Comments by rockypop

Written on [Updated] Cuonzo Martin leaving UT for California; search for his replacement begins:

in response to RoadTrip:

Heckuva good post. Truth. Zo was within a game or two of being let go. The players are defending the ex-coach because they are partly to blame for the fan unrest with the lousy performance at times against bad teams. If the attendance started tanking with the losing next season the answer would not have been pretty. This is a win-win IMO.

Let's just see how much of a win-win this turns out to be. You could be right if Hart somehow magically finds a miracle-worker like Pearl. But, miracle-workers are hard to come by - especially at a place like UT, which now expects their BB coach to return to the Elite Eight at least every year.

Fans and supporters tend to look at UT men's BB as a jewel of a job because of the facilities, fan support, and opportunity to win in a conference that's not exactly on a par with their football counterparts. They tend to forget how incompetent the UT administration is, how nonexistent the UT PR machine is when adversity hits, and how outrageously offensive the fans are when they can't win NOW.

Martin had three solid, if not spectacular years at UT. He had a winning record. He finished in the top five of the SEC each year. No, he didn't meet expectations given his roster, and no, he didn't get to the Dance enough. But for the record, it took John Wooden 15 years at UCLA before his incredible run in the NCAAs.

That's not to defend Martin, but you can be sure that not many quality coaches will line up to take over a program whose talent has been depleted, whose administration is incompetent, and whose impatient fan base has just orchestrated the removal of a winning coach after only three years on the job.

Folks can argue until the cows come home about which coach is the right fit for UT. But, if you read Dave Hart's description of who he wants that coach to be, it's Cuonzo Martin.

Written on Jarnelll Stokes says college athletes need more money:

in response to 81volguy:

What Jarnell is saying is, and what some are too obtuse to hear it, is, "I could stay in college if you'd give me a decent wage. I make money for the university and the NCAA and yes, I get a scholarship. But I don't have any money. But I have to go pro now because of the system. Sorry Tennessee and you fans." And the fans are so dumb they say, "Well, if you didn't like the contract why did you sign it? You should have done something else!" I mean literally that's what some have said. But if you just give Jarnell a halfway decent salary on top of his scholarship so he can have some money to spend, then he might stay in school. I don't see why that's controversial to the free marketeers. It seems like they would want to pay for things that generate wealth. That helps even the wealthy! And it might improve Jarnell's life as well, as well as those who watch him play.

I hear what Stokes is saying, but how many student athletes of Stokes' calibre are at UT - or any other school for that matter. The point that most are missing is that if the school decides to pay one student athlete, then they're going to have to pay ALL of them - even the non-revenue sports' kids.

You make it sound like if the school paid Stokes a salary, he might stay in school. If that's the case, then the next logical step would be Stokes would demand more than the school is offering or he will still leave.

Another important incentive that colleges offer athletes that is being overlooked. And that is the opportunity to grow and develop as an athlete among the best competition and coaching outside of the pros. There are very few athletes who are ready for the League right out of HS, and nowhere else can they get this kind of preparation, while at the same time, work towards a degree, which 90% of them will need more that they can imagine.

Written on Jarnelll Stokes says college athletes need more money:

What is the cutoff point for a student athlete's expenses? They have cell phones; rent (which I don't understand); food - whenever they want it, which is always; car insurance; tats; video games; entertainment; etc., etc., etc. Every student has these expenses, and more, and they don't get any scholarship money at all.

I get the jersey sales. But, there are only a handful of kids whose jerseys are big sellers, and they will get theirs at the next level - which by the way, universities are basically subsidizing them for until they are ready.

The real issue with this pretty much mirrors US economic circumstances for the masses. That is the upper 10% control the wealth, just like the upper 10% of student athletes actually have a legitimate claim of deserving payments for jersey sales. What about the other 90% who make it possible for the stars to shine? What are they worth? And, if you decide to pay one player, the end result will eventually be that you'll have to pay all of them - even the women.

It's a mess.

Written on Deadline for Jarnell Stokes' NBA decision fast approaching:

I haven't seen one mock draft that has Stokes going in the first round. And, that's not likely to change. He's bound for the second round, which is like a sentence to the NBADL or overseas.

Even if he comes back, there's no guarantee he will improve his NBA draft status, because frankly, his skill set doesn't translate well to the League. He does things well for a four in college, but his natural position in the NBA is a three, and he doesn't project well there at all.

I'm guessing he'll return, because he doesn't have anything to gain by declaring. He's still incredibly young, and one more year will give him an opportunity to remake his game. I don't think he'll be successful, but his presence will make UT relevent next year.

Written on Mike Strange: Final Four coaches come from all backgrounds:

in response to atnvol#283282:

Nice read Mike.

Nice read? What's the point? Where's the new info or point-of-view? Reads like filler to me when Strange can't think of anything else to write. Nothing of interest here - just rehashing old info that's in every media pipeline. Does Strange really think fans don't know this stuff?

And that's the big problem on this site. None of the writers are going the extra mile to bring the readers any new perspectives or stories. Must be withholding those for the (extra) pay site. At least I hope they are. Otherwise, they've got nothing.

