Posts Tagged ‘Coach O’

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…

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Are All USC Team Meetings Like This?

The View From the Hill | Gate 21

With the obvious connections between the Tennessee coaching staff – Lane Kiffin and Ed Orgeron – and the USC program, I feel like posting this video is relevant. However the real reason I’m posting it is because I think it’s awesome. You may have already seen it, but in case you hadn’t…

YouTube Preview Image

Doesn’t that just look really fun? If you ever wonder why recruits pick USC, this – and the winning doesn’t hurt either – is why. Pete Carroll is just a cool dude. He’s got his own channel on YouTube with almost 100 videos of a wide variety, including some of pranks they’ve played in practices the past years.

I had an assignment in my sportswriting class this past spring (I’ve debated posting parts of it) where I had to right a long (2,500 words or so) profile story. I chose Carroll, and in my researching the guy I have gained nothing but respect for him as coach (yes, I’m aware of the Reggie Bush incidents). I used to really dislike the Trojans, but thanks to that story and the connections between Kiffin, Coach O and Carroll, I have changed my stance on USC.

You might also be thinking, “Why aren’t they watching film?” or something like that. Well, when you have those kind of players, you can fudge a team meeting or two right?

If there’s a program to model yours after, it’s USC – we’ve got a couple of coaches who helped build it.

About Home Sweet Home... … to me.

Back from Vacation, Vols Start Preseason Camp

The View From the Hill | Gate 21

In exactly one month and one day Tennessee will open up the 2009 season here in Knoxville against Western Kentucky. And if you weren’t ready for the season already, you’d better start getting ready, as the Vols open up the preseason camp today.

After spending the last part of last week down in Gulf Shores, Alabama, I’m ready for September 5th to get here. It’s going to be my last season of UT football as a UT student, and I’m ready to get last season out of my mind completely (and to figure out how the new student ticket system is/is not going to work). The last time I walked out of Neyland Stadium? The Wyoming game. You see my point…

But while I was down on vacation, three things stoked my anticipation not only from September through November (and hopefully as close to January as possible), but for this coming four weeks of practices. Those three things and my preseason practice thoughts after the jump.

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2009 Big Orange Roundtable: Week 2

This Week’s Roundtable is hosted by: 3rd Saturday in Blogtober

This week marks the second edition of the 2009 version of the Big Orange Roundtable and is hosted by the guys over at 3SIB..

Week 2

1)  We will start with an easy one.  Last week, our beloved Rock was relocated across the street to make room for a new building on campus.  What are your thoughts on the Rock’s relocation?

bullet HSH: Being a student, I actually have the slight advantage of seeing the change.  I drove by as the crane was lifting the behemoth out of the ground, and I’ve only seen it once since it’s been moved.  I have to say it’s going be to a little odd driving through the stoplight next to Stokely Athletic Center and the Thornton Athletic Student Center (where all the UT athletes get their school on), looking to my left and not seeing the Rock.  It might take a little bit of time to get used the change come the fall.

For me, it’s just another aspect of a common theme of my years here as a student.  Here’s what’s changed or been built since I came to Knoxville in the fall of 2006: all the recent renovations to Neyland Stadium, the makeover of Thompson-Boling Arena, Pratt Pavilion, a new soccer stadium, a new softball stadium, the brand new aquatic center.

And that’s just the changes on the athletics side of campus.  There’s also been the total change in the old Glocker Building, which has now become Haslam Business Building where all the business majors do their thing.  The Baker Policy Center was risen up on the corner of Cumberland Avenue and 17th Street, replacing the parking lot where my family parked for every game I came to up until I graduated from high school.  Those are two major projects, that I’ve seen started and completed in my days as a student.

