Posts Tagged ‘Complainers’

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Buy Modalert Without Prescription, Well, in case you hadn’t heard, Phillip Fulmer (a/k/a “the Great Punkin”) has been selected as the 2009 recipient of the Robert R. Neyland Trophy.  Fulmer will be formally presented the award at the East Tennessee Chapter of the National Football Foundation Hall of Fame awards brunch on Saturday morning.  Fulmer will also be honored on the field prior to the start of this weekend’s Orange and White game.  This award, Modalert used for, Doses Modalert work, named in honor of General Neyland, has been awarded by the Knoxville Quarterback Club for the last 44 years.


This year’s choice has a few people upset, Modalert long term, Purchase Modalert online, or at least scratching their heads a bit.


It is hard to argue with Fulmer deserving the award.  The issue for some folks is the the timing, because now Coach Fulmer will be honored immediately prior to Lane Kiffin’s debut as the head coach of the Volunteers—the same team that Fulmer coached up until the end of last season.  One need look no farther than any of the various Tennessee web forums and blogs to see the proverbial “lines in the sand” being drawn by fans on both sides.


Never afraid to make a public statement when called upon to do so, Modalert coupon, Modalert schedule, the Blackjack General commented on the matter earlier today :


Coach Fulmer has had a tremendous impact on Tennessee.  He's the second-winningest coach in Tennessee history behind General Neyland. It's only fitting that he receives this prestigious award, online buy Modalert without a prescription. Modalert no rx, I hope all Tennessee fans will show up early Saturday to show their appreciation for all he has done for our program, our university and our state.

Lane Kiffin: Commenting on Coach Fulmer being honored prior to the Orange and White Game | GoVols Xtra


Some will say (or already have) that the timing of Fulmer’s selection was intentional—that this was an orchestrated barb at the athletic department (most pointedly at Smiling Mike Hamilton) from Fulmer supporters on the Neyland Trophy committee.  Others will say that the award amounts to little more than incurable homerism on the part of some who refuse to let Coach Fulmer go.  On the other side, my Modalert experience, Modalert overnight, there is the argument that Coach Fulmer was an immensely successful coach and earned the award fairly, and that it is fitting he be receive the award at the first appropriate opportunity—the first year after he leaves Tennessee.  Others still will say that the only reason that some are complaining is because they fired a good coach and they know it.


Either way, buy generic Modalert, Purchase Modalert online, it makes for some high drama…


I for one don’t see what the big deal is either way.  Lane Kiffin had nothing to do with Phillip Fulmer’s ouster.  Phillip Fulmer was a great coach for the Vols and remains a loyal Tennessean—I respect the man for what he has done.  Coach Kiffin has had to deal with much worse, as has Coach Fulmer.  There is no reason in this instance why the orange-clad faithful can’t have their cake and eat it to.


In my opinion, Modalert images, Modalert price, the “controversy” over this is nothing more than a few people with axes to grind on both sides of the fence trying to create a storm for/against Coach Fulmer being honored or for / against Coach Kiffin taking “the greensward of Shields-Watkins Field” for the first time.  What I haven’t heard from anyone is this:


The politicization of this event by “factions” does nothing but dishonor the memory of one person: General Robert R. Neyland.


The Neyland Trophy was created to honor the General’s legacy, Modalert pics, Modalert steet value, and to preserve his mark on the landscape of college football.  To try and turn this award into a circus is, to me, Modalert use, Modalert without a prescription, repugnant.  To anyone that would add fuel to the fire in either direction and not support both Fulmer and Kiffin, I say “shame on you.” It is bad for the fanbase, Modalert brand name, Modalert schedule, it is bad for Tennessee, it is bad for Coach Fulmer, where can i cheapest Modalert online, Modalert photos, and it is bad for Coach Kiffin.  In my opinion it is wrong.


There is no reason that the fans cannot cheer their former coach for winning the Neyland Trophy and then, five minutes later, order Modalert from United States pharmacy, Modalert interactions, cheer their current coach as he brings his team out on to the field.  In the process of doing both, those cheers also honor General Neyland.  I support both Fulmer and Kiffin.  I also support preserving Neyland’s place in the pantheon of the game I love.


More than any of that, herbal Modalert, Online buying Modalert hcl, however, I support Tennessee first and foremost…


It is not about either man, Modalert australia, uk, us, usa, Discount Modalert, it is not about making a statement for or against one coach or the other, it is not about using the event as a bully pulpit.  It is about supporting your team, Modalert alternatives, Comprar en línea Modalert, comprar Modalert baratos, your school, your “family, after Modalert, Modalert results, ” and doing what is right.


So, who do you support?


-- So it goes…About Lawvol


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An Open Letter to the Vol Nation: A Manifesto on Past, Present, and Future

No Pass Out Checks | Gate21
[Note:  This post is exceptionally long—even for me—and I apologize for this.  I simply felt that a lot of these things needed saying, and I really haven't heard them elsewhere.  Thus, if you'll forgive my long-windedness,  I promise there is a point to this.  I just felt this that this isn't a simple issue, and thus I needed to explain.  -Lawvol]

Of all the posts I have ever written as a blogger, all the comments I have ever posted on message boards and other blogs, all the public professions I have ever made regarding the Tennessee Volunteers, this one is by far the most difficult one for me.  I’d really rather not be in the position of feeling it necessary to write this.  To fail to address the issue, however, would be to ignore the giant looming cloud over the heads of all of the Vol-faithful, regardless of their thoughts or position.

www.tennesseefansite.com-2Obviously, I am talking about the “situation” with the Tennessee Football coaching staff.

