Thursday, September 20, 2007

Monday, September 17, 2007

Neyland's Game Maxims Evaluation - Florida

Like there is ANY question on what the outcome of this evaluation will be? Gotta fight through the pain to keep the blog rolling. Maybe we'll get some attention.

1. The team that makes the fewest mistakes will win.
This is pretty freaking clear - we allowed a fumble return for a TD, a punt return for a TD, threw an interception, had plenty of missed tackles and plenty of missed assignments. We made more mistakes in this game than every other Florida game this decade. So many mental mistakes. Oh, and the drops, too. Austin Rogers tried to catch a ball with one hand, when he had both hands available. FAIL

2. Play for and make the breaks and when one comes your way - SCORE.

Berry made a break and DID score - a 96 yard INT return for a touchdown. We stopped Florida maybe 3 or 4 times, and we rarely did much with it. We created a muff return for Florida, but they recovered on their own 1 yard line and quickly went 99 yards to score a TD. FAIL

3. If at first the game - or the breaks - go against you, don't let up... put on more steam.
We started to do this. Down 28-6, we started to make some things happen on offense, to pull it to 28-20, but a break went against us, and we quit. The players didn't quit so much, but the coaches did. You know, it ties in with playing green youngsters. Fulmer and Co. say this alot: "He'll make some good plays then 1 big mistake that gets you beat." Well, when down 30, we still saw the same piss poor players who got us down by 30. Why not try some new things with new players? There's nothing to lose when you're down 30. FAIL

4. Protect our kickers, our QB, our lead and our ball game.
I don't even know if this applies. Ainge had a clean jersey, our punters and kickers never got hit. Our lead? Never had one. Our ball game? We were at the mercy of Florida. It was their game, we were just livin' in it. FAIL

5. Ball, oskie, cover, block, cut and slice, pursue and gang tackle... for this is the WINNING EDGE.

Oskie was good. Everything else stunk. Seriously stunk. We didn't cover, we didn't block, we didn't tackle. On Florida's first 2 series, we looked excellent on defense. I thought we had a chance. But no. Our linebackers stink. Our ends stink. Our secondary, even Berry, stunk overall. When you do 1 of 6 outlined above, there is no WINNING EDGE. FAIL

6. Press the kicking game. Here is where the breaks are made.
Kickoffs were awful again. Florida started past their 30 a lot - I think all but one time. Colquitt was told to punt away from PR Brandon James ... he didn't. Lincoln was good, but they decided not to try him on a 47 yarder. FAIL

7. Carry the fight to our opponent and keep it there for 60 minutes.
Did we even BRING the fight to carry? Our defense started out with a fight. Our offense never did. For maybe 10 minutes of the 60, we looked we wanted to battle to the end of time. The other 50? Awful. Our coaches gave up in the 4th quarter, no doubt in my mind. FAIL

Obviously, this is the most embarrassing loss in the Fulmer era. Even more so when you consider what coaches and the team were saying in the preseason. They said they were nasty, they were cohesive, and they had leadership. I call shenanigans. Lies lies lies. This team is honestly worse than the 2005 squad. Absolutely horrendous, and changes need to be made from the top down. Enough is enough.


Saturday, September 15, 2007

It's Time

I sit here, with a heavy heart and eyes full of mist. I sit here, with my head hanging, hands on my brow, wondering where things went wrong. What happened to us? Where is the pride of our university? Where is the fire? Where is the answer?

Tennessee football for me will always be connected in my thoughts to my family. From the age of 5, my father took me to home game after home game, every year until he could no longer afford that choice. Then, my father, my mother, and I would spend every Autumn Saturday together, no matter the opponent, no matter the other things we could do on those days. We sat together, with pride for the University of Tennessee, and watched every second of every game we could. With my mother in poor health, and my father working his body to the max, Tennessee football is a way for me to remember a lot of good times with them. The key word is "remember." Memories.

These memories, which I will carry with me until my grave, were brought to me by a lot of characters, but mostly led by University of Tennessee head coach Phillip Fulmer. He led my now alma mater to a national championship, 2 SEC titles, and numerous numerous Saturdays of victory. I have been and always will be proud to wear orange.