Written on Mike Strange: Keeping Cuonzo Martin is UT's safest play:

in response to BrassMonkey:

Martin's agent is searching for a payday for himself. I say if Martin is such an honorable person then he would work through the contract he signed. If he wants to go to Marquette he is no different than Kiff going to USC. Collect the buy out, move on, and hire someone better. After all Martin won 3 tourney games in 3 years and has been an embarrassing against alot of inferior opponents. He has done very little with the NBA talent and 4 and 5 star recruits when you look at his NIT and NCAA resume. It is very weak as a whole and undeserving of a raise. Work out you agreed upon contract or GTHO!

This isn't about CCM's agent. He does what Martin says to do when it's all said and done. As far as Martin honoring his contract, how many on this board not only didn't want him to do that, they wanted him out in favor of Pearl. As for the comparison to Kiffin - give me a break. Kiffin was there for one year. Martin has been there for three, and all three have been under duress. What's the incentive for him to "honor his contract" when most of those posting on tis board would fire him anyway.

Can he coach? Well, apparently Marquette thinks so. And, that in the end may determine not only what Martin is worth, but whether or not he's worth keeping at UT. Like every other business, the law of supply and demand prevails. If CCM is in demand, then UT either pays or cuts bait. I, for one, believe Martin deserves the opportunity to prove he's the real deal. Three years is nothing. Give him more. The college BB landscape is littered with coaches who didn't do anything for several years before they caught fire. Remember John Wooden?

Written on LIVE COVERAGE: Tennessee vs Michigan:

Why did it take so long to go to a man-to-man? It's their forte.

Written on Mike Strange: The money ball is in Martin's court now:

Things like contracts need to be carefully thought through and considered. Yes, Martin is having a great post-season, but contracts are based on a total body of work. And, to be fair, Martin has a winning record (.605), with two 20+ winning seasons and one season with 19 wins.

He is without question, one of the most high character coaches in all of college basketball. A guy that any parent would want their kids to play for, if they value the life instructions and care their kids would get. He has overcome tremendous adversity and knows how to guide kids through that. In short, he has it all in perspective.

The real question is whether or not UT wants that. They have said they do, but I think the fans and to some degree, Dave Hart, are more motivated with wins. Because winning puts butts in the seats, money in the coffers and smiles on the fans' faces.

So, the only issue remaining is whether or not Dave Hart believes CCM can "show him the money." Martin certainly has shown him everything else, and I for one, feel like Martin deserves a chance to show Hart he is the real deal. And the only fair way to do that is to get a contract extension and raise. Sure, it's a risk, but retaining him without an extension is a bigger risk. He will be a "lame duck coach" who won't be able to recruit at the level he needs to, and consequently, UT will be left with a bare cupboard should he be fired after the next one or two years.

Yeah, keeping him is a risk, but I believe it's a risk worth taking.

Written on Tennessee men's basketball team rolls into NCAA tournament's field of 32 with blowout of UMass:

in response to JSmith525:

Pay Back Time come Sunday! Go Vols!!!!!!

Exactly who is UT paying back on Sunday? Last time I checked, they're playing Mercer. What is UT paying back Mercer for?

Written on John Adams: Bruce Pearl crashes NCAA tournament party :

in response to broleb44#1437447:

Right on John, and Gregg Marshal will do the same for UT. Just win!!!!!

Good luck on your Gregg Marshall premonition. His salary just got bumped up to $1.75 million, the pool for assistants $500,000, and his contract extended to 2020. He loves it at W/S, and why should he move to UT for less than $2.75 million? Think UT will shell out that kind of dough - or more- for a BB coach?

Right now he doesn't have to recruit against Cal or Donovan, and soon to be Pearl, and his team is the big dog in the MVC, with his ticket punched every year, along with a legitimate shot at a NC. True, he may eventually leave - like Peterson at Boise State, but when and if he does, it'll be for a better deal than UT. Get used to it - Martin is back, but unless Hart extends his contract beyond 2016, he'll be a non-factor in recruiting, which will doom the program even further.

Written on Men's tennis drops to 0-2 in SEC play:

Not tennis, too.

UT tennis has been a staple of success for many years, and to see both the men's and women's teams struggling in SEC play is disheartening.

A once proud athletic program has been counting on the "minor sports," like baseball, softball, tennis, track, and even women's basketball, to raise the profile of the AD to respectability the last few years, but it hasn't happened.

Dave Hart's challenge must now rise beyond football and men's BB. It's the whole enchilada, and it's been a long, long time since UT had been in this position.

Written on John Adams: Just making NCAA tournament wouldn't justify retaining Cuonzo Martin:

in response to fannotsheep:

Why would he come to UT? If the Vols fire Martin they have to buy out his remaining contract, and the AD is already in the worst financial shape it's been in for a long time. The track record in basketball is far from stellar, the enthusiasm Pearl brought with him is long gone and anyone other than Pearl will be seen by many as a disappointing choice. As good as Marshall is he does not have a household name.

