Posts Tagged ‘Smiling Mike’

HLL: Mike Hamilton Press Conference at 1:00

Headlines, Links & Lies | Gate 21
In case you didn’t know, Smiling Mike Hamilton will be holding a press conference at 1:00 regarding the departure of Lane Kiffin and what the future holds for the Tennessee Volunteers football program.

Streaming video of the news conference will be available via UT Sports, and streaming audio will be available via The Sports Animal.

I am sure all eyes will be on Hamilton and listening to what he has to say. I know I will…

…and if he values his job, I hope he looks mad.

Not sure what to say yet…

Yesterday evening as I was reading about Pete Carroll’s departure from USC, I thought to myself, “gee, I hope they don’t come after Kiffin.” I dismissed this, however, due to the fact that it just didn’t make sense to me that something like that would happen.

Well, apparently it made sense to USC…

Like me, ESPN’s Pat Forde is a bit shocked, and isn’t quite sure how this is going to work out for any of the parties involved.

I suppose that is what I get for spending the evening falling asleep on the couch watching Dirty Jobs with Mike Rowe

I feel like I should say something on the departure of Lane Kiffin, but at this point it almost seems premature.  Obviously, this is going to have a hugely negative impact on not only short-term but perhaps the long-term health of the Tennessee football program.  Beyond that, however, I am really not sure what to think yet and the last thing I want to do is to rush to judgment.  Contemplative and plodding—that’s always been my mantra.

Basilio ”>Tony Basilio, however, already has his thoughts up for all to read, with which I don’t necessarily disagree.  The students on campus have also spoken—via the Rock (**NSFW: Language).  Of course, I can hardly blame them.  Tony Barnhart, on the other hand, is just sad—for Tennessee and for the game of college football.

In the meantime, (and in an attempt to be positive) I suppose I would be remiss if I did not take a brief moment to welcome and send best wishes to the 22nd Head Football Coach at Tennessee, Interim Head Coach Kippy Brown.  I’m not sure this is what he signed on for, but I do wish him all the best and look forward to hearing from him in the coming weeks.

Coach Brown, we’re all behind you and the team…

In the meantime, I have a feeling that Smiling Mike Hamilton is doing anything but smiling right now, and I expect that we will be hearing from him, and that right soon.

More to come…

– So it goes …Email lawvol No McAlisters

Image(s) Courtesy of:   UT ||  Statement on Fair Use

HLL: NY Times Reports NCAA Investigating “Vol Hostesses”

Headlines, Links & Lies | Gate 21

Tennessee FootballOkay, this pretty much sucks…

As the Vol Ambassador pointed out earlier today here on the Gate, according to the New York Times (which, as a general rule, avoids simply making stuff up), the NCAA is currently engaged in a wide-reaching investigation of recruiting at Tennessee under Lane Kiffin, with an emphasis on the use of the so-called “Vol Hostesses,” (with particular attention being paid to Hostess Lacey Earps), who routinely accompany recruits on visits to campus.  This investigation was confirmed by Mike Hamilton, though he declined to comment on the substance , and the UTAD has since issued an official statement.

The real interest appears to be trips taken by some of the Vol Hostesses to watch potential recruits play as high schoolers.  These visits, especially if they result in direct communications related to the recruiting of the athlete are potentially barred under NCAA regulations.  Times reporters Pete Thamel and Thayer Evans noted instances where Vol Hostesses had traveled as distance up to 200 or more miles to see recruits play, and had occasionally exchanged text messages with potential recruits.

As official representatives of the UT Athletic Department, contact by these Hostesses could lead to secondary violations, even if the contact was not sanctioned by athletic department officials.