For the record, I am a Phillip Fulmer fan.  I believe that he has done more for the Tennessee program than anyone else over the last fifteen years.  I credit him with taking Tennessee from the mish-mash of the middle tier of college football and propelling the Vols to the very pinnacle of success.  I credit him with bringing the program into the modern era.  I credit him with making many of the things to which we as Tennessee fans have become accustomed possible.  I like Coach Fulmer, or the “Great Punkin” as I routinely refer to him (with no slight or insult intended).

I guess that makes me a homer

To the best of my recollection, the only time I have ever openly criticized the Tennessee coaching staff was during the past off-season when off-field incidents involving Vol footballers were escalating alarmingly, by my mind calling into question the integrity of the program and the University of Tennessee itself.  Aside from that, I have always refrained from going after the coaches like so many seem to want to do.  I wrote a little about this after the UCLA game, stating:

… I would say that I am more appropriately a Homer for all coaches across the landscape of college football who are constantly questioned, rebuked, and derided by tens of thousands of come-lately armchair geniuses.

It is a peculiar characteristic of so many fans that they believe that simply being a follower of a team for a given length of time makes them an expert on how things should be done.  Make no mistake, as a sports blogger, I am as guilty of this offense as anyone—at least to some extent.  There are things that anyone with a brain can assess and analyze based purely upon common sense, life experience, and the fluff that resides between our ears.

* * * * *

These sorts of basic truths are fairly and frankly within the grasp of us all, and thus the rightful ability to comment on such profundities resides with each and every person who follows college football.  In much the same vein, I think it is reasonable for many (note, I did not say “all”) long-term fans of the sport to comment on what a given team does, or in most cases, did.

Beyond that, however, it seems to me that trying to profess what the best way to coach a football team—a team to which most have no access except through their televisions—is an endeavor which necessarily makes the speaker feel smart and important, while simultaneously making them look foolish and arrogant.

I have absolutely no idea about what it takes to coach a major college football team.  I’m completely clueless.  Furthermore, I have no idea what it is like to play on such a team.  Again, clueless.  I am also willing to bet that most who are attacking Phil Fulmer and the Tennessee coaching staff at present share my level of experience and insight.  So, at a minimum, I guess I am among equally-ignorant equals when it comes to assessing the coaches.

Unlike many others, however, I am not going to attack the Great Punkin, Dave Clawson, John Chavis, or any of the other coaches.  I am simply going to speak about what I do know and speak from the heart:

Though I first watched Tennessee under Coach Majors, most of my life as a Tennessee fan, student, and alum has been during the tenure of Coach Fulmer.  I think he is a man of integrity, a man of honor, a skilled and adept football coach, and a great leader and teacher for the young men he coaches.  I have such deep respect for what he has done.  In his 17-year career as Tennessee’s head coach, Fulmer is 148-47-1 (.759), he has won 10 or more games in a season nine times, he has won or tied for the SEC East title seven times, he has won 2 SEC Championships, and the 1998 National Championship.  I remember all of these “good old days” like they were yesterday.

Coach Fulmer has done a lot, a whole lot…

By the same token, things simply have not been good for the Vols for some time now.  Here are a few statistics:

  • Last SEC Championship: 1998 (No Coach in UT history had a longer drought and retained their job)
  • Last BCS Game Appearance: 1999
  • Only one Top-10 finish this decade (2001)
  • Last 50 Games 32-18 (.648) [Johnny Majors was 39-9-2 (.780 wins only / .820 wins & ties) over his final 50 games]
  • Failed to finish in the Top-25 twice this decade in any poll and finished 25th in the AP in 2000 (unranked in Coaches Poll)
  • Signed a recruiting class outside the Top-20 in two of the past three seasons
  • 5-12 versus Florida all-time
  • 14-13 in the last 27 SEC Games
  • 28-27 (.509) versus Current SEC Coaches
    • 0-4 versus Urban Meyer (Florida)
    • 1-2 versus Les Miles (LSU)
    • 3-4 versus Mark Richt (Georgia)
    • 1-3 versus Nick Saban (LSU & Alabama)
    • 5-8 versus Steve Spurrier (Florida & South Carolina)
    • 3-3 versus Tommy Tuberville (Ole Miss & Auburn)
  • Coach Fulmer has a winning record of 15-3 against Rich Brooks (Kentucky), Sylvester Croom (Mississippi State), Bobby Johnson (Vanderbilt), and Houston Nutt (Arkansas only)
Over the last decade (since 1998) the Tennessee Volunteers under Fulmer are:
  • 1-8 (.111) at home versus Top-10 Teams
  • 17-23 (.425) versus ranked teams
  • 13-21 (.382) versus Florida, Georgia, Auburn, LSU, and Alabama
Statistical Analysis Courtesy of: Tony Basilio.com

These numbers speak volumes…

Of course, I am enough of a realist to understand that no team—whether Tennessee, Southern Cal, or the Green Bay Packers—can have a championship year every year.  Every great team has bad years.  It just seems that it has been a long time since Tennessee has had a truly good year.  I freely acknowledge that in 2007 Tennessee had what, on paper, looks like a good year.  In 2007, the Vols went 10-4 and won the SEC East.  That said, even the most stalwart Vol fan would have to admit that Tennessee won the SEC East in a highly unorthodox manner.  Tennessee was beaten in the 2007 season opener versus California 45-31.  Two weeks later the Vols were annihilated by the Florida Gators 59-20 and were subsequently thumped by the Alabama Crimson Tide 41-17.  The only reason that the Vols made the trip to the  SEC Championship Game was that—under league rules—the tie went to Tennessee since the Vols defeated the Georgia Bulldogs in head-to-head competition.  In other words, the Orange and White backed into the Eastern Division title.

