Will the last returning player leaving Knoxville please turn out the lights?

Nick Stephens, the only quarterback on Tennessee’s roster with actual D-1 game experience, announced he was leaving the program in the wake of his demotion.

… The loss of first-team reps set the stage for Stephens’ exit.

“It made me sick,” Stephens said. “It was probably one of the hardest things I’ve had to cope with in a long time, especially since I felt like up until that scrimmage I was having a really good spring.”

And before you accuse me of exaggeration with my header, check out the head coach’s biggest regret about Stephens’ decision.

Dooley asked Stephens to delay his decision until at least after next Saturday’s Orange and White game, but the program’s only experienced quarterback decided to go ahead and leave…

“I told Nick that I wish he’d have played it out and competed through the end of spring, and then based on what our analysis was at the end of spring, I could certainly understand how he felt,” Dooley said…

Translation:  son, we don’t think you’re good enough to contribute in the fall, but we need you as cannon fodder for the spring game.  That’s not exactly your standard vote of confidence in quarterback depth.  Anyway, my header’s mild in comparison with this one.  Not to say that Pennington doesn’t have a point when you look at his analysis:

… Stephens is the third experienced Vol to quit the team in the past month.  UT’s only returning offensive line starter, Aaron Douglas, plans to transfer.  And the Vols’ leading returning rusher, Bryce Brown, is away from spring practice and contemplating a transfer of his own.

Tennessee’s roster was less-talented at the end of the Phillip Fulmer regime than at any point since the late 1980s.  When Lane Kiffin arrived last year, he ran off a number of players — especially along the offensive line.  Therefore, Dooley inherited a dangerously thin roster that included:

* No returning starter at quarterback

* No returning starter on the offensive line

* No returning starter at tailback

* And no Eric Berry or Dan Williams, last season’s two best players

In addition to the thin roster (that’s getting thinner by the day), Tennessee will face Oregon, Florida, LSU, Georgia, and Alabama in its first seven games.

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15 Comments

Filed under Because Nothing Sucks Like A Big Orange

15 responses to “Will the last returning player leaving Knoxville please turn out the lights?

  1. OK with me. The only time I pull for UT in an SEC game is when they play the Gators.

  2. Dog in Fla

    “Vols Might Be On Pace For Worst Season Ever”

    Should that the case, a tip of the hat to Derek and his agent for their fine work in the $12,300,000.00 Memo of Understanding, Paragraph 11. ‘Other Terms and Conditions’ that kicks in if Mike, or Mike’s successor, decides that it’s convenient to runnoft Derek without cause.

    http://media.timesfreepress.com/docs/2010/04/Derek_Dooley_MOU_2010.pdf

  3. Reptillicide

    It continues to baffle me why anyone would think that Derek Dooley is going to last more than 1 or 2 seasons at UT. He’s not going to survive, and neither is AD Hamilton.

  4. Phocion

    I’m sure the Orange Kool-aid drinkers will have multiple explinations as to why this is all Stephen’s fault, why it is a positive move by Dooley, and how this makes UThug an even better football team heading into next season.

    If Robert Gibbs ever leaves his job the White House need look no further than Tennessee blogs to find numerous suitable replacements.

    • Is it because Tennessee football is fun again? Wait, they wasted that one on Boy Wonder last year. I’m interested to see the rationalization process from Big Orange Nation myself.

  5. HamDawg11

    Yeah, but can we find a way to beat ‘em? This is a must win for us, to say the least. No excuses for our defense, even if we’re breaking in a new system. UT’s offense should be woeful.

    Can you say Rocky Flop?

    • Phocion

      Forget UGa…think Vandy and Kentucky! If they can’t win this year, will they just admit that they’ll never have anything more than an elevated club level football program?

  6. D.N. Nation

    UT’s number one problem:

    - Willie Martinez doesn’t coach D in the SEC anymore.

    • FLdawg

      You are correct, sir. UT does have a huge problem. There is a new sheriff in Athens, Coach Todd “The Enforcer” Grantham.

      Even with the Fulmer / Kiffin meltdowns, the Vols have owned UGA, makes me sick.

      * Since 1996 our record vs Tenn is 6-8.

      * 1-3 last four games vs Tenn

      * Since 2003 our D has given up avg 35 ppg to the Vols.

      * Last years score 45-19 !

      * Score of our 2006 home loss 51-33!

      The Vols fans must think they can beat us while blindfolded. But this is coming to an end.

      We must believe in our new coaches. We know we have the roster to dominate. A new day is dawning in Athens. The days of UGA getting beaten by our archrivals
      (gators, vols) are over. 2010 will be our breakout year.

      Only 147 days till Sept 4.

      Go You Hairy Grantham Dawgs!

      • You think the Vols are a Georgia archrival?

        • Bulldog Bry

          After 51-33, 35-14, and 45-19…..they certainly have become one.

          • Mayor of Dawgtown

            First, they are in the SEC East. Before CMR showed up in Athens every time FLA did not win the SEC East UT did (as well as a BCSNC). Since CMR has been head coach of the Dawgs UT has kept UGA from winning the SEC East (and therefore the SEC Championship) and cost us a chance to play for the BCSNC. UT has beaten the Dawgs 3 out of the last 4 years. In fact, if you look at the history of the UGA-UT series since CVD retired it will make you sick how many times UGA has lost to the Vols. Maybe some Dawg fans do not take UT seriously as a rival but THEY do take it seriously. Let’s start beating their asses before talking like we are so superior to UT.

  7. Will Q

    Wow. That article almost makes me feel sorry for UT fans.

    Almost.