper half seed. For whatever reason, Cuonzo cannot keep them focused game to game or sometimes even half to half. We'll see but I will say this after watching them today: if they make the tourney, there isn't a team in the whole shebang who would want any part of them no matter their seed. Go VOLS!!!

Written on Report: Vandy's James Franklin expected to accept job at Penn State:

If he doesn't take that job, he's an idiot. Vandy is NOT a good football team or a good football program. He is a good football coach and this is his year to make it happen. They are 24-15 the past three seasons but have only beaten (I believe) 5 AQ conference teams with winning records. Which means, that they have gotten more lucky with their scheduling than turned into a real SEC program. Look at next season: Georgia and Florida will be much improved and should have no trouble with the 'Dores next year. Mizzou and South Carolina will beat them too, as will Ole Miss, and Miss State in Starkville. That's already 6 guaranteed losses and that doesn't count our Vols, who will have a better than average chance as well. The key to Vandy's success is simple: play absolute bottom feeder non-con games, year after year. 2014 for them? How about Umass, Temple, Charleston Southern, and Old Dominion. Go back and look - I have - in Franklin's past three seasons every non-con slate looked just like that. Four teams worse than anybody on UT's schedule. Add to that beating KY and all they had to do was win one more, and we were accommodating. They caught Ole Miss, Auburn, Florida, Missouri, Georgia, and yes, UT, in historically low seasons and thus the wins. It is a blip on the screen, a confluence of luck, nothing more. Franklin had better hit while it's hot - my guess is that their bowling days are quickly and permanently coming to an end.
Go Vols!!!

Written on Longtime Vols commitment DaVonte Lambert signing with Auburn:

Couple of things that likely did us in: his official visit to Auburn happened to be the Auburn/Alabama game and his roommate (and best friend) was already committed to Auburn. When Rodney Garner got there to close the deal, as he did for Georgia and Tennessee back in the day, it was over. Yes, we needed him but with Dee Ford graduating I'm sure he was told he would be the starter there next year. Not likely, but Garner will say anything and most of these kids have stars in their eyes and are unable to discern a sales pitch from the truth. We all knew that we would lose a few and it may not be over but unlike Dooley, Butch has gotten commitments from a lot of high-powered kids instead of going second tier to make sure nobody flips. But next year a bowl game is a must or I'm afraid the negative recruiting will keep our talent low and our wins scarce for the foreseeable future. We all said we would be happy with a Top 10 recruiting class and right now, that seems to be a pretty sure thing. Dooley's last two classes were #'s 21 and 29 so we will definitely be upgrading some talent. Let's not get crazy just yet, let's see what Butch can recruit and see what he and his staff can do with them on the field next year. This time next year we should have enough data points to begin to predict the future but right now we're still flying blind. Go Vols!!!

Written on John Adams: This could be the 'splash class' for UT football:

It is nothing short of amazing that Butch Jones could sign a Fulmer-level class with a Dooley-level record. Of course, playing 5 teams with at least 10 regular season wins was totally nasty so the record is easily explained, as they were also playing with Dooley-level "talent". If this class holds together and 2014 class is anything close, then, and only then, might we see Butch and company finally turn the corner. Don't get me wrong, I think this class alone will go a long way towards shoring up our demonstrable talent deficit relative to SEC elite teams but the O- and D-line issues will likely be too much to overcome by next season. Looking forward to 2015 with great anticipation. Go Vols!!!

Written on John Adams: Vols stuck on seven losses no matter who's coaching :

The problem with your argument John is that talent issues aside, and they are legion, this season's 7 losses were pretty much guaranteed because of the prior three years. These seniors are losers - not personally, mind you as they have been beat down more than any group in over 100 years - but historically, losers. And that matters. When Kiffin took over he got a group of guys with some good memories - SEC CGs, bowl games NOT in Nashville, big wins. He won a couple, played in a decent bowl, and almost pulled the shocker in T-town but in the end, he moved on and most of his vaunted first recruiting class was gone too by various means. Then Dooley. He inherited less than Kiffin, mainly due to Kiffin, and proceeded over three years to drain all the remaining good memories out of each successive class. By the time Jones took over, none of these guys have anything left in the tank on which to reach down for something extra. LSU debacle, UNC loss, Kentucky meltdown, failure after failure last year in position to win - losing, and a seeming indifference about it, has become ingrained. When we needed to bow up against Georgia on the last drive - nothing left. When we needed the OT score, fatal mistake. When we desperately needed the first down against Vandy to more or less ice the game - failure. Unfortunately it's all these kids know and sadly, what they've come to expect. When Butch talks about changing the culture he means just that - putting winning back in these kids' heads' as a real option. Malzahnn and Pinkel revived and/or suffered through one-year setbacks - good for them but nowhere near the job Butch took on. Does anyone think if Butch had been hired after Kiffin the program would be where it is today? No, of course not. And there's your answer John - this program had no chance of winning this year (with any coach) and next year may be much of the same but Butch seems, at least to this point, to be bringing us real hope for seasons yet to come. That's why Hart hired him and I, for one, am perfectly willing to wait and see what happens. So far it looks pretty good for the future. Go Vols!!!

Written on Tennessee-Kentucky: Report Card:

in response to slb1zellwood#1421797:

I agree with you on the grading system but I'm afraid we will continue to struggle next year as well while the new kids go thru the adjustment period. In comparison the the skill & physical talent I saw in the Alabama/Auburn game both Kentucky and Tennessee looked & played like High /School kids. Will we be back to their skill and physical level next year? No way maybe in 2015 we will have closed the gap some but not enough to go toe to toe on a weekly basis with the big boys. Hope I'm proven wrong but don't think I will be. One thing is for sure I'll still be hooting and rooting for the Vols & Butch to get-er-done, which they will eventually do.

Well said. The teams that made us look the worst this season were Oregon, Missouri, and Auburn, teams with amazing offensive speed. In fact, it shouldn't be lost on the rest of the SEC that this year's participants in the SEC CG happen to be the two fastest offensive teams in the conference. No way we get 10-game good in one more season so next year, unfortunately, a bowl should still be our loftiest goal. But IF Butch can get this class and one more anywhere close to it and IF Butch can coach them at all, then 2015 should be the year when we can start to talk about competing for the East once again. I know it hurts to say it but folks, this team is just not talented, especially in the upper classes. We are playing with our last four classes ranked 9th, 13th, 21st, and 29th, realizing that the Kiffin 9th rated class lost almost all its stars within 2 years, most of them before they could even contribute significantly on the field. Butch's next two classes, if Top 10, will only start to get us back to level with the big boys and even then those kids won't be experienced. And just for comparison, only two other teams suffered the level of offensive injuries that we faced with their skill players - Georgia and Florida. Both of those teams had bad seasons by their standards, Florida's was bad by anybody's standards. And they both are fielding teams with 5 straight Top 10 recruiting classes. So let's not hit Butch and company too hard on a 5-7 year, especially considering the schedule. We have been in steady decline since 2006 so there's no reason to expect it to be fixed in one or two years. Go Vols!!!

