Posts Tagged ‘Ohio Bobcats’

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 SEC Football Power Poll: Week 4

Check out the Full Poll Results at
Team Speed Kills!

Week 4

Through 27 September 2009

Here’s my ballot for this week in the SEC Power Poll, along with a feeble attempt at explaining why I’m such a moron. Hopefully most of these are fairly obvious.

Here they are, my darlins:







Florida Gators

The Florida Gators manhandled Kentucky this past weekend, but the Cats manhandled Tebow. The Gators are good, very good. They are, however, beatable.

Without Tebow, they are very beatable.

Result: UF 41 • UK 7



Alabama Crimson Tide

arrow up 2

After seeing he Alabama Crimson Tide make short work of Arkansas, my gut is beginning to tell me that Alabama is the best team in the SEC. That’s why they are tied for first this week.

Result: ALA 35 • ARK 7


LSU Tigers

arrow up 1

The LSU Tigers get the bump to number 3 this week for simply managing to not lose against Miss. St. I don’t think they are nearly as good as Florida or Alabama, but I do think they are the best of the rest.

Result: LSU 30 • MSU 26


Georgia Bulldogs arrow up 2

The Georgia Bulldogs found their stride this past week against a solid Arizona State team. Maybe they have begun to figure out what the problem was and have started heading in the right direction. They rise shakily in my ballot.

Result: GA 20 • AZ St.17


Auburn Tigers

arrow up 2

The Auburn Tigers are not flashy and are not getting a lot of press, but they are disciplined and undefeated. I think that counts for something. I am not sure how well they will fare down the stretch, but for now I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt.

Result: AUB 54 • Ball St. 30


Ole Miss Rebels

arrow down 3

The Ole Miss Rebels laid a huge egg versus South Carolina last week and obviously are not quite as good as I originally thought. Still, I think they have a chance to remain very relevant in the SEC West.

Result: MISS 10 • SC 16



South Carolina Gamecocks

arrow up 4

The South Carolina Gamecocks have apparently righted the ship and look light years better against the Rebels this past week. They played with more “fire” than I’ve seen in a long time.

They have a bye this week since SC State simply doesn’t count as an opponent.

Result: SC 16 • MISS 10



Mississippi State Bulldogs

arrow up 3

Yes, I know they lost, but Dan Mullen has the Mississippi State Bulldogs looking tough. They had LSU beaten, and let it slip away. At this point, they are definitely my most improved team. I guess this means I have to get used to hearing cowbells again.

They’ll be tested again this week by the bumblebees of Georgia Tech.

Result: MSU 26 • LSU 30


Tennessee Volunteers

arrow down 2

The Tennessee Volunteers struggled this week on defense against a scrappy Ohio team that refused to die. My gut tells me they were tired from the Florida game or looking ahead to Auburn. Either way, this week looks to be a milestone game for the Vols.

Result: UT 34 • Ohio 23


Kentucky Wildcats

arrow down 2

The Kentucky Wildcats got the hell pounded out of them by Florida and they responded by sending Tebow to the hospital. Kentucky looks like Kentucky usually looks: not good, not bad, and not at all happy that basketball season isn’t here yet.

Result: KY 7 • FLA 41


Arkansas Razorbacks

arrow down 2

The Arkansas Razorbacks, took it in the chops from Alabama who did everything that Georgia didn’t do against the Hogs: namely play a little defense.

It’s amazing how actually defending your end of the field will keep an opponent from scoring.

Result: ARK 7 • ALA 35


Vanderbilt Commodores

The Vanderbilt Commodores beat up on Rice and got a much needed win. The Owls, however, are 0-4, so I’m not so sure that means much. Either way, the Dores’ are going to have to pick it up this week lest they be smitten by the ticked-off Rebels in a nasty way.

Result: VU 36 • Rice 17

The Rest of the Power Poll

Now that you have wasted your time looking at my ballot, go check out what everybody else is saying over at Team Speed Kills, where the round-up will appear later this week.

– So it goes…About Lawvol

Honesty from a head coach, I appreciate that.

Tennessee Football Over the last 72 hours or so, Lane Kiffin has made a number of statements about the Tennessee Volunteers’ performance against the Ohio Bobcats this past weekend, and about the general state of things for the Vols football team.  Each was unabashedly brash and straightforward—the style many have already come to expect from Kiffin, though most Vol fans are still just getting to know him as a coach.  For instance:

  • During his post-game show he admitted that the Vols had probably underestimated the Bobcats and had looked past them a bit en route to this week’s game against the Auburn Tigers;
  • He told the KNS that there were no excuses for poor play; and
  • During the Lane Kiffin Show, he pointed to breakdowns and failures of the players and staff in reigning in Ohio.

These are but a few.

What you didn’t hear from Kiffin was “coachspeak” that is, the deflection of uncomfortable questions, a litany of pre-rehearsed (dare I say, “Palin-esqe”) lines, and endless praise for meaningless accomplishments.  In the political world that’s called “spin,” in the lawyering world it’s called “advocating,” and in the normal world it’s called “bullshit.”  None of this, was present in Kiffin’s comments.

I like that.

The reason I like that is that Kiffin seems more than willing to cut through the crap—that so regularly pours forth (no, not of the George Brett variety) from coaches far and wide—and just tells you what he actually believes.

