Derek Dooley is now settling into what we all hope is  a very long-term job. Initial signs were good. Within a few days, Tennessee hired a pretty well respected receivers coach in Charlie Baggett. Baggett’s list of coached receivers is more impressive than the heralded tailbacks coached by Eddie Gran. Get a load of this: Randy Moss, Chris Carter, Plaxico Burress, Mushin Muhammed, Andre Rison, and Derrick Mason. Come get some. Shortly after, four-star receiver Justin Hunter dropped his nearly six month commitment to LSU and switched to Tennessee. Rumors swirled about Rodney Garner, Kevin Steele,and Dick Bumpas all potentially joining the staff. Word came in that long-time Georgia commit De’rick Rogers was to visit along with Markeith Ambles. Lane Kiffin was all over TMZ with a few blondes (one of which may or may not have been Layla), a lot of booze and a wrecked Lexus (a Wrexus?). We were down, but the resolve in Knoxville was strong. Read the rest of this entry »

Troy Calhoun: He looks a little Skip Bayliss-ish to me...

Volunteer fans, I come before you humbled. Like many of you, I spent most of last night glued to my computer surfing the various message boards (I tend to float between Outermonvolia, VolChat and Volquest) and my phone waiting on the first inkling of a coaching hire. At one point Hamilton was in Dallas to talk to Muschamp (or was it a smoke screen for Gary Patterson?) then he was in Colorado to see Troy Calhoun (or was he secretly meeting with Chris Peterson?) then he was in Orlando talking with Mickey Mouse about a 7 year 21 Million dollar deal but evidently it hinged on his ability to bring Donald (Duck, not Chris) in as his defensive coordinator. Bottom line: I’ve got no idea what the hell is going on. I do know that Matt Milton, Corey Miller, and Tyler Bray (three of our freshman already on campus) are not in favor of Calhoun. But before we delve into the bottomless pit of (mostly mediocre) coaches that we seem to be combing through, I want to talk briefly about our last coach… Read the rest of this entry »

Well, Vol Nation, I feel badly addressing you after such an absence from the blog. Really don’t have an explanation other than to say the blog became more work than we had anticipated and with Jacob and I trying to graduate at some point it just became too much. However, in the wake of this Kiffin mess, I’ve got to write this, for my own sake. Read if you want.

The sky is falling here on the UT campus. I was part of a riot last night for the first time in my life. I saw my fellow students inexplicably climbing statues. One guy threw a road cone and hit a girl in the head. Neyland Stadium was close to being rushed by an angry mob. A few who led the charge made it into the stadium and safely snuck out after the cops arrived. We are just upset, man.

Pride is a factor. We are Tennessee. We aren’t used to being a stepping stone, and that’s exactly what Lane Kiffin has made us. I think it’s that more than any thing. Basically, we’ve been emasculated, because our football program is an absolute mess now. It’s not that we’ve lost Lane Kiffin; it’s the state he left us in. We don’t have a permanent school president right now. Our AD, Mike Hamilton, stuck his neck out to hire LK, and who knows how secure his job is right now. Reports have been circulating all morning about Phil Fulmer having been contacted about becoming AD or possibly the football coach again. All this three weeks before signing day. Shoot me now.

With all that we’ve lost, we need to look at what we have. We have Neyland. We have Peyton. Al Wilson. The Miracle at South Bend. A January night in Tempe. Basically what we have is the past. As Chris Walker said last night, “We are Tennessee today and tomorrow, next year. We are going to be Tennessee no matter what coach is going to be here.” And while it is something, keep in mind that current recruits were in elementry school when we won our national championship. Their image of Tennessee is the mediocrity that we have endured the last ten years. History is great, but we have to create new history.

Opposing fans, if you’re reading this, I’m sure you’re laughing. That’s fine. I really don’t give a rat’s ass what you think. I don’t need you. I don’t need sympathy from anyone. I’m a UT student. I’ve got 20,000 others just like me going through the exact same thing, and a whole state with us. We are Tennessee, and that means exponentially more to me than anything I’ve ever said about Lane Kiffin.

That said, I loved Lane Kiffin. Jacob loved Lane Kiffin. Anybody who read this blog knows. It makes me sick to say it now, but I loved what he was doing. I still believe he would have turned Tennessee into a winner. One of the things I loved about him was his professional approach to the game. With the staff he had, he was that caliber coach. The guy that could throw punches with the Sabans, Meyers, because we are that level of a school. We’ve got the tradition, the history; football is huge here. And with all our fan base has endured over the past few years, we thought we had the guy to get us back to where we want to be.

Oh well.

What Kiffin has done will set us back. We’ll lose tons of recruits. Michael Taylor, Brandon Willis, Delvin Jones, and Calvin Smith have been the first of an eventual list that at worst will contain names like Markieth Ambles (maybe USC, Florida), Jujuan James (Georgia, Alabama, maybe LSU) or Jacquez Smith (LSU) and best case scenario will still contain five to eight more guys. We may not get a good hire this time. We need to make a splash but is that coach really available at this point? Can we get Muschamp? Will a guy like Edsell, Calhoun or Peterson really be enough to satiate a fane base that has seen two head coaches in 14 months? Tennessee football may be down for a while.

