Posts Tagged ‘Tee Martin’
This Week's Roundtable is hosted by:
This week’s Big Orange Roundtable is hosted by Vol Junkies Buy Macrobid Without Prescription, , 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:
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?
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...
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.
As for whether I think it is selfish for Lane Kiffin to keep Berry from playing on offense, that one is easy to answer. No, not one bit. In fact, I feel the opposite. To me, changing the way you field a player for the sole purpose of advancing that player’s interests is selfish—even if it adds prominence to the team or the program as a whole. As the old saying goes, “there is no ‘I’ in ‘team’.” In my opinion, any coach with a Heisman hopeful should treat that player in exactly the same way he would any other player. To do anything else not only flies in the face of the team concept, but can be woefully dangerous in terms of its effect on team morale—just ask Heath Shuler and the Tennessee offensive line that played in the 1993-94 Citrus Bowl.
Were Kiffin to decide independent of the Heisman race that Berry needed to play on offense, I would have no problem with it, in fact it might be extremely exciting. To do so just for the sake of Heisman balloting, however, is simply not something I think is acceptable.
Furthermore, I question whether suddenly playing a player in a new position would actually help or hinder the chances of winning voters’ eyes. This season is filled with change already—from top to bottom. Berry, just like everyone else on the Vols’ squad, is busy learning new schemes and concepts from the new coaching staff. Furthermore, the sheer size and scope of the playbooks for Tennessee is really quite staggering. I have heard from a reliable source that, up until 1997, no offensive player in the modern era had ever learned the entire offensive playbook until Peyton Manning, and he only accomplished that feat as a senior.
To me, adding a whole new facet—offense—to the game for Berry would likely result in a fall-off in his performance on defense. It adds one more thing that he has to keep track of in his head and doubles the already considerable pressure that being pumped as a superstar brings with it. In then end, I think there is probably more to lose than there is to gain.
2) Do you think Kiffin secretly wishes he would have held onto Taj Boyd?
HSH: Nope, not all, for two reasons. First, as we all know, Kiffin's a confident fellow. He has his plan, he knows what he wants and how he wants to go about it. And he believes in what he's doing.
He evaluated Boyd, saw that he might have lacked pure arm strength and that he made have had some issues coming off knee issues. So he told Boyd what he told him. I think Tennessee's in good shape with Tyler Bray and they might get Memphis' Barry Brunetti to switch his commitment to West Virginia, and the recent run on WR recruiting, what QB wouldn't want to come to Tennessee and throw to those guys?
Lawvol: Well, whether he does or doesn’t, is really irrelevant now. What is, is.
That said, I doubt that the Blackjack General, has given more than a few seconds thought to the matter considering his staff and this no-holds-barred approach to recruiting. I am sure that Boyd probably appreciated the honesty from Kiffin in telling him that he simply didn’t feel that Boyd would fit in the Vols’ system. I know I find it refreshing. Either way, like HSH, I feel certain that Kiffin will find the right person and it’s not like the Vols haven’t started to get looks from some good players. After all, though we do not yet know how a Lane Kiffin-coached team will perform on the field, he has made it clear he knows how to recruit. Furthermore, trying to make a player work when they really are not suited to your system just leads to disappointment for everyone involved.
I say get the right player for Tennessee, even if that means waiting a bit. I for one am glad to see that Kiffin is willing to do just that.
3) Is this the most excited you have been for a football season to start EVER?
HSH: In recent memory, yes. Maybe 2006, Macrobid over the counter, Purchase Macrobid online, because I had just started school up here in Knoxville and the big opener with Cal and Florida coming in two weeks following that. Perhaps 2005, Macrobid blogs, Macrobid cost, because of all the hype and that defense and the "momentum" from the previous season.
But this is different. It seems like it's been a year since Kiffin was hired and we went through the staff hiring and the coups on National Signing Day, the verbal slap of Urban Meyer and the secondaries.