Prior to that, really since the 2001 season, the Vols have underperformed versus SEC and national rivals, and have—at best—been a mediocre team from a statistical perspective.  During that time, I cannot recount the number of times that the Vols have barely beaten teams that were wholly inferior in terms of talent.  What’s more, the Volunteers have regularly failed to meet the expectations of fans and analysts when considered against teams with similar recruiting classes and resources.  Then of course there was the 2005 season, or—as Joel at RTT describes it—“The Season of Which We do not Speak in which Tennessee recorded a 5-6 record.

It seems that Tennessee has struggled at every turn since winning the 1998 Championship…

Jump forward to this year and the UCLA game, in which Tennessee loses to a UCLA team which the Vols were projected to beat handily.  As I and others have said, there is absolutely no reason that the Vols should have lost that game.  To make bad matters worse, since defeating the Vols, the Bruins have gone on to lose two more games in which they failed to score a single touchdown for the first time in 44 years. (HT Get the Picture)  Tennessee then managed a lackluster win over a clearly out-matched UAB team before playing the Florida Gators.  As I said in my "Marching Orders" piece earlier this week, that game was one of the poorest displays I’ve ever seen from a Vols squad.

Although I cannot really recall when it all started, the Tennessee fanbase began growing restless as early as 2002.  Even then, there was a small but vocal minority of fans that felt it was time for Fulmer to go.  Those voices of criticism were largely ignored by the masses until now.  After the Florida defeat, those voices have swelled to the point that they can no longer be ignored.  Just looking at the Vol-blogosphere, there are fewer and fewer that support Fulmer and even more voices criticizing than ever before—including 3SIB’s Ghost of Neyland, SouthEastern Sports Blog, YMSWWC, Curveballs for Jesus, BasilioMoonDog, the absurd Coacho Ocho, and Gate 21’s own HSH.

So here I am…

I have thought long and hard about this, and as HSH here at the Gate and Joel at Rocky Top Talk would attest, I’ve struggled with this.  In the end, I have reached a conclusion that is sad, but unavoidable:

It’s time…

Those were the words that longtime Voice of the Vols” John Ward used to announce his retirement.  Ward said that he’d rather leave years too early than stay one minute too late, thus he retired while still at the top of his game in 1998.  Coach Fulmer is hardly at the top of his game lately, but he is also not out of the game.  The reality is that the furor among the fans is tearing the Orange Nation apart as fans attack the coaches, the team, and anything else they can think of (including the concession vendors at Neyland Stadium).  All of Big Orange Country is in an uproar.  As a result, the only thing anyone seems to want to talk about is whether Phil Fulmer should be fired.  It’s not about the game, whether the Vols can win this weekend, or the beautiful agony that is college football season.  For this and a bevy of other reasons, I am increasingly beginning to believe that it is time for Coach Fulmer to seriously consider whether it is time to step aside.  I hate the thought that someone who has done so much for Tennessee would be forced out, but until some sort of resolution comes, I wonder if the program can possibly move forward.

I have reached this conclusion not necessarily based upon my personal belief that Coach Fulmer cannot and would not turn this season and future seasons around.  The sad conclusion I have reached is that—in the minds of many—it does not matter what he does going forward, their minds are made up and they want something new.  I for one have not yet decided whether I think Coach Fulmer can turn things around, but that is really irrelevant.  This is not about my complaints on his performance.  It is about the constant turmoil that has subtly, and now openly, surrounded the program for some time now.

It’s just not fun anymore…

Until the current whirlwind settles, it’s not going to be fun any time soon.  Rightly or wrongly, the fan base has lost faith and along with it hope that the Vols can get back on the right track both this year and for the future.  Of course, don’t get me wrong, I do not believe that a man’s career should be decided by whether or not it’s “fun” for me to go to football games.  The larger issue I am pointing to is the lack of direction and the complete feeding frenzy that is currently surrounding the Tennessee program.  I’m not going to pass judgment on whether the fans should be blaming Coach Fulmer because I don’t have the experience or knowledge to decide whether he or others are to blame.  All I know is that something must change.

www.thevib.com-1 I have followed Tennessee football since I was a kid.  I have closely followed the Vols since the mid-1980s.  I grew up watching Coach Majors lead the Vols.  I still remember wanting his autograph back then.  When he was ousted as head coach in 1992, all hell broke loose and a war of words began which—to some extent—still goes on today.  There was such controversy over Coach Majors being fired and Coach Fulmer being tapped as the Vols new head coach, that both sides of the issue started digging-in and flinging allegations at one another.

