Posts Tagged ‘Orange Nation’

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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Remembering John Ward: Ten years since “Give Him Six!”

Tennessee Football Regardless of how things turn out for the Tennessee Volunteers this fall, the 2009 season represents so very many milestones—it really isn’t even worth the trouble to try and count them all.  There has been so much change lately and so very many new looks and faces that everything seems as if it is in flux.  Some feel this near c-change is long overdue, others decry it as a loss of tradition, others still reserve judgments and simply point to the inevitable movement of the hands of time.  Still, no matter how great the changes may be, the echoes of years gone by still ring in the air around Neyland Stadium.  Thankfully, this will never change.

Vol Network In addition to all of the “obvious” landmark events that have or will occur as part of the 2009 football season, there is one more that may go unnoticed by many.  Though it hardly seems possible, the 2009 season marks Bob Kesling’s tenth year as the “Voice of the Vols.” Since the kickoff of the 1999 football opener against the Wyoming Cowboys, Kesling along with color-commentator Tim Priest, and sideline reporter Mike Stowell (who succeeded Jeff Francis in 2007), have brought the sounds of Big Orange football into our homes via the “Statewide Stadium” that is the Vol Network.

As have I pointed out in previous posts, since I was a child, I have always been a dedicated fan of live sports radio broadcasts.  I learned at an early age that television broadcasters, no matter how good they may be, simply cannot match the style, flair, color, or excitement that a gifted radio sportscaster can bring to a game.  There are few on television that come close—Ron Franklin and Mike Gottfried being pretty much the best—but even they cannot quite stay in step with the great radio broadcasters of the game.  Of course, for every Franklin and Gottfried, there are a bevy of lackluster talking suits which do little more than get in the way of the game rather than actually improving your understanding of what is taking place.

Thus is the curse of television…

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Flashback: The Great Games — Kentucky 1997

The Great Games | Gate21.net

Last year, during the off-season, I began a series on the Great Games played by the Tennessee Volunteers football team over the many years as seen through my eyes.  As I am wont to do, I seem to have lost my focus and have not exactly done a capital job of keep that series going.  Imagine that.

Since the off-season is once again upon us—paired with the fact that I have been coming up pretty spare in terms of ideas lately—I’ve decided it is time to once again take a walk down memory lane and re-live some of the greatest games in Tennessee history.  For those of you who missed the 2008 installments of this series, here are the ones I’ve covered thus far:

In addition to my list, Will, one of the sages over at RTT has been counting down the top-50 games of the Phillip Fulmer era in grand style.  Predictably, some of his favorites are on my list as well.  Trust me, his list is worth a look (and is far better researched, far more thoughtful, far better written, and … well … just far better than my little foray into the ghosts of games past).  Since I don’t want to be accused of stealing his thunder, I will be citing to his accounts of his favorite games liberally.

In fairness, it might be best to just skip this article altogether and just go read his work.  Lord knows I would but for the fact that I have to write it…


22 November 1997

Tennessee Football vs. Kentucky Football

(5) Tennessee 59 •    Kentucky 31

Commonwealth Stadium  •  Lexington, Kentucky


Some folks might think I am crazy for including the 22 November 1997 contest between Tennessee and the Kentucky Wildcats on my list of great games.  I can understand why they might question my thoughts on this (or my sanity).  This game was anything but a flawless game for the Vols and was hardly the Tennessee defense’s finest hour.  In fact, the game as a whole was pretty darn sloppy, as was the weather.  Still, for reasons which I will attempt to explain (a feat I will likely fail utterly to accomplish), this game still ranks as one of the great games in Tennessee football history.  The short answer as to why can be summed up in two words:

Peyton Manning

I make no bones about it.  I am a huge fan of the guy  who wore No. 16 for the Vols from 1994 to 1998.  As many have pointed out, both Andy Kelly (1989-91) and Heath Shuler (1991-93) could—in their own right—claim to be the greatest Vol quarterback in the history of the program during the time they wore an orange shirt.  Then, starting only a few snaps into the 1994 game against the UCLA Bruins in the Rose Bowl, everyone in Orange Nation began the process of forgetting everything they ever knew about quarterbacks at Tennessee, as true freshman Peyton Manning took the reins from senior Jerry Colquitt, who quite tragically (and downright depressingly) suffered a career-ending injury in the first series of his first start at quarterback.