Now it's go-time. Everything's going to be new, fast shipping Macrobid, Macrobid long term, so that adds a bit of intrigue to the whole thing, but the energy Lane, purchase Macrobid for sale, Buy Macrobid online cod, Monte and Coach O have brought certainly have had their effects on the players and us as fans. Amidst all the energy though, we have to remember that Tennessee's not going to win the SEC this year. This isn't going to be a one-year turnaround and we have to be a little patient, Macrobid gel, ointment, cream, pill, spray, continuous-release, extended-release, Macrobid schedule, prepare for some of the usual pains and just enjoy the climb. The Vols have 8 home games this year, so hopefully the fans are ready to do their part in helping the team.
Lawvol: That’s a tough question to answer. For me, discount Macrobid, Buy Macrobid without a prescription, the most exciting pre-season run-up to kickoff in my lifetime was getting ready for Peyton Manning’s senior year in 1997. The Vols were picked to be stellar and were ranked in the pre-season top-3 in all the polls. It also happened to be my senior year in Knoxville. I suppose I would still say that there was more “excitement”—in the sense of there being a real belief on the part of everyone that the Vols might win the whole thing—in 1997. If we are talking about just sheer anticipation because you simply have no idea what to expect, then I would have to say that this year is on top.
Of course, ordering Macrobid online, Macrobid maximum dosage, it is worth noting that in 1998 I had very low expectations of what Tennessee would do prior to the season getting under way. What with Manning graduating and a virtual unknown named Tee Martin starting his first game at quarterback, I figured that the Vols would probably find rough going for at least the first few games of the season. That season, get Macrobid, Macrobid use, however, turned out pretty well for the Vols.
Either way, buy cheap Macrobid, Cheap Macrobid no rx, I am always stoked before the first kickoff and it seems to increase exponentially as the first game approaches. There is so much to be excited about this year and—no matter what happens—I feel like this will be a good year for the Vols as they progress toward the future.
After all, a lousy football season is better than no football season at all…
4) A quick diversion from football and onto Basketball, Macrobid mg. Buy Macrobid from mexico, Do you think that Bruce’s style of basketball is a deterrent to the one and done type players, due to the fact one and done-rs and top recruits are looking for more minutes and to be the center of attention?
HSH: I don't think it's Bruce Pearl's style as much as it the fact that we're Tennessee. Just to be brutally honest, taking Macrobid, Where can i cheapest Macrobid online, if you're a a high school kid who has obvious NBA talent, wouldn't you want to showcase that on the biggest stage possible?
I know Bruce has taken our program to heights it's never been before and I hope he never leaves Knoxville. But we're still Tennessee. I know Michael Beasley went to play in relative obscurity at Kansas State and still managed to be the second pick in the draft, rx free Macrobid, Macrobid trusted pharmacy reviews, but the point still remains, at least in my mind.
We're not near the top of the list of schools a future NBA star and one-year college player is going to go to increase his stock. On top of that, Macrobid from canadian pharmacy, Macrobid reviews, there are all of two ex-Vols in the Association right now—C.J. Watson now in Orlando and Marcus Haislip just signed by the Spurs. Watson wasn't drafted and Haislip has spent the last few years in Europe after being a bust of a lottery pick.
The bottom line to me is this: our prestige has gone up exponentially the last four years under Pearl, Macrobid pharmacy, Macrobid dosage, but we're still Tennessee, and we still aren't exactly pumping out NBA players a la places like Carolina, order Macrobid online overnight delivery no prescription, Buy Macrobid online no prescription, Texas, UCLA, effects of Macrobid, Buy generic Macrobid, Kansas, UConn, Macrobid no rx, Macrobid no prescription, Memphis State and so on.
Lawvol: Frankly, I hope it is because I have little tolerance for the one-and-done mentality.
Most of the “in-and-out, australia, uk, us, usa, Where to buy Macrobid, thanks-for-the-cred, see ya!” type of players are not the sort that I want to see Tennessee recruiting. The whole “student athlete” thing should still mean something. I am dedicated to Tennessee and have been since the day I decided that I would attend college there. I expect the players we put on the floor to be not only be great athletes, is Macrobid safe, After Macrobid, but also good representatives for the university, and good people. I am not naive enough to believe that all the players we recruit are completely free of the ulterior motive of wanting to play professionally and perhaps using the Big Orange as the springboard to making that a reality. I also will freely acknowledge that I can hardly blame a player for leaving early when they are all but guaranteed to instantly become wealthy.