I wouldn't be surprised to see Marshall land a big time job after this super run he has going, but UT is not a big time job any more and can't match salaries with the big boys.

Pearl would be just as interested as he was before, seeing how the basketball mafia will apparently always have a price on his head no matter what he does. He wouldn't demand a huge salary in my opinion, but apparently there would have to some changes in the administration that everyone says can't happen. If you ask me, the fans have more power than they realize and certainly more than the media types give them credit for. Petitions are a good start, but a threat of a boycott would be even better. I mean, if this season ends with the whimper I expect it will, who wants to go watch more of this junk next season anyway? What is there to be excited about? Think Stokes is coming back? Think Hubbs will thrive under Martin's coaching? Think the not-so-fab four recruits will capture anybody's imagination? I don't.

Why wouldn't Marshall come to UT? Think WS can match UT's advantages? Not a household name? Think big-time success everywhere he's been - including a boatload of NCAA tournaments at Winthrop and WS. Can't play in a major conference? Ask Louisville, who almost lost to them last year in the FF. As for him landing a big-time job? Well, don't you consider UT to be a big-time job? And, what jobs out there that are bigger that are likely to open up? And, as far as not being able to match wallets with the big boys - well, think again. If UT hires the right coach, given their arena and the SEC TV contracts, they can pay as much as anybody.

Bruce Pearl showed that UT is a big-time BB school if the right coach is there. Year after year, they are in the top 5 to top 10 in attendance, this in spite of their mediocre performance. The right coach could put 20,000+ butts in the seats every home game and compete in a conference that outside of Kentucky and Florida, is ripe for plucking. Nobody in the SEC - Florida included, has made a bigger commitment to basketball than UT (outside of hiring the right coach). The only thing holding them back has been the administration and its lack of understanding about basketball. And, yeah, it's a football school. But, so is Florida. Pearl embraced UT's football tradition and used it to his advantage, as he did with Pat Summitt and the Lady Vols.

Greg Marshall would be crazy not to come to UT if he is asked and if he has any confidence at all in his ability. This is a program craving a coach that can build a legacy like Gen. Neyland and CPS. What's not to like?

Written on John Adams: Just making NCAA tournament wouldn't justify retaining Cuonzo Martin:

Next year is Martin's final year on his contract. If UT doesn't extend it, then he is essentially done. No coach can go into a lame-duck contract year and expect to be able to recruit. And, if Hart is halfway smart, he wouldn't want his BB coach out there competing for recruits who may have a new coach when it comes time to sign on the line. Very sticky situation but I'm following the contract talks.

Written on Antwan Space downs the Vols again, this time in overtime, 68-65:

Before I posted, I was committed to taking a point of view that hasn't been expressed, but it's tough. Outside of Kentucky and Florida, it has been a weird year in the SEC. Somehow, before this game with A&M, UT was fourth in the standings and due a bye in the conference tournament. That in itself is a head-scratcher. Then you have UT beating LSU at home by 18, and LSU beating UK at home - then almost beating them at Rupp today.

I've concluded that Tennessee lacks confidence - for whatever reason. The players have every right to lack confidence in their coaches, because they almost never put them in a position to win in close games.

But, when you see guys miss the kind of shots that have characterized UT players all year, then you understand how they can lose confidence in their teammates as well.

This is a fragile team. They need everything to go right for them to win - at home and on the road. They don't know how to fight through adversity, nor do they believe they can win a close game. Regrettably, I predict they'll end up once again in the NIT, where they will lose in the first round based on apathy.

With that said, CCM will still get another year.

Written on Jarnell Stokes 'demanding it' leads to UT win over Georgia:

Isn't it absolutely amazing that the very next game after such a stink was raised across the board about Stokes not getting the ball - he miraculously gets the ball. Maybe the fans and media should weigh in on other facets of the Vols' game as well.

Written on Cuonzo Martin deflects pressure, addresses Jarnell Stokes' disappearing act:

Martin needs to be telling his players this stuff - not the media. I have to believe that if he told his guys to get Stokes the ball, then they would get Stokes the ball. Even Stokes doesn't understand why he didn't get the ball.

Rick Pitino would never tolerate this. If he said get the big guy the ball, then the big guy better get the ball - or somebody would be hugging the wood.

I've said it from the get-go. Being a Gene Keady disciple means you learned discipline and defense - not how to win championships. Even though he won a handful of Big Ten Championships, he only got to two Elite Eights in 25 years and not much beyond that. Boring.

Coaches like Pitino and Donovan understand both offense and defense and are constantly innovating to accommodate the talent they recruit. Guys want to play in their systems because they run, press and get guys in position to win.

Even though the SEC is a football conference, it's still a "Big Boy's League" in all sports, and I'm not sure CCM is a "Big Boy's" coach right now.

Written on Kentucky beats Lady Vols in Knoxville for first time since 1985, 75-71:

They're trying too hard to be like the men.

Written on Statement not made, Vols must sustain winning streak:

in response to Golferdocvol:

rockypop : Do you know something we don't know? How can you keep a coach that has not gone to the Big Dance 3 years in a row, especially with this talent.