But we’ll be back.

At some point, we’ll be back. We’re too good to stay down. There’s too much passion here. Too much pride. Too much love for it all to stay down. Our basketball team just did one of the most remarkable things I’ve ever seen in sports, and there’s no limit in my mind to what Tennessee can be.

So here’s your pick me up, Vol fans. Times are dark right now, but you don’t have to look very far to see an example of a program overcoming devastating NCAA sanctions and their coach skipping out in the middle of the night for a “better job”. Alabama, once on the verge of the death penalty, is now the best college football program in the country. And they are in a position to remain so for a very long time. Things will get better Vol fans. From Memphis to Savannah, Union City to the ‘Boro, Nashville to Lexington, Shelbyville, Columbia, Chatt-town, McMinnville, and all of EAST TN, sing it with me…..

Rocky Top, you’ll ALWAYS be, home sweet home to me….

WE ARE TENNESSEE

The past few days have been as exciting as any for hoops fans, as the fall signing period ended on Wednesday and the team tipped off against UNC Asheville on Tuesday.  To prevent myself from wearing out my thesaurus in an attempt to describe the team’s immaculate play in Tuesday’s 124-49 win, I will share a few facts and statistics that should paint an appropriate picture of how the game went down.
Read the rest of this entry »

It has been a big day for Tennessee hoops, and the team hasn’t tipped off in tonight’s matchup against UNC Asheville.  The Vols received a LOI from Trae Golden, a four star guard who has been committed to the Vols for some time.  Golden is one of many Georgia products to commit to the Volunteers in the past few years.  Vol fans have also been anxiously awaiting a decision from two New York recruits, Jayvaughn Pinkston and Tobias Harris.  Pinkston, a four star prospect, is scheduled to sign with a school and make his announcement tomorrow, and Harris, a five star, will sign tomorrow and announce on Thursday.  The ink is not on the paper yet, but sources have leaked that Pinkston, known as the “King of New York,” will sign with the Vols tomorrow, ending part one of the suspenseful week for the Volunteer faithful.  Pinkston’s decision was fairly predictable due to a late unofficial visit to Tennessee in October. The Empire State’s top recruit, Tobais Harris, is a different story.  I’ve never seen a recruitment as unpredictable as his.  I could honestly see him going to any of his schools of interest, Syracuse, West Virginia, Georgia Tech, Louisville, Kentucky, Maryland, and Tennessee.  The experts report that he is a Syracuse and Tennessee lean, but the Harris camp has kept very quiet.  Nonetheless, if the Vols land Harris, the 2011 recruiting class could be Tennessee’s best class ever.

The Vols finally tipped off the 2009-2010 basketball season Friday night, which provided Vol fans with a refreshing opportunity to root for their beloved Vols without hearing the words armed robbery, pellet gun, Toyota Prius, or more recently, Dexter McCluster. The team opened their season looking very similar to last year’s team, but with noticeable improvements, a few fresh faces, and a lot of excitement. Read the rest of this entry »

As bad as it pains me to write this post, I feel like I should write it. Any time something like this happens, most peoples’ first reactions are just that, reactions. I’ve let it simmer for a little while so I can be as rational as possible. A lot of you guys will probably disagree with me; that’s just the nature of the beast, but I ask you to read this with an open mind. Read the rest of this entry »

Anybody can be a Tennessee fan; there are few requirements. Really, all you have to do is love Bluetick coonhounds and a unique shade of orange called PMS021. I might also add that you should know whether corn grows on Rocky Top or not, and maybe that you should be familiar with girls that are half bear, the other half cat. It helps if you’re from the state of Tennessee. I would strongly contend that no town in the state, Memphis included, cheers for any team more than the Vols. How many other big-time college football programs have that kind of stranglehold on their state? By my count, there are a possible five: Penn State, Georgia, Nebraska, Arkansas, and LSU. This one of my favorite things about our state, that no matter where you go in Tennessee, you’re in Big Orange Country. If you’re a Vol from West Tennessee like me (731 whut, whuuut) you might have never even sniffed UT’s campus. Then again, you might have spent hours upon hours here as a student. With this thought in mind, I’ve snapped a few autumn images around campus and compiled them here for your viewing pleasure. Every individual UT fandom is a beautiful thing, so soak these in however you will. Read the rest of this entry »

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Photo: Amy Smotherman Burgess, KNS

Tennessee’s coaching staff has been celebrated from its earliest moments by both fans and the media. For several different reasons, the staff has a sort of star quality. For one, there’s the obvious appeal of Lane Kiffin coaching with his father (shades of Junior Griffey knocking back-to-back dingers with Senior). Read the rest of this entry »

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I suspect there are very few Tennessee fans unhappy with the Volunteer football team right now. In nine games this season, Kiffin’s boys have done what was rationally expected of them. They’ve been competitive against good teams, they’ve beaten similar ones and pounded lesser ones. The UCLA and Auburn losses still sting and it’s frustrating to think that the Vols are that close to being a nationally ranked 7-2 contender. Still, look at the progress.

Read the rest of this entry »

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