Posts Tagged ‘Heath Shuler’

Giving Respect Where Respect is Due

Shoutin Out | Gate 21

It pretty much goes without saying that Jonathan Crompton’s journey as the Tennessee Volunteers’ quarterback  been a long and arduous one.  This Saturday, that journey moves one step closer to ending.

This weekend’s contest against Vanderbilt will be Crompton’s final home game for the orange and white and will be his one last chance to show the denizens of Neyland Stadium just how committed he has been to the fortunes of Tennessee football, how dedicated he has been to success as both a player and a leader, how much he has worked to become someone the Vols and their fans could be proud of.

It also represents the last time—perhaps the only time—for Tennessee fans of every stripe to show him just how much they appreciate him for what he has done.

Jonathan Crompton

Image via Wikipedia

Thus, I hope that all of you who make the trek to the game on Saturday will consider doing a little something special to show Crompton that we as the Vol Nation do appreciate his hard work, his effort, and his loyalty to the University of Tennessee.

I think it is the least that we as a fanbase can do.

In recognition of this, a special group has been formed on Facebook to celebrate Crompton’s contribution to Tennessee Football and to hopefully do a little something special for him on the Vol Walk this weekend.

For those of you out there who don’t recall, Crompton received death threats last season due to the Vols’ implosion.  Then, early this season, there were many who, again, questioned his abilities (including yours truly, I’m sad to say) and openly called for Lane Kiffin to bench the Vol senior in favor of reserve quarterback Nick Stephens.  This ignores the furor on the various chat boards.  This young man had to endure all of this while still trying to work toward winning games.  To Lane Kiffin’s credit, he stuck to his guns and was proven to have made a smart decision when Crompton had his coming out party against the Georgia Bulldogs.

Jonathan Crompton has played under four different offensive systems, and has had to re-learn everything throughout his entire time at Tennessee.  Yet, rather than complain or just give up, Crompton stuck it out despite his doubters.  He kept working, kept trying, kept pushing to be better.  Even though it probably took him a bit longer than he wished it had, he finally found that success that had so eluded him.  What’s more, in the process of attaining his goal, he gave the new era of Tennessee Football a fighting chance for respectability in its first year.

Despite his successes this season, it is doubtful that Jonathan Crompton will ever be remembered as one of the greatest quarterbacks to wear the orange.  With names like Peyton Manning, Andy Kelly, and Heath Shuler in the lineage, that is understandable.  Still, in many ways, Crompton has shown more determination, more perseverance, and more heart than any Tennessee quarterback in the modern era.

I think that means something.

Thus, I encourage all of you to not only join the Facebook group honoring Crompton’s contribution to Tennessee Football, but to also maybe do a little something on your own this Saturday as he makes his final Vol Walk toward Neyland Stadium—maybe a sign, maybe a salute, maybe a kind word.

In light of the events of the past week and the misdeeds of some of the Volunteers, I think Crompton’s type of dedication and sacrifice stands out all the more.

All I can do is to say that I am proud that Crompton wore the orange…

– So it goes…About Lawvol

2009 Big Orange Roundtable: Week 4

This Week’s Roundtable is hosted by:

Vol Junkies

This week’s Big Orange Roundtable is hosted by Vol Junkies, who has served up another installment of questions burning in the minds of the citizens of Orange Nation.

Thus, here are our thoughts for the week:

Week 4

1) What is your thought on Eric Berry’s Heisman chances?  Should he play on offense in-order to increase his chances?  Is Kiffin being to selfish saying Berry will not practice offense?

bullet HSH: I’m not exactly how real Berry’s chances of actually winning the Trophy—which I deemed meaningless after the Manning debacle.  Not only does he have the obstacle of being a defensive player, he has to basically beat Colt McCoy from Texas, Sam Bradford from Oklahoma and some guy named Tebow.  I don’t think Lane Kiffin should play Berry on offense just to help his Heisman chances.  If our offense is seriously sucking, then sure, desperate times call for desperate measures.

That said, I have absolutely no problem with the University doing the whole campaign thing.  Berry is obviously a special, once-in-a-while player with a great attitude.  Seeing him in person on and off the field the past two years has been something I’m glad to have been a part of—now if only he might consider staying for his senior year…

bullet Lawvol: I have very mixed (albeit not necessarily negative) feelings on this.

First of all, I personally believe that Eric Berry is more than deserving of a shot at the Heisman Trophy.  In two short years he has pretty much become the man-beast of SEC defenses and is, hands down, the best defensive player in the toughest conference in the country.  I personally believe that he is the best defensive player in any conference, anywhere.  That, however, is just my opinion and I will be the first to admit that I am biased.  Still, there is no arguing with the fact that Eric Berry has earned the right to be considered among the top players in the country this season and to be considered for the Heisman.  I am unequivocally behind the Tennessee’s campaign to promote Berry’s Heisman candidacy.