Written on David Climer: Butch Jones, Tennessee Vols need time to rebuild:

I would take issue with Mr. Climer's assessment on two major points. First, he claims Butch Jones and his coaches benefitted greatly from the last Kiffin/first Dooley class, citing 9 players who significantly contributed. OK, I'll give him the O-line and that only grudgingly as I think they were vastly overrated. But Neal and the D-line/LB senior players are not elite SEC material, period. The fact that they were, sadly, important players on Team 117 tells us all we need to know. Their being the best we had available, it is no small wonder our defense wasn't even worse which brings me to my next point of dispute. He said that our defense, which "peaked" in the SC game, slid backward to Sunseri levels at season's end. Hmmmm. The next three games, the ones on which I assume he based his judgment, were Alabama and Missouri on the road, and a home date with Auburn. Offensive speed, speed, speed.... all three were loaded with it and we were terribly overmatched. The only team we played prior to that gauntlet with that much speed was.....Oregon, by the way the only other team to make our D look that bad. Once we got back to Vandy the defense looked much improved once again, as it will on Saturday. His premise that we lack team speed, especially on defense, is accurate. However, his conclusion that our defense has gotten worse since SC is flawed - prior to that game we hadn't played but one team that could fully expose the defect. The Vandy loss was a pure offensive issue, as will our fate be in Lexington on Saturday. We have run the ball waaaaay better this season, but our issues as QB have done us in, esp last week. I can't really think of much Butch and Co. could have done differently in the big picture considering all the true/RS freshmen we have starting in skill positions on offense. I'm willing to look the other way next year too, a little, but if Butch hasn't significantly changed the direction of the program by 2015, then I'll once again emotionally sit it out until the next guy comes along. Go Vols!!!

Written on Tennessee-Vanderbilt: Report Card:

in response to oldster:

Of all the freshmen qbs that I have seen the Vols run out since I have been following them (since 1957), Josh Dobbs is, without question, the worst. He can run, but he cannot pass AT ALL. Hopefully, he can be made into a receiver. Otherwise, he will be another wasted scholarship. BTW: Dobbs has called into question the only thing that Jones has done this year, to-wit: recruiting. Since Dobbs is someone Jones specifically targeted - as is Peterman - and he cannot play (nor can Peterman), it calls into question Jones' ability to judge talent. The same question arising about his assistants when they keep telling us that Josh Smith has the greatest hands in the history of football while he keeps dropping them with the regularity of Dobbs throwing balls into the ground two yards in front of wide open receivers.

There is NO hope on the horizon for the Vols. When UT dumped Fulmer, all hope dissipated. He may have only been a shadow of his former self, but he recruited and had commitments from Taj Boyd and Bryce Petty, which shows that he was a better judge of talent than Jones or what came between them.

Your comment would rock except for one thing: Butch doesn't assign the stars for our recruits so his talent assessments apparently line up pretty well with those of the recruiting services. And just for the record, Fulmer, whom I loved, told both Randall Cobb and Patrick Willis they weren't good enough to play at UT and didn't offer them so he wasn't perfect in his assessments either. And per Mr. Rucker, who has no dog in the race, Josh Smith almost never drops a ball in practice, not sure why it doesn't translate to game situations. I think we've all underestimated Worley's ability because after the SC game our offense has been woeful. With him healthy, we beat Vandy for sure but it doesn't matter now - hold your head up and beat Kentucky, sign up the next class, and let's get ready for next season. Go Vols!!!

Written on Tennessee-Vanderbilt: Report Card:

in response to Atypical_liberal:

Coaching makes all the difference. Auburn was 3-9, 0-8 in the SEC in 2012. Now they are 10-1 going into the Iron Bowl with the Crimson Tide.

Apples and oranges: Malzahn walked into 4 straight top-10 recruiting classes Chizik left him, not to mention the fact that he recruited and previously coached every significant contributor they have, especially on offense. Butch inherited not one single top-10 class in the past 5 years and those kids are on their 4th coaching staff and system in that same amount of time. Coaching has very little to do with the problems we have right now. No talent, no depth, no chemistry, and no continuity of coaching over time to develop a system. Dooley had three years, his "system" was in place, yet we stunk and then some. He was fired and should have been. Butch will get, and should get, that same time period to put his system/players in place and should not be judged too harshly until then. At that point however, all heck should be rained down on him if we still stink and knowing Hart, I'm pretty sure it will go down pretty much like that. Coaching is icing, talent is the cake. All the icing in the world can't cover up the fact that our cake is really, really bad right now. Until we get better players, there's just not much Butch or anyone else can do. As of now, serious help, in the way of the next class, is on the way. One more thing: the players love him and play hard for him. Last time that was the case? Fulmer, he of 150 wins and a NC, so.... Maybe we should let him stay a couple more years, huh? Go Vols!!!

Written on Tennessee-Vanderbilt: Report Card:

in response to RoadTrip:

Hart did the same thing that Hamilton did when faced with being forced to hire a new head coach, he panicked and hired the first guy with a decent rep that would say yes. Then threw a big comp package at them and trotted them out there for the dog and pony show. Jones has the Pearl salesmanship thing going on. If the recruits come - fine. At least he will have built a roster for the next guy, unlike Dools/Kiffin. But the coaching will be more like Ron Zook as 88VolGrad states.

Color me unimpressed. About as much as these laughable grades.

As so many have shown, including Les Miles, Mark Richt, and yes, even Fulmer, if you recruit well enough you don't have to coach all that well. I don't agree with you that Jones is Ron Zook or anything close to that. But I will say that even if you are right, if he recruits for three years like he is this year, at least the next guy (and Vols fans) won't have to wait very long to see results.

Further, just out of curiosity, whom would you have had us hire? Hart offered two high-profile guys the job and they said "no thanks". Ever wonder why? Maybe, just maybe, they saw how far down the toilet Kiffin/Dooley had flushed our program and didn't want to try and rebuild in the SEC... And had we asked anyone else and been turned down, fans would have been screaming about the embarrassment of it all. Jones has won everywhere he's been, something we would have to go back to 1977 with Johnny Majors to find in any of our hires so odds are he'll win here too. Yes, there is an SEC learning curve for new coaches and we are woefully undermanned but most pundits had us at 5-7 at season's start and IF we beat Kentucky next week, which isn't a given at this point, that's exactly where we'll end up. Considering the schedule and the injuries on a team without an SEC-elite starting group, let alone a 2-deep, I'd say we're about where we should expect to be. If Butch hasn't turned it around by the end of year 3, then we'll fire him and hire someone else - simple. But I just don't see how we can adequately judge him on this season. Go Vols!!!

Written on Tennessee-Vanderbilt: Report Card:

Beyond the obvious issues already addressed, I have a a few more. First, who in the world brings a ball out of the end zone at the end of the game in that situation? Take the free 25 yards with no time off the clock! As it turned out, we would have been 10 yards closer for the hail Mary pass - much easier to get a lucky break. And, if we had made the chippie FG in the first quarter, we would have needed only a FG to win - how big would the 10 yards and 2 seconds have been then?

Second, and this goes somewhat to coaching, either OC or Butch: why did we not run the play clock down to the end on the last series? I get it on earlier series but we snapped the ball with at least 12 seconds left on the play clock on all three plays before the final punt - that would have run another 40 secs or so off the game clock....let's see, did that end up being important?

Third, why in the world would Swafford grab the facemask of a kid he's tackling from behind in the open field. I know he's a FR walk-on (which speaks volumes about our talent and depth that, by necessity, he's even in the game at that point) but still.... Again, combining issues two and three would have moved Vandy from our 43 with 1:08 to their 42 with 0:28 in the game. Simple football 101 basics that had they done, I'd bet the farm the GVX articles would be reading much better today.