This is why I'm so saddened to say what we all want to say. The thought alone depresses me. Coach, it's time. You know it is. You know in your heart of hearts that it's time. You've done all you can do. At some point in every person's life, he faces a moment of clarity, where he realizes he is human, a mortal. Tonight, no doubt, you're sitting with a heavy heart, knowing what I know. What we all know.

I consider you a good man with a kind heart and the best of intentions. But it's time. You and I share a bond - we're legit Tennessee Volunteers, we spent 4 years on the same campus, dealing with the same student issues. We are brothers in orange. We bleed it, we live it, we love it. And for that reason, it's time. And you know it.

There is no other image this century that epitomizes what's going on in our football program, and the image will never be forgotten by me. After Florida went up 14-3, the camera was on you, Coach. What did I see, in the FIRST quarter? You let out the biggest sigh, your cheeks filled with air. That sigh was a sigh of confusion. This game, this new game of college football, has passed you, Coach Chavis, and even Coach Cutcliffe, by. The look on your face told the story, and I knew then, in the 1st quarter, down only 11, that we stood no chance. And that hurts. I talk 365 days a year about the memories you helped bring me and my family. And today, I was hurt.

It's time, and you know it. It hurts just to say it, to type it, to think it. I'm literally in a state where crying is a possibility. My memories are becoming tainted by a more recent pain. I can't let that happen, and you, with as much love for this university, can't either. You need to leave as head coach with warm memories of your years in that position. Tennessee is us, and we are Tennessee, and I never want either of us to lose that.

But it's time.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Knocked the F Out

In response to Orson Swindle's entry about Joey Kent getting demolished in 1996, I'm posting a video that a fellow UT fan posted on YouTube, this one of Kelvin Kight getting knocked the F out by Eddie Moore. Rex Grossman at his best, making ridiculously ill-advised throws, typically resulting in hatred from his receivers. Rex was trying to be Brett Favre on this one, I believe. If we continue with that analogy, then Eddie Moore is a bottle of painkillers.

Orson, this week, I hate your guts. This week, I think dirtbags find you disgusting. And your feet smell like 3 month old carrot soup that was left in the fridge. Trust me, it's bad.

Monday, September 10, 2007

It's Florida Week!

The greatest week of the year, Florida Week, is here! I hope to have a lot of content for this game, but to kick it off, here is a quote from Johnny Majors, that applies to this week and sums up how I feel.

"They don't have any respect for ya'. Make 'em remember you for as long as they live ... the way you hit. And the way you knock 'em down downfield ... the way we hustle. Attack attack attack ... always attack."

Neyland's Game Maxims Evaluation - Southern Miss

Every week I'll be looking at every one of Neyland's 7 game maxims and dissecting the game to see how well our Vols did in achieving those goals. The win over Southern Miss was so necessary, and if our team all around plays like against Florida like we did in the 2nd half against USM, we'll upset Florida in the Swamp.

1. The team that makes the fewest mistakes will win.
This maxim is a bit misleading. Does the General mean turnovers? I don't think so. I think he means mistakes all the way down to man on man blocking, or missing a cut as a running back. For the most part, though, this can be determined by looking at penalties and turnovers, and any other glaring mistakes. Tennessee had 2 late 4th quarter fumbles (Crompton and Creer) in a game where the outcome was not in doubt. Southern Miss had 3 turnovers, plus two other fumbles they recovered. Tennessee had 6 penalties to USM's 5. Pretty clear that Tennessee made less mistakes. CHECK

2. Play for and make the breaks and when one comes your way - SCORE.
Tennessee scored 10 points off two Southern Miss fumbles, and they were when the game was close. It was 20-16 when Tennessee recovered a Southern Miss fumble and took it to the house on the ensuing drive. Tennessee also scored a safety after a big blitz and hit by McKenzie. CHECK

3. If at first the game - or the breaks - go against you, don't let up... put on more steam.

This is probably the maxim that Tennessee achieved the most. Southern Miss was giving us fits in the first half. Big plays, mobile QB, screens that went for 15 yards. Southern Miss was leading 16-10 late in the 2nd quarter, and were down only 17-16 at half. Then the coaches, players, and fans revved it up. It was a different team in the 2nd half, as evidenced by the 2nd half score of 22-3, and holding USM to 100 yards in the 2nd half. CHECK