That said, I am less that optimistic about his chances…

I say that because, since only one truly defensive player has previously won the Heisman—which I am sure every Tennessee fan remembers all too well—the precedent is somewhat weak.  Furthermore, given the national media’s love affair with Tim Tebow, I expect that every possible machination that can occur to ensure Tebow winning the trophy for the second time will be brought to bear, if at all possible.

There is also the fact that exaggerated hype often leads to less-than-stellar performances since, with everyone talking about how great a particular player is, the target on their back gets even bigger when facing opponents.  That is not to say that I doubt Berry’s ability to produce in the same way he has in the past, but recognizes that opposing teams will be gunning for him … and staying away from him.

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The US Congress and College Football: An epidemic in the making

In case you hadn’t heard, the United States Congress has been hard at work lately—tackling the hard-hitting issues that our country is facing.  Our representatives in the House have been addressing monumental concerns impacting the daily lives of all Americans far and wide.  What, you might ask, is the single most important question in the minds of Representatives Joe Barton (R-TX), Neil Abercrombie (D-HI), Lynn Westmoreland (R-GA) and Mike Simpson (R-ID)?

Whether the BCS / Bowl system for determining NCAA football championships needs to be replaced by a playoff system.

As a result, these congressmen introduced a House Resolution in April seeking to have the United States Congress and the United States Department of Justice investigate the Bowl Championship Series.  In particular, this obscenely overstated meaningful legislation resolves that the House of Representatives:

(1) rejects the BCS system as an illegal restraint of trade that violates the Sherman Anti-Trust Act;

(2) demands the United States Department of Justice Antitrust Division investigate and bring appropriate action to have the BCS system declared illegal and require a playoff to determine a national champion; and

(3) supports the establishment of an NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision Championship playoff system in the interest of fairness and to bring parity to all NCAA teams.

• 111th Congress, House Resolution 68

Heavy stuff, that…

As a result of the tireless grandstanding efforts of these shameless self-promoters champions of the common man, the Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection held hearings this past week to look into the actions of the BCS in hopes of determining whether something nefarious is afoot.  This included taking testimony from: John Swofford PDF Document (Commissioner of the Atlantic Coast Conference and Coordinator of the Bowl Championship Series), Craig Thompson PDF Document (Commissioner of the Mountain West Conference), Derrick Fox PDF Document (President and CEO of the Valero Alamo Bowl), and Gene Bleymaier PDF Document (Athletic Director of Boise State University).

For those of you out there that hate yourselves, you can view a streaming video of the entire hearing through the committee websiteNote: Apparently the Congressional muckety-mucks are too busy to hire someone schooled in the basic art of video editing.  Thus, you will want to fast forward to approximately 19:45 to view the hearing (that is, unless you just enjoy watching a blank screen for almost 20 minutes).

During the hearing, the Committee specifically looked into whether the BCS amounted to a monopoly, running afoul of federal anti-trust provisions.  With the great all-encompassing seriousness that can only come from the stuffed shirts of Congress and with the aire of the Watergate hearings, the committee set about digging deep into the bowels of college football’s deep dark secret.  Having watched some of the video of the hearing, it was obvious, in the minds of some of the assembled officials, that they felt the very sanctity of our American Republic hung precariously in the balance.


Don’t get me wrong, I am not opposed to the idea of a college football playoff, in fact I would gladly support such a system—so long as it is fair.  The disdain that is oozing from this article comes not from my opposition to the notion that college football needs a playoff, but rather from the nauseating belief by those in Congress that they are the answer to this problem.  Oh yeah, there is also the minor fact that the entire nation is passed out from the H1N1 flu in the economic toilet of the world with chunks of last night’s General Motors and Wall Street flavored hot dog still clinging to its mouth while these clueless egomaniacs are wasting their time trying to determine how we end our football seasons.

I’d love to sit around in a fancy conference room with hospitality service and get paid to talk football all day as much as the next guy, there’s no denying that.  The thought that our Congressional leaders have nothing better to do than just that, is more than a little bothersome.  The fact that they can do it with a straight face while purporting to represent the best interests of their constituents, makes me think of three words: “explosive projectile vomiting.”  I suppose that this sentiment is precisely what led CBS’s Dennis Dodd to note that “Retching is common for these kinds of mundane Capitol Hill gatherings.”

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Big Orange Roundtable: Week 7

This Week’s Roundtable is hosted by: Fulmer’s Belly

The Off-Season is a Conspiracy

This week’s Big Orange Roundtable is hosted by Fulmer’s Belly who has offered questions of real substance — questions which seek insight and analysis.  That pretty much means I’ll be bringing up the rear.  Thus, it would probably be best if you just skipped my responses and clicked on the links to the other roundtablers below.