All I know is based on common sense. I don't think UT has yet another coaching buy-out in their plans for the immediate future. If they do fire Martin, they're going to be paying for two head football and basketball coaches at the same time. That's on top of just paying off Fulmer. Anyway, like it or not, Martin deserves at least a year with all his own players.

Written on Statement not made, Vols must sustain winning streak:

Here's what I don't get. Outside of Kentucky, the only team in the SEC to have any potential NBA draft picks in the first two rounds is Tennessee. And they have two - Stokes and McRae. Even though they both are projected to be second round picks, it still means they are considered to be among the top 60 players in the world.

It's frustrating as a fan to not see improvement in the way the go-to guys play. McRae is a great free-lancer who can't seem to get in the flow of creating a team offense. And, Stokes is always looking for his shot every time he touches the ball. He always puts it on the floor, doesn't look to kick it out, and often looses it to a double team. I put this on Martin, who is probably facing pressure to let Stokes do his thing because of what he promised him in order to get him to UT.

So, if Martin can't figure out how to win with these guys - plus Maymon (even though he's compromised), then look out next year. But, having said that, maybe things will improve if they have to play as a team. One can only hope, because Martin will be back.

Written on Game against Tusculum will neither help, nor hurt tournament chances if UT wins:

This game is a lose - lose deal for UT. First, and foremost, the fans lose, because who wants to see a game like this. Secondly, the only acceptable outcome is for UT to win by 30 or more going away. And, if they don't - then even if it doesn't affect the RPI, it will surely affect the fans perception of the team as well as their desire to keep coming to the games. Finally, if the game is decided by single digits, and God-forbid, a loss, then there will be serious consequences.

I can only hope the players can find a way to get motivated to put their feet on the gas and not let up.

Written on Vols blow out Virginia, 87-52:

It's beginning to look like one of those years when fans have no idea what to expect of their BB Vols. While UVA isn't in any conversation as a contender for conference or national recognition, it is still a well-regarded BB program with a rich tradition. This has to be considered a good, if not signature, win.

The most confounding thing though, is the ease with which the Vols dispensed them. Now, the fans are left to wonder if this was an anomaly or if it is the real Vols. So far, one thing's for sure - they sure are consistent. Consistently inconsistent.

Written on Matchup: Morehead State at Tennessee:

Just two years ago, 13 seed Morehead State defeated 4 seed Louisville, in the 2011 NCAA Tournament's first round. Obviously, this is not the same MS team, but definitely not a team to be taken lightly.

Written on Vols can't rally against N.C. State, 65-58:

Martin appears to be the second coming of Buzz Peterson. I I shudder to think what this team will look like after this season. No more McCrae, Maymon, Stokes or Barton. This was going to be the year, and so far, UT has gone backwards. They clearly have a suspect offense, with only one true scorer in McCrae, but there is no excuse for the poor defensive play that Martin hangs his hat on.

The Vols were not only outplayed on offense tonite, but were owned on defense by NC State. 29% shooting from the field and 13% from the three-point line is embarrassing. And, this is not a great NC State team.

Written on Vols miss out on a resume builder, fall to Wichita State, 70-61:

One shudders to think what the future holds for this bunch. Regrettably, Martin hasn't exactly been the BB version of Butch Jones when it comes to recruiting. When you think about the make-up of next year's team (minus the incoming freshmen, which are now ranked in the top 30), UT will be without Stokes, Maymon, McCrae and Barton. It remains to be seen just how much offensive production will be lost, but it will be significant.

Pearl isn't coming back, and Martin should have another year or two to show what he can do with his recruits, but he should realize the fact that Bruce Pearl showed the world that you can win at Tennessee, and win big. The bad news for Martin is that Tennessee fans now know that as well.

Written on Matchup: Tennessee at Wichita State:

I'll be surprised if the Vols can hang with Wichita State. Just because they don't have a glamorous name, don't sell them short. In my short BB career at Cincinnati in the mid-60's, they were the real deal. And over the years since, they have continued to be a formidable opponent for any D1 team. Final Four last year for a reason. Louisville had to come from behind to beat them in the last three minutes. This would be a quality win if the Vols can pull it off.

Written on [Video] Josh Malone commits to Tennessee:

Tennessee has done unusually well with attracting top in-state talent this year. And, it's been an unusually good year for in-state talent as well. Last I checked, Tennessee has over 30 kids who are legitimate BCS recruits in 2014. That's some kind of record for the state. And, none of the top guys are headed to Alabama. This portends well for the future under Jones, but he still has to prove he can win with these guys.

The 2014 class will be a benchmark class for Jones, because if they all sign and can contribute early and win, then the floodgates will open. It's apparent that a lot of them are intrigued by UT because they have the opportunity to come in as freshman and have the opportunity to play right away. But, in order for them and the program to succeed, they'll have to either win, or show consistent improvement during the 2014 season, which will be no cakewalk.

The takeaway is this - win or improve greatly in 2014, and 2015 and beyond recruits will take notice. Break even or lose, and those same recruits very well could be spooked. It shouldn't be that way, but in the "what have you done for me lately" world of CF, that's the way it is.

