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Good Afternoon Everyone,

The game countdown is flying by now. Everyone is gearing up for the coming weekend. The past month has seen a rapid rise in the pulse rates for all living Football Fans. What has been going on up in Knoxville and how will it impact the coming season?

First, recruiting has continued and the numbers for the coming year are starting to reach final stages. This will be a good class. One point related to this year, Butch referred to 14 graduated players on the field this Fall. If these players are in their last season, that will allow another large influx of early enrollees in January for 2015. Just a few years back, it was not unusual to have only 1 or 2 kids start in the Summer. I can only remember one kid enrolling in January prior to Phil leaving. This year it was 14 in January and the rest (17) in June, only one came in August. What does that mean? Years ago we had a great high school OL come to school in August, we really needed OL to play. He lost 45 pounds in the Summer 2 A Days. He redshirted and later he went to the pros and had a good NFL Career. Most of the kids went home…. Today they were not only on campus for classes; but also, formal weight and conditioning programs and for the first time regular weekly study sessions/meetings with their position coaches.

Why are my expectations for the future high? These kids are not only good football players, they are smart and want to excel. Look at the work that they have put in this year and as high school seniors to prepare for this Fall and for the future. The Class of 2014 may not have a lot of college game experience but they have set new standards for their preparation efforts. This will pay off this year in two ways. First, fewer game mental errors, and second, improved game physical effort due to better conditioning.

How do I see the game Sunday night? I think that the Vols have more talented players (speed and size) and while young better depth. This is not the Rocky Mountains. Sunday it will be HOT and HUMID even with an evening game kickoff. The DB’s will have to run a lot, look for cramps, but you should really watch the OL and DL play. Fatigue will be real factor in the second quarter and the second half. This will make the Vols’ speed even more effective. Utah has “some” kids with speed, but the Vols have really improved their team speed across the board. That is one reason so many True Freshmen are on the depth charts for all three areas of play.

Early in the game big plays and turnovers are key for both teams. We need to tackle well. Late in the game we need to be able to play ball control and run the ball consistently even when they load the box. We need to learn what it takes to do that, if we want to beat the best teams on our schedule laterin the year.

In basketball, the Vols have added another missing piece to this team in the past week. If Woodson can play this Fall, he will contribute immediately. If he has to layout for the year his presence at practice will improve the team’s game preparations.

It’s Football Time in Tennessee!! Go Vols!!

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