Posts Tagged ‘Bob Stoops’

Urban Meyer to Notre Dame?

Wait.  Before you pop the champagne corks, let me flush this one out.

I only have one source have two sources saying that Urban is heading out.

Here are some things to consider, though.

1.  Urban Meyer’s buyout clause is only $500,000.  Notre Dame sneezes at that kind of money when it comes to buying championships coaches.

2.  Urban may have suggested, by implication, that Notre Dame is his dream job.  That comes from a guy who says “I’m not leaving X for anywhere” and actually means “The movers came last weekend and my house is empty.”  He wants that job.

3.  Urban Meyer>Bob Stoops.  Do you really want to debate this one?  Fine.  Talk to the Honorable Corrine Brown.YouTube Preview Image

4.  $50,000,000 over 10 years or $25,000,000 over 5 years.  Yeah, that’s a five million a year base salary.  Plus, a Nike Contract, three “projects” (read: JUCO players), and $1.2 m for a national championship. Urban’s current base salary: $4m.   [Editor's note: states secrets privilege invoked, information redacted]

5.  The SEC is getting crowded.  Urban knows he can count on Kiffin, Richt, and Surrier every year and plays the odds on getting Saban, Nutt, or Miles every other year.  Kiffin is hellbent on crushing Meyer and he knows it.  There’s nothing quite as unsettling as knowing that someone has your number.

What does this mean? Well a few things.

1.  I will be in Neyland next year for the Florida game.  Florida – Tebow and Meyer= Ole Miss.  Year Two of the Reign of Kiffin at home against my generation’s most hated rival?  I’m bringing my Florida fans with me. I may even buy their tickets for this one.

2.  Bob Stoops is going to have some ‘splaining to do.  It’s like when you try to upgrade your dating profile at your fiancee’s expense.  You usually end up on the couch.  You may end up single.

3. Pete Carroll better have this year’s ND game edited and made into a commemorative DVD.

4. The Tennesse-Notre Dame rivalry is back.  With a vengeance.

5.  Or I am completely and totally wrong on all of these points and Brian Kelly will be the next head coach of Notre Dame.

I have the honor to be, the VolAmbassador | Gate 21

Image(s) Courtesy of:   xx   •   xx   •   xx

2009 CBS BlogPoll Top 25 Ballot: Preseason

Here’s my ballot for this week’s CBS Sports BlogPoll Top 25 hosted by—as you might imagine—CBS Sports.

Preseason Prognostications

Through 20 August 2009

College Football on

Well, it’s been almost nine months since last I posted a BlogPoll ballot, and let me tell you that it feels mighty good to be back in the saddle again.  This does not, however, mean that I have suddenly gained any sense or am any more reliable.

As a general rule, I consider preseason ballots to be dubious at best.  They are based upon little more than rumor and innuendo.  There is little to no basis for selecting one team over the other.  Thus, as Hooper has pointed out, this is little more than a turkey shoot.  That said, here’s my preseason Top 25 for everyone to attack:

My Ballot for the Week

Rank Team
1 Florida
2 Oklahoma
3 Southern Cal
4 Texas
5 Penn State
6 Ole Miss
7 Alabama
8 California
9 Ohio State
10 Notre Dame
11 Georgia
12 LSU
13 Oklahoma State
14 Boise State
15 TCU
16 Virginia Tech
17 Illinois
18 Rutgers
19 Miami (Florida)
20 Nebraska
21 Iowa
22 Brigham Young
23 Pittsburgh
24 Clemson

Explanations after the jump…

Read the rest of this entry

This Week = Money

On Remote | Gate 21

“Separation” Saturday?

Last week? Weak. This week? Matchup-wise, it’s the opposite. I have yet to hear to cliche that ESPN has dubbed this coming week. “Separation Saturday” sounds typical enough…

That’s really what this weekend is, particularly in the SEC East and the Big XII XI. In the East, Florida, Georgia, and Tennessee all face “must-wins” according to CBS analyst Gary Danielson. The Vols and Dawgs go at it head-to-head, while Florida hosts LSU in their yearly grudge match.

In the Big XI (inspiration from Pat Forde on ESPN), you of course have the Texas-Oklahoma Cotton Bowl showdown, but also Missouri plays host to the surprisingly unbeaten, chest-bumping Oklahoma State Cowboys.