All I ask is that the players wearing the orange be committed to Tennessee while they are here, online buy Macrobid without a prescription. Order Macrobid from United States pharmacy, I have no problem with them dreaming of the future or making decisions based upon that future. What I do have a problem with is when players simply see Tennessee (or any other school for that matter) as little more than a way to get their ticket punched as quickly as possible.
But then again, I am a lawyer and am generally a disagreeable sort…
The Rest of the Roundtable:
Having wasted your time on our 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):
- Rocky Top Talk
- 3rd Saturday in Blogtober
- MoonDog Sports
- Vol Junkies
- Pigskin Pathos
- Bleeding Orange
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Look, it was UAB - to me we could have beat them 77-3 and it wouldn't have meant diddly squat. Well, we didn't. It was more of what I expected: our defense would shut them down on the scoreboard and the offense would take about a half to get going. There's no reason to lose sleep over beating a team 35-3. As they say, you're only as good as your last game, and for us it's now a win.
As an aside the BYU-UCLA massacre only proves that what happened two weeks ago in the Rose Bowl was a complete and total fluke. Did it still happen? Yes, and that score only makes us look worse. But it was a fluke, and we can all agree on that now, can't we?
Back to the UAB game, I'm a glass half-full type, so I'll point out some of the positive things from this game - or
reasons logical stretches for hope that Florida won't run us out of our own stadium. First and foremost, no one got hurt and some of the backups got some game experience, always a good thing for these type of games.
OK, Jonathan Crompton still wasn't very good, but he was better. He went 19-for-31, and I thought the playcalling - though we still need to run the ball much much MUCH more (like 65-35) - was better in terms of making it easier for JC. Will screens to Lucas Taylor work against Florida? I have no idea.
Of his 12 incompletions, Luke Stocker dropped three and there were about three more. His first INT was simply a great play by the UAB defender (though Crompton probably shouldn't have forced it). We saw slight improvement, but improvement nonetheless.
Our running backs are awesome. Foster, Hardesty, and Creer need to be fed the ball many, many times. Lawvol and I were talking after the game about how Clawson needs to find a way to get Foster and Hardesty on the field at the same time. The defense would have no clue what to do. If this offense has what you can call a "strength," it's pounding the rock. Let's do that about 50 times against Florida, OK Dave?
Lucas Taylor and Gerald Jones had nice games. Luke Stocker is better than those passes he dropped - he's just getting those out of the way before Florida. I still just think there are too many good athletes on this offense for it to be as bad as 2005. Hence, I'm hopeful
The only issues on defense I really saw were missed tackles. Once again, just getting them out of the way before Florida. It's fixable. And if you miss tackles against Florida, what do you get? Well, last year...
The strength of this defense is easily the secondary. I'm all for playing five of those studs with Rico McCoy and Ellix Wilson at LB. One thing that was pointed out to me was the lack of pressure without blitzing. Wilson blitzed quite a bit, thus leaving the middle open. Hello, Percy Harvin on a quick slant. Still, I saw nothing that really discourages the notion of this defense not being pretty solid.
Anyways, stay tuned, because Lawvol will have his thoughts up here soon, and I'll also be ripping into our sorry excuse for a student section (we're talking major rant here). And for your enjoyment, here's some pictures I took from before the game and my seat in Section D, Row 10...[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Does Eric Berry play football better...or does he dress better? Fresh..."][/caption] [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="221" caption="Berry and Demetrice Morley were the last two Vols through - saving the best-dressed for last, obviously"][/caption]
Eric Berry (left) and Demetrice Morley were the last two Vols through the Vol Walk and they also happened to be the best-dressed. That's just pure freshness right there from our stud safeties...[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Lawvol goes to Gate 21, I went into Student Gate 4 Saturday"][/caption] [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="It has been 10 years since 1998, and Tee Martin was honored pregame, as each home game will honor players from that glorious run. Tee was also on the actual game ticket as well"][/caption] [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="The UAB mascot was just plain awesome - though I would NOT have wanted to be in that suit in that heat"][/caption]
[caption id="" align="alignright" width="115" caption="Tee Martin vs. Florida State"][/caption]
This Saturday, the University of Tennessee will kickoff its celebration of the Tenth Anniversary of the Vols' 1998 National Championship. As part of that celebration, immediately prior to this week's game against UAB, the Tennessee Volunteers will honor the first in a series of former Vol footballers who played a role in that championship -- quarterback Tee Martin.