The rest, as they say, is history…

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Back from wherever it is that I have been, including Home Depot

No, I didn’t quit writing, join the circus, get attacked by Somali Pirates, or decide to take up ad hoc piloting of random airplanes falling pilotless from the sky.  I just decided that it was time for a few days off.  This was due to a number of things.  First there was the fact that—after the conclusion of the Final Four—there wasn’t much to talk about last week.  Secondly, I have been working on trying to get a few things done which, hopefully, will improve a few things here at the Gate in anticipation of football season (and I do really hope that this is the case).  Furthermore, my non-blogging life has required that I do things other than fixate upon football season which, according to the tell-tale little widget over on the right sidebar (that’s this way right arrow for those of you who are directionally challenged), is still more than 140 days off.  Finally, there were three big points which put me in bit of a funk, one which I decided to wallow in for a day or so, those points are as follows:

Pretty much sums up my luck...

  1. Florida Gators, National Champions;
  2. North Carolina Tarheels, National Champions; and
  3. Connecticut Huskies, National Champions.

I guess 2008-09 just wasn’t meant to be my year.  So it goes…

Anyway, all of that said, here I am back again with a number of stream of consciousness observations that I wanted to chase down, and now seems as good a time as any…

Who knew that Home Depot was a hotbed of College Football Conflict…

I live in Eastern North Carolina, I am within 20 miles of the University of North Carolina (a/k/a “Tarhead U”), Duke University, and NC State University.  I am anywhere but in the heart of SEC country and quite a distance from anything resembling real football.  The closest team of consequence would probably be the Carolina Panthers, which is not exactly the same thing.  For this reason, I was a bit surprised this weekend at a brief exchange I had in the parking lot of my local purveyor of all things home improvement related:  Home Depot.

Home DepotMy goal was simple: collect 18 bags of mulch for the yard.  My mind was focused on trying to figure out if there was a way to get out of spending the rest of the weekend playing with wood chips and was less than attuned to matters related to football.  I had already dumped 12 bags of the stuff, and thus was less than cognizant of my “yard hat” which has “Tennessee” emblazoned upon it in letters which could be read from across the room … a large room.

Thus, I was a bit taken aback when I stepped out of my truck to a firm and slightly louder than it should have been greeting from a man in a jeep with a huge-ish Gator head on the spare tire cover:

BOOOOOOO!!  Kiffin!

Again, not fully in command of my football fightin’ instincts at the moment, the best response I could muster was a thumbs up in my heckler’s direction, paired with a wink, and a half-perplexed “How ‘bout ‘cha?!

The point of this seemingly inane tale of my trip to the hardware store (ahem, “Home Improvement Warehouse”) is not meant to warn of the pitfalls attending minor maintenance tasks, to assail Home Depot’s loyalties (I know they are based out of Atlanta, but their colors are orange and white, after all), or to provide a convenient excuse for getting out of those “Honey-Do” lists.  It’s far more subtle than that…

Lane Kiffin is in the Gators’ heads.

At least in my semi-unbalanced mind, my harmless little weekend run-in—paired with the profusion of “Tennessee” signs seen in the video posted by HSH—it seems that Kiffin’s little barbs have hit their mark far beyond the confines East Tennessee.  Some of the Gator faithful agree.  Of course, as the Hoopmaster General discovered, the sparring does come at a bit of price in the form of craziness from the less than sane and those with an axe to grind (or a deadline to meet). Still, as John Pennington pointed out the Blackjack General’s messages are not simply confined to sound bites and quips, but are rapidly approaching the point of real tangible substance.

With no disrespect to Coach Fulmer, I’m betting that in April 2008 my assailant says nothing at all.

I like it!

Moving Right Along … to the Orange & White Game

It’s Spring Football Time in Tennessee!