Fourth, on 3rd and 1, with the "best" offensive line in the SEC, we lined up in a power-I with a fullback and Neal 5 yards deep - perfect tried-and-true SEC football play coming. But wait - we switch out of that into a delay-read play with no lead blocker and in the midst of all the hand-off, pull blocks, and gap-reading, a Vandy cornerback runs in and makes the play. What....? Not sure Bajakian's SEC learning curve has flattened out yet either unless Dobbs changed the play at the line which is even more inexcusable. Either way, it's Vandy's D-line, not Bama's - run hard, right at them with a lead blocker, get the first and run the clock. Sometimes you're just too clever by half. Sitting in Neyland, I felt it was the play of the game, the team that won it was gonna win the game - unfortunately I was right.

All the above were "little things" and Butch talks about those "little things" all the time. Well last night, in crunch time, whether the fault of the player or his coach, those little things didn't get done and would have most certainly changed the outcome.

Go Vols!!!

Written on Tennessee-Vanderbilt: Report Card:

in response to 88volgrad:

I worry that Butch is our Ron Zook.

Ron Zook was a coordinator who inherited a post-Spurrier team full of NFL talent and drove the program in the ground, although, funny enough, not to the level Muschamp has and he, apparently, is still good - go figure. Jones has won everywhere he's ever been and his recruiting prowess alone rivals, if not exceeds, that of Fulmer. Further, we have the worst talent relative to the rest of the SEC in my lifetime, and I'm 50. That isn't Butch's fault and was unfixable in one season. And, not only are our Kiffin/Dooley players short on talent, they are stupid as well. We still have more NFL level raw talent on our team than Vandy but I was at the game and ladies and gentlemen, their guys execute, execute, execute, overcoming more-talented teams. Franklin is no Saban but he does find a way to beat teams with losing records, which is where all but 3 of his wins are. But to his credit, Vandy used to lose to those teams as well. BTW, UT has just as many wins over BCS conference teams with winning records as Vandy, exactly one, but we played Oregon, Alabama, and Auburn - they didn't. I just don't think we realized how bad this team would be but we know it now and unfortunately in our league, 5-year downward spirals are not fixed in one or two. Go Vols!!!

Written on Mike Strange: Has brutal schedule masked Vols' improvement? :

No matter how good or bad Jancik (or Jones for that matter) is, it's always been about talent in the SEC. Even the great Fulmer would tell you that. Certainly some coaches seem to be better coaching them up, ie, Saban and Franklin, and some seem to be adept at holding them back, that's you Miles, Richt, and Muschamp. However, it's very telling that in Bleacher Report's list of the SEC's top player on offense, defense, and special teams, only two teams had NO players listed: Kentucky and good ole' UT. None, nada, zilch.... Butch didn't come to UT to win now or even next year. What Dooley and Kiffin did to our program, combined with Phil's somewhat lackadaisical recruiting efforts his last few years, will take years to undo - yes, years. We are losing every single starter on our O- and D-lines this year and the only real defensive speed we will have for next season will be our incoming freshmen, redshirts, and JUCOs, meaning no SEC experience. So let's not hold our breaths about next year being a breakout either. However, IF Butch can hold this class together and get one more like it, then 2015-16 should be the year we begin to see real improvement, as in wins. Is Jancik the guy? I don't know because we have no team speed and this is their 3rd DC in as many years. One thing for sure: the guys on D with real SEC talent seem to be able to make their plays and the guys who don't can't. Like I said, it's all about the players in this league. Give Jancik better players and then judge his coaching ability.

That said, I think Vandy is a win simply because they can't stretch our defense like others have. The three teams that made us look the worst were Oregon, Mizzou, and Auburn - the three fastest teams on the schedule. Vandy? Not so much. Stop Matthews and you stop Vandy's offense cold. On the other side, Dobbs will have to have a good day as the 'Dores won't get caught out of position and work extremely well as a team, the product of a bunch of seniors and their non-SEC level of intellect. However, if we can punch out 185 yds/game rushing against the schedule we've played thus far, I feel like we can certainly run against Vandy. If we can run, Dobbs will definitely be able to throw some. I'm no pie in the sky optimist but it's all about matchups and for once we match up pretty well with Vandy, just like Georgia and S Carolina - and they don't have near the talent of either of those teams, on either side of the ball. Go Vols!!!

Written on Vols get low marks in Missouri game report card:

in response to wazzya69vol:

Very upset with loss and the way they loss. This game was definitely a step backwards, even the penalties are coming back same as previous years. Just don't get!!! But what I wanted to address your outlook concerning recruits. If we get blown out by Auburn (which hopefully we won't, we'll be there), could this affect these recruits' commitments; they are verbal. I sure hope not, but seems like it could. GBO and CBJ

No question a blowout loss to Auburn could play into potential recruits' commitments to UT - COULD. However, these kids want to play and a large majority of them are being recruited to positions of need. Butch has shown he will not hesitate to start freshmen any time or anywhere so they know they'll get their fair chance to play early and often. Not to bring it up but worse than losing badly to Top 10 (which I don't believe BTW) Auburn, would be losses to either (or GASP, both) Vandy or Kentucky. That to me would set Butch back further. As I said, most pundits had us at 5-7 or 6-6, and that was pre-sesason, well before Missouri and Auburn turned out to be so strong. We are way ahead of last year despite the last game, if in nothing else but recruiting. It is possible that Butch will sign about the same number of 4- and 5-stars in this one class as Dooley did in three. If we lose half this class it will still be the best class since Fulmer, considering Kiffin's guys all went AWOL. And Auburn is only a 7-point favorite, pretty slim for a "Top 10" team against a 4-5 struggler. I think the issue is that Butch got our hopes up, which is good, and now that reality has set in we are all in despair but fear not, he will turn us around, it's just gonna take time - a lot of time. My guess is that we will not be regularly competitive (with the more frequent win) with our conference elite brothers until the 2015-16 season and won't be favored to beat many of them until a year after that. But considering Tennessee hasn't been the Tennessee we all got used to since 2004, turning around an 8-year slide in three years will be worthy of a long-term deal. The transformation has already begun IMO...Go Butch, Go Vols!!!

Written on Vols get low marks in Missouri game report card:

I'm not real sure why all the panic has ensued.... Butch said on Day one that our biggest problem was lack of speed and athleticism, especially on defense. Oregon and Missouri just put that on display much more than Georgia or SC because of the offense they run. Western Kentucky and South Alabama looked good at times too with the same offensive strategy. It's no secret: our defensive line is slow and without depth, our LB's are not athletic enough to make plays in space, and our secondary is just too young and too banged up to handle a well-executed passing game like Bama, Oregon, Georgia, and Missouri run. Most pundits predicted our record to be 5-7 and we all thought that was silly. However, they are pundits for a reason and as it turns out, 6-6 appears to be our glass ceiling unless we play our defensive game of the year next week.