Martin was truly one of the unsung heroes of the 1998 squd, who deserves far more credit than he ever received. I found a really great piece by Marvin West which looks at all of the comparisons that were made between Martin and Peyton Manning, which concludes that Martin deserves all the praise he gets this weekend. West writes:
Peyton was the quintessential quarterback, a genuine thoroughbred, great arm, marvelous reads and checks, flawless form. If you look up quarterback in my dictionary, Manning’s mug shot is the illustration.
Tee was just a winner. He wasn't a perfect passer. He was a fine leader but never glorified as a great strategist or field general. What he did was good enough. Effective.
His ring says national champion.
I sincerely hope that all the Vol-faithful will show up to Neyland Stadium a few minutes early, take a moment to remember the "lunch-bucket brigade" that was the 1998 Tennessee Volunteers, and send a big thank you to one of the great players who made the magic of that season possible.
Image Courtesy of: AthlonSports.com Marvin West writes for the Knoxville Shopper-News and is the author of “Legends of the Tennessee Vols”
19 September 1998
(2) Florida 17 • (6) Tennessee 20
Due to exceptionally bad planning on my part, I graduated from the University of Tennessee in four years -- making my trip across the stage to collect my diploma in May of 1998...
Cartoon Courtesy of the Detroit News
I say it was bad planning because, as fate would have it -- after traveling across the country with the Pride of the Southland for four years, following the Vols to every game -- when Tennessee’s 1998 "season of destiny" rolled around, I was living more than six hours away in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. I was a student at Tarhead State (UNC) engaged in my "Trade School" studies (I call law school that mainly to annoy all the Tarhead grads who infest the area where I now live) and quite far removed from my passion for Tennessee Volunteers Football.
Thus was my lot...
For what it is worth, I blame all of this on Joel at Rocky Top Talk since, as he and I both realized a few months back, he was my "teacher" in a crib-course on how to do well on law school entrance exams, and thus Joel is totally responsible for my entry into this sordid profession and my departure from East Tennessee exactly one year too early (This all makes perfect, well-reasoned, and orderly sense in my mind, in much the same way that Alabama coach Mike DuBose ultimately concluded that "Jesus wanted us to lose to Tennessee").
Anyway, Tennessee opened the season versus the Syracuse Orangemen, and managed to hang on to victory by the absolute narrowest of margins -- namely, Jeff Hall’s foot. The Gators, on the other hand, had beaten the living hell out of some school whose name eludes me, but I am sure it has "North", "South", "Central" "Left", "Up", or "Sideways" in its name.
After the 34 to 33 victory in the Syracuse game, I was somewhat less than hopeful about the Vols chances of winning against "Lord Spurrier and his Reptile Renegades."
Nevertheless, given my incurable and uncontrollable addiction to traveling great distances, at considerable expense, to have your dreams crushed and your soul scarred, I climbed in my Volkswagen and headed back toward Knoxville for the showdown between the Florida Gators and the Vols. This was the first time I drove from Eastern North Carolina to Tennessee for a football game -- it was a new experience. Now, however, I have made this journey so many times that I have all but memorized every single exit along Interstate 40 between the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill area and Knoxville, and now I can (and on occasion do) drive it while sleeping.
As you might imagine, when I arrived in the Volunteer City, I didn’t have a ticket. After searching up and down Cumberland Avenue for an hour-or-two, I finally managed to find a single ticket, in return for all of the remaining money I had to eat on for the rest of my first semester of law school (making sure not to repeat my 1992 mistake of buying student tickets).