For the record, I believe that at that the time naming Coach Fulmer as the new coach was the right thing to do (it was, and is, rare for me to agree with the Big Dickey, but he got that one right).  While I do not want to re-open the arguments surrounding Coach Majors’ dismissal, I believed then and continue to believe now that it was time for Coach Majors to step aside, not because he had not been a great coach and representative for the university, but because it was simply time for a change.  Majors, however, wanted to stay.  Thus, when Coach Majors did finally leave, it was as a result of his being fired as opposed to him stepping down—and his departure occurred under a cloud of innuendo and harsh words.  I still remember watching him loudly complain of having been "shanghaied" as he described his firing in an interview televised during the halftime of the 1993 Hall of Fame Bowl, which Phillip Fulmer was in the process of coaching.

As a result of this debacle, to this day, little has been done to honor Coach Majors’ legacy and his contributions to the University of Tennessee, its athletic programs, its alumni, and beyond.  This is a man who compiled a record of 116-62-8 (.645) as head football coach, and to this day he is spoken of very … carefully … by the athletic department, alumni, and boosters.  That is just plain wrong.  You know what, I still want Johnny Majors’ autograph.

I do not want all of that to happen again, this time to Coach Fulmer and his legacy…

I personally believe that Coach Fulmer rightly deserves to be counted among the greats at Tennessee—along with General Neyland and Johnny Majors—and I hope that he always will be.  What I fear more than anything is that the protracted dispute over Coach Fulmer remaining as head coach will lead to another round of what played out after Coach Majors left—especially if Fulmer is ultimately fired as opposed to simply resigning.  Both of these men—who have given so much to the university—deserve more than that.

We as fans deserve more than that…

Do I hate the thought of Coach Fulmer being forced—either directly or indirectly—from the head coaching position?  You’re damn right I do.  I am a huge Fulmer fan, but I simply do not think that the program, the fan base, the University of Tennessee, and Coach Fulmer’s legacy can survive this continued civil war.  Now some would say that I am essentially talking out of both sides of my face—engaging in an attack and hero-worship.  This is not a wholly unfair criticism.  Still, it is what I believe.

There are other things I believe as well…

What I am not going to do is become the attacker, and I am more than willing to assertively address the actions of many of the malcontents and ne’er-do-wells in the Vol Nation.  If you believe that Coach Fulmer needs to move on, that’s fine.  State your case, make your argument, express your opinion, and go from there.  If you have a meaningful point to add to the conversation, please feel free to do so.  If, however, all you are going to do is engage in unprovoked ad hominem attacks against Coach Fulmer, then just keep quiet.  Have some class.  This is especially true for the "faceless" names on message boards, blog comments, and call-in shows. who are quick to pile on harsh criticism behind the shield of "user name" anonymity.  It is for that very reason that, for this post, I am lifting the veil surrounding my online persona as “lawvol,” and signing this post as a “real” person—with my real name.

Regardless of what those of you so loudly attacking Coach Fulmer may think of his abilities, he is a person—not simply an item that UT has bought and paid for—and a man who has tirelessly represented the University of Tennessee for most of his adult life.  He has earned the right to be treated with some semblance of respect and decency.  If a Florida fan were saying some of the things that Vol boosters are currently saying, people would be clamoring for vengeance.  Some apparently feel that now—with blood in the water—they can say whatever they please as they personally attack Fulmer, his staff, and the current Vol players.  That is juvenile and classless.

Don’t get me wrong, I am more than willing to poke fun at sports figures here at the Gate—the Tennessee Home for the Visually Offensive is a temple to that sort of behavior.  What I do not do—at least never intentionally—is vindictively attack another person simply because I can.  The coaches and players are human beings—who work very hard at what they do—and though I realize having thick skin comes with the territory, putting up with asinine attacks should not have to be part of the deal.  That sort of behavior by fans does nothing to help mend or meaningfully address the situation at hand.

Furthermore, there are those that are openly jubilant that the Vols have found the going so rough this year—those who have been dying to let loose on the coaches for years.  To those of you who fall into that category, I simply say this: you are no true fan of anything but your own ego.  No one who is truly a fan and supporter of the University of Tennessee athletics program should wish for this.  No one should ever wish misfortune on an institution they profess to support regardless of the reason.  Wanting change is one thing—wanting conflict, an entirely different one.

I just feel sorry for the coaches having to try to coach a team—working to find a way to get things going in the right direction—while everyone on the outside is screaming for blood.  This is especially true for some of the assistant coaches who have now gotten caught up in this battle through no real fault of their own.  I feel terribly sorry for them since they have gotten caught up in this by simply being here at Tennessee.  In particular, I feel  dreadful for Dave Clawson, Stan Drayton, and Latrell Scott—they came here this season with high hopes, wanting to help build a new future.  They uprooted their families and their lives to make a commitment to Tennessee, and now they are in a firestorm.  That is really unfortunate.

The same is true for the players, who give their all to make Tennessee shine.  They try their hardest.  Even when that is not enough, they still try.  Seeing Vol fans attack them and boo them is something I never thought I would see.

