Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Big Orange Roundtable, Volume 1

Finally! One of the largest college team blog communities has gotten it's collective backside in gear and created the Big Orange Roundtable. It's something we've all pondered for awhile, so, with the diligence and bribery from The Ghost of Neyland at the 3rd Saturday in Blogtober, we have the first round of questions! He's running this thing, and unlike Nick Saban, I have time for this. Go here for the questions: mash it.

Also, here are some answers from participants already! Moondog is fast, and UT Vols Football in a close second (which sounds similar to our actual program right now).

3rdSIBn asked to keep it PG-13, so I'll make sure to use Battleship Galactica

1.) How good/bad do you think Jonathan Crompton will be in his first year as a Tennessee starting quarterback and what makes you think that?

Heizmen ZOMG~!!!! No, really, he should be fine. He doesn't need to be a 3,000/30/8 guy to get this team to championship level. He needs to be able to sell the play-action pass, get the ball into the hands of playmakers, occasionally throw the deep go route, and make a few plays when the pocket collapses. If Jon throws for more than 2,500 yards and keeps the interceptions to under 12, this team will win the SEC East again. Let's say he puts up 2,700 yards, 27 touchdowns, and 12 interceptions - wouldn't you guess we'd be a 2 loss team or better? There's no doubt that the Foster/Creer combo is going to get some things done in the running game, so if Jon can do that, it'll be special. Will he? I don't know. I don't put a lot of stock in the Orange and White game, because it's obvious to me that the coaches played it to maximize 1st team successes and build confidence. I mean, the first TD to Moore was against a beaten defensive back that I think Joel could outrun. A lot of optimists will point to the 2006 LSU game as a piece of evidence for Jon's superhuman 2008 performances to come, but I'm not completely sold. One of the touchdown passes was all Jon, a beautiful bomb; but the other was Meachem being Meachem, and we were lucky to have that pass not only be completed, but to our guy! All that being said, I have a lot of confidence that Jon will be a success within our team. What I mean by that is I don't think he'll be in contention for All-SEC or for any awards, but his award should be leading this team to a possible BCS bowl if he plays well.

2.) This question was posed on our site a few weeks ago by the Bama boys, and it brought some good discussion, so given UT’s rich history of scheduling home-and-homes with top-shelf BCS programs, what school would you most like for the Vols to play in the future and why?

Virginia Tech or Oklahoma. I love both of these programs, and I think they exemplify what the mid-to-late-90s Vols exemplified. They always have incredible defenses, they make breaks in the kicking game, and they win games in the trenches. Virginia Tech also has some of that local interest as well. Of course, we've all heard the baseless rumors about a neutral site game with VT at Bristol Motor Speedway. However, a home and home would be phenomenal. Neyland Stadium is one of the best venues in college football, and Lane Stadium is one of the toughest to win in.

3.) A lot has been made of our lack of depth at defensive tackle. With Demonte Bolden, Dan Williams and Walter Fisher pretty solid, what other player do you think makes a big move toward becoming dependable?

I don't think we'll have one. Sure, Langley, Nelson, and Thomas will try to get there, but none will be able to be SEC ready this year. Langley will be the #4, I'm confident, but I think the dropoff from Fisher to Langley will be noticeable. In 2009, Langley will be what we need him to be, but it's too much to ask in his 2nd year in the conference. Do you think he'd be successful against Antoine Caldwell or Jim Tartt? One guy to watch for is Marlon Walls - he's apparently up to anywhere from 250 to 270 pounds. If he's 270 when he hits the fall practice field, he could be inserted into the practice rotation at tackle. Just 5 months ago, he was an outside linebacker - kid has grown!

4.) Neyland Stadium has undergone some wholesale external and internal renovations during the offseason, updating and improving the overall appearance. If you could change one thing about Neyland, what would it be?

Keep the capacity at 107,000+. We're down to 102,000ish now, and that makes me a bit sad. I know it's just a number, and we still have a crapload of fans in the House that Robert Built. But come on! Why would you lower capacity? Ooooo, nifty chairback seats - SIGN ME UP! Also, to add: get rid of Sodexho. What an abomination of a food supplier. Not only will you pay your left testicle and your first born for a pizza, it'll be scalding hot on the top of the cheese, and a frozen tundra in the middle of the pie. And sodas that are more water than ... soda. I went to a few places that had Sodexho, even before UT added them, and it was wretched. When I heard UT hired them, I knew the complaints were one quarter of Southern Miss away from being very loud.

5.) Different UT fans have different opinions on last season. Was it a success? Was it a failure? Why do you think so?

It was a failure, and I hate to be "that guy." We didn't win a championship, we didn't make it to a BCS bowl, and we didn't secure a top recruiting class. I love that this team fought back from the dead and won the East Division. I cheered them on every second along the way. However, we won nothing tangible that will be remembered. Tennessee's football program, and all-time top 10 program, should never be satisfied with "almost." The standards at the University of Tennessee should be, and ARE, 2 SEC Titles every 10 years. I'm not saying you can't have 8-5, 9-4 seasons, but have them when you REBUILD! WIN A DAMN SEC TITLE! WIN ONE!!! In 2000, when we went 8-5, I was okay with that. We won a National Title two years prior, and had to break in a new quarterback. 2002, I was okay with 8-5, we just appeared in the SECCG, and were obviously the best team in the conference, and we were still in the 5 year window of not being able to bitch about not winning a title. It's now 2008, we haven't won an SEC Title in 9 years, and that's just too long. Any season from here on out where we don't win an SEC Title is a failure. I hate to be "that guy," but "that guy" is becoming more and more common in Knoxville.

List of Big Orange Roundtable Volume 1 answers:
3rd Saturday in Blogtober
Moondog Sports
UT Vols Football
Fulmer's Belly


MoonDogLeft said...

You're the second person that mentioned Virginia Tech. Sports Fan made note of them as well. I left a comment at his site about playing for Murray State back in the day when Frank Beamer was the Defensive Coordinator.

We're already scheduled to play Oklahoma in a home-and-home in 2014 and 2015.

I agree about the seating - more seats! Bigger than Michigan Stadium as far as I'm concerned.

I agree about last season too. It was a failure. Period. If we don't win an SEC title and lose to our two main rivals, that's just downright bad.

Nice job with yours.

Brad said...

The Ghost says Oh, I've been that guy before, too. I also don't agree that we should be extending Fulmer's contract for eight-win seasons. That's basically like saying, "Hey, Phil, thanks for taking us to Atlanta again." Unlike Bama, we shouldn't pay $4 million for February championships and Independence Bowl titles.

Rocky Top Talk said...

Hey! I heard that!

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