Posts Tagged ‘Embarassment’

Can We Just Forfeit?

The View From the Hill | Gate 21


I know, I know, forfeiting - what you might call quitting - is a bad thing. But after watching the most pitiful display of football last Saturday from my nice comfortable seats in the second row of the upper deck, I really wish it just be November 30 already and the end of this horribly difficult 2008 season.

Before I say anything else, I need to congratulate the Wyoming Cowboys for their win. They played hard and didn't make mistakes. That's what every underdog everywhere in every sport pretty much has to do to pull off an upset.

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="350" caption="Congrats to Wyoming, but there is no way they should beat any Tennessee team"][/caption]

Here are some relevant stats for Wyoming: coming into Saturday, they were 3-6, 1-5 in the Mountain West. Good enough for a tie for seventh in the league, with UNLV. The week before they crushed San Diego State for their lone MWC win (and I joked that they would actually beat Tennessee when I saw they won this game rather easily). Head coach Joe Glenn was likely (and still may be) going to be out of a job at season's end.

The three-headed monster making the MWC look like an underrated conference - Utah, TCU and BYU - beat the Cowboys 138-14. This team was the worst offensive team in the country coming into Saturday's game.

And this team came into Neyland Stadium and beat Tennessee.

OK, I admit I laughed after the first fluky near pick-six. That play was so typical of our season. I wasn't laughing after the second one. I wasn't laughing after the incomplete passes on fourth downs late in the game.

But I was walking out, I really wasn't all that mad. I really wasn't even all that embarrassed. I bailed on caring about this season long ago. Does it suck when we look back in the near future and see Tennessee actually did lose to Wyoming? Well of course. But honestly, most people - myself very much included - care more about the coaching search than the Vandy and Kentucky games.

And we should be. Why? Because if the players are going to claim to go out there and play "all-out" for their fired coach, and they show what they showed last Saturday, why should we care? Look, many fans may have stopped watching awhile ago. I said I was gonna watch as long as the effort was there. It was clearly missing Saturday.

So I made the immediate decision (sometime around the middle of the fourth quarter) that I sure as hell won't be coming up for Kentucky - and I'm not the only one I'm sure. Call me fair-weathered, whatever you want. I showed my support for Philip Fulmer. I gave him a pat on the shoulder and a "thanks coach" at the Vol Walk last week. If they're going to respond by not showing up and losing to WYOMING, why should I still show my support?

Now I'm not saying the team owes me, the fan, anything. Well, showing some signs of caring would be nice. Let me put it this way, and keep in mind I'm not one to bash players: where was Arian Foster? "Thigh bruise?" Funny, Dan Williams, Ellix Wilson, Wes Brown and others haven't seemed to be effected with playing through injuries.

To close out, people always talk about Tennessee being completely irrelevant. Well, there are ways to stay relevant, even at 3-6 with a lame-duck coach. One is losing to Wyoming. Other possibilities? Being Vanderbilt's bowl-clinching, history-making, streak-breaking sixth win. Having the nation's longest streak of ownage broken on your home field on the day to honor a coaching legend. Hello, 3-9...

Fortunately, hoops season starts Saturday night. I'll have more on that and more on my choice for Tennessee's next coach in the near future.

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="350" caption="It is going to be nice to finally win something..."][/caption]

Oh don't worry, it's coming...

Images Courtesy of: Michael Patrick / GVXAmy Smotherman-Burgess / GVX

Coach Fulmer, How Much is Enough?!

Tennessee FootballOnce again, the Tennessee Volunteers are in the news for bad behavior, and once more it is a member of the Tennessee football team that is responsible for the bad press that the university and the athletic department is garnering.

According to GoVolsXtra, Tennessee punter Britton Colquitt was arrested and charged with DUI and leaving the scene of an accident. According to the police, Colquitt was arrested near Knoxville's Old City District after driving his SUV into a parked car and then leaving the scene of the accident. The arresting officer indicated that Colquitt smelled strongly of alcohol, failed a field sobriety test, but later refused a breathalyzer or blood test.

Britton ColquittThis represents Colquitt's fifth alcohol-related incident ...