But nobody should panic. Recruiting classes are fluid but those guys signed with Tennessee because they want, and were promised, immediate playing time. Nothing I've seen so far would change that if I were being recruited. In fact, just the opposite - all starting O- and D-linemen graduate or go pro, the LB corps lacks athleticism and is undermanned, and the secondary needs depth and maybe a new starter (ahem, Justin Coleman). Further, Hurd can't carry the ball every down next year and a nice JUCO receiver would be nice as well as some other options besides North and Howard, the only two we have that consistently block and catch. And Butch has proven he will start and play true freshmen at any position in any game. Like it or not, we can't even field an elite-SEC starting rotation, let alone a 2-deep and until Butch can fill out the talent, we won't be able to break out of 6 to 7 win seasons in this conference. It took mighty Bama nearly a decade to rebound from the Dubose debacle (I know, they lost scholarships but still...) so we shouldn't assume that in one or two years we will be back competing for SEC titles, it's just plain unrealistic. Let's just hope we make a bowl game and go on from there. I think Butch is the right guy at the right time but the job is a lot tougher than what Dooley or Kiffin had, mostly thanks to them....And sadly, we could lose half the 4-stars in this class and still have a better group than Dooley ever signed or than UT got to keep of Kiffin's boys. Wow... Go Vols!!!

Written on Jeronne Maymon is 'finally back' in exhibition win over Florida Southern :

Good defense starts and ends with the point guard shutting down his counterpart and pressuring the ball in the backcourt. Barton didn't play so that was not available. Maymon was also limited due to nothing more than his not having played competitively in over a year. Martin's teams have always played defense and this year will be no different, despite the score last night. The difference could be that this team might be able to score like one of Pearl's but also play defense, something those teams never did. Could be special. Go Vols!!!

Written on First BCS standings: Alabama No. 1 Florida State No. 2; Oregon third after being 4th in computer polls:

Agree, def Top 5, Auburn, Florida, and LSU's are nasty too but I think the road games at Oregon, Bama, Florida, and Mizzou put us over the top. In addition, we have the added burden of our recent losing/Dooley history and a glaring lack of experienced elite playmakers on both sides of the ball. With that in mind, I'd like to know who had a bigger mountain to climb than Butch. You have to love this guy - Strong and Gundy wouldn't take the job no matter the price and other big name coaches wouldn't even consider a discussion. Yet there is Butch, jaw set, eyes hard and focused, determined to take this team, kicking and screaming if need be, back to SEC prominence. Our kids are actually being coached, half-time adjustments are being made, we are playing through the 4th quarter even in blowouts (ie, Oregon).... I like what I'm seeing, schedulers be hanged.... It can only help down the road. Go Vols!!!

Written on John Adams: UT defense puts past passing behind it:

Derek Dooley had his nose so far up Saban that he bought Sal Sunseri hook, line, and sinker. The man might be a great linebacker coach but as a coordinator, I'm not sure we've seen worse in the SEC in fifty years. Jancik (sp?) brings an attitude to the defense but more than that, he brings preparation AND halftime adjustments, something you would have to go back pre-Chavis to find in Knoxville. And what do you know? We no longer play prevent defense in Knoxville. We held Georgia and SC to season low 3rd down conversion percentages. Stuffed a Spurrier offense in the 4th quarter at crunch time. Getting turnovers in bunches. Lost Maggitt. Lost Couch. Still don't have Saulsberry back. Playing a true freshman at corner. This guy, like Butch, has it going on and that D is getting more confidant every week. They're gonna have to really step it up the next three weeks if we are to see a bowl game. Go Vols!!!

Written on SEC upsets show back end of UT's schedule may be more challenging than once thought:

Believing you can beat Alabama and doing it are certainly two different things but it does appear that Butch will take them to T-town playing, for the first time in years, like they belong in the upper tier of the SEC. Georgia and SC games were not flukes. Both those teams have twice the number of elite athletes we do right now and each has recently won the SEC East. Both were pre-season Top 10's and although that has proven to be untrue, they got those rankings based on talent and momentum from the previous season, neither of which we have. Butch and his staff have coached them up AND instilled an amazing amount of confidence considering none of these kids had anything substantive in their UT past on which to build. Bama is clearly the class of the SEC, maybe the nation, but I think Butch's team 117 will "give their all for UT" from kickoff to end, regardless of the score. Go Vols!!!

Written on Mark Wiedmer: Jones' leadership looking better and better:

One thing I notice about Butch is his unwavering confidence on the sidelines. I think the guy can flat out coach but even if he wasn't the greatest of tacticians/teachers (think Les Miles or Lane Kiffin) that confidence is contagious. Butch inherited a proud, downtrodden program that is hindered by the following: several players short of a full load of scholarship athletes, not a single player on the team part of a recruiting class ranked higher than 13th (Kiffin's #7 class disintegrated within a year), a season removed from the worst UT defense in the era of the forward pass, having to replace their QB and all of their receivers from the previous season, their 4th coach (and new staff) and thus their 4th new system in 5 years, 3 consecutive losing seasons, an increasingly frustrated fan base with the expected decrease in season tickets and donations, a brutal schedule in the ever tougher SEC plus Oregon, NCAA probation, and athletic dept financial woes. And in all that, Butch has these guys believing they can play with the best and win. And it starts with his believing in them. They see it and it shows.

It's been evolving and the team certainly didn't have that confidence in Eugene earlier this season, but Butch did. Think about yesterday - we scored only 6 points in the second half, and won. We held SC to 12 yards of total offense in the 4th quarter and two weeks in a row actually outplayed a superior team in the 4th quarter...anyone care to think back just one year in the Dooley nightmare? We punted and forced a three and out in crunch time against a Spurrier team. We came from behind two weeks in a row under circumstances that one would have to go all the way back to the Clausen years under Fulmer to find similar grit and will to win. I'm a big fan of Butch Jones, loved the hire from day one OVER Strong or Gundy, and I'm glad to see that so far, Hart was right - this was the guy we needed. Go Vols!!!

Written on Report card: Playing clean football gave the Vols a chance to win in fourth quarter:

Despite the loss, this was the first time in several years that for four quarters and in all phases of the game we actually looked like we belonged in the upper tier of the SEC. If you doubted it before, believe it now, Butch Jones can flat out coach. Make no mistake, we were completely outmatched by Georgia in the talent/experience department. Once again, Richt was out-coached but won by putting better players on the field. Give Butch a two-deep with that caliber of player and watch out.... Go Vols!!!

Written on Phillip Fulmer says Tennessee coach Butch Jones has 'lots of challenges':

in response to OrangePride:

Well, like the Coach or not, he's in a position to know just what kind of challenges confront Coach Jones. And if any of us think this year is tough, next year will be even tougher. We will lose LOTS of players and experience and there are not a lot of replacements on hand. So let's us all continue to be a little patient. Hopefully we turn the corner with CBJ and staff.

Fortunately, one of the few areas that Dooley successfully recruited was the O-line. Granted, they will all be young and new starters but they come highly touted. The skill players should be much improved. The D-line however.... Yikes..... Go Vols!!!

Written on Phillip Fulmer says Tennessee coach Butch Jones has 'lots of challenges':

I agree Fulmer might have started the fall but not responsible in the same way as Kiffin and Dooley. Fulmer just got satisfied and our other SEC brethren got real busy figuring out how to beat UT and Florida, the two gorillas at the time. Spurrier saw the winds changing and got out, Fulmer just rode the storm and it eventually caught up with him. Nobody bleeds more orange than Phil, he just waited too long to leave. Now Kiffin? Let's see: he recruited a bunch of thugs and criminals, most of whom with 4 or more stars were gone by the next year. He childishly taunted and goaded all our opponents' coaching staffs before he ever won a game. He made lame excuse after lame excuse for losses, including at Bama. Then he left a month before the recruiting deadline and as a final gesture, recruited some of our players to USC. Then there's Dooley who, although I didn't think it possible, was worse for the program than Kiffin. He had never won anywhere, his only claims to fame being that his dad was a famous SEC coach and Saban liked him. He couldn't recruit, constantly harping that his staff had evaluated a player and that those 2 stars were waaaay too low..... He almost never got a recruit that had offers from any other upper tier SEC or BCS conference school. He whined when we lost, blaming the players, the weather, the stock market, whatever.... And first and foremost, he never embraced what it meant to be the head coach at UT.