These three games form quite the nice triple-header for your viewing pleasure. There’s some other quality football on, and as always that’s where I come in. I should say now that this will be the longest “On Remote” preview to this point. Don’t worry, it’s alllllllllllll worth it!

SEC Football | Gate 21
SEC Games

South Carolina at Kentucky (12:30, RayCom): I was wrong on South Carolina last week, as Chris Smelley threw all over Ole Miss’ defense in the Chickens’ 31-24 win in Oxford. The question is can a Carolina QB put together two straight consistent weeks? Kentucky has a better D than Ole Miss, and the Cats’ strength is their front seven.

Despite coming off their first loss of the year, Kentucky should have gained confidence from last week’s game at Alabama. If the Cats offense improves a little, or even limits its mistakes, this team could be dangerous down the road this year. These two always seem to play pretty close games, and Kentucky shot themselves in the foot both last week and in Columbia last year. Still I think Carolina’s QB inconsistency will be the difference in a Kentucky win.

Vanderbilt at Mississippi State (2:30, ESPN GamePlan): So I was wrong on Vandy too. A win in Starkville would put the Dores at 6-0 for the first time since 1928. Yes, 1928. It’s that kind of year. Last year, State was the Alabama State Champions. They have a chance to claim Tennessee the next two weeks.

Bobby Johnson has Vandy on the verge of bowl eligibility

As fundamentally strong as Vanderbilt is and as bad as Mississippi State’s offense is (ie, worse than Auburn’s), Vandy should SHOULD continue their historic year. Oh yeah, a sixth win would mean the Dores’ first non-losing season since 1982.

Tennessee at Georgia (3:30, CBS): Last time we saw Georgia, they were getting smacked at home by Alabama. The Vols are trying to avoid an 0-3 start in the SEC. Basically, it’s an SEC East elimination game, but isn’t every week?

As everyone knows, Tennessee has won three of the last four, the last two in Athens, and the last two years by a combined 86-47. The revenge factor comes into play, but Georgia’s banged up and the Vols have no offense. How healthy is Knowshon Moreno? The Dawg defense took a hit with the loss of Dannell Ellerbe, and appears to have a weakness along the offensive line. Tennessee just plain likes to shoot their toes off in the most frustrating of ways I won’t go into. Nick Stephens, meet the fire.

Yet another reason to miss Mr. Ainge: he was 3-0 against Georgia

I have low expectations. Very low. Tennessee seemingly matches up pretty well, but most reasonable Dawg fans (an oxymoron, I know) will remind you of David Cutcliffe’s absence. Coach Fulmer has struggled – mightily – against Mark Richt without Cut (two wins against UGA without Cut: ’99 and ’04). He doesn’t have Cut anymore. T-R-O-U-B-L-E. Not just this week, but this entire season for the Vols.

Tennessee’s defense keeps it close, but I just don’t see Tennessee getting enough offense to win Saturday. Think Auburn. I’m expecting another frustrating Saturday…

Arkansas at Auburn (5:00, ESPN GamePlan): So much for the Spread Eagle. Probably using the fan’s vote, Auburn fired Tony Franklin Wednesday, probably meaning the beginning of the Kodi Burns era and Chris Todd and the bench and headphones/clipboard becoming best of friends. Playing Arkansas should also help, as the Hogs are bad enough that even Tennessee could score on them (I think). Though they are bad, they played Florida much, much tougher than the 38-7 final showed, and I expect Petrino to get an upset at some point…

LSU at Florida (8:00, CBS): Personally, this is one of my favorite SEC games each year. The athletic ability on the field between these two is ridiculous. The coaches (and their egos) are a great match-up. And it’s always a game Florida could very well lose – and I could watch Florida lose every day.

That said, I like LSU in this game, and here’s why: I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – LSU has the SEC’s best lines (Bammer is a close second). Florida’s lines? Probably their weakest aspect, due to the athletes everywhere else. While LSU has some questions in the secondary, they should be able to keep it close and be able to wear down Florida with Craig Scott and that offensive line, much like they did at Auburn. If you haven’t figured it out yet, I really like this LSU team – as in I think they’re the best in the SEC.