4. Protect our kickers, our QB, our lead and our ball game.
Our kickers were protected, Ainge took a few hits early, but none were big, none were sacks, and he had a clean jersey in the 2nd half. Once we took the lead in the 2nd quarter, it was for good, and the 2nd half was dominating. We played our ball game, turning to a power running game with Arian Foster in the 2nd half. Lennon Creer then sped around tired defenders to ice the game. CHECK

5. Ball, oskie, cover, block, cut and slice, pursue and gang tackle... for this is the WINNING EDGE.
Our oskie wasn't good, as evidenced by Rico McCoy's ridiculous attempt at THE PLAY at the end of the 2nd half. I know our coaches don't teach that, as you could tell by Fulmer's eating of McCoy's soul, that started with "WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU THINKING?!" We didn't cover well, we didn't tackle all that well in the 1st half, but it was good in the 2nd. We blocked well, we did some gang tackling. This one is tough. For me, one McCoy play stands out more than his 2 big hits. In the 1st half, Fletcher took a screen out of the backfield and McCoy pursued. Fletcher juked him and McCoy slid on all fours without touching Fletcher, so, although it's close... FAIL

6. Press the kicking game. Here is where the breaks are made.
Another tough one. Daniel Lincoln was 3/3, with a long of 47, which is very encouraging. The punt game was good, with Cunningham putting it inside the 20, even when he didn't have the length we're used to. However, kickoffs were continually short, and our coverage was awful. Southern Miss started their drives 7 of 13 times past the 30 yard line. We did recover a fumble on one of their kickoffs, so this is so hard to call. We failed in only one aspect of the kicking game. CHECK

7. Carry the fight to our opponent and keep it there for 60 minutes.

I feel this maxim is hard to interpret. Does the General want us to leave our starters in for blowout 4th quarters? Does he mean in close games, never ever give up for a second? I truly don't know. I believe he means, regardless of who is in the game, play hard, fight hard, and win the battles. Did we do that? We scored 10 points in the 4th quarter. On Crompton's fumble, it was a pass play with less than 5:30 left in the game. Creer ran hard with GREAT blocking until the end of the game. We gave Southern Miss nothing in the 2nd half. CHECK

I truly enjoyed analyzing our play using this outline. I think it's a unique way to gauge how well we achieved our goals. You know Fulmer preaches the maxims, as he has the players recite all 7 before every game. He breathes them, and so should the team. This week, after a 39-19 victory over CUSA favorite Southern Miss -


Thursday, September 06, 2007

Phil Fulmer Hot Seat Danger Level: 0-1

Was That Really a Fumble?

An interesting piece of NCAA rule has been posted on Volquest by someone, and carried over to Volnation by yours truly. But before I get into the conversation about the Ainge "fumble," I want to make it clear that Cal deserved to beat us, and this play, in the end, was not the reason our Vols lost. However, I think it's interesting to discuss the rule of this play, and the complete ignorance of the rule by Kirk Herbstreit and the officials.

Here is the play in question:

And here is the NCAA rule regarding a play like this. PAY CLOSE ATTENTION TO THE VERY END OF THE RULE!

"If a Team B player contacts the passer or ball after forward movement begins and the ball leaves the passer’s hand, a forward pass is ruled regardless of where the ball strikes the ground or a player (A.R.

So, now, *if* Ainge's forward motion has begun, the landing point of the ball, whether backward or forward, is irrelevant. Is Ainge's arm going forward? It's hard to tell, but I believe it is. Why? Because of the trajectory of the ball after the hit. If Ainge just has the ball in grasp without forward motion, does the ball fly UP like that? I don't think so. The call on the field was a fumble, which is baffling to me. The officials should know this rule, and should call that incomplete.

In the end, this play wasn't why Tennessee lost, but could it have changed the game? Sure! That early momentum can change everything after that moment. Like a butterfly effect, if you will. Still, Cal won this game because they were more prepared and wanted it more. I do wonder how it would have gone if this were called correctly.

Your thoughts?