Good Afternoon and a Most Happy New Year to All,
The weeks since my last Vol Note have been eventful and active on the Hill. Basketball has really picked up for both the Men and the Ladies. Both have wins over ranked teams and enter SEC play with good prospects. They both have some injuries to key players that impact minutes available and depth on defense. Because of those injuries some young players are getting minutes and experience that will benefit the teams later in the year and next year.
One observation about “Talking Heads”, most do not pay attention to anything but scores after games. Worst even during games they ignore the players on the field and those that are not on the field unless the player missing is a “star”. If you are a DL/LB/CB/ TE or OL, they do not think that matters. In the 4th QTR of the game the TV announcers did not make a single comment about Butch pulling starters to get backups into the game. It is so bad that I think that in Basketball if Donnie put five fans from the stands on the floor to play at the end of a game against Vandy, their comments would be,” The Vol Defense is just unable to stop this DETERMINED AND ENERGIZED VANDY OFFENSE from scoring.” Fans are nearly as bad about ignoring player injuries and their impact on line-ups. I guess most of them are only listening to the TV Talking Heads. I predict that this will get worst since so many games are being covered on TV and the TV folks do not want the School’s announcers to call the games. Basketball for both men’s and women’s are worst than Football. Where do they get these folks? One exception, Dane Bradshaw for the SEC Network is really good.
On to the Bowl Game. This was the Vol’s best game for the season in all three areas of the game. They were healthy, rested, and prepared. The speed difference was very pronounced on both sides of the ball at all positions. This was the defenses best game against an experienced and strong Iowa Team. In the first three quarters their only productive plays were QB scrambles to the sideline when the DE’s would take an inside pass rush and that would allow the OT to seal the edge for the QB. One note on one of those QB scrambles, the DE caught the QB from behind 20 yards or so downfield. We missed very few tackles. Our inside run game push was good enough to force Iowa into the middle and that opened the outside for Dobbs. Hurd had his best game running the ball. He seemed to be gliding through tacklers. Pearson and Pig tied the Iowa DB’s in knots. Very few drops or bad passes by Dobbs.
I was really impressed by the coverage and defensive execution until all the subs came in. There were very few plays for Iowa as a result of the Vols being out of position. I did not hear the conference the Ref’s came from but they apparently allow grabbing the shoulder pads as a blocking technique. Iowa has mastered that one. I had to laugh on one of their scores when the TV announcers were talking about the “Massive Hole” for the RB and they showed the replay as he went into the end zone behind him one OL from behind had his arms around the neck of the TN DL pulling the TN DL back by his shoulder-pads.
All in all many Vols had a great game and the Vol Fans made Jacksonville Stadium look like a Home Game. That was a “Special Vol Walk” for a Bowl Game that TV said did not matter to anyone.
On to recruiting, this class is going to be special and next year’s class is off to a great start. The last two commitments meet needs for talent and depth. The next two weeks should put the cover on this year’s class. I think another OT, a QB, and a RB fill the team out.
Happy New Year and Go Vols!