The incredible negative inertia that Butch must overcome will take at least two MORE years before we can even remotely consider ourselves competition for the best teams in our conference. He will need this recruiting class and two more just about as good. He will need a break in the schedule. He will need to re-establish a culture of winning in Knoxville and it's been a long time gone. All this in light of his generous contract and impatient fans - yes Phil, he's got a lot of "challenges". He seems up for it and I like him, I just hope he gets enough time to finish the job.

GoVols!!!

Written on John Adams: Maximizing improvement: Follow 8 'Don'ts of Sal Sunseri':

Please don't shoot the messenger, but without the miserable failure of Sunseri's defense last year, we probably would have won 9 or more games. Dooley would likely have gotten a raise, an extension, or both, and we would have been stuck with him trying to rebuild with this year's team and a fat multi-year contract too expensive to buy out.. And when did DD EVER have a recruiting class like the one Butch is potentially putting together? As much as it pained me to watch, and as much grief as I had to endure (I live in Alabama...), the only silver lining was that DD is gone and we can finally, maybe, move on from the last few sad Fulmer years. Kiffin and Dooley set our program back a decade and if we're lucky, Butch will have us competitive by 2015 and in contention a couple of years from that. I don't know about you but I'm about tired of losing. However, when you hire losers for coaches (Kiffin and Dooley had never won anywhere before) what did we expect? In the modern SEC, if you want a winner you don't mold one, you go out and hire one. Hopefully that's what Hart has done, time will tell. Go Vols!!!

Written on Jay Graham leaving Vols for Florida State:

Mixed feelings. On one hand, no doubt our RB's played better last year and he was the only former Vol on Butch Jones' staff, all good. However, for all his alleged recruiting prowess, we were not able to sign a big-time RB this class, even with no real proven SEC talent in the upper classes, should have been a chip-shot, not good. Bottom line is both money and his connections to Tee Martin and Randy Sanders sealed the deal, although Randy currently owns the spot he has coached at his last two schools.

As far as the Dooley 2.0 comments, pure silliness. Dooley has never won anywhere he's ever coached and in fact, the subsequent La Tech coach took his players and won with them. Jones has won everywhere he's ever coached and has proven so far to be a tireless worker and recruiter. If Graham wants to head to FSU and coach in the ACC, let him go. And I cannot agree more with the VFL comments - just another Dooley sound bite (among innumerable others) designed to make us think the program was headed in the right direction - BS all the way. Unfortunately Jones has no choice but to forge on with it... Read Eric Berry's (and several other former Vols') comments on Butch Jones and then decide whether or not he is preferable to Dooley from folks in the know. Go Vols!!!

Written on Report: Zach Azzanni new Vols receivers coach :

If one more person remarks that Jones wasn't the right guy because he couldn't get better than 3-star athletes at Cincy, I will scream. Recruiting is a sell job for the school and the football program. A guy in Cincinnati can't sell that program like that same guy could at Tennessee, period. He outrecruited Strong so far this year before he left (and beat him two out of three as well) and has hired several strong recruiters with SEC ties. Martinez was fired as DC, but he's not our DC, so.... Thigpen was, according to my Auburn friends, their best coach and recruiter but Malzahn was told to clean house. He did and we get great staffer. Graham, 'nuff said. Azzanni I know nothing about except that Urban Meyer, good friends with Butch, hired him twice to coach receivers and we will run a similar power-run spread so.... The men from Cincy that came with Butch were mostly the same men that won all those games with him. Folks who win at lower levels tend to win when they move up, that's HOW and WHY they move up after all. If this recruiting class can be saved during a coaching change, congrats to Butch and staff. If not, it happens, not his fault. One bad class won't hurt any program and we'll see what he can do with an entire year to work these kids/HS coaches. But to say that he will fail as a recruiter because he couldn't get 4- and 5-star kids to Cincinnati is silly. No wonder our coaches are under so much stress - all the "experts" in our peanut gallery won't even give them a chance. Go Vols!!!

Written on John Adams: Comparative shopping: Petrino, Tuberville, Jones :

in response to LAVol11:

There aren't many Fulmer players in the NFL from 2006 on. This is just another measure of how the talent had dropped off in Fulmer's later years.

In April 2002, 14 UT players were selected in the NFL draft. For the NFL drafts of 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2009 all combined, UT had only 14 players selected.

Think about that one.

And that, in a nutshell, is why we have not been competitive. If that doesn't change, Jones won't win here either. Let's hope he can restore some recruiting glory. If not? Well, the definition of stupid is doing the same things over and over and expecting a different result. If he can't get better players, the results will be the same. Go Vols!!!

Written on Report: Zach Azzanni new Vols receivers coach :

in response to BIVOLAR_BEARE:

Don't forget he's a great recruiter as well..As a matter of fact North is visiting UT this weekend and by all accounts he'll probably be a Volunteer by Monday morning. This was setup by Thigpen our newly appointed db coach, and Martinez has bigger recruits than him wanting to visit UT..This is looking good.

Completely agree with the recruiting angle. If fact, my only concern about his staff was related to recruiting. Les Miles, and to some degree Ol' Phil, proved that if you put better players on the field you don't have to coach them that well to be wildly successful. I live in Auburn country and was told by all my Tiger friends that both Thigpen and Martinez were marvelous recruiters and Lord knows we need to continue to upgrade the talent. IF Jones' coaches (many of whom coached in the SEC before) can re-establish our former recruiting prowess, the coaching part will be fine. All of his "new" guys - Azzanni, Graham, Thigpen, and Martinez - are reputed to be relentless on the recruiting trail. I'm cautiously optimistic....before, with Dooley and Kiffin, I was just cautious! Go Vols!!!

Written on Report: Zach Azzanni new Vols receivers coach :

in response to yabadabadoo1026:

the OC experience is good to have on staff as well had Martinez's DC experience---butstange that Bielema didnt think enough of him apparantly to invite him to Arky as all these guys tend to so predominately bring their own

Hard to say for sure, there are so many variables. They only worked together for one year so the relationship wasn't there, much like Weist didn't come with Jones. Then there's the Chaney issue and maybe he's picking whom he wants, which is reasonable. Then there's living in Arkansas for a life-long Yankee.... Further, Arky's offense won't resemble Wisconsin's in any shape, form, or fashion so maybe Beilema decided to go a different direction. Urban Meyer used him at two different schools so I'm fairly certain he can coach. Welcome aboard!

On a different note, Martinez' defenses at Georgia were horrible and he was fired there. However, Auburn's secondary was pretty good the last two years. His being a former DC doesn't make me feel much better because he wasn't any good at it. But I guess your point is that he has coordinated the entire defense which certainly will help in meetings and the film room, a valid point indeed. Go Vols!!!

Written on John Adams: Comparative shopping: Petrino, Tuberville, Jones :

in response to CoverOrange:

While I agree with you that Petrino is only using WKU as a stepping stone don't you think WKU will be a much more attractive spot for their next coaching search if Petrino has them winning 10, 11 or 12 games each year? Same thing at Tennessee. Do you think Strong or any number of other coaches would have turned Hart down if UT was coming off a 10-2 season?