Yes, you can get a small football fix this weekend by attending the Orange & White Game, scheduled to start at 3:00 at Neyland Stadium.  All sorts of information on the game is available over at UT Sports.com.  Tickets are $5.00 and all proceeds will go to benefit UT’s Hodges Library.  Besides, when else can you get to see the Vols play for $5.00?

For those of you planning on attending the game, I would encourage you to consider meeting up with the guys from Rocky Top Talk who will be meeting in front of the hallowed ground of the Real Gate 21 on Saturday, for more information check out the faux-schedule for the meet-up.  Sorry to disappoint everyone, but Joel, Hooper, and Will will not be signing autographs, but many of the 2009 Vols will be, so don’t get too upset.

On a more substantive note, the Spring Outlook / Team Breakdown is now available for download as well PDF Document.  It is full of stats and perspectives on the squad coming into the Orange & White game.

Unfortunately, I will not be able to attend, but hope to find somewhere to catch the game on the web.  The Orange & White Game is sponsored by Dish Network, however, apparently it will not be televised anywhere, including Dish Network.

Either way, this is the best chance for Orange Nation to get a glimpse of the new look Vols…

Finally, an amazing story from the non-sports world worth giving a look…

“Are you using the autopilot, or are you flying the airplane?”

• Southwest Florida Int’l Air Traffic Control

Me and the Good Lord’s Hands are flying this one…

• Airplane Passenger, Doug White

Those are not words you like to hear from a pilot trying to guide a plane in for landing, but that is what airplane passenger Doug White had to say during his brush with fate earlier this week.  If you haven’t heard about this story, you really should check out the article posted at CNN.com.  White, along with his family were flying home to Louisiana on a twin engine plane when the pilot unexpectedly died shortly after taking off from Fort Meyers, Florida.  There was no co-pilot on board.  As a result, White—who had flying experience, but only in single engine planes—was forced to land the plane on his own.

Fortunately, with the assistance of Air Traffic controllers, White managed to land the plane safely.

For me, the audio recording of White’s conversation with the tower are particularly compelling.  The FAA released the audio recording earlier today.  It is a little on the long side and has several periods of extended silence (5-10 seconds), but giving it a listen will remind you just how great it is to be alive.  From the tension and relief in White’s voice near the end of the recording, I am pretty sure that he is glad.  Seriously, if you have a few minutes give the full recording a listen.

AUDIO:  N559DW — Emergency Landing at Southwest Florida Int’l Airport (Ft. Myers, FL)  |  FAA.gov

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

That one makes my birthday seem like a blessing…

– So it goes…About Lawvol


Image(s) Courtesy ofUTAD / UT Sports.com •  Home Depot / The Auto Blog ||  Audio Courtesy ofFederal Aviation Administration ||   Statement on Fair Use

Walking in Memphis: a Brief Reflection on Reality, Basketball, and Bruce Pearl…

No Pass Out Checks | Gate21

Then I’m walking in Memphis
Walking with my feet ten feet off of Beale
Walking in Memphis
But do I really feel the way I feel

• “>" href="http://gate21.net/2009/04/03/walking-in-memphis-a-brief-reflection-on-reality-basketball-and-bruce-pearl%e2%80%a6/#Walking_Memphis_audio" >Walking in Memphis” by Marc Cohn

Well, it seems that Bruce Pearl will be staying in Knoxville for the foreseeable future, which is good.  The question, however, remains: What are we to make of this “Memphis Incident”?

For starters, I am greatly relieved that Bruce Almighty will still be wearing orange next season.  That is the good news, not that there is necessarily some “bad” news, but keeping Pearl on the sidelines in Knoxville is definitely very good.

That said, what exactly are we to take away from the brief and furious flirtation (so brief and furious that I never even got a chance to comment before it ended) with the notion that Coach Pearl might bolt to the Pyramid City to take the reins as head coach of the Memphis Tigers?  The real answer is probably “nothing.”  Still there are a few thoughts that jump out to me—random observations, I suppose—which seem relevant, if less than timely.