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

Yeah, yeah, yeah. It doesn't take much to write a negative story about Tennessee these days, and Adams is the master. I'm not going to take much issue with what he writes, because it's mostly fact. And, I'm not going to take issue with the overwhelming majority of negative stories, because he's got a right to write whatever he sees fit.

My issue is his incredible laziness. It's so easy to sit behind a computer and write about all the trials and tribulations that UT is going through right now, because that stuff is low-hanging fruit. Where is the story that we as fans don't see or know about? Where are the little gems that guys like Tom Siler used to find? Where are ANY insights he might have with regard to incoming recruits that aren't common knowledge? Where are glimpses into the UTAD personalities and policies that are impacting all sports?

I could go on and on. I will say that I live in Nashville and listen faithfully to a sports writer named John McClain, who is a weekly commentator on a Nashville sports talk radio show. John writes for the Houston Chronicle and appears each week to comment on the Titans, since he used to cover them when they were in Houston.

His commentary, as his writing for the Chronicle, is crisp, insightful, factual, and most of all always providing a unique perspective and point of view about the Titans. He works his rear end off, does his homework, and is always relevant.

Adams needs to be sentenced to a six-month stint at The Chronicle to see how a real writer does it. Because he'll probably discover you can't find stories by sitting around on your a**, writing about the obvious. It takes actual work to be relevant.

Written on Difference like night and day in Tennessee's bounce-back win against Xavier, 64-49:

I'm sure UT's dominating win over Xavier will be perplexing to the naysayers, but I think it's indicative of where the program is right now.

There is absolutely no consistency in how the team performs from one game to the next, and that has to be maddening to CCM. It's clear to me that this inconsistency is a players' issue and not a coaching issue. While every team will occasionally have a bad day at the office (see Louisville vs. North Carolina), it should be the exception, not the norm. This team so far has not maintained its focus on the details of defense, rebounding, put-backs and free throw shooting well enough to weather a bad offensive performance.

This game today showed me that when this bunch pays attention to detail, plays hard every possession and executes, it can play with anybody in the SEC, except Kentucky. Beyond that, they simply aren't in the same class with the top teams in the country and probably won't make it past the first couple of rounds in the Tournament if they qualify.

Written on John Adams: UT should hope Gators keep Will Muschamp, and Vanderbilt's James Franklin leaves:

First of all, James Franklin has been the recipient of some incredible good fortune since arriving at Vanderbilt, courtesy of their schedule. After a mediocre 6-6 (by SEC standards) first year, Vandy looks to go 8-4 in Franklin's next two years. In both 2012 and 2013, Vandy will not have beaten a team except Georgia that had a winning record. Now while Franklin can't be blamed for how the schedule unfolded, he nevertheless benefited from catching several SEC teams at their lowest point in decades - whether by rampant injuries, a serious lack of talent due to coaching changes, bad recruiting, or just bad coaching. I predict he will opt out at the earliest best offer from a bigger school, because this stuff will catch up w/him.

As for Muschamp, I look for Florida to be back big time next season. With all their youth and unbelievable injuries, they haven't had a chance this year. It's way too premature to count Muschamp out. Adams is one of many sheep in the media - crying wolf when it's nothing more than a chipmunk in the henhouse. But, I suppose controversy is good for selling newspapers - or irrelevant websites.

Written on Bowl is still Vols' goal, but Butch Jones says it's not only measure of season's progress:

Getting to a bowl should have never been a stated priority w/Jones in the first place if he really believes his "one brick at a time" process. Frankly, I think he's a good coach and will ultimately turn UT into a winning program again, but I'm sick and tired of all the cliches and "coach speak" that have become all too commonplace w/him.

The truth is that he and his staff have had some quality talent and have not maximized their potential yet. Perhaps, it's too much to expect dramatic results given the fact that this is his first year following a major meltdown of the previous coaching staffs. But, in the absence of winning, fans want to see improvement - not just occasional but consistent. That hasn't happened this year, especially on defense where the biggest turnaround was expected, and on the offensive line.

But, there's great reason for hope in 2015. By then, Jones should have his players in place and experienced enough to meet any challenge they face. His MO has been to build winners everywhere he's been, and there's no reason yet to think he won't do it at UT.

Written on Tennessee cruises past The Citadel, 86-60:

It'll be interesting to see how the Vols perform in the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament. Stokes has so far been a non-factor. He continues to be double-teamed and frustrated. Maymon is not 100%, no matter what anyone says. McCrae is the only real deal, and the supporting cast hash't yet jelled.

Early on, it looks like there isn't much chemistry, free-throw shooting is below par, and the defense is lax about extending to guard the 3-point shot.

The Vols faced a woefully-overmatched opponent in the Citadel tonite, and in spite of a double-digit victory, seemed to be out of synch and dependent upon McCrae to do his thing. Not much from Stokes or Maymon, but Hubbs seems to be coming on. All-in-all, not a very inspiring win despite the margin.

