Posts Tagged ‘NFL’

HLL: “Opposing coach breaks down Kiffin offense”

Headlines, Links & Lies | Gate 21

Nice piece by Mike Griffith:

Opposing coach breaks down Kiffin offense.

“It’s obvious they know what they’re doing; one play doesn’t work, and bam, the next play comes right in without any hesitation,” the coach said.  “They are all about getting you in match ups with their motions and shifts, it’s that NFL mentality…

HT HT / via: Ask GriffGoVolsXtra.com

Good, glad I’m not the only one who thought the coaching staff knew what they are doing…

Giving Your All, the Rough and Tumble Way

No Pass Out Checks | Gate 21

It’s been a bumpy couple of weeks for the Tennessee Volunteers and their fans, on that there is little room for debate.

First, the Vols lost to Florida in a “moral victory” which amounts to losing gallantly.  The Vols then went on to beat a scrappy Ohio Bobcats team in less than runaway style, but as I said at the time: “a win is a win.”  Then, this past weekend, the men in orange were bested by the Auburn Tigers and Gus Malzahn’s semi-deranged (but highly effective) form of offense.  Finally, Lane Kiffin gave Brandon Warren his walking papers as a result of what Kiffin described as “conduct detrimental to our team.”

For my part, I have had little to offer on these issues due to my ridiculously overloaded schedule.  Trust me when I say that it was not for lack of desire or lack of observations that I have been so quiet.

Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on your perspective) I now have a little time to pontificate, so here we go…

Auburn and “Johnnie Cochran” Offense

Gus Malzahn is either a genius or a madman depending on whether you are a fan of the Tigers or are their opponent.  His offensive sets are as entropy-filled and outlandish as they are effective.  One of the keys to its function is to make an opposing defense deal with the constant distraction of the seemingly endless arsenal of quasi-trick plays that it includes.  This bevy of distractions vying for the attention of opposing defenses, reminds me of pretty much every argument ever made to a jury by Johnnie Cochranfocusing on the distraction rather than the fact.

Still, there is a lot of fact to Malzahn’s ability to mask his plays and to run unconventional sets regularly and successfully.  I personally cannot remember seeing a game which featured as many reverses and double-reverses as the Tennessee — Auburn contest.  I know that I have never seen a true pooch punt (seemingly taken right out of General Neyland’s own playbook from the 1930s) in person.  To Malzahn’s credit, he has taken a lackluster unit that barely produced anything other than narcolepsy in 2008 and transformed them into a machine which scores tons of points and gives defenses fits.

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2009 CBS Sports BlogPoll Top 25 Ballot: Week 5

Here’s my ballot for this week’s CBS Sports BlogPoll Top 25 hosted by — as you might imagine — CBS Sports.

Week 5

Through 26 September 2009

This was one screwed-up week for my ballot.  I suppose this is my proverbial “adjustment week” wherein I re-align everything now that I’ve had a chance to actually see how teams are going to play.  That said, some the weeks changes are the result of nothing other than the unexpected highs and lows for the teams across the country.  Lots of movement this week in my BlogPoll Top 25 ballot.  Most of these should be fairly obvious.  Either way, here’s my ballot:

My Ballot for the Week

Rank Team Delta
1 Florida
2 Texas
3 Alabama 1
4 LSU 3
5 Boise State 4
6 Southern Cal 5
7 TCU 5
8 Ohio State 5
9 Oklahoma 1
10 Iowa 4
11 Penn State 8
12 Virginia Tech 7
13 Mississippi 7
14 Cincinnati 9
15 Georgia 2
16 UCLA
17 Notre Dame 1
18 Houston NR
19 Miami (Florida) 11
20 Kansas
21 Oklahoma State
22 Nebraska
23 California 18
24 Pittsburgh 9
25 Michigan
Last week’s ballot
Dropped Out: Florida State (#24).

Explanations after the jump…

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2009 CBS Sports BlogPoll Top 25 Ballot: Week 4

Here’s my ballot for this week’s CBS Sports BlogPoll Top 25 hosted by — as you might imagine — CBS Sports.

Week 4

Through 19 September 2009

First things first…

No, I have not abandoned the Gate.  No, I am not dead.  No, I have not defected and become a Florida Gators fan.  I have, however, had more on my plate the last few weeks than I really could possibly hope to keep up with.  Thus, I have had to make concessions here and there.  Regular posting on the Gate (as well as commenting across the web) has been one of those areas.  Between trials, funerals, and trips from one end of the State of North Carolina to the other, I have simply been trying to keep my head above water.  To both of you out there who regularly read the Gate, my apologies.  To those of you who accidentally stumbled upon Gate 21 while searching the web for a place from which you could purchase Viagra, well, you’re in the wrong place, but I’ll apologize nonetheless.

Moving right along…

There were a few surprises over the past week in the world of college football, some which I simply did not see coming and others which, while not expected can hardly be said to be earth shattering.  Bearing this in mind, here’s is my BlogPoll Top 25 ballot for the week.  Most of these should be fairly obvious.  Either way, here’s my preliminary ballot:

My Ballot for the Week
Rank Team Delta
1 Florida
2 Texas 1
3 Penn State 1
4 Alabama 1
5 California 2
6 Mississippi
7 LSU 2
8 Miami (Florida) 2
9 Boise State 1
10 Oklahoma 1
11 Southern Cal 9
12 TCU
13 Ohio State 2
14 Iowa 2
15 Pittsburgh 2
16 UCLA 3
17 Georgia 1
18 Notre Dame 2
19 Virginia Tech 4
20 Kansas 1
21 Oklahoma State 1
22 Nebraska 8
23 Cincinnati 1
24 Florida State NR
25 Michigan NR
Last week’s ballot
Dropped Out: Brigham Young (#13), Utah (#25).

