Posts Tagged ‘Ed Orgeron’

Vols 63, Western Kentucky 7: The Day After

The View From the Hill | Gate 21

It was Western Kentucky and lawvol did an excellent job with his version of this post (as in better than mine’s going to be), so I’ll keep this relatively brief.

Judging by the atmosphere on campus before the game and during the game in the student section, you would in no way have thought Tennessee’s opponent was possibly the worst Division I-A team in the country. I found this out on the long walk from my apartment down the Cumberland Avenue “Strip” and through the heart of campus on my way to the Vol Walk. I managed to get an up-close spot fort the spectacle, and I’ll have a video from it at the end of this.

The new JumboTron is awesome, especially when they take the ads off and make it full screen (click to enlarge)

As for the game, I’ll start with Jonathan Crompton. Sure, the tipped balls are worrisome and the first interception he threw – though not his fault, said Lane Kiffin – was the awful kind of pass he would have made last year. Other than that, he really didn’t have that many incompletions.

He looked confident. He looked poised. He managed the offense very well (I can only remember one substitution penalty and procedure penalty). He was 21-of-28 and threw five touchdowns for goodness sakes. Sure, it was mostly the short passing game.

But if your quarterback struggles with making multiple reads (as Crompton did in 2008), you don’t make him do that. You let him take the snap and throw it to a wideout against a corner playing off the line and let the playmaker get some yards in space. You throw the short hitch. You get Crompton rolling out with options short, medium and long. Heck, Crompton even slid when he had to scramble.

The receivers played well enough to make you forget the injuries. Luke Stocker caught two scores. Marsalis Teague led the way as a freshmen and is going to be a great player. Quintin Hancock deserves a shout-out.

But this day belonged to the offensive line. Crompton had time to throw and that only helps him. And the line opened enormous holes and got great push on just about every play, as was evidenced in the stats. Hopefully they stay healthy throughout the year, because watching them open lanes for Hardesty, Bryce, Oku and Poole (let’s not forget about Toney WIlliams, either) could be really fun to watch if they are able to keep it up.

The defense was swarming and Western Kentucky had no time to do anything – at all. I thought the linebackers played pretty well, but we’ll have to see how they go up against stronger, faster opponents in the future. Janzen Jackson was the first freshman to see the field defensively, and, like Teague, he’s going to be a great player. I thought Wes Brown also played very well: well as in fresh, considering everything we’d heard about him all preseason were the bad condition of both of his knees.

To conclude, anytime you dominate a team 63-7 and outgain them by the margin Tennessee did, you feel good about it. But if nothing else, it’s a game where you get some confidence, especially on offense where those guys are trying to make us all forget last year’s atrocities. It’s a chance for the freshmen and new players to get some game action, as every little bit of experience helps. Western Kentucky was the perfect opponent for Lane and Company to open up with.

My view from Section F (click to enlarge)

Looking ahead, I think this team could be pretty tough to beat in Neyland Stadium this year. If the crowd was like it was for Western Kentucky – and those of you who were there hopefully agree with me on this – how will it be when Auburn, Georgia and South Carolina come to visit?

Which leads me to my next bold statement: I see absolutely no way UCLA comes into Knoxville next week and beats Tennessee.

There, I said it. First off, anytime you travel across the country to play, you’re at a disadvantage. See LSU last night at Washington, Maryland getting rocked at Cal, our own Vols the past two seasons and Cal coming here in 2006. Kevin Prince is UCLA’s starting QB. He was 18-of-29 for 176 yards, and threw two picks against one touchdown. That was at home, against San Diego State.

Next week he’ll be dealing with the Tennessee defense. In Tennessee’s stadium. Against a group of players and coaches and fans that want to right the wrong of last year’s embarrassing loss. And do it emphatically in front of a national TV audience on ESPN.

Yes, yes, I know we all said the same exact thing last year. But if not for horribly inept coaching (throwing 41 passes Dave Clawson and letting Kevin Craft dink-and-dunk you down the field John Chavis), Tennessee wins that game. UCLA has certainly improved, but this time they get the dubious honor of making the long trip. We all already are aware (boom, alliteration!) of the importance of this game to the rest of the Vols’ season. Tennessee absolutely has to beat UCLA next Saturday.

As soon as the Vols had the first couple of touchdowns yesterday and settled into the complete domination they displayed, my thoughts were already on UCLA. Hence why I’ve spent the last half of this post talking about next Saturday.

Anyways, here’s the video I took of the Vol Walk from yesterday (please know it’s long and my camera steadiness was lacking…you try holding your arm up that high for that long):

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About Home Sweet Home... … to me.

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 SEC Preview: Ole Miss

2009 SEC Football Previews | Gate 21

I must admit, I was a little perplexed when Ole Miss hired Houston Nutt from Arkansas as their head coach after the 2007 season. While Nutt was an upgrade as a head coach from Ed Orgeron, Nutt didn’t exactly have incredible success while in Fayetteville. Sure, Nutt was a good coach, but how much success could he really have in Oxford?

Well, Nutt certainly made my thinking look foolish last year when Ole Miss burst onto the college football season after beating Florida in Gainesville. You almost forget it, but Ole Miss lost the game before – at home to Vanderbilt – the win in Gainesville and lost the two games after that – at home to South Carolina and at Alabama.

But the Rebels won the final six games of year in impressive fashion, including routs of LSU and Mississippi State and an upset win over “mighty” Texas Tech in the Cotton Bowl (glad to see the Red Raiders won’t be terribly overrated again this year). Thus, you have the reason for the momentum and hype surrounding Ole Miss coming into this year.

While I still have my questions about Nutt’s recruiting ability (and his ability to do math when it comes to counting signees), he’s got a pretty stout team this year, he’s going to try to lead Ole Miss to its first-ever appearance in Atlanta for the SEC Championship Game in December.

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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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