To all Vol fans, speak your mind, speak your heart, speak loudly, but think before you speak…

I may end up regretting this post for many years to come.  To those on the coaching staff—especially Coach Fulmer—please do not take this to be yet another fair-weather fan turning on the program when the going gets tough.  I am not saying this because I hope that the current coaching staff is either fired or resigns.  I am simply saying this because I care enough about the Tennessee Volunteers to speak out.

In all honesty, I hope that I am dead wrong.  I hope with all that I am that the Great Punkin can work his magic, turn the season around, and go on to win a championship next year.  I would never be happier to admit I am wrong—trust me, I want to be wrong.  The fact of the matter is, however, based upon the experience of the last decade, I no longer think that I am wrong.  I still remain hopeful that I am.

Either way, I will support Coach Fulmer and the rest of the coaching staff from here into the future.  I will support this team, and all of its players regardless of what happens this season, or next, or the season after that.  As far as I am concerned, it’s not a question of whether Phillip Fulmer is my coach, whether Jonathan Crompton is my quarterback, or Dave Clawson is my offensive coordinator—though the answer to each of those questions is “yes.”  The only question that really matters to me is “What are your colors?

Orange and White!

I am going to support this team and this staff no matter what.  I am hopeful—as I always am.  Who knows what the future holds?

In the meantime, I’ll keep pulling for the Big Orange and looking forward to the day when Tennessee is once again at the top of the heap.

For when that day comes—and it will—I can say that I was there all along…

Respectfully,


Images Courtesy of: TennesseeFansite.comThe VIB

Big Orange Roundtable: Week 2

This Week’s Host: The Power T

Week Zwei

(That’s German for "2")

This week’s Big Orange Roundtable is hosted by none other than The Power T, who has served up a heapin’ helpin’ of questions for we "Volggers" to consider. Being that I am all about riding the coat-tails of others (and the fact they haven’t kicked me out of the Roundtable ... yet) here are Gate 21’s thoughts on all that is this week in the world of Tennessee Football.

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

1) A position of strength for the Vols this fall should be wide receivers. Which 2 guys will emerge from the pack to start the opener against UCLA alongside Lucas Taylor? Why?

First of all, I think that Lucas Taylor is going to be a starter -- probably from start to finish. He is the most tested and reliable of the receiving corps this year. As for the other spots, well, it gets more difficult there.

The conventional wisdom would be to go with Austin Rogers and Josh Briscoe (not to be confused with Briscoe Darling) -- both have had significant playing time and key catches. They were solid down the stretch (especially in the overtime win against Kentucky, where Rogers saved the day with a huge 2-point conversion catch), however, they both had a few key weaknesses which hampered their overall production. Both had some big drops at key moments, and both appeared to have some shortcomings at times when it came to field awareness. That said, both of these upperclassmen now have an additional year of experience under their belt, and will no longer have to live in the shadow of the amazing and talented Robert Meachem.

The "Other" Briscoe

That said, I really like what I saw from Gerald Jones in his limited playing time last season, and something in my gut tells me that this talented sophomore will secure -- at a minimum -- 50% of one of the remaining starting spots. Based upon what I understand Dave Clawson’s offensive model to be, it seems that Jones would make a perfect fit -- especially when it is time to go deep.

I am a huge fan of using the Tight End as an additional passing threat (something that I have a feeling we may see under Dave Clawson’s tricked-out-offense), and I hope that we end up using Jeff Cottam more in that role to complement and build upon the strengths of this year’s receivers -- thereby making the Vols less one-dimensional and tougher to defend against. Either way, it seems to me that -- despite losing a gamebreaker like Meachem -- the receivers will be much stronger as a unit this season on the whole, largely due to experience and having more than just one go-to receiver. I feel this is especially true considering that, with Jonathan Crompton under center, it is fair to assume that opposing defenses will now have to honor the possibility that No. 8 may come running at them "Straight Outta Crompton" as well as throw to one of the wide-outs.

2) Which game on the schedule do you, as a fan, need Tennessee to win for your own sanity and happiness? Why?

For me, it’s a matter of whether the question is "Which game Tennessee simply cannot lose?" or "Which game Tennessee most needs to win?" While those appear to be the same, they really are quite different.

In terms of not losing, the choices are obvious: UAB, Northern Illinois, Wyoming, Vanderbilt and Kentucky. With the exception of the game against the Kentucky Wildcats, lose any of these games, and it is probably a sign that Tennessee is in serious trouble for the rest of the season. The Kentucky game is more a matter of keeping Tennessee’s 22-game winning streak -- dating back to a 12-17 loss in 1985 -- against the Wildcats. Kentucky is a good team, as they proved last year, so that one is hardly assured. Of this group, I think the game Tennessee can least afford to lose would be the game against Northern Illinois -- if the Vols lose that one, well ... they suck (I just call ’em like I see ’em).

In terms of games Tennessee most needs to win, as my last post made clear -- by my mind Tennessee’s biggest rival has always been and will always be the Alabama Crimson Tide (yeah, call me old-school). Thus, that one always matters. The other candidates would be the Florida Gators, Auburn Tigers, and Georgia Bulldogs.

From my perspective, not having the benefit of yet seeing whether the Vols actually know what they are about or simply lay down and die when you look at them sideways, I think there’s a strong chance that Tennessee loses to Auburn regardless of what I hope for. Having lost 3-in-a-row versus the Tigers, I’d like to see this year's contest end in a win, but that might be a stretch.