Hard to say but the UT job was/is certainly daunting. The program is in way better shape off the field than when DD took over but the on the field issues, the ones we fans are most concerned with, remain. WKU will win 10 games within a couple of years and Petrino will be out of there like his hair is on fire soon after. Cincinnati I'm not as sure about. Tuberville didn't exactly light up Texas Tech following Mike Leach and now he's sliding into Cincy after two very successful coaches. He had a reputation as a somewhat lazy recruiter while at Auburn but was considered a very good teacher of athletes with fewer Rivals or Scout "stars" so probably a good fit. Jones' task at UT isn't quite as easy. Expectations, as always, are sky-high. He's most likely losing Bray, Patterson, and Hunter so the offense will need to rebuild. We're changing back to a base 4-3, better of course for our personnel but a change nonetheless - how quickly can they make it work? Recruiting class is in flux daily, where do we end up there? I think down the road we will be very glad we got Jones instead of Tubs or Petrino. Will he be better than Charlie Strong? Louisville made him an offer no reasonable person could have refused so we'll never know. Go Vols!!!

Written on Mike Strange: Tennessee needed a fresh start and Butch Jones gives them one :

I loved his assessment of recruiting, calling it a sales job and a people business. I think he gets it. He said it is about relationships and he's right. Getting Tee Martin would be huge as would picking up a couple of Chizik's recruiters from Auburn (Thigpen and Martinez). Say what you will about the Won-Loss record at Auburn but they have 3 Top Ten Rivals classes waiting for Malzahn. If he gets the players he will win, everything in his history says so. Let's hope he can start winning the recruiting battles for us again. Go VoLS!!

Written on John Adams: An SEC coaching leap isn't for everybody :

in response to BIVOLAR_BEARE:

Sorry asleep, but I can't resist..Which trailer park do you live in?? Just kidding.

Pretty funny but actually down here in the "Heart of Dixie", most of the trailer parks are decked out in crimson and white, not orange and blue....I live in north Alabama near Huntsville thus the high Auburn titer - all those engineers and rocket scientists...And believe me when I say, there is nothing worse than a whiny Auburn fan when they lose and NOTHING worse than an arrogant Bama fan (redundant, I know) when they win. It's pretty miserable during football season down here.....Go Vols!!!

Written on John Adams: An SEC coaching leap isn't for everybody :

in response to peppo:

Charlie Strong chose to stay in the ACC because he didn't want to compete against the best. When you want to compete against the best, you know you won't win every battle, but those that you do win are sweet. I am glad we got someone that wants to compete against the very best and has the confidence to put his team up against anyone. We will see one or two signature wins next year. Book it!

Charlie Strong also got an 8-year, $32 million dollar deal to stay at Louisville. He's 52 with a lucrative deal that takes him to age 60. He's coaching in the Big East then ACC, he doesn't have to move, he doesn't have to rebuild anything in the ridiculously tough SEC, he doesn't have to risk his reputation - it was a no-brainer and most coaches would have done the same. Jones is NOT most coaches and that's what I like about him. He's confident and believes in what he's doing. He's a high energy guy who believes UT belongs in the upper tiers and is determined to get them there, kicking and screaming. He's personable and somewhat bigger than life if you will. All of that is infectious and permeates through the team. Once they start to believe it too, half the battle is won. Remind you of anyone? Like maybe Bruce Pearl? Yep, IF Jones can recruit effectively, and I'll admit that's a big if, we are gonna be back competing sooner rather than later - his coaching history doesn't lie. Go Vols!!!

Written on John Adams: An SEC coaching leap isn't for everybody :

in response to BeaFanNotaFanatic:

Yeah! The only guy UT was after that has actually been in the SEC and done anything significant, would have had a hard time taking the leap to the SEC. BUT, the guy that hasn't built anything, and has ZERO SEC experience, he is ready for the leap??? You a clearly high!

Charlie Strong was UT's best shot at becoming relevent. The AD swung and missed. Live with it! Don't try to shift your dissapointment by throwing out idiotic statements when the new coach isn't nearly as prepared for the leap he is about to take.

Either of these two men were unprepared, as was Muschamp, Saban, Miles, Spurrier, etc.... Nobody can know what recruiting and playing in the SEC is all about until the big headset is on his head, period. Strong would have hit the recruiting faster but Jones was out-recruiting him in the Big East before we hired him. Jones has a longer history of winning as a HC, and in two different conferences no less, and has beaten Strong 2-1 in head-to-head meetings. And it's significant that no less than three other BCS-conference schools offered him their HC job so Hart wasn't the only one who thought this guy was a future star.....Assuming Strong was the better candidate on the surface is probably correct as Hart tried to get him first. But make no mistake, Jones was on the short list and the drop-off in coaching or recruiting versus Strong, if there really is one, is minimal. They were both good choices and either would have won here, at least more than Dooley or Kiffin. How far the rise above that, well, that will only be known in hindsight. Go Vols!!!

Written on John Adams: An SEC coaching leap isn't for everybody :

in response to titletownz:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

They decreased the seating capacity to accomodate luxury boxes so it "only" seats a little over 101, 000 now. Of course, that's still considerably larger than the Swamp so....

Written on John Adams: An SEC coaching leap isn't for everybody :

in response to Razor784:

Gus Malzahn will put Auburn back near the top in the west. He's been successful at every stop. Jones is a nice hire too, he wasn't my first choice, but like Malzahn he's been a winner wherever he's been.

"Everywhere he's been" is one year at Arkansas State playing with Hugh Frieze's players. Coordinators don't "win" anything, HCs do. Don't get me wrong, I thought Chizik was a worse hire than Dooley and without his being handed Cam Newton by his questionable board members/boosters, he would have never won anything. Gus is an upgrade, for sure, but I would have been very disappointed if we'd hired him instead. One year as a D-1 HC? They essentially elevated a coordinator. He is completely unproven and has less D-1 expereince than any coach they have hired since Terry Bowden. I live in Auburn country, I can tell you they are not real sure about him either. To a man they all wished they had gotten Jones (he was definitely on their list). Whether Jones or Malzahn turn out, Jones was by far the less risky hire with the proven track record. Go Vols!!!

Written on Butch Jones promises 'best staff in the country' :

in response to 6972:

Wonder why TT was let go by the Tigers?

Malzahn fired every single coach on the staff and said his coordinators could hire back any one of them they wanted. His NCAA issues were apparently no big deal as their NCAA compliance director came to them from the enforcement division of the NCAA itself. They had already sent him back out on the recruiting trail when Malzahn fired him and the others. The other guy, Luper (sp?), wasn't sent back out so he may be more of the issue. Either way, never was a fan of Trooper's but they said he was a stellar recruiter, probably the reason he was hired both places. And that's not insignificant in the SEC.....Go Vols!!!

Written on Butch Jones promises 'best staff in the country' :

in response to rtrchatt:

Sal coached OLBs at Bama and Kirby Smart coaches ILBs. UT is on the hook for the next 2 yrs w/ Sunseri as he signed a 3 yr deal.

"Best staff in college fb." Wow that is some bravado, but the UT fan base knows all about promises given the last 4 yrs.