Tonight‘s game has some intrigue. For Vols fans, fellow underachiever/coach-on-the-hot-seat Clemson/Tommy Bowden travel to Wake Forest in an important game in the ACC Atlantic, where Florida State is also in the mix (the Noles are off this week after beating Miami).

The NEW Weekly Duke Update: After being shutout by Georgia Tech last week, Duke has granted Cut a one-week release to be Tennessee’s offensive coordinator for the Georgia game. UGA is screwed and there are rumors of a forfeit. Yeah, WE WISH. Duke hosts Miami next week. Meanwhile, Lawvol’s Tar Heels, fresh into the rankings, host Notre Dame. C’mon, UNC…

Throwing conference affiliations aside, here are the other great games in chronological order…

Colt McCoy

Sam Bradford

Texas vs. Oklahoma in Dallas (12:00, ABC): Ah yes, the battle of the two outstanding QBs who look like they are still in middle school – Texas’ Colt McCoy and OU’s Sam Bradford. My deal with Texas is that they are generally underachieving. They are in Texas. They have recruits fall into their lap from Texas, and Louisiana, where LSU is the only competition. Yet Mack Brown hasn’t won much without Vince Young. OU has the edge defensively, and the Texas secondary is ripe for Bradford and his seemingly countless receiving targets.

And Bob Stoops has Mack’s number. While the QB matchup is essentially a push and the athletes on the field are also at a high level like the LSU-Florida matchup, I like OU. Also, why is this game being played at 11am local time? I know they have the Texas State Fair, but that’s too early for such a big football game….

Michigan State at Northwestern (3:30, ESPN2): Don’t laugh. MSU is ranked and Northwestern is unbeaten. Both have zero Big Ten losses. A State win puts them firmly into the mix heading into mid-October. A Wildcat win continues the “Revenge of the Nerds” theme dominating the season’s first six weeks. I like Sparty…

Mmm...53.4 ppg

Oklahoma State at Missouri (8:00, ESPN2): Quietly, Okie State is 5-0. Missouri is just sick on offense. The ‘Boys aren’t too shabby on offense either, so first to 60 wins. That would be Mizzou. Missouri is second in the nation in points. Oklahoma State is third. Hello fireworks…

I’ve been all “over” the Tigers these past weeks, and as you know by now I almost went there. Obviously the offense is unstoppable with Jeremy Maclin, Chase Coffman, and runnings back are always productive (Tony Temple last year, Derrick Washington this year). Defense was the issue, but there was improvement as the Tigers held Nebraska, who scored 30 on Virginia Tech, to just 10 measly points. Not gonna be much chest-bumping on the OSU sidelines Saturday…

Penn State at Wisconsin (8:00, ESPN): Is Penn State the best team in the Big Ten? So far, it’s almost a certainty. Big Test #1 is Saturday night in Madison, where band-less Wisconsin is coming off a heart-breaking late loss to Ohio State. I like the Lions to continue their roll, though I’m not very confident in Wisky losing two straight home games after a two-pus year streak of never losing. The Lions are in Columbus the 25th.

Whew! That was quite a bit. College football = awesome.

Images Courtesy of: Mark Humphrey / AP (Daylife)Tom Mihalek / AP (Daylife)MackBrown-TexasFootball.comOU Official Athletic SiteDave Weaver / AP (Daylife)

Big Orange Roundtable: Week 6

This Week’s Roundtable is hosted by: MoonDog Sports

Rolling Along We Go!

This week’s Big Orange Roundtable is hosted by the MoonDog, who has served up some great questions for the roundtable.

Here are my laughable thoughts for the week:

Week 6

(Questions in Sort-o-Teal-like color)

1) Let’s assume the worst for a moment and say the Vols finish the season 6-6. Does Fulmer survive? If not, whom do you believe would be the best person to fill the head coaching vacancy? Even if you believe Fulmer survives, feel free to offer your thoughts on the Vols next coach.

As I previously discussed in Week 2 (Question 3), I believe that Coach Fulmer’s new contract (which includes an automatic extension when he wins 8 games or more), while giving the Great Punkin more job-security on one hand, also sets a quantifiable standard of 8 wins which, if not met, could lead to his firing.  It seems to me that it would be next to impossible for Mike Hamilton to keep Fulmer on as head coach if he failed to meet the 8-win mark in a given season.  That said, I think Hamilton would do everything in his power to keep Fulmer in his current position at the helm of the Vols’ football program.  For the record, at present, I would agree with Hamilton’s desire to retain Fulmer.