Even more impressive to me personally is the fact that in every circumstance he has spoken not just to the problems but also to how he plans on addressing them.  Take this video for instance:

Video: Lane Kiffin Speaks about Practice

HTvia: Inside Tennessee

I find this to be as unusual as it is refreshing.  While I will say that the Vols still have a ways to go before they are back on top—which I knew would be the case this season—I am pleased to say that the man at the top, the one I call the Blackjack General, does seem to actually know where he is going as he leads his troops and the nation of Big Orange Fans.

– So it goes…About Lawvol

Quick Postgame Thoughts: Ohio 23 • Tennessee 34

26 September 2009 1 2 3 4 T
Ohio Bobcats 14 3 3 3 23
Tennessee Volunteers 14 10 7 3 34
» Final «
Neyland Stadium   •  Knoxville | Stats | Quotes
| Notes | Recap

It wasn’t necessarily pretty, and it wasn’t necessarily easy, but the Tennessee Volunteers managed to defeat the Ohio Bobcats 34 to 23.  There were good things, less good things, and downright lousy things.  On the whole, however, this game marked the continuation of Tennessee’s long road of slow and steady progress back toward the top.

It was a win, and to each of the Vols and the coaching staff, I can only say one thing: mission accomplished (for this week, at least)…

The bad news is that Nick Reveiz is likely out for the rest of the season which will leave the Vols without a much needed leader and even thinner at linebacker.  That one may hurt for quite a while.

The defense did not exactly have its best night tonight, but that happens every now and then.  Quarterback Jonathan Crompton, however, seemed to feel a little more confident this week and — on the whole — looked pretty decent.  That said, the wide receivers did not give Crompton much help as they were unable to break the Ohio coverage schemes to get open.  Still, a decent night passing.

My gut tells me that — though no one on the team will admit it — there was probably a bit of an emotional and physical let down after the game against the Florida Gators last week which left the men in orange feeling a little deflated coming into today’s game.  It is really tough to maintain that level of intensity perpetually.  So long as it does not become oa habit, I’m pretty much okay with that happening occasionally.

The other area of concern that stuck out like a sore thumb tonight was the break down of special teams coverage.  While Daniel Lincoln notched a personal best nailing a 49-yard field goal, the kick coverage unit allowed a touchdown runback which simply never should have happened.

Still, it is a win.

Beats the hell out of a loss…

– So it goes …Email lawvol No McAlisters

2009 Big Orange Roundtable: Week 8 — The Kickoff Edition

Gate 21 is proud to host this week’s Roundtable!

It’s Time…

This week’s Big Orange Roundtable is hosted by … ummm … oh, yeah, it’s our week.  We here at the Gate are proud to host the 2009 kickoff edition of the Big Orange Roundtable as we all get ready to tee it up and kick it down for the 112th season of Tennessee Volunteers Football.

With that lovely prospect in mind, let’s get down to business:

Week 8

1) (From HSH)  We’ve talked through the past month or so about just about everything we could talk about regarding this Tennessee team: the quarterbacks, offensive line, freshman, Eric Berry, finding healthy wide receivers, freshman again, etc. So the simple question is this: what do you expect or what specifically are you looking for from the Vols against Western Kentucky this Saturday?

bullet HSH: First things first, Western Kentucky is not going to be anything close to resembling a quality football team.  They were recently a power in 1-AA, but this is their first full year in 1-A, and have the potential to be one of the worst teams to come to Neyland Stadium in a while (yes, I’m including Wyoming).  They went just 2-10 last year (the wins were Eastern Kentucky and Murray State) and return just 12 starters from that team.

So if Tennessee hangs 60 points on the Hilltoppers, oh, well it was just Western Kentucky, right?  Not exactly.  I want to see Tennessee score lots of points Saturday afternoon.  I expect Lane Kiffin will want to pound the rock with the running backs.  I want to see a confident Jonathan Crompton that doesn’t make any mistakes and crisply runs the offense.

Defensively, I want to see which freshmen make an early impact in their first games, and how they handle playing for real.  On both sides, I want to see swagger—OK, it’s WKU, but we could be playing my high school’s team and I would still want to see our players have a wealth of confidence in themselves and their coaches that creates said swagger.

bullet Lawvol: I expect and hope to see a few things.  First, I am not exactly expecting grandeur for this first game of the 2009 season, but what I am expecting to see is poise and purpose.  I am hoping that this team brings their attitude—one which was sorely missing last season—and refuses to play down to the level of their opponent which they should beat under almost any circumstance.

Let’s be honest, Western Kentucky went 2-10 last season which made even the Vols’ 5-7 campaign seem decent.  Prior to 2008, however, Western Kentucky had a streak of 12 straight winning seasons, and look to be on the upswing.  That said, The Vols have got to play with a little spark and bring their best game to their opponent—regardless of the quality of that opponent.  The Vols have to play their game and not let it be dictated to them by their opponent.

Most of all, I am looking to see a team that is glad to be on the field playing once more.  I hope that we begin to see the development of the new Kiffin system and hopefully get a huge relief when the quarterback play is surprisingly crisp and effective.  This is a confidence game which is only a good thing if you perform in a manner that inspires confidence

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