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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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2009 Big Orange Roundtable: Week 3

This Week’s Roundtable is hosted by:

Your Mother Slept with Wilt Chamberlain

This week’s Big Orange Roundtable is hosted by Thomas the Terrible over at YMSWWC.  As you may have noticed, I have been a bit scarce this week, while HSH has been burning it up with his awesome series of 2009 SEC Football Previews (which, by the way, are now linked and accessible via the links on the countdown widget in the sidebars).  Given the fact that he has done yeoman’s work this week already (and the fact that I have been so un-helpful due to a spate of pesky depositions), this week I am flying solo on the Big Orange Roundtable.  Which pretty much means that this set of responses will suck more than usual.

At any rate, here are my thoughts for the week:

Week 3

1) Now that we have covered the receivers & QB’s, let’s get to the running game.  Just how much improved do you think the running game will be??

bullet Lawvol: Every time I make predictions about how good someone is going to be, how many games someone will win, or how likely it is that Charlie Weiss develops a gravitational field and causes opposing coaches to go into orbit, I look like a fool.  I am awful at this sort of thing.

I suppose that Niels Bohr got it right when he said “Prediction is very difficult, especially if it’s about the future.”

All that said, I do think that the running backs this year have the chance to really do some special things … or fall flat on their faces.  We really have no choice but to lean on them.  My gut tells me that Bryce Brown will be great someday, but that it is simply unreasonable to expect him to come exploding out of the gates from day one.  While he might end up factoring-in significantly by mid-season I don’t see him being the cure-all for the Vols offensive woes from last season immediately.

For this reason, I see Montario Hardesty as the man on which the Vols’ early-season offensive hopes hangs.  If he can stay healthy and stay focused, I think he has the potential to really put up some gaudy numbers behind the re-tooled offensive line with its zone-blocking scheme.  Of course, no matter how good Hardesty may be, if Tennessee cannot improve its passing game at least a little, then defenses are simply going to stack-up to kill the run all day long.  As a result, I think whether Hardesty is able to actually make things happens depends a great deal on whether the quarterback under center can play his role effectively.  If so, then I think that Tennessee’s backs should be more than strong enough to score some points.  If not, then the scores may be low—and the risk of injuries to the running backs great—as opposing defenses pound away at the Vols ground attack.

Still, I am hopeful and optimistic that running backs, now coached by Eddie Gran, are up to the challenge.

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2009 Big Orange Roundtable: Week 2

This Week’s Roundtable is hosted by: 3rd Saturday in Blogtober

This week marks the second edition of the 2009 version of the Big Orange Roundtable and is hosted by the guys over at 3SIB..

Week 2

1)  We will start with an easy one.  Last week, our beloved Rock was relocated across the street to make room for a new building on campus.  What are your thoughts on the Rock’s relocation?

bullet HSH: Being a student, I actually have the slight advantage of seeing the change.  I drove by as the crane was lifting the behemoth out of the ground, and I’ve only seen it once since it’s been moved.  I have to say it’s going be to a little odd driving through the stoplight next to Stokely Athletic Center and the Thornton Athletic Student Center (where all the UT athletes get their school on), looking to my left and not seeing the Rock.  It might take a little bit of time to get used the change come the fall.

For me, it’s just another aspect of a common theme of my years here as a student.  Here’s what’s changed or been built since I came to Knoxville in the fall of 2006: all the recent renovations to Neyland Stadium, the makeover of Thompson-Boling Arena, Pratt Pavilion, a new soccer stadium, a new softball stadium, the brand new aquatic center.

And that’s just the changes on the athletics side of campus.  There’s also been the total change in the old Glocker Building, which has now become Haslam Business Building where all the business majors do their thing.  The Baker Policy Center was risen up on the corner of Cumberland Avenue and 17th Street, replacing the parking lot where my family parked for every game I came to up until I graduated from high school.  Those are two major projects, that I’ve seen started and completed in my days as a student.