Bruce Pearl is Happy at Tennessee…

It seems to me that Bruce Pearl sent two messages yesterday.  The first is a very positive one, namely that he is happy as coach of the Tennessee Volunteers and has no desire to leave behind what he has begun.  Bruce Pearl likes it here.

Why do I say that?  Well first of all is the obvious: he is staying here.  More importantly, however, is the what he said in his public statement last night.  To me, it makes it clear that Pearl is truly happy to be at Tennessee.

I truly love my job, and I want it to be clear that I’m not interested in any other job.  There’s no place in the country I’d rather be than the University of Tennessee.  My children are happy here in the Knoxville community—one is in high school, one is in middle school and two are currently attending the university.

My staff and I are building a consistent top-25 program and I’m honored and privileged to serve the greatest fans in the country. Tennessee has all the resources necessary to win championships, from our recently upgraded facilities to our ability to schedule.

It’s great to be a Tennessee Vol!

Bruce Pearl commenting on rumors of him leaving Tennessee | UT Sports.com

Now in the era of sports double-talk and lip service (See Bobby Petrino at any point in his career), it is rarely advisable to take public professions of loyalty at face value.  I understand that.  Still, there are different degrees of lip service and there are different types of coaches.  Pearl’s statement was anything but tepid—it was largely unequivocal and pointed.  In other words, he could have simply said “I’m staying,” and left the other assurances out of the discussion; he didn’t.

Second of all, for reasons unknown to me (considering I have never met Pearl), I trust the man.  Maybe that owes to the side of him that exudes infectious enthusiasm about everything to which he is tied; maybe it is because of his well documented history of loyalty at Iowa and Wisconsin-Green Bay; maybe it is because he is a con man and I’m snowed.  Regardless of the reasons, Pearl is unique in my mind because I do believe that he is both loyal and trustworthy as a coach.  My gut tells me that if he was not happy and was considering a move, while he might not come out and say it, he would similarly not effervesce about how much he loves it at Tennessee.

Furthermore, if he had wanted to leave, it would have been hard to argue with his decision given the suggestion that Memphis was prepared to offer up to $ 3.25 million a year (approximately $ 1.25 million more per year than his new contract is reported to provide).

Thus, I believe him when he says that he never intended to leave, and that he truly loves coaching the BasketVolsIf he truly wanted to leave, he would have.

Yeah, yeah, I know—I’ve obviously been drinking the Kool Aid…

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The Cost of Sports — Part 1: Big Orange, Big Costs, Big Recession

No Pass Out Checks | Gate21

So how much is winning worth to you?

This is a question that many have asked and answered over the years.  The reality is that there is no right or wrong answer to this question—it is a personal matter, which really lives outside the confines of “categorical absolutes” and everyday reality.  We all have our limits.  Some are willing to go farther than others.  In the end, though, it is a question of conscience (or of getting caught).

That question is now being supplanted by a new consideration, one which is far more basic and fundamental, and which is bound by the world of reality.

How much are sports worth to you?

I say that this is now bound by reality due to headlines that have become all too common across the country over the last 12 months such as the one in my hometown paper earlier this week.

N&O-01-27-09

That's what you like to see first thing in the morning...

You hardly have to be a news wonk to realize that the economy is seriously in the crapper.  People from all walks of life are being forced to make changes in the way they spend their money and how they live their lives.  With all of the bad news about jobs being cut, investments tanking, and businesses going under many are being forced to cut back not out of thrift but necessity.

Most rational individuals faced with the predicament of making a mortgage payment with dwindling funds or even putting food on the table will usually start by cutting out the things they can live without, namely entertainment and recreation.

Over the past generation, the cost of attending or participating in sports as a fan has increased dramatically.  For example in 1995, the average cost for a ticket to a Carolina Panthers football game was $37.92, in 2008 that average had risen to $63.32, and the Panthers had the fourth lowest ticket prices in the league.  Of course those increases have not been confined to professional sports (which I will address in part 2 of this series).