Either way, nobody ever questioned Sal's ability to coach LB's and in a 4-3 base you don't need two separate LB coaches. Yeah, Jones has chutzpah all right but it's just the right amount. Not the "aw shucks" Dooley approach and not the "middle finger in your face" Kiffin approach either. His "best staff" comment was just press conference stuff, expected of all new hires. For Gosh sakes, Stoops told the folks at Kentucky there was no reason they couldn't win SEC titles in Lexington. O-K.... One thing for sure, not since Johnny Majors have we hired a guy with a solid external resume (not counting Fulmer in this example) so I'm certainly less skeptical when he promises something than the last two coaches we had. Go Vols!!!

Written on Butch Jones promises 'best staff in the country' :

in response to lemme_axya_this:

UT'S run game improved immeasurably this year. Graham and Pittman have to get the credit for that, I hope both get to stay if they want to. I'm sure the improvement in the running game can be measured, just not by me. I typically don't have the patience to look up stats like yards per game and yards per carry. The fact that they usually made it out of the backfield this year is proof of improvement.

The stats are even more telling. Playing against several of the top defenses (and teams) in the country our running output per game almost doubled and yards per carry went way up too. More importantly, we vastly improved against the best competition so they weren't merely rolling up yards against Akron and Georgia State to pad the stats. Further, they improved pass protection too, one of the very best in the nation in sacks allowed and tops in the nation in that stat among schools who attempted over (I think) 30 passes per game - impressive. However, from an earlier article the KNS writer implied that only Graham was for sure being asked to stay and Hinshaw MIGHT get an invite as well. No mention of Pittman and that's too bad. His history at other schools says we would only have gotten better in year 2. Oh well, Jones is the coach and it's his neck so I suppose Hart and Co. would do well to let him hire whomever he wants. Go Vols!!!

Written on Butch Jones promises 'best staff in the country' :

in response to bcm4ut:

I am glad the job has been filled, but I must admit I am woefully dissapointed with the hire. I guess we will become a spread team that is three years late to the party. Our players dont fit the spread offense. I defense is poor enough without having to be on the field twice as long. I love smash mouth football. When you tell the D where you are going and you run right through them. That is not a gimmick, that is championship football. How any spread teams have won a title of any importance? None. When will the athletic department learn? Did they do this because A&M beat Al on an off day? My hunch is that they did. Elite college teams are becoming more like pro defenses. The spread attack is easily defended with players like AL and FL put on the field. Anyway the guy seems energetic, and really wanted the job, so we will see. My guess is he will be fired in four to five years and we will be right back where we are today. I think Hart hired the wrong Butch. GBO.

Florida and Auburn won NCs with the "spread" and Bama didn't look like they were "easily" defending A & M to me. The spread Jones uses, per his presser, will be based on a "pro-set", meaning not a lot of running by the QB, and a "physical running game". You are correct, no team has won the NC with a pass-happy spread but that's not what he likes to run. As far as the hire, apparently too many folks are equating Jones, a coach from a lower-tier conference, with Dooley. Big difference? Jones won there, at two levels, Dooley never did. If the man can recruit and coach we will win, despite any of our hesitancy about the hire. If you are right and he fails, then he will be fired and we will move on. Let's keep our perspective fellow Vols: this is college football, not cancer, it's gonna be OK. Go Vols!!!

Written on Butch Jones promises 'best staff in the country' :

in response to pcorange:

I think Pittman, Graham, and Hinshaw definitely deserve a shot at staying. Demote Sunseri to LB coach and make him stay and earn his money. He was obviously a pretty good LB coach at Bama, he's just not a good DC. If we demoted him, maybe he'd quit on his own and we wouldn't have to pay him the 1.2M.

You know.....that's really pretty good thinking. He's a heck of a recruiter and Bama's LB core is as good as anyone's. Of course that won't happen but if I were Sunseri, I'd be dropping that little hint around. Imagine, a LB coach making over $850,000. Not bad work if you can get it. The downfall is that if we fire him, he will still make the $850K anywhere he goes. It's good times to be a fired SEC coach with a buyout. Go Vols!!!

Written on Butch Jones promises 'best staff in the country' :

in response to Banner:

If they were the best assistants they wouldn't be at Cincinnatti. The big least isn't the SEC.

True to a degree. Everyone understands that the TEAMS in the Big East are inferior to those in the SEC, sure. However, just like HCs, assistants have to start somewhere and work their way up. I think the big misunderstanding is that because lower-tier conferences don't compete well against the big boys, that necessarily means they have equally inferior coaching. Not true....The largest portion of the inequity has to do with raw talent, not coaching. Give any coaching staff better players and the results will get better as well. Now I'm not saying I would understand his bringing the entire staff (that's the 'true to a degree' part above) but surely we understand that a few of those guys can probably really coach. They are beating their peer group, which means similar talent levels, right? I'll bet he brings no more than 3 or 4 and hires the rest either from the current staff or elsewhere. Time will tell. Go Vols!!!

Written on Butch Jones promises 'best staff in the country' :

in response to TheStupidPolice:

I hope he can use the resources Hart has given him to go out and put together the best staff. It's going to be a hard sale. And he is going to have to go out and sale himself to coaches because he sure as hell wasn't planning on putting together the best at Colorado or Purdue.

I'm real worried. This wasn't the unifying, exciting hire we wanted. And we need. The brand is dying. You wear the power T outside SEC country and people think you're a Texas fan. They don't recognize it. ESPN is going to have all-access specials of the spring practices at Alabama, LSU, Georgia, Florida, Texas A&M and probably now Arkansas. ESPN will have more commercials with Saban, Miles, Richt and Revelie. Tennessee can't even get a simple score shown on Gameday Final. We want Herbstreit and Blackledge in town, but we're stuck with Ed Cunningham. The brand is fading away while all our biggest rivals are marketing bonanzas.

I'll support Butch Jones. I'll wear my orange everywhere I go and put my blowup Smokey in the yard on Gameday, but let's be real. We're on the verge of a second recession. Considering who our first two opponents are next season, we'll be lucky to have 75K in Neyland for those games. Then we face the worst scheduling nightmare in football history. We have back to back road games at Oregon and at Florida. The Titans wouldn't ask for that. Both those games, with what could be a very depleted roster, have the potential to be absolute disasters. If that does happen, the South Alabama game draws less than 60K. Then comes Georgia, SC and Alabama. Poor ol' Butch Jones might be toast before he even has a chance to get started. The fan base will be HOT!

I think the vast majority of fans were hoping for a coach that was a known commodity. A guy we knew could coach at the highest level, handle the pressure, win big games, recruit, win championships, unify the fan base and grow the brand. Butch Jones isn't that. He's a hope. I don't care what any of you say, you don't know if this guy can do it. You're just hoping. Hell, I'm hoping. But I wanted someone I didn't have to give a chance to. I wanted a guy that I knew would give Tennessee a chance.

I hate to be all doom and gloom. I hope Jones is the next General Neyland. But at this point, this has all the makings of an epic, epic fail.

That's because you're assuming that Jones can't coach. If he turns out to be Kiffin or Dooley, all the above will be true. However, his coaching history suggests otherwise. Bama lived through the Dubose years, Georgia survived Jim Donnan, LSU bounced back nicely from Hallman/DiNardo, and Florida seems to have done OK post-Zook. Point is, football is cyclical. Does anybody think Bama will still be Bama when Saban leaves? Was it the same when Bear quit? And who was Urban Meyer to lead Florida? Just a guy from two second tier conferences who kept winning....sound familiar? If Jones can coach, it won't matter how "unifying" or "exciting" he is to UT fans right now. Winning fixes all that, it always has and it always will. From reading your post, your mood would have to improve considerably just to get to "gloom and doom". It's all good bro', let's sit back and see what he can do. History says he (and we) will be just fine. Go Vols!!!

