Category Archives: Because Nothing Sucks Like A Big Orange
Goodness, that Tennessee fan base is one beat down group. Not that they don’t have their reasons for it.
“I probably shouldn’t say this,” began the 59-year-old Miller as she and her husband Norman entered Neyland Stadium on Saturday morning for the Volunteers’ first public practice under new coach Josh Heupel. “But I’ve got four kids and a bunch of grandkids, and the night we won the national championship is the happiest day of my life.”
There haven’t been a lot of happy days for any member of the Big Orange Nation over the past decade or so. The arrival of Heupel in January after UT brass fired Jeremy Pruitt for alleged NCAA violations marked the fifth Vols head coach since Phillip Fulmer — who won that aforementioned natty to cap the 1998 season — was let go near the end of the 2008 season.
“I remember them all,” Angie said. “I got on that Lane (Kiffin) Train. That was a joke. Then (Derek) Dooley. Then the whole ‘Brick by Brick’ thing (Butch Jones). Then this last guy. The last couple of years you could just see the desire go out of the kids on the sideline. You need a leader, and they haven’t had one.”
Is there any reason for optimism this fall, or will it be a dumpster fire with a depleted roster? — Smith C.
This is maybe the darkest Vols mailbag yet. I got a lot of that this week. I don’t have much for you, Eric and Smith. On the bright side, if it’s a chilly night, a dumpster fire isn’t all that bad. Let’s not paint all dumpster fires with a broad brush in this mailbag.
I can see how you’d get there when a walk-on and a long-snapper are getting the most spring reps at linebacker.
I hope you’ve got a subscription to The Athletic, because this story ($$), about a nine-year old Tennessee fan who’d had enough of the Vols and decided to change allegiances, is fucking hilarious.
The gist of it is that he, with the help of his father, decided to write four SEC head coaches (Orgeron, Saban, Kiffin and Heupel) in the hopes that one of them would recruit him to support their program. Here’s a sample:
Saban responded. So did Coach O. Amazingly, Tennessee didn’t.
But Junior was the winner.
And then, the phone call came.
“I got a message that said, ‘Coach Kiffin would like to recruit Landon. Is he available for a phone call?’” Justin said. “I thought maybe it was going to be an assistant or somebody saying they’d send us a shirt or a hat or something like that.”
But not long after, Kiffin was on the phone.
“Landon answered the phone and it was Coach Kiffin on the other end,” Justin said. “It was shocking to both of us.”
Read the whole thing, if you can. It’s a hoot.
It wouldn’t be Tennessee football without a vapid catchphrase.
Tillman added that the new staff has implemented an “EATS” slogan, which is short for effort, alignments, toughness and smarts.
Feels like home.
Matthew Butler isn’t new to this.
His freshman season at Tennessee wasn’t even over when the coach he signed to play for, Butch Jones, was fired.
Three years later, Butler watched underclassmen on the Vols roster deal with the same thing he went through his first season on Rocky Top.
“Let’s just be real here: I think that everybody, I don’t even think it would be an exaggeration to say that everybody, (but) I can only speak for my class, the 2017 class, the last class under Butch, has considered leaving,” Butler said. “Obviously.”
I’m not saying it’s not true. Just that it’s a helluva thing to say.
When people say the SEC is the most competitive conference in college football, I’m not sure this is quite what they have in mind.
If it’s not shower hygiene, it’s COVID positives. Always something with those folks.
Believe it or not, Josh Heupel had a plan.
If Tennessee’s new defensive staff under first-year head football coach Josh Heupel looks like a Mark Richt staff of yesteryear at Georgia, that is not by accident.
Three defensive assistants — line coach Rodney Garner, outside linebackers coach Mike Ekeler and secondary coach Willie Martinez — worked under Richt, who compiled a 145-51 record and won two Southeastern Conference championships and five SEC East titles during his 15 seasons in Athens from 2001-15. Garner and Martinez worked together for the first nine years of Richt’s run, which yielded league crowns in 2002 and 2005 and a No. 2 finish nationally behind LSU in 2007.
Heupel introduced his defensive staff on a Zoom call Monday, and he quickly pointed out that four of his five hires on that side of the ball arrived in Knoxville with previous SEC experience.
“It was a big part,” Heupel said. “As you assemble your 10 assistants collectively and the balance you want to have, having some ties inside this conference and knowing how it operates from the landscape of it was important for me. When you’re bringing in together a group of guys, some familiarity with who they are individually and some connections there make the transition into that meeting room easier and the trust factor is really important.
Richt certainly trusted Martinez until it almost cost him his job.