While food and shelter are obviously not things that a body can go without, tickets to watch your favorite team play are.  That begs the question, is the horizon looking bleak for the financial feasibility and solvency of major sports as we have known them?

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The uglier side of the coaching carousel…

No Pass Out Checks | Gate21

Well, in case you were so overcome with joy at the news that “Kiffin the Elder” (a/k/a “The Full Monte) would be joining Coach Kiffin next Fall in Knoxville—and I can completely understand why you might be—the news out of Auburn is much less pleasant.

Apparently, “War Eagles” are cannibals because at present, the Auburn Tigers are voraciously eating their own…

First of all, I want to make it absolutely clear that I am not purporting to offer any thoughts on whether Gene Chizik was a good hire from a “football” perspective.  First, aside from my remembering that Chizik was on the Auburn staff as a defensive coordinator in the 2004-ish era, I really don’t know enough about the man’s essentials to assess him one way of the other.  I have never been (nor do I plan to become) a devoted follower of the Iowa State Cyclones either, thus I also lack the knowledge to weigh whether Chizik’s 5-19 record as the head coach in Ames really means that much or not.

Second, as a Tennessee fan, I have little room and even less desire to point out the shortcomings of other programs at this particular point in time (“ahem… pot, meet kettle”)…

Third, I don’t have to really even get into the substance of Chizik’s qualifications to realize that all hell has broken loose on the Plains.

There are some very restless natives in Auburn.

Since Gene Chizik’s announcement as the new head coach, the Tiger faithful have literally declared a civil war on a scale which boggles the mind and confounds reason.  The only reaction I have been able to draw thus far is that, based purely upon the reaction of the fans, alumni, and talking heads—completely irrespective of his abilities—Gene Chizik is going to have a very tough time winning at Auburn.

The reason for this is that, with the exception of Auburn AD Jay Jacobs, and perhaps Kirk Herbstreit, there appears to be no one among the Tiger faithful who is, was, or believes that they will ever be happy with this hire.  Of course, this is an understatement of prodigious proportions—somewhat akin to saying that GM is undergoing a “minor financial adjustment” or that Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich has made some “unpopular decisions.”  Only two words accurately describe the situation among the Aubies:

Cataclysmic Meltdown.

For example, listen to the guy ranting and raving in the background as Jay Jacobs returns to Auburn after sealing the deal with Chizik over the weekend.

Jay Jacobs Gets a Welcome Back to Auburn

Wow, now that is some serious fan support!

Now, mind you this is occurring before the official announcement has even been made.  This was not, however an isolated incident.

This pretty much sums up the thoughts in Auburn

This pretty much sums up the thoughts in Auburn

Over at Track ‘em Tigers, the reaction was enough to induce vomiting (you simply have to read through some of the comments), and I am pretty certain that a few of the commenters have since committed suicide.  In particular, the guy who wrote this letter:

Mr. Jacobs

I have no words to express how I feel about the hiring of Chizik as the head football coach at Auburn University. How can anyone be this devoid of wisdom. I have been an Auburn fan for 40 years. I went to school during the Barfield years for goodness sake. During this entire period I have never once even considered wavering in my allegiance to Auburn.

As of now I will turn in my tickets. (scholarship) I will not send another dime of support to the University, and I will join all efforts towards the removal of you and everyone else involved in this ridiculous hire.

You and Dr. Gogue may think you can sit in your ivory towers protected by the powers that be, (and you know to whom I am referring) but you forget Auburn is a grassroots university. Hard working men and women made Auburn the great university it is today. I hold fast to the belief that it is the spirit that lives in these same men and women which will cause us to band together and throw you and the rest of your crowd out on your ears.

It cannot happen soon enough!!!!

• via: Track ‘em Tigers — WarEagle99

The comments over at al.com’s Gold Mine Blog were fairly similar in their lack of … excitement.  My personal favorite was:

Excuse me while I go take down generations of Auburn memorabilia and burn my diploma.