Written on Mike Strange: Sometimes, the other guys are just pretty good:

I guess Vols' fans should take some heart in the fact that today (Sunday), Belmont knocked off North Carolina in the Dean Dome, Iowa State dropped Michigan and Indiana State stomped Notre Dame.

Additionally, Michigan State had to come back to beat Columbia by nine on Saturday, after pretty much dominating Kentucky earlier. The takeaway is that every team in the country better be ready to play every game. No game is a given anymore with all the talent out there, and especially given the fact that it doesn't take many good players for any team to be competitive. I doubt that not many BCS programs recruited the kids at Belmont that beat NC on its own floor.

Written on Butch Jones: Freshman Joshua Dobbs was only QB available for Bama, Mizzou games:

in response to bUTch__please:

Shouldn't have to burn Ferguson's shirt. Not like replacing an inexperienced Freshman with a no experienced Freshman is going to make any more difference than using a redshirt Freshman with 2 quarters under his belt. Dobbs needs to get the deep ball fixed or he'll lose what little spark his mobility might provide.

Howard and North have plenty of playmaking ability, just takes some time to develop. Not to mention build chemistry with a QB, any QB quite frankly. Do need some depth so that when the second string receivers are in, the defense doesn't key the run..which is what AU was doing.

Yea, we need a RB who hits the line of scrimmage downhill with a bad attitude. Till then...not much will change for any qb we put in there.

I keep reading about Ferguson taking a redshirt this year, and I keep wondering why he would choose to do that instead of transferring. If he takes a redshirt, chances are he wouldn't have a chance to start until his senior year (assuming nothing happens to Dobbs, or he doesn't declare early). If Ferguson transferred, he'd sit out a year, but could possibly start for three years somewhere else if he lives up to the hype.

If he stays, there's also a chance that Jones will finally get an elite QB who may displace him. With all the highly rated WRs on the way, and an unresolved situation at QB, UT would certainly be a very attractive option for a top QB. Also, the assumption is that Ferguson will automatically become the back-up next year, but he'll still have to beat out Worley and Peterman, which isn't a given.

It sounds like UT has four QBs that if merged would make one good SEC QB. It has got to be unsettling to have four seemingly equal talents at the most important position on the team - none of whom seem to be able to separate themselves from the others. Something's got to give, and I think that means someone's got to go. And, Ferguson seems to be the most likely.

Written on Tennessee men's basketball team's offense left much to be desired in debut:

And, speaking of Stokes, this is probably his last year, as he will unwisely declare - just so he won't get pigeonholed into being a multi-year player. Maymon and McCrae will also be gone, and the Bruce Pearl talent pool will have evaporated. So, now we'll find out just how well Martin has recruited.

I suspect that next year will be a tough year for UT men's BB that will present Dave Hart with a difficult decision regarding Martin's on-going employment. He's had some quality talent to work with during his time at UT, and there's some question about how well he's done with it, as well as how well he's done replacing it.

If he has a mediocre year this year and next, the only thing that will ensure his tenure is UT's reluctance to take on yet another buyout.

But, like football, men's basketball is a revenue generator that the university must depend upon. And, hey, Pearl proved you CAN win and win big at Tennessee, so it needs to happen.

Written on Tennessee men's basketball team's offense left much to be desired in debut:

in response to atnvol#283282:

Last year Stokes often mentioned his lack of offensive production was due to being double and triple teamed without Maymon in the line-up. Well, what's the problem now?

Couldn't agree more, except for the fact that Maymon clearly isn't 100%. That aside, Stokes is not much more than a big lug who can win some inside battles on the board but does not bring much in terms of offensive production. The guy just looks like he ought to be playing a blocking tight end instead of anything on the court.

Written on Butch Jones focused on development and recruiting, calls speed issue 'glaring' :

I'll repeat an earlier post - sure the speed differential is glaringly different between UT and the top echelon of SEC teams, but the difference in the fundamentals of tackling and blocking are even more glaring. And, that's something that can and should be corrected in spite of the talent gap.

I'm not sure if it's coaching or just the lack of players' ability, but watching teams like Alabama, Auburn and Missouri block and tackle, it's apparent that Tennessee has a long way to go to compete on the same playing field.

The good SEC teams are "bullying" Tennessee at the line of scrimmage, and then taking advantage of them in the secondary. After the first half, UT's starters have nothing in the tank and not much on the bench to spell them. It's like UT has become the Vanderbilt of the last five years.

CBJ may think he has the answer, and as a Cincy grad, I believe in him, but I still worry that he may not get enough time to put his system to work with all the right players. He may be putting together a great class for '14, but he has to match that for the next two years and beyond just to catch up to the top level of the SEC. And, in addition, he's going to need some of the elite programs to take a step back as well.

Written on Auburn runs all over Vols, 55-23:

in response to BlueManToo:

Haven't been on the site for some time. Checked a few days ago and noticed that almost no one posts comments vs the 100's of comments from days past. What's going on? NS charging per comment?

To answer your question - the site is no longer free. It's that simple.