Left to Right: My Ticket to the 1998 game • My friend's ticket to the same game • My infamous student ticket from the 1992 game when I wasn't yet a student
Despite the fact that my ticket told me that my butt was supposed to be planted in Section ZZ15 in the North Endzone Upperdeck, I chose Row 18 of Section D -- the heart of the student section -- as my vantage point for the game, since all of my friends were on the "5-year plan" (or 6, or 7, or ...) and that is where they were situated. Considering that there were somewhere between 250 and 5,000 people crammed into that row, and each of those around it, apparently I wasn’t the only one bending the rules -- or the bleachers on which we all stood, until they finally gave way and broke off of the concrete risers in the 4th-quarter.
The contest opened with the "Challenger," the bald eagle soaring his way down from the North endzone across the Pride of the Southland during the National Anthem. How exactly that beautiful bird could find where he was supposed to go amidst the screaming of nearly 108,000 fans with flashbulbs turning the stands into a bank of strobe lights, is beyond me. What a way to start a hot and steamy fistfight.
And boy was it hot and steamy that night...
This is a gross understatement, almost on par with phrases such as "Michael Jackson is a little odd," "Saddam Hussein was not a very nice man," or "O.J. Simpson seems as if he would make a less than ideal husband." I would describe the weather that night as somewhat akin to being trapped in Satan’s Crotch (Wow, I really can’t believe I just used that metaphor...) and this was a night game.
As for the game itself, there really is only one way to describe it which seems, to me, to fit ...
... "Forced Stalemate."
Neither team could ever get any separation from the other on the scoreboard -- hence "stalemate." I add "forced" because -- at least by my mind -- the two teams were not even.
On paper, the Gators had an overall advantage. When it came to Tennessee’s offense versus Florida’s defense, however, Florida -- in theory -- seemed far superior. Tennessee had a completely green and un-tested quarterback who had only one complete game under his belt, which he had barely managed to win. Florida, on the other hand, had a team peopled with demons from the seventh level of hell, coming in with a No. 2 ranking and the No. 1 ranked defense in the country, led by Jevon Kearse and Johnny Rutledge.
This game was decided on nothing more than heart...
Facing the tandem quarterback team of Jesse Palmer and Doug Johnson, the Tennessee defense came out with a vengeance, and ignoring the hype for the Gators, the Vols caused and recovered three fumbles in the first half along with 2 sacks.
While there were many huge plays in this game, in my mind, the one play which always stands out as the "one" in this contest, came in the first half, rather than near its conclusion. Early on, the Gators managed a 10-play drive down to the goal line, and seemed poised to score. The defense, however, bowed its back. As Florida's Terry Jackson rushed toward the endzone, Al Wilson made a mammoth stop of Florida’s march to six points. Instead of a Florida popping the ball into the checkerboards, Florida was stopped short, and when the whistles blew, Al Wilson and Raynoch Thompson had the ball. In my opinion this play completely defined the outcome of the game.
Even with the explosive performance by the Tennessee defense, however, Palmer and Johnson, had an impressive combined 216 passing yards in the first half.
While the defense exhibited its fire, Tennessee’s offense only managed 10 points in the first half. Still, the much touted Florida defense gave up more rushing yards in the first two plays of the game than their 50-yard average prior to kickoff, as Jamal Lewis and Shawn Bryson combined for 64 yards and Tennessee’s first touchdown of the night. Jeff Hall would add a field goal in the second quarter. Thus, Tennessee clung to a 10-3 lead which held precariously until Jesse Palmer marched the Gators down the field for a 10-play 67-yard drive leaving the score knotted at 10-10 at the half.
When the teams came back on the field after halftime, Tennessee’s defense continued to pour-on the pressure. First, the defense fell on another Gator fumble. Then, Tennessee’s Deon Grant assured his place in the highlight reel with an acrobatic one-handed interception in the fourth quarter which gave the Vols the ball at midfield.
Then, with around 8-and-a-half minutes remaining in the third quarter, Tennessee found itself sitting on Florida’s 29-yard line with the ball. Tee Martin looked to Peerless Price who completely faked Dock Pollard allowing Price to gain the advantage. Price leapt for all he was worth, snatching the floater, which Martin lobbed his way, out of the air.
Here’s John Ward with the call...