• via: al.com — BigBlueHey

Of course, we all know that comments are often submitted in the heat of the moment, and are less than well thought out—I’m as guilty of that as anyone.  The bad news is that, by and large, even the cooler heads have shown strong misgivings at the hiring of Chizik.  One such “cooler head” is that of Will Collier at From the Bleachers who writes:

All that stuff about “don’t panic” and “they sky is not falling” and “Auburn will hire a good coach?” Never mind all that. Dogs and cats are, in fact, living together in the luxury suites of Jordan-Hare Stadium.

* * * * *

Gene Chizik is almost certainly the worst candidate interviewed during this utter farce of a coaching search. He is a poor recruiter who has completely failed to date as a head coach. Chizik’s own friends in the coaching community openly scoff at the idea of him being a head coach for a major program.

For Auburn’s program, he will be the equivalent of Mike DuBose, although hopefully without the cheating.

* * * * *

I don’t say this lightly, but, Fire Jay Jacobs. And while you’re at it, fire his buddy Tim Jackson, who inexplicably was invited along for the interviews, despite the fact that Jackson is Auburn’s… ticket manager. That makes as much sense as asking a halfwit greenskeeper to sit in on interviews for a corporate CEO.

• via: From the Bleachers

Two more particularly well done pieces can be found at The War Eagle Reader and The Pigskin Pathos as well as some ranting and raving from A Lifetime of Defeats.

All of this begs the question, when does exercising your constitutionally (and in my opinion morally) protected “bitching license” leave you in the proverbial Catch-22?  It seems to me that even if Gene Chizik were the second coming of Vince Lombardi or (to put it more into context) Shug Jordan, that he is now doomed to fail.  In other words, no matter how good he is as a coach, he is already disliked by the fanbase before a single down of football has been played.  I understand that the Auburn faithful are not happy with the hire, and that many feel Tommy Tuberville was essentially fired for no good reason, but at the end of the day if you are an Auburn fan, if you don’t rally around your new coach, it is all but assured that the program will implode for at least 2-5 years, if not more.

Fortunately for Auburn, some of those in the blogosphere have recognized this, including Joe Cribbs Car Wash and Fields of Donahue who writes:

Alright, our new head coach is Gene Chizik.

We’re not happy.

It sucks.

The only thing to do now is support him. I don’t care if he was miserably bad at Iowa State. He is our coach now, and we need to get behind him…

• via: Fields of Donahue

I feel for the Auburn folks.  The Tennessee Volunteers are just coming out of the gloom of what is, without question, the single most difficult football season I’ve ever lived through.  All season long Orange Nation spent a great deal of time ripping one another to shreds before Smiling Mike Hamilton and the Great Punkin finally quieted things.  Like it or not, at least Smiling Mike had the decency and good sense to address the issue with Fulmer in as transparent and public a manner as was probably possible.  That helped start the healing process, and probably accounts for the general sense of excitement surrounding the ascendancy of the Blackjack General as Tennessee’s new football coach, despite the fact that many still have questions about his experience.  That is also precisely why Auburn AD Jay Jacobs is currently public enemy number one down on the Plains.  Still the situations are really not all that dissimilar.

That’s the odd thing.  From where I am sitting—from a purely “factual” perspective—both Tennessee and Auburn are looking at largely untested and unknown head coaches putting on their headsets next fall.  The only difference is that Tennessee is doing everything it possibly can to help boost their new skipper to success, while it seems that Auburn is obliterating every possible chance for their new hire to enjoy the same.  Both men have a tough road and a lot of work ahead of them, but—as things currently stand—it would appear that Kiffin has a much better chance of success simply because the fanbase is uniting behind him.

Right now, I am really appreciating Smiling Mike…

Hopefully, the Tennessee fans out there who are quick to attack will pay attention to this debacle at Auburn and learn.  Sometimes you have to come together, sometimes you have to put differences aside, sometimes you have to bite your tongue.  That is what it means to be part of a team or, as I have described it, a family.  Establishing a tradition always requires unity and sacrifice.

Learn from this, Orange Nation, lest you follow the Tigers down that bitter primrose path…

– Go Figure …Email lawvol


Image Courtesy ofJoe Cribbs Car Wash
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