Now, to a comment on the perplexing state of UT football. CBJ said at the beginning of the season that this group of players bought into his system and ways of doing things faster than any other group he's coached. Now, it seems that maybe they should have waited.

While it's fair to say that UT doesn't have the depth of talent and experience that permeates the top rung of SEC teams, they still have a bunch of top tier players that will play on Sunday. One has to wonder why the disparity between UT and its peers is so great, and I'm almost ready to say it's the coaching.

The team is not tackling, blocking or playing defense with any consistency whatsoever. Lack of speed is an issue, but common' - with the tackles they're missing, they could have all the speed in the world and still not be successful.

The season is almost over, and this bunch still looks lost. A win over SC and near-miss against GA is astounding, and the win against SC was all because of an incredible catch by MNorth.

Frankly, the coaches should have been able to do more with what they had this year. Let's hope the committed recruits still believe in what they committed to and sign up. And, then, let's hope the coaches live up to CBJ promise of giving Tennessee the "best coaching staff" in the country.

Written on Mike Strange: Vols have to hit ground running to keep up with Auburn:

Does anyone know where our highly-touted offensive line has gone? And, why am I not reading Daniel McCullers name in the Sunday papers?

There is no doubt that UT has lost a ton of skill players on offense, but the guys on the OL are not among them. And, based on the coaches pre-season assessment, McCullers had lost a bunch of weight, was quicker and was expected to "control the running game."

I'm not panicking, but I think Jones and his entourage of assistant are getting an unexpected dose of what it's like to play in the SEC. Not only are the players going to need to elevate their games, but so are the coaches.

Frankly, I'm a little disappointed that this bunch hasn't been more competitive than they have - given the fact that they can't blame it all on a lack of quality players. Jones inherited a much better situation than Dooley, and he's only doing marginally better with it.

Written on Alabama breezes past Tennessee, 45-10:

in response to Alpha-Snail:

To insist on playing Bama ever dang year is not tradition, it's insanity...and stupidity.

No other SEC East school would do that. Why? Because it almost always means you have to win more games than everyone else just to take our division. It also means that on the rare year that we do win the division, we're likely to have to play them twice in one season. What are the odds of winning both? What are the chances of EVER playing for an National Championship? You do the math.

That's not a slight against Coach Jones or the UT program. Its reality. Replace 'UT' with 'Georgia,' 'Florida,' or 'South Carolina' and it would be the same for them.

I understand your logic and frustration, but at the same time I think it's terribly short-sided to throw out what is arguably the greatest historical rivalry in the SEC simply because Alabama is enjoying a time of great success.

There is simply too much history in this game - so much history in fact, that the SEC deemed the game important enough to keep when reorganizing the conference into two divisions. This was the one game that they refused to tamper with, because the "Third Saturday in October" was sacred to the conference.

It's now up to UT - just like it was to Alabama when they were down, to make this once again one of the greatest rivalries in college football. I don't remember Alabama fans clamoring to remove Tennessee from their schedule when they were having problems. In fact, they pretty much welcomed the opportunity to take their shot every year. And, in spite of the two program's different trajectories at the time, Alabama always showed up against UT.

This kind of rivalry is what makes college football great. We're already losing too many of them because of conference realignments. Let's not lose the best one in the SEC just because some fans are too impatient and willing to throw away our history for some instant gratification of winning against inferior opponents.

I'm 70 years old and have seen the ebb and flow of college football, and I'm confident that Tennessee will make this a great rivalry once again. Let's not abandon it just because Alabama is having their day in the sun right now.

Written on Butch Jones breathes new life into old slogans:

Nothing sells a program to recruits like current players who are committed to the philosophies of the head coach and his staff. Being a Cincy alum, I remember a quote from Zach Collaros, Cincy's great QB, who when asked by the media his thoughts on how Butch Jones would perform as Tennessee's coach, said "He's a leader of men."

As fans, who are we to question how he motivates his team. But, whatever he's doing, he seems to have earned the trust, respect and passion of his players. The "running through walls for him" mantra is not given out lightly.

Now, his biggest challenge is to get a whole lot of the right kind of players to run through those walls.

Written on Vols will wear new 'smokey' gray uniforms for Georgia game:

Let's hope the outcome is better than when Georgia debuted their new Nike Pro Combat unis against Boise State in the Georgia Dome in 2011. Georgia lost that game, 35-21. Where were the recruits to whom those unis mattered then?

Written on USC fires Lane Kiffin; Orgeron is interim coach:

The Kiffin "era"at UT was a total aberration. While I hate the outcome, I must admit that Kiffin's take on the outrage of Tennessee fans on his leaving was probably right.

According to Kiffin, the reason the fans hated his departure was that he was doing a good job, and they could see the ship being righted. Then, all of a sudden, he was gone,and UT was back in the wilderness.

Yeah, the majority of great Kiffin recruits bailed or were terminated, but who's to say what would have happened if he had stayed. Ultimately, I don't think Kiffin could have survived at UT, because he never embraced the culture or the traditions. Winning would have cured that for a time, but no self-respecting UT fan wants USC Heisman Trophy winners' pictures in UT's football complex.