If you are nonetheless determined to waste your time reading my prattling — losing moments of your life, your lunch, and perhaps your will to live — here are my thoughts for the week

Week 7

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

1)  Knock on wood before answering this question, but let’s assume that Jonathan Crompton goes out with a season ending injury in the 1st half of the first game of the season. Should we just pack it up and wait until next season, or is there a glimmer of hope in any of the young backups?

First of all, I don’t want to hear any more of this Communist “injury” talk.  I’m having questions about your loyalty …

That said, assuming the awful were to happen, I agree with the collective brain trust, that losing a single player does not mean that it is time to give up on the 2008 season.  Even the loss of a quarterback doesn’t necessarily spell disaster.

Peyton Manning If you remember, back in 1994 the Vols lost starting senior quarterback Jerry Colquitt on the seventh play of the season versus UCLA.  The only other quarterbacks on the squad that year were two true freshmen — Branndon Stewart and some guy named Manning.

Of course, despite his stellar career at Tennessee, even Peyton only managed a 8-4 (SEC 5-3) season.  Still, there was a lot of fight left in the 1994 Vols after the loss of Colquitt.

Similarly, we wouldn’t currently have any idea what Jonathan Crompton is capable of had it not been for him standing in for Erik Ainge during the 2006 season.

I feel certain that the Vols would manage to finish strong and do everyone proud without Crompton, after all — on paper — neither B.J. Coleman nor Nick Stephens are exactly slouches.  Furthermore, unlike Manning in 1994, both have had some time to actually learn the offense.

Bearing all of that in mind, I think the loss of Crompton early in the season would likely result in losses at both Florida and Auburn simply due to the need for the new quarterback to get up to speed.

So, I guess my answer is that the Vols would be “okay” but would probably not put up numbers for the record book.

2)  Does Erik Ainge have a future in the NFL?

With no disrespect to Ainge, I have never really seen him as a successful NFL quarterback.  I simply don’t think that Ainge has the flexibility that a quarterback is required to demonstrate to combat the defenses of the NFL.  He is a reasonably solid pocket passer, but has limited mobility — which is not necessarily a killer with most teams in the NFL.  He does, however, have the good sense to get rid of the ball when there is no one to throw to — a fact borne out by the NCAA record of only 4 sacks over the course of the season.

In the end, after getting injured versus Notre Dame, Ainge never really seemed to have the spark that made him seem so great during his freshman year.  After that point, Ainge seemed to be a basically an average above-average quarterback.  He was efficient, he was capable, he was reliable — he was not exceptional.  Unfortunately, that exceptional ability is usually required to compete in NFL.

3)  Why in the hell did you decide to blog about Tennessee football?  Aren’t there already enough Tennessee blogs?

Well, that’s a tough question to answer considering that I more or less started the Gate on a whim.  I had previously tried a little blogging on other more “serious” topics, but none of those ever amounted to anything because they required intelligent thought and at least a limited amount of skill.  Thus, I started this little project mainly because I figured it would be a good way to waste time, besides it was cheaper than drugs.

As for why I blog about Tennessee?  Well, the reality is that Tennessee is the only team I really follow in any meaningful way.  I also live in the bowels of ACC country, which is … well … sickening, and blogging about Tennessee and the SEC helps control the nausea.

I suppose I could start a blog on animal husbandry, navel lint, or really stupid things I’ve done in life.  I suppose I could even write one of those “life blogs” where I tell the entire world about my daily life, but I am really a boring person and who the hell really cares how many times I went to the bathroom today and all of the people I’d like to kill.

I have no intention of ever trying to be a “stats” guy because I can barely add — that is why I am a lawyer.  I also have no desire to try and be a “traditional” sports writer.  First of all, I live nearly seven hours from the home of the team I write about, which makes it a little difficult for me to actually report on a game I didn’t even attend.  Besides that’s what all the mainstream media types already have a near monopoly on.  Thus, all I can really do is offer my own peculiar observations on the world of sports from an orange-tinted perspective and make fun of the more humorous side of the sports world.

Oh, and when I can’t think of anything worth writing, I’ve found that posting juvenile, semi-offensive, poorly doctored, photos will often suffice.

On a personal note, if I had a chance to breathe lately, at least I would have been able to post a little something of substance every now and then.  I really hate it when my job interferes with my asinine hobbies.  That part is frustrating — almost as frustrating as Tennessee’s 2005 football season … but not quite.  I suppose in the perfect world I’d be able to spend all my days writing for this rag so everyone could ignore it.

In the end, I suppose the main reason I write is because I am a lawyer and, by default, a blowhard who likes to hear himself talk (or write as the case may be).  I guess I write about sports because I really lack any real ability to write about anything of real substance.  It’s funny, I’ve been doing this for a while now, and I’m still not sure what I am doing.