Back to the Rock, my only contact with actually came before I was officially enrolled.  I had two of the more enthusiastic Orientation leaders, and late one night during the two-day event we got together and painted the thing.  I would have visual evidence to prove it, but my computer erased my hard drive awhile, thus I have nothing…

The Rock in its new Home

The Rock in its new Home

bullet Lawvol: First of all, I am glad that the Rock did not unceremoniously disappear from campus as a result of the new Student Health Center that is being constructed.  The worst thing imaginable would have been for the university to simply blow the thing up or what have you and cart it off.  I realize the process of relocating the Rock was both onerous and expensive, but I have to give a little credit to university administration (a/k/a “The Big Orange Screw”) for making the right call and preserving this tradition for future generations.

All that said, the last time I painted the Rock was 1997.  I say “painted”—my involvement actually centered more on leaning up against the Rock in a near catatonic state as drool fell from my gaping mouth and I uttered various slurred obscenities at my cohorts.  You see, I was completely pissed drunk overcome by a multitude of circumstances at the time and my recollection of that particular evening of frivolity is fuzzy to say the least.  Still, the Rock does have a special place in my mind due to its tradition of announcing great events, lurid innuendo, and Gameday proclamations.  Considering it is directly across the street from where it used to be located, I doubt there will really be all that much difference.

Of course, I do wonder whether some students may be confused by the relocation—in particular, those suffering from the same … mental confusion … that afflicted me the last time I painted the Rock.  If so, the university may be faced with a long road of maintenance as the drunken masses repeatedly paint the front of the new Student Health Center.

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Alabama gets caught cheating, Kiffin plays with chalk

No Pass Out Checks | Gate21

Somewhere, in front of a chalkboard—his hands coated with chalk dust—Lane Kiffin is smiling…

For the past several months Tennessee fans and the general sports-watching public have heard a near endless discussion about the various secondary infractions which have occurred since Lane Kiffin (a/k/a “the Blackjack General”) took the reins as the head football coach for the Tennessee Volunteers.  Needless to say, some have taken every available opportunity to criticize the University of Tennessee, The UT Athletic Department, Smiling Mike Hamilton, and the Blackjack General himself.  Some of it has amounted to little more than sniping and smack-talk, while others have been decidedly more direct.

Rightly or wrongly, Tennessee has self-reported (or is in the process of investigating with with an eye toward reporting) six secondary violations of NCAA Rules, the most recent coming—as HSH reported just the other day—as a result of the Blackjack General’s recent appearance on ESPN’s “Outside the Lines,” where he discussed, imagine that, secondary infractions with ESPN’s Bob Ley.

A “secondary violation” is defined in the NCAA Manual as follows:

A secondary violation is a violation that is isolated or inadvertent in nature, provides or is intended to provide only a minimal recruiting, competitive or other advantage and does not include any significant recruiting inducement or extra benefit.  Multiple secondary violations by a member institution may collectively be considered as a major violation.

•  2008-09 NCAA Division 1 ManualPDF Document § (emphasis added)

To put this in layman’s terms, secondary violations are the functional equivalent of talking in the NCAA’s rather large and particularly boring class.  Or, perhaps, in Lane Kiffin’s case, they amount to showing-off for all the girls (or in this case, recruits) in the back of class to impress them and passing notes reading:

I like you.  A Lot.

Do you like me?

Check One:  ___Yes  ___No  ___Maybe

— Lane

While this sort of thing—in both Mrs. Elliott’s 6th Period English Class and in the world of NCAA compliance—are annoying, they are largely harmless.  While it is true (again, with both Mrs. Elliott and the NCAA) that enough of these sorts of minor errors along the way can land you in the proverbial Principal’s office, as long as you say you are sorry after each instance (and UT has self-reported all such violations) and space the occurrences out by a day or two, usually there is little punishment to be meted out, aside from being made a spectacle in front of your peers…

… or by having to stay after class and write on the blackboard.


Kiffin at the Chalkboard

Hence, while Lane Kiffin and the UT Athletic Department are probably getting a little tired of having to deal with the issue of secondary violations, they have been merely a bump in the road thus far.

The Alabama Crimson Tide, on the other hand, is now facing a decidedly more serious situation…

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