Before the O&W Game, I remarked that “Things are hopping on the Hill”. Well, that would be a massive understatement about the events of the past two weeks. Things have been exploding on the Hill.
Both Baseball and Softball have won some games and lost some. Both teams are in the meat of their schedule. The SEC is showing its Spring Sports Muscle in all areas of the NCAA.
Stokes announced that he was going to the NBA and the following week Coach Martin packed his bags for Sunny California and Cal Berkley. I think that his family concerns and some sanity were really driving his move. From all things that I see, smaller arena, much smaller crowds, and lower expectations on the part of the fan base may also have been a factor. On the other hand, WOW! Talk about a much higher tax rate and cost of living. I hope he has a good accountant and tax lawyer. He is a good man and we should wish him the best in his move.
Dave Hart hired a coach in a week. The search was quiet and appears to have been very well organized. I have family that has been long time supporters of MTSU and they speak highly of Coach Tyndall’s time at MTSU. He deserves our support and really wants the Vols to excel in Basketball. He is a basketball junkie and has won at all of his stops. He reminds me a lot of Coach Pearl. One good thing is that he does not have that shadow living in Knoxville now.
He had completed his staff on Thursday with the hire of Al Pinkins, an assistant from the Old Miss staff that he had worked with at MTSU. He is known as a really good recruiter and position coach.
Three of the signees have requested to be released from their UT Letter of Intent. It appears that Coach Tyndall will have an opportunity to meet with some of them and their families before that is final. At least one basketball official visit is planned for this weekend. One thing that we should do as Vol Fans is judge the Coach on who he brings to the team and how they play. That is more important than who he loses in the first week on the job. The Fans have been demanding an up tempo fast paced game with pressure defense. We have a Coach now that has that as his goal. We should not be surprised if some of the current Vol Players are not happy at that type of game and its demands on them as players. The next two weeks will tell us a lot about the energy level of the new coach. He has hit all the Nashville Sports Radio shows and his energy and enthusiasm are clear even on radio.
On to the O&W Game. For a scrimmage it was entertaining. Fast paced, if you were there you could see the increased speed of play on both sides of the ball. Both the defense and offense were much better organized. The players knew what they were doing. The defense was hampered by numbers due to graduation and injuries to probable starters. The offense had a lot of their new kids in as early entries to school. Those kids did not disappoint. The newcomers put size, speed, and skill onto the playing field all day long. Hurd (RB), Malone (WR), Wolf (TE), and Helm (TE) all showed that they will be ready to play next fall. There were some good plays by newcomers at DL (Mixon and Williams) and DB (Mosely).
Each QB had 5 series except Dobbs. Worley played with all the RB’s and WR’s. He was 11 for 13 passing and completed his last nine passes. Dobbs played against the #2 defense and had the best WR’s. He was 6 for 9 passing with three TD’s and an average completion of over 33 yards per catch. He also had a 59 yard run for a TD after he fumbled a snap and caused mistackles by almost every defensive player on the field. Worley handled the running game best and had good reads on the defense. The defensive staff threw everything at the QB’s and had sacks and caused fumbles. Under Worley the offense with Hurd, Young, Pickett, and Lane ran the ball better up the middle on short yardage plays than any time in the past four years.
I sit at the top row of the lower bowl on the 50 yd line (+/-). The punts and kicks were LOW. That means no hang time, long returns, and maybe blocks.