Back to the Rock, my only contact with actually came before I was officially enrolled.  I had two of the more enthusiastic Orientation leaders, and late one night during the two-day event we got together and painted the thing.  I would have visual evidence to prove it, but my computer erased my hard drive awhile, thus I have nothing…

The Rock in its new Home

The Rock in its new Home

bullet Lawvol: First of all, I am glad that the Rock did not unceremoniously disappear from campus as a result of the new Student Health Center that is being constructed.  The worst thing imaginable would have been for the university to simply blow the thing up or what have you and cart it off.  I realize the process of relocating the Rock was both onerous and expensive, but I have to give a little credit to university administration (a/k/a “The Big Orange Screw”) for making the right call and preserving this tradition for future generations.

All that said, the last time I painted the Rock was 1997.  I say “painted”—my involvement actually centered more on leaning up against the Rock in a near catatonic state as drool fell from my gaping mouth and I uttered various slurred obscenities at my cohorts.  You see, I was completely pissed drunk overcome by a multitude of circumstances at the time and my recollection of that particular evening of frivolity is fuzzy to say the least.  Still, the Rock does have a special place in my mind due to its tradition of announcing great events, lurid innuendo, and Gameday proclamations.  Considering it is directly across the street from where it used to be located, I doubt there will really be all that much difference.

Of course, I do wonder whether some students may be confused by the relocation—in particular, those suffering from the same … mental confusion … that afflicted me the last time I painted the Rock.  If so, the university may be faced with a long road of maintenance as the drunken masses repeatedly paint the front of the new Student Health Center.

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Recruiting, Recruiting, Recruiting

The View From the Hill | Gate 21

Tennessee’s quarterback situation is no secret. As of now, Nick Stephens is the only scholarship QB slated to be on the roster this time in 2010, pending the likely addition of junior college QB Nick Lamaison, who would join the Vols when practice opens up in a couple weeks. This is what happens when you fail to recruit a QB for a couple of consecutive years, and obviously it’s certainly an uncomfortable situation.

Adding even more discomfort are two things involving this year’s QB class: first, by most accounts it’s a “down” year – as in there’s no true standout(s). Second, UT has swung and missed on a number of QB targets up to this point, almost to the point where frantically pressing the big red panic button becomes an acceptable behavior.

Nevertheless, Tennessee has one last – and slightly fading – glimmer of hope in Jesse Scroggins. As you probably know, Tennessee’s been in the mix with Scroggins for quite awhile, and all that work will come to a conclusion sometime tomorrow, when Scroggins is slated to announce his decision between USC, the hometown school, Tennessee and Florida. Most feel Scroggins is a Trojan lock. I accepted this as the outcome about a month ago, when SC offered him a scholarship following an impressive camp performance.

TUESDAY NIGHT MINI-UPDATE: Jesse Scroggins has pushed back his announcement to Thursday at noon Pacific, 3 p.m. Eastern time, according to VolQuest and VolNation message boards, which are getting this information from Scroggins’ MySpace page. It seems to me that if he was going to USC, he would have just come out and done so already, or done so with his teammate, safety Dion Bailey, who committed last week. I still think he’s a Trojan, but I’ll just say this: if he commits to Florida, I’ll literally throw up.

Jesse Scroggins announces tomorrow Thursday

After Scroggins, I have NO IDEA where Tennessee will turn next in their search for a QB.

Looking at the bigger picture, however, the following of recruiting has blown up in the last decade or so, thanks in large part to sites such as Rivals and Scout. Some of you may have have dived head-first into the phenomenon, others of you may not have even heard of Jesse Scroggins or may not even be able to name a current Tennessee commitment.

As for me, I didn’t really begin following the year-round recruiting season until I went to college back in 2006. But since then, I’ve probably procrastinated more time by looking at recruiting sites and following the various message boards rumors and what-not than I should have. Why? Because it’s addictive.

However, I’m a relatively glass half-full type of fan, so amidst all the hoopla surrounding the college choices of high school seniors, I try not to get caught up to much into it all. So, as it relates to this year’s class and more importantly tomorrow’s Scroggins decision (and the likely impending meltdown), I’ve offered five reasons why fans shouldn’t be losing any sleep over recruiting at this point in time.