As for Georgia, well, they look to be hell-on-wheels this year, but they have an absolutely brutal schedule -- a fair part of which occurs before the 11 October game in Knoxville. I think Tennessee will have to bring it versus the Bulldogs, but I think that one is winnable. That said, though I do not want to see the Vols drop one to the Dawgs, I wouldn’t curl up in a fetal ball and drool for days if we lost.

As for Florida and Alabama, that’s a tough one. Since these two represent the Vols’ biggest rivals in my eyes, losing either one of these would rank right up there with having a colonoscopy with a fire hose, I’d just as soon win them both. Losing to the Gators -- especially after last year’s 59-20 annihilation -- will unquestionably ruin my sunny and pleasant disposition. This is especially true since I’ll have had to listen to those god-awful Florida fans for 4 hours, which in itself is enough to cause a body to lose the will to live.

That said, since Tennessee is inching closer and closer to evening the all-time series versus Alabama (currently Tennessee is 38-44-7 all-time), and the fact that I think Bama is beatable this year, I would have to say that a loss to Alabama would be a much greater disappointment. Losing to the Tide would make it that much harder for the Vols to even things up versus the Bammers any time soon. Thus, predictably, it’s Bama by a nose.

3) What are your thoughts on the 8-win clause in Coach Fulmer’s new contract that automatically rolls his contract over another year if he wins 8 games in a season?

Well, I am a homer. I like coach Fulmer, and I always have. Until someone can show me a the coach that they think is going to do a better job, I am not inclined to try and replace Fulmer just because people are getting tired of his tenure as coach. That being said, an automatic renewal of the contract is a bit much in my book -- especially at the 8-win level. If the contract provided for an automatic extension at 11 wins, or maybe even 10, then I suppose it would make more sense to me. Of course, if you just had a 10 or 11-win season, it would be unusual for you not to get an extension automatically.

I can understand why Coach Fulmer would feel a bit threatened and uncomfortable -- especially after John Adams’ piece earlier this year calling for his head. Thus, he asked for some security, which Mike Hamilton provided. No revelations there.

My gut tells me, however, that there is a story behind the story here. I think it is reasonable for Fulmer to ask for some guarantees, I also think it is reasonable for Hamilton to ask for some in return -- which I bet he got, but only via a personal promise from Fulmer. My guess is that Fulmer probably gave Hamilton the 2 magic numbers -- the number of years and/or wins after which he plans to retire. Let’s be honest, Phillip Fulmer is not exactly a young buck, and I don’t see him trying to be the next Joe Paterno. My guess is he told Hamilton his exit strategy, and Hamilton agreed to that idea by giving Fulmer enough security to make that happen. If all of my speculation is accurate then I have less of a problem with the deal.

Again, purely speculating, I’m willing to bet that Fulmer has his eyes on General Neyland’s all-time wins record at Tennessee, and then maybe a year or two more, but not much more. I honestly think that Fulmer is growing weary of the dog-and-pony show which revolves around the football program and is generally expressed most vociferously by those who scream for his head if the hot dog they order at the stadium doesn’t have enough chili on it. I think the hiring of Dave Clawson plays into this. I strongly believe that Coach Clawson was hired not just as the Offensive Coordinator at Tennessee, but potentially as the next Head Coach at Tennessee. That hire has all the marks of Fulmer taking steps to name a successor.

From my perspective (which, in case you haven’t noticed, is worthless) and based upon what I’ve seen so far, I think that Clawson has the potential to be the next head coach, but who knows what will happen down the road. I can say that, of all of the staff coaches Fulmer has had during his tenure, Clawson is the only one that I could ever see as assuming the mantle as head coach at some point in the future.

There are a few ironic things about this deal though. Most notably, all of the whiners and complainers who have moaned and yelled to have Fulmer fired for the last 400 years, can thank themselves for this contract. Had they given Fulmer a little more credit (and thus a little more comfort when it comes to his job security) then I doubt Fulmer asks for this deal. More importantly, unless there is something that Fulmer can point to which makes his feelings of peril credible, I doubt that Mike Hamilton agrees to it.

Thus, all of you who have been caterwauling to have Fulmer fired can pat yourself on the back -- you just got him a sweetheart of a deal!

The other ironic thing is that, again all of the anti-Fulmerites (you do realize that they chased Moses and the Israelites through the desert and all ... oh yeah, it’s in the Book of Hank, Chapter 41) have been de-crying this new contract as a travesty -- the worst thing since the free substitution rule, akin to stealing babies in the night, sleeping with pigs, and worshipping a statue of Bear Bryant. The fact of the matter is, however, this contract actually makes it more likely that Fulmer actually could get the axe.

For the first time in his career at Tennessee, there is a benchmark in his contract. The contract simply speaks of an automatic-extension if he wins 8 games -- it is silent with regard to what happens if he does not. Failing to hit that mark -- as a practical matter -- would make it nearly impossible for Mike Hamilton to defend Fulmer, because in that situation Fulmer would have failed to meet the only quantifiable benchmark in his contract. While I realize that the extension does not call for him to go if he wins 7 or fewer, the reality is that his departure would likely be the result.

So, everybody lighten up a bit...

In the end, I am neither angry nor elated at the new contract -- mainly due to my speculative suspicions. It is not what I would have agreed to if I were Mike Hamilton, but it is not un-thinkable.

