Good Evening, Everyone,
There has been an awful lot on our plates since the win over Kentucky. I said after our last loss that I thought that the Vols could win out. I will stand by that.
The Kentucky Game was a really good team win. You could tell that the Vols had recovered a lot of Pep with the week off. Knoxville was cold but it was dry and there was not the hard wind that we experienced in Columbia for the South Carolina game. It was another great crowd and game experience. Games like this are the reason that college football is so special for the fans.
On to the Kentucky game analysis. There were some hiccups, but the team on all three segments of the game played well. On Offense, the Vols ran well, passed well, caught the ball well, and blocked well. We did not turn the ball over. On defense, after the first drive the defense settled in and played a really consistent game. In the last three quarters the Wildcats could not buy a 3rd Down Conversion. That is enough said.
This Saturday we play the Tigers. They are playing for the SEC East Title. They have had a great road record since joining the SEC. I would also note that they have a common thread with Vandy the past three years. They caught the SEC East in a down cycle and their SEC West schedule did not contain a single team on the top half of that division. I feel good about the Vols preparations for this game. I just wish that it was midday on a sunny Fall afternoon.
With A.J. out this team will look a lot like next year’s team especially in the first half. The “Youngen’s” will have to carry the defense. Normally when you have a “young team” their legs go dead this time of the year, especially on defense. However, I think that spreading the playing time around by the coaching staff will let us have some fresh legs in on defense at LB and DB.
Another guess on my part, I think that the team is getting a bit healthier each week. To go with that the Freshmen have another week of both practice and game film to learn from, and this group is really applying themselves in improving as players.
On to basketball. This Vol team needs a point guard and one more player at the “5” to really be good and to play Donnie’s system the way he wants it to be played. Their defense does not seem to miss those pieces as much as their offense. If I was choosing, I would go PG first and Center second.
On the Southern Miss mess, let’s wait and see what happens. I think that Dave Hart has been on top of supporting Donnie. He did not leave him out to dry as Mike Hamilton did Bruce.
The Lady Vols are going to be a thorn in the side of those “Teams” that want them to disappear into ancient history. The Freshmen and last year’s underclass players really look like they are ready to step up to the plate this year. I like this team. It seems to have the attitude that we saw on many of Pat’s best teams.
Baseball, great class… now if they survive the Major League draft.
On to Track. That is one sport more than any other where a coach can look at the athlete’s starting numbers and predict how their season goes and the really good coaches will be able to see the potential of a kid over their college careers. Given that, our coach and her staff told a number of young runners, all female, that their scholarships at UT would not be renewed next year. The ladies are still on scholarship this year and have a year to find another home. They are not on the team and can use the UT facilities to train but not in conflict with the Track Team’s training. There was an explosion of protest. I reserve my judgment on that. There are very few track scholarships. Most track scholarships are partials and they are spread over a lot of kids. Having the full rides or close to it on the wrong sets of legs for four years does not create winners on the track nor a strong competitive team. These coaches feel that they need to get better track athletes to win in the SEC and that they can get those athletes to come to join the Vols in Knoxville. Two points, every sport at UT has lost scholarships and the coaches have told kids to find another home. Baseball, Football, and Men’s Basketball come to my mind. Most of the coaches have helped most of the kids find new homes. Second point, I wonder if the head coach had been male and had cut men would the outcry have been as loud? I ask one other question, if these kids had run for the year and were then cut in the Spring would they have been treated “better” and been “better off”? I do not think that would be the case.
Off to Mizzou…