(click play to hear audio)
GIVE HIM SIX!!!
It was at that moment, I believe, that the Orange Nation first realized that the Vols could win this game. With that understanding, Neyland Stadium was snowed under in "white noise." Still, every time the crowd believed that the Volunteers had victory in their grasp, and the losing streak was about to snap, Florida answered back. Even with a 17-10 lead, everyone knew the game was not over.
Within two minutes, however, Florida re-asserted itself. On third-and-11 from Florida’s own 30-yard line, Jesse Palmer passed to McGriff, who never even broke his stride en route to a 70 yard touchdown as he streaked down the sideline.
Once again ... Stalemate.
Throughout the fourth quarter, the defenses shined as the offenses for both teams floundered. Neither team could manage a score, and thus, when the clock expired, the game was still tied at 17-17. The first ever overtime game held in Neyland Stadium was about to commence.
I remember watching the clock hit zero and thinking "this thing is going to spin out of control, and we’ll be lucky to escape." After nearly 3 hours of constant screaming, I took the 30 seconds before the coin toss to slag back a family-sized, watered-down, sort-o’-Coke-flavored beverage that one of the vendors was hawking. I sat there, rubbing my eyes and my head trying to figure out whether Tennessee was done for.
The Vols were tired -- that was obvious -- but so were the Gators. I knew in my head that we needed a touchdown in the first overtime if we were to possibly survive.
This just proves that my head is an empty and vacuous black hole, apparently filled with little more than string cheese...
Tennessee got the ball first. It was clear that Florida was banking on their defense -- which had held the Volunteers to 235 total yards in regulation -- to finish the deal in hopes that their offense could dig deep one last time and come up with a touchdown. In all honesty -- had I been a betting man -- I’d have given them the upper hand. The forced stalemate could only last so long.
Tee Martin did not start overtime in a very encouraging fashion -- he threw back-to-back incompletions on first and second-down. To make matters worse, a penalty backed the Vols up all the way to the 37-yard line -- not even Jeff Hall could hit a 54 yard attempt. Then, miraculously, on third-down, Tee Martin scrambled out of the pocket and ran for his life straight to the center of the field and picked up 14 precious yards.
In a replay of the preceding game, Jeff Hall came out to try and give the Vols the advantage...
The kick by Hall is in the air. The kick by Hall is ... Goo-dah!
Thus, Tennessee had a 3-point lead, but that would mean little if the Gators got into the checkerboards. The Tennessee defense truly stepped-up, and had to be playing on nothing more than fumes at that point ... that and heart. After giving up a first down, the defense played the pivotal series of the game -- answering Florida's attack with an absolutely smothering pass rush, and stymieing the Florida offense, leading up to a third-down prayer lobbed toward the endzone, that probably would have been a touchdown except for the fact that Al Wilson had an unprotected lightning blitz up the middle and connected at the exact second the ball was thrown. That incompletion meant it was time for Florida to kick its 32-yard field goal, and send the game into a second overtime.
It is very easy, as a fan in the seats, to consider field goals "automatic." After this game, I’ve never considered them automatic, and I truly came to appreciate how important the kicking game is. I am willing to bet that Steve Spurrier feels the exact same way.
The only person that can describe Florida’s Collins Cooper’s 32-yard kick is John Ward, thus, I’ll let him have the honors...
(click play to hear audio)
That is still my all-time favorite call by John Ward...
With that, Tennessee’s losing streak against Florida -- stretching back to the 1992 game -- was over. Bedlam broke out in Neyland Stadium, and the field was completely engulfed by fans. In less than 35-seconds, both goal posts came down -- one of which presumably still resides in the Tennessee River where it was hurled.
Above: The post-game pandemonium. Below: Al Wilson celebrating the victory.
Here’s a few video highlights courtesy of Fred Thompson and John Ward:
Of course the News Sentinel had it’s thoughts as well...
I can honestly say, that the 1998 Florida game is still probably the single most exhilarating night of football I’ve ever seen in Neyland Stadium, and it still stands out to me as one of the Vols' finest moments.
The celebration that night was unbelievable. Who knew that there were even bigger celebrations to come...