Independent of Fulmer’s own merits and accomplishments (which are considerable) — one of the reasons I have always questioned the “Fire-Fulmerites’” cries is that I have never heard any meaningful suggestion as to who would replace him.  As I also said in Week 2, I think Fulmer is likely trying to groom Dave Clawson as his replacement down the road, which — depending on how things pan out — may be a great move.  All that said, if Fulmer were to either be fired or retire, my short-list of candidates would include the following (in no particular order):

  • Bob Stoops: I agree with MoonDog that Stoops has an impressive record, despite his habit of losing in the bowl games.  My only concern with Stoops is one of persona and style — a little too Spurrier-esque for me, but I could get over that I suppose.
  • Jim Grobe: I like what Grobe has done at Wake Forest, which is a tough place to win.  I would somewhat prefer someone who is likely to stay a little longer — since Grobe appears to be roughly the same age as Fulmer, and probably won’t want to coach into his 60s and 70s.
  • Brian Kelly: I agree with 3SIB that Kelly could be another good choice in much the same way that Urban Meyer appealed to Florida — an up-and-coming coach on the rise.  Of course, the same would be true for Clawson.
  • Brett Favre: I figure he’s been so dying to get back into someone’s game, why not Tennessee’s?  Actually, I think that would be a horrible idea…

This overly short list only goes to show that I am really not sure who Tennessee would tap to take the head job, and only emphasizes why I continue to think that Fulmer is the best coach for Tennessee at present.

2) With the off-field troubles many college football programs have encountered over the past five years, including Tennessee, what actions would you take to prevent players from getting into undesirable situations?

There are a lot of college students that have done some things that are probably prosecutable if the law caught them.  This is true regardless of whether they are athletes or not.  So, on one hand I generally think that miscellaneous bad behavior shouldn’t automatically lead to dismissal from the team.  Being given the opportunity to play at the college level, however, gives great rewards to the players.  Along with those rewards comes increased responsibility — due to the fact that those athletes are on the front-porch of the university.  Finally, I believe that true “criminal” behavior should be dealt with swiftly and strongly.

Bearing all of this in mind, my thoughts are that there should only be three rules of increasing severity — built on the concept that a team lives and dies as a group — for any team, which should be enforced without exception:

  • Rule 1:  Never do anything that will embarrass yourself. — In this case I would lump things like not going to class, bad discipline in practices, being late to practices, and potentially recklessness in a game (such as unwarranted personal fouls), etc.  The penalty for infractions would be that the player is publicly reprimanded in very plain and unfiltered terms before his teammates, and the entire team runs or does some other unpleasant drill as a result of the infraction by one of its members.
  • Rule 2:  Never do anything that will embarrass your team. –  This would include general bad behavior that falls under Rule 1, if it is repeated.  In other words, repeat offenses of a Rule 1 violation calls into question the cohesiveness of the team, and thus reflects on the team.  This would also include any “minor” entanglements with the local constabulary such as: drunk and disorderly, speeding, underage consumption, misdemeanor possession of marijuana, etc. — essentially anything which doesn’t involve fundamental dishonesty and/or risk to the physical well-being of others.  The penalty for infractions would be a mandatory one-game suspension, being reprimanded openly in front of teammates, all members of the player’s squad losing privileges, the entire team doing twice as many laps or drills as for a Rule 1 violation, and the team captains being required to do an even greater penance — along with the offender.  The offender would also be required to make some sort of public apology or public sign of remorse along with some goodwill public service (i.e. visiting the children’s ward at the hospital, raking leaves for the infirm, etc.).
  • Rule 3:  Never do anything that will embarrass your university, its staff, students, and alumni. –  This would be the most serious violation.  This would include any real criminal behavior such as a felony.  The immediate response would be an investigation by the coaching staff.  If it appeared that the offender was not guilty of the charges, then the player would be suspended for the remainder of the season until cleared by law enforcement officials or the Courts, with the assumption that the player will be dismissed if not cleared.  During that time, the offender would essentially serve as the lowest-level trainer and would be given the worst jobs associated with a football team.  If the staff determined that the player was likely guilty, then the player would be immediately dismissed from the team, and a public statement issued explaining why.  Regardless of the guilt or innocence of the offender, the entire team would have a major privilege suspended for at least half of the season.  The members of the offender’s squad and the team captains would be treated as if each of them had violated Rule 1 by not taking adequate steps to prevent the offense or hold their teammate accountable.  Again, the whole team would also be required to perform additional drills.