Written on Butch Jones promises 'best staff in the country' :

in response to lemme_axya_this:

They let him go because he is suspected of recruiting violations. Auburn already had him under house arrest.

I live in big Auburn country (yuk!), they had already sent him back out on the road recruiting before Malzahn was hired. Remember, Auburn's NCAA compliance director worked in the enforcement division of the NCAA prior to heading to the plains. It's unlikely he got it wrong. However, the fan base felt pretty much like we did - decent coach, great recruiter but a bit obnoxious and specialized in recruiting thugs, several of whom at both institutions didn't pan out for one reason or another. I doubt Jones will hire him back.

I do think retaining Graham should be a priority and I would look hard at Pittman as well. Hinshaw has proven to be probably the best recruiter on Dooley's staff so I'd at least think about him too. Most new hire bring at least a few familiar guys from the old place, Jones will as well. IF he brings as many as four of his staff with him that leaves only five more on-field coaches, right? If you say he keeps Graham, that's four more hires, Martin, if he comes, leaves three openings. Several of his Cincy staff played in the SEC but he probably still needs one more really good Southern recruiter. Kevin Steele would be my choice - great position coach, phenomenal recruiter, UT alum (not that that really matters but fans love it). Of course, I've been waiting by my phone with lots of advice but I'm beginning to think Coach Jones isn't going to call..... Go Vols!!

Written on Butch Jones promises 'best staff in the country' :

in response to vettefool:

I hope we keep Graham and off line coach. guess Chaney may be gone since we may be going to a new offensive system. although I'm not sure we have a quarterback that can run that system now. maybe keep Chaney next year, we will be paying him unless he gets another job.
Tee Martin would be a good addition. whoever we get on def will be a major improvement but we need some players. good players

Coach Jones said we will run a "pro-set" with a "physical running game" using a lot of "no-huddle" and that he adapts his offensive system to the players he has. No, we don't have a QB to run Chip Kelly's or Gus Malzahn's offense but it doesn't sound like we're gonna need one. Chaney ran a lot of no-huddle in a pro-set too, just didn't have the physical run game mainly because I never thought he really believed in it (nor, apparently did Dooley). In fact, the only thing about a true "spread" offense that won't work in the SEC is some OC's propensity to throw too much out of it. As long as your base play is power running, it will work just fine. The one part I don't like is no-huddle. You score too quickly and your D can't rest but like I said, we did that w Chaney already. From what I heard him say, Worley and Lane should be just fine in Jones' offense and it makes sense. Recent (Sunseri) and ancient (Clawson) UT history, if known to Hart and/or Jones, would surely point them away from wholesale changes in scheme philosophy to the level of those two gentlemen. It would also behoove Jones to understand that those two HC decisions which were the beginning of the end for Fulmer and Dooley. The one and only thing Jones needs to do next year is win some games and rekindle hope in Knoxville. Totally changing our offense without the requisite players to make it effective would be a huge step in the wrong direction - 4 championships in 6 years tells me he probably already knows that. Go Vols!!!

Written on Tennessee to pay Jones $18.2 million over six years :

in response to RememberWhen:

IF - and that's still a big IF - this is true, Hart should be out the door today. Whether this guy proves to be good or not is irrelevent. DOUBLING the salary for a guy with this limited resume AND paying a $1.4 million buyout is absolutely irresponsible given the current financial saga of the UTAD! There were at least three guys with better resumes available that would have at a minimum saved paying a buyout and could much more arguably be worthy of $3 mil per year. It is painfully obvious that this quickly turned into a panic hire - we can only hope it turns out better than the last panic hire.

I hate being belligerent with a fellow Vols fan but those three guys with BETTER resumes with no buyout and who were also cheaper were....? And we didn't double Jones' salary. The Cincy AD said there were "significant increases" offered by them in an effort to keep him. A 25% increase would be $2.3M, we are paying him less than $3 M after the signing bonus, so.... by my math that's not double. Further, it should be instructive that when a school opens their bank account to keep a coach (Strong and Jones for instance), that's a very good sign that Hart found some guys worth hiring. Don't recall La Tech mortgaging their campus to keep Dooley, do you? Further still, Hart finally got the buyout part of a contract right - he's owes us a lot more than we owe him if it doesn't work out, just as it should be. Your screen name suggests you would recall the ridiculous buyout clauses Hamilton gave Kiffin and Dooley, part of the reason Hart and the UTAD were under such duress. Those contracts screamed "we are desperate, PLEASE take this job!". On the other hand, Hart NOT putting those things in the current contract flies in the face of a "panic hire" as you call it - he offered the contract he offered and they could take it or not. I have no idea if Jones will win at UT or not but EVERY national media outlet had him as a guy UT should consider pretty early and no less than 4 other BCS conference schools (KY, BC, Purdue, and Colorado) were after him hard. How many BCS schools wanted Dooley? Fulmer was a much riskier hire than this guy and that turned out pretty darn well I think. C'mon bro', give him a chance - he's won everywhere else, he can win here. Go Vols!!!

Written on Cincinnati AD: Dave Hart was "first class" throughout process:

The bottom line is that winners from lower BCS schools move up the ladder to big jobs every year. As a rule, the winners win when they move up and those with losing records never seem to get over the hump. The only real issue is how big a jump do they make? Kelly went from Cincy to Notre Dame, Tressell directly from Youngstown State to Ohio State, Jim Harbaugh from SDSU to Stanford, and there are others with similar leaps, the most notable being the miserable failed experiment with Gerry Faust from high school to Notre Dame. Most, however, make extra stops, like Saban at MSU then LSU, Meyer to Utah pre-Florida, and Mack Brown at UNC before Texas. How does this jump rate? Not Kelly big but still many will wonder if he can cut it. I"m not worried.

The man won championships in two conferences and one of them, the MAC, produced Saban and Meyer, the other, the Big East, with numerous successful big-time BCS coaches. His school is where Dantonio and Kelly got their stripes and he has beaten Strong, our original crush, 2 of 3 meetings. Men who can coach can do so at any college level at any program, their prior records providing the necessary background check. Dooley and Chizik, two notable pink-slippers from this season, did not win in lesser situations and not surprisingly, were unable to rise above their respective histories. His history says Jones is a winner - there is no reason to think he won't continue his winning ways in Knoxville. BTW, not that it matters, but go back and read the national sports media's comments when Dooley (or Kiffiin for that matter) was hired and compare them to their comments about Jones' hiring now. The ONLY people unsure about his ability to win at UT are [some of] UT's fans. Go Vols!!!

Written on New UT coach Butch Jones in Knoxville:

in response to TheSmokyMountainThatRides:

i can't wait to boo him and hart when they are announced at the next basketball game. i know, i know. all of you hollier than thou fans will say that makes me a bad fan. when in fact most of you that will say that won't be at the next basketball game because they aren't playing well. that makes you a bad fan. i pay thousands a year to that place and while it is nothing compared to the big donors, it is a big chunk of my yearly income. so the way i see it i'm entitled to voice my anger on the hire. boo.

Voice your opinion all you want, keep your money if you want, but your opinion about the new coach won't keep him from winning, which he has always done, nor will any other fans' exuberance keep him from losing. Cheer up, give him a chance and then judge. Go Vols!!!

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