In response to the arrest and charges, Coach Phillip Fulmer announced on Sunday that Colquitt will be suspended for the first five games of the 2008 football season, will lose his scholarship, and will be required to undergo alcohol counseling, along with other undisclosed "internal punishments." Colquitt was previously suspended for an alcohol-related event in 2004.

Colquitt's arrest is the most recent in a seemingly unending string of off-the-field incidents involving Tennessee Football players. Since 11 January, six members of the football team have been charged by police, one other player (Vince Faison) was also charged with DUI, less than two weeks ago.

Now I understand that a coach cannot -- even under the best of circumstances -- be expected to watch over their players 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. That said, the alarming number of arrests in just over four weeks, is a bad sign that something is dreadfully wrong in the football program. There is no question that an occasional misstep will occur -- athletes are no different than the normal population in that regard. Everyone with a brain understands that, from time-to-time, there are going to be athletes which have public run-ins with law enforcement or university discipline. Six arrests in five weeks, however, is completely unacceptable for the Tennessee Football program or any other program.

I understand that members of the football team are only a year or two out of high school, and that we have all made mistakes while young that we wished we could undo. Nonetheless, this rampage of bad behavior by Tennessee Football players has to stop, and stop now. Several weeks ago I wrote -- in response to the arrest of Anthony Parker -- that while I did not condone the activities which had led to the arrest of several Vols, at least all the infractions had been relatively "harmless" crimes. Brandon Colquitt just changed all of that.

Driving while intoxicated is a serious offense, that could have left someone injured or dead. There is zero excuse for Colquitt's actions, and it is an embarrassment to the University of Tennessee. Colquitt only ran into a parked car, but I am not willing to wait until someone is injured or killed for the football program to take actions to end the ridiculous actions of some of the members of the Vols' football team.

Now I understand that the vast majority of the team's members have -- at a minimum -- avoided any entanglements with the police. That said, each member reflects directly on the team and the university as a whole. Thus, if one is guilty, then all are guilty. This sort of institutional discipline is necessary to truly create a "team."

So where does that sort of discipline start? Discipline comes from the top, and Phillip Fulmer is the man ultimately responsible. As the leader of the Tennessee Football program, all the bad behavior of the Vols rests at his feet. While I realize he cannot prevent it completely, he has the ability -- and the responsibility -- to impose penalties which will make errant players understand the consequences of their actions and which will discourage future incidents by others.

While I have been a pro-Fulmer voice for a very long time, if this sort of trend continues, that voice will change -- not due to Fulmer's performance on the field, but due to his inability to control his players while off the field. I am not willing to have the University of Tennessee and its reputation denigrated by a bunch of young men who apparently feel that the law does not apply to them.

Winning is not that important...

Furthermore, in my opinion, the penalty imposed by Coach Fulmer on Colquitt -- while substantial -- is not enough. I understand Fulmer's desire to temper his discipline with mercy, but Colquitt has proven that he does not understand his mistakes. He has already been given more second-chances than anyone should receive. I understand that his family has a long tradition at the University of Tennessee, and that they have been wonderful supporters of the program.

Be that as it may, in the opinion of this writer, there should no longer be a place on the Tennessee football team for Britton Colquitt...

I understand that many will disagree with me on this, but there are some things that simply require a severing of ties. Colquitt has had his opportunities to straighten-up, and he has obviously not taken heed. While I do feel for Colquitt, and hope that he gets help for his problems with alcohol, however, he has made too many decisions which are contrary to the University of Tennessee, its alumni, and the football program. What's more, allowing Colquitt to remain sends a strong message to the remaining members of the football program:

...if you act out, you'll still be able to play for the Vols.

Obviously, Fulmer has not taken the step of dismissing Colquitt -- that is his prerogative. If the air clears, and there are no further incidents in the near term, then, perhaps, Fulmer will be vindicated in this regard. I hope that happens. On the other hand, if there is one more incident involving the Vols and the police, it will be time for Phillip Fulmer to go. Period.

As much respect as I have for Coach Fulmer and what he has done for this university, I will not allow it to be embarrassed by the football program. One more off-the-field incident, and it will be time for a change.

I hope both Coach Fulmer and the rest of the football Vols remember this as they go forward...

-- Go Figure …

Image Courtesy of: • Also See: GoVolsXtra
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