Of course, Mike Hamilton never really asked my opinion...

4) What is your favorite gameday recipe, whether for tailgating or in your own kitchen? Explain why in delicious detail.

My trip to any game in Knoxville consists of: 1) Driving from Eastern North Carolina to Asheville after work on Friday; 2) Driving from Asheville to Knoxville with my Father on gameday morning; 3) Returning to Asheville immediately after the game (which is late for those 8:00 p.m. kickoffs); and 4) Driving back across the State of North Carolina on Sunday. Considering I travel about 6 1/2 hours each way to come to the games, I don’t get to spend a lot of time tailgating and so forth. Thus, like Will at SESB, my gameday fare is somewhat less grand than that enjoyed by others.

Up until the pretentious jackasses that run McAlister’s Deli closed it down, I used to go to Sam & Andy’s religiously on gamedays and enjoy a Kielbasa Sub on dark bread with spicy mustard, mayo, and provolone. They’d steam it up for me and throw a pickle in for good measure, until it was a work of art. Those sammiches were a Vol fan’s greatest dream -- and a cardiologist’s worst nightmare. Of course, once the Carpertbaggers hit town, that all ended.

Be that as it may, there is one recipe which jumps out to me as being particularly appropriate for stank-nasty football gamedays:

The Magna-rita:

I suppose most folks enjoy a good margarita every now and then -- especially when celebrating with friends. Mixing up a batch of the good stuff, however, takes time, effort, numerous bottles of mixers and tequila, cups, ice, salt, and a sombrero. The "Magna-rita" solves all these problems and is great for gamedays. Even better, it’s super-easy to make and -- most importantly -- dirt cheap. To make one of these beauties up, you simply:

  • Take one 40 oz bottle of of your favorite Malt Liquor -- the distinguishing whino gentleman generally prefers "Magnum," but feel free to use you own favorite brand, such as Colt .45 (just like Billy Dee Williams) or Schlitz Malt Liquor Bull. Actually, now that I think about it, you could use any kind of alcohol you can find: from a 1972 Dom Perignon to a 3-week old half-empty bottle of Ripple -- heck, if you got enough of those little alcohol wipes and squeezed them hard enough, you might even get enough sauce that way.
  • Next take one large bag of Skittles candy, and pour them out on a table, in a bowl, on the floor -- wherever, but make sure to save the bag.
  • Now pick out all the lime flavored Skittles and put them back in the bag, securing the bag tightly.
  • Jump up and down on the bag for about 3-4 minutes, or bash the hell out of the bag with a tire iron until the lime Skittles are broken into pieces.
  • Now pour the sort-o-lime flavored dust into your 40, and give it a swirl or two with a straw, a pocket knife, a coat hanger, stick, or whatever you can find.
  • Drink and enjoy.

  • Optional:
    • for a "Big Orange Magna-rita" substitute orange Skittles for lime
    • for those of you craving the salt around the edge of your Magna-rita, simply steal a few salt packets from McDonalds (or an actual salt shaker from McAlister's) and rub them around the mouth of the bottle after licking it a few times.

Most "Magna-rita" drinkers find that they enjoy this drink more if they drink 5-6 of these in rapid succession -- such as over a period of approximately 30 minutes or so.

5) You have a tag team championship match against the Legion of Doom coming up. Which current Volunteer do you choose as your tag team partner? Why?

Well, this one is a tough one. I’d have to say that -- if limited to the current members of the team -- I’d go with either Tennessee Center, Josh McNeil (6’4" / 280), or Defensive Tackle, Dan Williams (6’3" / 310), both of whom are some serious specimens when it comes to the smackdown. I’d take that action any day of the week.

If not limited to current players, then I’d take the Great Punkin himself -- who has been known to mix it up in the wrestling ring in the past -- against even the most dreaded Mark "the Man Beast" Mangino.

Phil Battling it Out!
Of course, I know absolutely nothing about wrestling (which is about the extent of my knowledge when it comes to football as well).

The Rest of the Roundtable:

Having wasted your time on my largely meaningless, juvenile, 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):

Don’t you wish you’d just stood in bed?