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2009 Big Orange Roundtable: Week 1 – the “Welcome Back” Edition

This Week’s Roundtable is hosted by: MoonDog

Once more unto the breach, dear friend…

This week marks the return of the Big Orange Roundtable and is hosted by MoonDog over at MoonDog

Given the fact that I have been tied up with re-modeling and am just generally incompetent, HSH and I have decided to both jump in on the Roundtable and offer our points as a team.  In the event we disagree, I’m wrong…

Here are our thoughts for the week:

Week 1

1)  In my mind, this season’s success—or failure—centers around one man, Jonathan Crompton.  What is your opinion of Crompton’s ability to run Lane Kiffin‘s pro style offense?  Can Crompton overcome his miserable 2008 season and lead the Vols to a winning record?

HSH: Crompton absolutely cannot be much worse, right?  A common theme in the answers you’re likely going to see here will say something along the lines of Crompton’s main responsibility of managing the game—and doing quite a bit of handing the rock off.  You would think that in Lane Kiffin’s offense he won’t be throwing the ball too much, assuming the Vols are able to run the ball well.  Obviously the running game can help make Crompton’s job easier, although the WR injuries this week aren’t helping his Heisman hopes.

The optimist in me says that most of Crompton’s issues last season were due to the overall overwhelming ineptitude of Dave Clawson‘s offense.  However, the Auburn debacle, which I placed almost direct blame on Crompton, has me hesitant.  Tennessee wasn’t too far away from being at worst 8-4 last year , so even marginal improvement by #8 should get the Vols above 6 wins.  I’m willing to give him another chance, but hopefully for everyone’s sake he doesn’t throw a pick or botch a handoff in the first series at Western Kentucky come September 5…

Lawvol: It’s a funny thing.  Last year—based solely upon his performance while filling in for the injured Eric Ainge in 2006—I was expecting great things from Crompton.  In fact, I was actually convinced that the Crompton would wow the Vol faithful with a new look as a mobile quarterback who is not afraid to make contact with defenders.  At one point last year I actually predicted that, after an 8 or 9 win season in 2008, the Vols would potentially contend for a national championship in 2009 behind Crompton and the much vaunted Clawfense.

This proves two things.  First, it shows that rising to the occasion in a moment of need—which I think Crompton did admirably while standing in for Ainge—is not the same thing as being a starter.  The second thing it proves is that I am a moron.

All that said, I too agree that Crompton’s biggest goal is to just play cleanly.  In 2008, there were times when it seemed likely that he might trip over the yardlines or deliver a handoff to a blitzing linebacker.  Personally, I think that much of this owed to a fundamental lack of understanding of the Clawfense by the offense as a whole—which pretty much just peed down its leg for the entirety of the 2008 season.  This is not to say that Dave Clawson was not a good coach or that the Clawfense could not work, it simply did not work in 2008 for the Vols.

Not to be overly critical, but Crompton does not (or at least has never shown) that he has the mental game of Eric Ainge or any of the other quarterbacks that preceded him in Orange.  Crompton likes to play loose and makes plays based purely upon athletic ability and less upon great decision-making ability.  As he made clear when filling in for Ainge (famously dropping his head and planting a “T” in the chest of an LSU defender), Crompton is an instinct guy.  I don’t think he cares much for his mind getting in the way of him playing football.  Perhaps that is why he often seemed to have the deer in the headlights look when trying to work through the permutations of the offense last year on the field.  As a result he made bad decisions, held the ball for what seemed like ten minutes in the pocket, and generally failed to meet expectations.  I just do not believe that he “got it.”  Thus, I suppose the 2008 season was the proverbial “Perfect Storm” that was destined for disaster from an offensive perspective.  On one hand there was an offense inspired by the theories of Niels Bohr and Stephen Hawking and on the other a quarterback who is not exactly known for his mental toughness.

If Kiffin and Jim Cheney can keep it simple, allowing Crompton to simply play, I continue to believe that he has the ability to be a decent quarterback.  I actually think he has the ability to be a competent passer (that is if there are any receivers left for him to throw to), so long as the system is simple.  For Crompton, I think it is all about just letting him play.  Hopefully that is what they will let him do.

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