That being said, I think Kiffin got a raw deal at USC. I know his firing made a lot of UT fans delirious, but let's face it, he inherited a worse situation than CBJ did. Sure, the guy did some questionable stuff at USC, but the real story was the lack of scholarships he had. You can't be competitive with 30 fewer scholarship players than your peers. End of story.

At any rate, how many football coaches have a resume that states they have been a head coach at three iconic football teams - two in college and one in the NFL, before they are 40?

Written on Vols hold off South Alabama, 31-24:

in response to Oldhickory:

We need a whole truck load of bricks, because this game was just sad.

Butch may want to consider substituting concrete for bricks.

Written on Phillip Fulmer attends Tennessee practice for first time since firing:

in response to fannotsheep:

You might think I'm crazier than usual, but I've always felt that Tennessee was fated to win the 1998 national title. And I think it was because of John Ward. I am aware that other media types did not care for John, because he was a perfectionist and had an ego. And because all of us who grew up listening to his calls of football and basketball games pretty much thought he was a god.

If it was coincidence that his final year (announced as the season began) was the first time in 47 years the Vols won the whole shootin' match, and if it was coincidence that Clint Stoerner managed to fumble away a win in the most unlikely way, and if it was coincidence that all three teams that had to lose for us to make the first BCS title game (despite our perfect record) did manage to lose the night we won the SEC title game, well …

Call it fate or karma or just plain luck, apparently the University of Tennessee used up two decades' worth of it in that fabled season. I wish the Vols would turn it around soon, but mostly I am eternally grateful to have witnessed that magical season, when the stars aligned to reward fans and players and coaches -- and the man most responsible for thousands of kids like me becoming lifelong fans of a school we didn't attend.

What a great post. I had the opportunity to work with John Ward in the advertising business, and the one thing that probably a lot of fans don't know is that in the early days of his career as UT's "voice," he also was responsible for producing the coach's show the day after the game.

In those days there was no video tape - it was all film. So, when John left the stadium on away games, he retired to his car, sat in the back, and began the process of editing film on his way back to Knoxville so it would be ready the next morning.

The '98 Championship season was indeed a special season for a ton of reasons - especially John's last game as the "Voice of the Vols." But, mostly because of the incredible breaks the Vols got during both the regular season, the SEC Championship game, and the NC game. They could have easily lost three games during the regular season- to Syracuse, Florida and Arkansas. Then, the SEC Championship game against M/State was no cake walk. The crowning touch was playing a Florida State team in the NC game that lost its Heisman Trophy quarterback, who was replaced by a freshman!

I couldn't agree more w/Fannotsheep that the Vols used all their credits that season, and now they're replacing them with the Alabama loss under Kiffin and the LSU loss under Dooley.

Written on John Adams: UT needs to give true freshmen a chance at quarterback:

Adams is one of the worst armchair quarterbacks in the country. In fact, it takes a lot of work to be this bad.

Where is the data from him that suggests one of these two real freshmen is even capable of starting? Is he at practice every day? Does he see what CBJ is seeing? Is his job on the line if starting a true freshman fails miserably, much the same way that starting a redshirt freshman has this past weekend?

Maybe he's channeling Manning or Ainge - or even Bray. But there's no one home at UT who can match those guys right now. Best leave the kids on the bench to learn and grow by watching instead of playing and learning by humiliation.

Written on Tennessee falls to No. 19 Florida, 31-17:

Maybe we could get some "loaners" from Alabama for the Missouri game, since that's a bye weekend for the Tide. Since they play UT the previous Saturday, they'll have a lot of starters who are rested.

Written on Letter: Reader unhappy with Butch Jones' choice of words during loss at Oregon:

I remember the first time my son used the F-bomb, I realized that if he had not heard it from me, it was a miracle.

Does this mean Butch Jones is not qualified to lead UT's football program? Or, more specifically, does it mean this was the first time these young men have ever heard this word? While the answer to both these questions is no, that doesn't make it right.

Personally, I fall on the side of using profanity only when it will have the desired effect of getting attention and changing behavior. I'm not defending that, but I think it's a common occurrence in college football (see Bo Pelini), and I've never heard players complain about it.

I guarantee you that when I came home from the service, my wife had several months of purging me from my own mouth. I don't think I'm a worse person today because of it.

Written on John Adams: Oregon blocks what was an optimistic view:

Fifteen yards against Adams for pilling on.

Written on Tennessee thumped by No. 2 Oregon, 59-14:

I suspect that Butch will at some point, give one of the other QBs a shot. That's his MO. Unfortunately, at this point UT has four QBs that together equal one SEC QB.

Worley clearly has accuracy issues, combined with young receivers' issues. But, with all the acclaim that the offensive line has received, it baffles me why the running game is so bad. As for the defense - well, today they were just totally overmatched. Their youth and inexperience showed up, and even McCullers girth couldn't compensate for the Ducks' scheme and speed. By the third quarter, AJ Johnson was clearly worn out.

UT needs more talent, more depth, more skill players, and
more experience. In other words, they need at least two to three more years before they are whole again.