-- Go Figure …Email lawvol


Images Courtesy of: TV Root.com • LSU Freek

The Price of Success … Complaints

Tennessee VolunteersDue to my preoccupation with adding my new Tennessee Home for the Visually Offensive to Gate 21 this week, I have refrained from writing about all of the chatter about the BasketVols performance against Alabama this past Tuesday night. In particular, numerous folks "in the know" have been going on endlessly about one particularly ill-advised play by JaJuan Smith. If you watched the game, you know exactly which play I'm talking about. JaJuan SmithAfter making a heads-up steal from Bama, JaJuan Smith attempted to feed Tyler Smith with an alley-oop dunk, off of the backboard but instead allowed the ball to be intercepted by the Bammers, who proceeded to dance up the floor and score a quick 3-point basket. There is no question that it was a bone-headed play. There is no question that JaJuan Smith saw the possibility for a SportsCenter highlight, and wanted to grab a piece of that action for the Vols. There is no question that the play -- and its resulting 5-point swing -- could have made a difference in the game. That's not what I am here to debate. The hub-bub about this play, however, arises not so much from the play itself, but rather from Bruce Pearl's reaction. Instead of of pulling JaJuan out of the game -- and give him some time to think about it on the bench -- Coach Pearl left JaJuan on the floor, and merely spoke to him during a break in the action. A lot of folks have criticized Pearl for condoning this "showboat" behavior. First of all, I know that all those criticizing Smith and Coach Pearl are only raising a ruckus because they were disappointed with JaJuan for making such a dumb decision and squandering a scoring opportunity. They feel the need to be critical of Coach Pearl because of this "flood of disappointment," and their resulting feelings. Well, I have a news flash for you -- you nagging fans were not the only ones who were disappointed. I was disappointed in JaJuan too. More importantly, however, out of the entirety of the Orange Nation, I can guarantee you that the people most disappointed -- by far -- over this play were JaJuan Smith, and Coach Pearl. It is not like Smith and Pearl simply said "Oh well ... that was funny," and shrugged it off. It was a mistake, but it was no different than any other mistake in a game -- or in life -- you live, you learn, you don't dwell on it. Bruce Pearl knows JaJuan Smith better than all the fans creating contraversy. Pearl knew how JaJuan felt about the gaff at the time, knew what JaJuan would likely do as a result, and -- truth told -- probably knew that JaJuan was going to screw the pooch before JaJuan did. Good coaches just always seem to know their players like that. You don't win as much as Bruce Pearl has without knowing your team inside and out. As a result of that knowledge, Bruce Almighty made the judgment call to leave JaJuan in the game. Why? Because he is the head coach, and the rest of us aren't. I get so tired of all the hangers-on who try to second guess coaches on decisions like this. It is one thing to say that "Phillip Fulmer needs to discipline the players on the football team who have recently gotten in trouble with the law." This is an issue beyond the scope of the game of football -- in a cliche', it's "outside the lines" -- thus the opinion of Gus on the street is, somewhat, relavant. It is an entirely different thing for fans to try and tell coaches how to coach. There's a reason you are not walking the sidelines on gameday... Now, don't get me wrong, I'm all for people expressing their opinions -- even loudly and with furvor -- when they disagree with something going on with their school or team. The expression of personal opinion, after all, is one of the basic foundations of blogging. What pisses me to no end, however, is the moral indignation which follows some of these criticisms -- that aire of "I'm right and the guy who who is actually winning games with reckless abandon for the Orange is wrong." Once again, there is a reason that you are not walking the sidelines... That brings us to another thing. Increasingly, it seems the success of the BasketVols has raised the ire of some of the Lady Vols faithful. When I was a student at Tennessee, the men's basketball program was coming off of an all-time low. Wade Houston had just spent several years running the program into the ground, and Kevin O'Neill was diligently fighting the Big Dickey as O'Neill struggled to rebuild basketball at Tennessee. In those days, 10,000 butts in seats at the Tommy Bowl for a men's game was a really good crowd. Tennessee Lady VolsAt the same time, Pat Summitt was just beginning a run of 3 consecutive championships and cementing her place as the All-Universe greatest women's basketball coach of all time. Up until two years ago, nothing had really changed, except for the faces coaching the BasketVols. Now, however, Bruce and the Barbarians have made the BasketVols the hottest ticket in town and some of the Lady Vols fans do not seem to like that. For the record, I am a huge Lady Vols fan. I traveled with the team as a member of the pep band from 1994-98 (Yeah, I was a band geek...) and still love to see them play whenever they come to my neck of the woods. That said, I am elated that the BasketVols are not just "respectable", but "kicking ass and takin' names," and, yes, at present they have my attention. That doesn't mean I -- or anyone else, for that matter -- have abandoned the Lady Vols. There is enough room in the Orange Nation for both teams to win. I like to analogize the BasketVols to "The Parable of the Prodigal Son" (Hmmm, I didn't expect to be making Biblical allusions here...). The Lady Vols have been the faithful, dependable, winning, spectacularly successful team since ... well, for a really long time. Meanwhile, the men's program has been out on a 20-year drunk: out "raising hell with the bastards" (Thank you W.J. Julian), carousing with hoodlums, carnies, loose women, lawyers, and Gator fans; out whoring around; and pissing away more resources than I can recall. Now, however, they have found their way home, changed their attitude, gone through de-tox, sworn off the pills, and cleaned up their act. Oh yeah, they also happen to be winning like no team clad in orange before them. We owe all of this to Bruce Pearl... Naturally, the return of the BasketVols to the top echelon of college basketball warms the orange blood in our veins and makes us want to welcome them back into the fold. It does not mean that the Lady Vols are not still the same amazing program that has always been -- it just means that we have to share, and give credit where credit is due. Thus, to all of you out there whining about JaJuan Smith "showboating," and those of you jealous over the rise of the men's basketball program, I say this: Chill the hell out!!! The BasketVols are 18-2 (that's a 90% winning percentage), are leading the SEC, and have already qualified for the NCAA Tournament. The Lady Vols, are winning, just like they always have, and that is not going to change. Tennessee is riding a wave of basketball success unprecedented in the University's history. So just sit back, let Pat Summitt lead the Lady Vols with the skill she always has, let Bruce Pearl work his magic ... ...and enjoy the ride.

- Go Figure ...lawvol.small.gif Sam & Andy's Forever.gif


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