Explanations after the jump…

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2009 Big Orange Roundtable: Week 6

This Week’s Roundtable is hosted by:

Rocky Top Talk

This week’s Big Orange Roundtable is hosted by Rocky Top Talk and serves up another installment of questions burning in the minds of the orange-clad denizens who follow the Tennessee Volunteers.

In the interest of full disclosure, HSH sent me his responses to this week’s questions earlier in the week.  In theory, I was then supposed assemble a post including my answers along with his.  In theory, this sounds simple … in theory.  Reality is quite a different matter.  I have been woefully unreliable in terms of my posting of late due to my “real life,” and more specifically, my “real job.”

Thus, as a result of me being completely backed-up in preparation for an upcoming trial (a/k/a “evidence manipulation conference”) I am yet again forced to punt—at least for the moment.  This is particularly annoying considering how great the questions are this week.  Thus, for now the only answers I have to offer are those from HSH—which is probably a good thing considering that he actually knows what he’s talking about.  I will try to add in my responses later, if possible.  Until then, however, here are HSH’s thoughts for the week:

Week 6

1) Which newcomer do you expect to play the most total snaps for the Vols this fall?

bullet HSH: Well, by the looks of things, we know for sure it won’t be Bryce Brown, though he may be the best talent of the freshmen.

Though I have trouble remembering him actually being a freshman, it almost has to be Montori Hughes at defensive tackle, simply because of the lack of depth at defensive tackle and the sore, wobbly knees of senior end-turned-tackle Wes Brown.  With Brown’s knees, its almost more a question of when as opposed to if they’re going to take him out of action.  I have to take this moment to say his never-quit attitude and what he’s been saying about his situation has him rapidly climbing up my favorite 2009 Vols.

Back to Hughes, I said he doesn’t seem like a freshman because of three things: first, he’s obviously from the 2008 class out of Siegel High School in middle Tennessee, but didn’t qualify.  Secondly, he enrolled in January, so he was in for the spring, so it’s like he’s been at UT for longer than the other freshman.  Finally, it’s because he’s a very large man.  Either way, it’s clear he’s moved up to the third tackle spot, behind Williams and Brown and ahead of Victor Thomas, Rae Sykes and Marlon Walls.

But given the situation at defensive tackle behind Big Dan Williams, Hughes has to be the freshman who will see the most action.

As for the “true” freshman with the most impact, I’ll say receiver Marsalis Teague.  I went to last Thursday’s practice and last Saturday’s scrimmage, and Teague had some impressive plays.  I think Gerald Jones and Brandon Warren will be the top 2 wideouts, but Teague is my third (and Quintin Hancock fourth), given the injury to Denarius Moore.  Also, Teague seems like more a pure receiver than Nu’Keese Richardson in my opinion.


bullet Lawvol: (Long thoughtful pause followed by a longer, yet less thoughtful, sucking sound…)

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The Tennesseeum

The Tennesseeum | Gate 21

Note: The Tennesseeum is in its infancy, but I hope to eventually develop it into a virtual museum (hence “Tennessee-um”) of rosters, images, articles, and records pertaining to the Vols.  For now, however, it is little more than a landing page for current rosters and a few other items of interest.

If you have any content that you think belongs in a virtual museum dedicated to the Vols, feel free to contact me.

football 2009 Football Collection:


football Other Collections:

Tennessee Volunteers The Cumberland Wing:

Dedicated to the sights, sounds and history of that little collection of buildings along Cumberland Avenue known simply as “The Strip


Tennessee Volunteers The Tennessee Home for the Visually Offensive:

A virtual museum of some of the finest Farks (a/k/a “photoshopped”) images from the world of sports that the web has to offer including the following sub-collections:


This virtual museum is under construction.

New Collections Debuting Soon!!

2009 SEC Preview: South Carolina

2009 SEC Football Previews | Gate 21

Steve Spurrier is set to being his fifth fall as South Carolina’s football coach. In his previous four years in Columbia, he has a record of 28-22. He’s just 15-17 in the SEC during that time. Many expected when the OBC (or Ol’ Ball Coach, as he’s called) was hired he was going to turn Carolina into a winner.

The Gamecocks have gone 6-6 and 7-6 the past two seasons. But I must admit I forgot that they actually got off to solid starts both seasons, only to collapse at the end. In 2007, Carolina was #6 in the country at 6-1, then lost at home to Vanderbilt and lost out, missing out on a bowl game. Last year, Carolina was 5-2 following road wins at Ole Miss and Kentucky.

Carolina led LSU 17-10 at half, before the Tigers rallied to a 24-17 win. They bounced back, beat Tennessee and Arkansas to get to 7-3. Good season, right? Well, Carolina lost their last three games to Florida, Clemson and Iowa in the Outback Bowl by a combined 118-30.

A solid, respectable season, turned disappointing.

Going back to the bigger picture with Spurrier and South Carolina, much of the reason for the Gamecocks’ struggles have centered around the offense. More often during his tenure at SC, Spurrier’s teams have relied on the defense to help them win games.

Now Carolina faces sort of a crossroads. While Tennessee’s hired a new coach and Vandy and Kentucky return good bits of bowl teams – and still well behind Georgia and Florida in the SEC East pecking order – the Gamecocks return just 11 starters and lose some important players. What will Spurrier be able to do with this team?

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