The goal of this system would be to instill mutual responsibility among team members and to emphasize that when one falls short, all fall short.  I am responsible for my brother and my brother is responsible for me. No coaching staff can ever police or monitor players at all times — no matter how vigilant.  When properly channeled, peer pressure can be a beautiful thing, and is the sort of thing which goes with a player everywhere he goes.  This system is also meant to emphasize that, when you are in a position of honor (being a member of the team) then sometimes guilt by association is all that is required to warrant a penalty — it simply comes with the territory.

3) The Vols have rolled through UCLA, UAB, Florida, Auburn, Northern Illinois and Georgia. We’re No. 3 in the polls and up next is Alabama. With 3:16 left in the 4th quarter the Vols are down 20-17 and it’s 4th and one from the Bama 29-yard line. Do you kick the field goal or go for it?

Barring some sort of absolutely deplorable abysmal collapse by our kicking team leading up to the game, or the development of an absolutely hellacious running game which mows down defenses like the grim reaper with a caffeine buzz, I kick the ball.

The reasons for this are several:

  • Three doesn’t play for the win, but it also prevents the loss with time expiring, and I’d just as soon not have to live through another episode of the 1998 win over Arkansas.
  • You look like a genius if you convert, but boy do you look like a moron if you turn the ball over on downs.
  • Tennessee has been very successful in overtime games, especially in Neyland Stadium, and I’ll take those odds with Orange Nation fired-up.
  • If you are looking at the possibility of an undefeated season, you coach with your head, not your balls.
  • It’s smart football.

So, ultimately, I take the conservative approach.  Of course, Coach Fulmer rarely seems to care what I think is best, so this is somewhat academic.  After all, I haven’t yet seen the film…

4) What impact, if any, do you believe Stan Drayton will have as the Vols prepare to play Florida?

I think the biggest effect that Stan Drayton may have will not be on the players he is tapped to coach.  I think the biggest thing Tennessee gains from Drayton in this year’s battle with the reptiles is his experience coaching the running game in Gainesville — for the benefit of the Tennessee defense.  The message will probably be that — with the exception of Tebow — there really isn’t much of a run game at Florida.  Good little piece of information to have.  Of course, this is a new season, and you really don’t have to be a genius to figure out that Florida was one-directional last year.

On the flip side, I am desperately hoping that Drayton is able to invigorate our running game which — by my mind — is one of the keys to beating Florida this year, or any year.  I have high hopes for him, and generally think he was a very good hire by Fulmer.

5) We’ve discussed the Vols offense and defense, but what about special teams? Give us your thoughts on Tennessee’s kicking game and special teams in general?

The key to success this season is keeping Britton Colquitt off the sauce…

Actually, that really has nothing to do with our kicking game — or at least it shouldn’t.  Nonetheless, all of the distractions stemming from Colquitt’s off-the-field hijinxs have got to be a concern — especially given his early season suspension.  This unit needs to be sure it understands what it is about before strapping on their helmets.  They need to come prepared to play.

On a more substantive note, I am hopeful that the kick returns will improve this year and that Dennis Rogan will get the chance to really wow the Vol faithful a few times this year.  The key on kick-returns (aside from actually catching the ball without fumbling it) is discipline.  If they can be disciplined, learn to stay in their lanes, learn when to take a knee, and when to block, I believe that the kick-return squad could really be impressive this year.

In terms of the field-goal unit — I’ll take Daniel Lincoln over just about anybody.  Absent him derailing in the near future, I feel pretty good about where we sit when it comes to the uprights.

The Rest of the Roundtable:

Having wasted your time on my largely meaningless and insignificant thoughts for this week, go check out what the other roundtablers (who actually know what they are talking about) have to say (in no particular order):

And that’s the way it is….

– Go Figure …Email lawvol

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