I’m sure both of my readers would agree …

4)  If you could be one player in one game in Tennessee history, which player and which game would you pick?  Why?

This is a tough one.  There are so many great choices which would be on my short-list.  Here are a few (in no particular order)

George Bad News Cafego
  • Dale Jones vs. Miami — 1985
  • Condredge Holloway vs. Clemson — 1974
  • Peyton Manning vs. Alabama — 1995
  • Al Wilson vs. Florida — 1998
  • Peerless Price vs. Florida State — 1998
  • Heath Shuler vs. Florida — 1992
  • George Cafego vs. Anybody — 1938/39

These are but a few — this one is just too tough to call.

5)  Which is your favorite rivalry and why? (Not necessarily limited to Tennessee teams)?

Well, I pretty much said it all about this one a few weeks back when it comes to Tennessee rivalries.

I hate to lose to Alabama, I absolutely loathe Florida.

For me, the key to a true rivalry is respect.  I have no respect for Florida, so — predictably — it’s Bama for me.

In terms of other rivalries … umm … I would probably list the following:

  • The Chicago Cubs vs. Cold Hard Reality;
  • The Philadelphia Eagles vs. The Eagles Hoodlums Fans;
  • The People of the State of Florida vs. All Current and Former Members of the University of Miami Football Team, and John Doe, co-conspirator, et. al, Criminal Docket No. 07 CVS…;
  • Ron Artest vs. the Crowd.

Yeah, I know, not much in terms of effort on my part…

Bonus)  Who will win the national title this year? And by how many points will Tennessee win?

Two answers — my hope, and my head:

  • Hope:  Tennessee 28 – USC 14
  • Head:  Florida 21 – Clemson (Yeah that’s right, Clemson) 10

The Rest of the Roundtable:

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

Well, now wasn’t that fun…

– Go Figure …Email lawvol

Images Courtesy of: The Redzone ReportGoVolsXtraThe VIBTalkWeather ForumsHoopedia

Flashback: The Great Games — Florida 1992


The next in my series of flashbacks — this time to 1992…

The Great Games |

19 September 1992

Florida Football vs. Tennessee Football

(4) Florida 14(14) Tennessee 31

Neyland Stadium

When I rolled into town for the contest between the Florida Gators and the Tennessee Volunteers in September of 1992, things were abuzz. Johnny Majors was in the hospital recovering from heart surgery. “Temporarily” at the helm was a longtime assistant coach who was — at the time — untested as a head coach. His name was Phillip Fulmer. As if that were not enough, tensions were still high after the 1991 “fax-gate” incident where disgruntled former Tennessee assistant coach Jack Sells was caught faxing the Tennessee playbook to Steve Spurrier and then Florida defensive coordinator, Ron Zook.

Needless to say there were a lot of questions swirling around as to exactly what could be expected when the Vols and Gators faced off in Neyland Stadium that Saturday afternoon. As uncertain as the situation was, Mother Nature had a few ideas of her own which would push the game farther into the realm of the unknown (and borderline absurd).

This gameday began rather inauspiciously for me — I didn’t have any tickets. After declining several offers for tickets at $150 a piece (which was an even more absurd price in 1992 than it is today), my Father and I found one “kind” soul who was willing to sell us two seats on the second row of the East side upperdeck on about the 35 yard line for $75 each.

My Dad and I thought we had really made out like bandits … until we realized about 15 minutes later while getting ready to enter the stadium that the tickets we bought were student tickets and required a student ID — which neither of us possessed. Undeterred, our plan was to wait until there was a big crowd at the gate, split up, and then try to just slide on in without the ticket-taker noticing we had student tickets.

It worked for my Dad, who handed over his ticket, and walked right on in … my situation was somewhat different.

I handed my ticket over, and then heard the dreaded words, “Student ID, please?

I could see my Dad — 10 feet away, but already in the stadium — drop his head, knowing that I was caught. Instinctively, however, I reached for my wallet and pulled it out.

Sure, one sec…” I took my time waiting for the line to get a little longer behind me. “Hmmm, it’s in here somewhere … hold on. Damn! I must have left it back at the dorm. Do you want me to go run back and get it?

He looked at me, then to the growing crowd, then to me, then to the crowd.

Just remember to bring it next time, okay.

Yessir! I promise I won’t forget it next time…

And a young boy began the path down the road to a shameful and reprehensible career as an attorney … (sigh)

In the stadium, we made our way to our seats which were great, except for the fact that Mister Two-Bits” from Florida was about 15 feet away where the upper level visitor’s section met the student section. While his constant cheerleading did quickly grow old, the … pointed comments of some of the students — (along with their friends Jack, Jim, and George) were highly entertaining.

Mr Two-Bits meets Jack, Jim & George

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