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Off Week Tuesday!!!!
Posted: Tuesday, September 16th, 2014, 1:39 PM
I met a great guy yesterday who has a wonderful event that he needs some help with. I'm getting behind him in this and I would like you to consider doing so too. Tennessee FOP State Trooper Lodge 36 is having a golf tourney at Three Ridges Golf Course on September 29th! All the proceeds go toward a Christmas event where underprivileged children will get presents at a Christmas party. Call my friend Lieutenant Dan Raper and get involved (865) 806-2315.

Full disclosure here. I was dead wrong about not wanting to play the Oklahoma game. Dead wrong. Tennessee grew up Saturday night by playing OU. Jim Ross shot me a blurb in an e-mail about how the Vols have 'ton of really good young players.' He's right. I was 100% wrong in my stance on buying their way out of that series. I will admit when I'm wrong and I was dead wrong on this point.

One observation on the heels of the OU game, Butch Jones and UT's offensive coaches need to practice I discipline. Jones likes to reference 'eye discipline.' How about some 'I discipline?' Can we please install a little bit of the I in our offense for goal line situations? Just something/anything short yardage oriented. Chip Kelly's spread in Philly is impotent inside the redzone. And he refuses to use a big package inside the 5 yard line. It's really tough to watch. It really is.

Yesterday the Tennessee coaches lauded Marquez North and Kyler Kerbyson for attempting to run down OU's Julian Wilson on that 100 yard interception return. A source around the program told me that Tennessee's coaches made this the play of the game at a team meeting where they pounded home the importance of finishing plays. Butch Jones and his staff are succeeding in changing UT's culture. One could say that they are lauding hustle over results by making this the 'play of the game.' I believe results will follow consistent hustle in any team sport. You have to be in it to win it. Beano pointed out yesterday to me on the air that you wouldn't have seen that type of hustle out of guys on a team down 17 points here in a long time. It's hard to argue with that.

Keeping with the I was wrong about playing OU theme, Beano predicts that next year's OU game in Neyland Stadium will be UT's official coming out party nationally!!! How do you like the sound of that?

Tennessee Georgia announced as a Noon kickoff. I love that! If you're looking to upset somebody on the road, Noon is a perfect window for that. The crowd will be dead along with perhaps a Georgia team playing in an odd time for them. I don't mind that one bit! Nice break for Tennessee.

Rank these games for me that UT/Fla compete with on October 4th:

Florida @ Tennessee
#14 South Carolina @ Kentucky
Vanderbilt @ #13 Georgia
#6 Texas A&M @ Mississippi State
#8 LSU @ #5 Auburn
#3 Alabama @ #10 Ole Miss

I would say that all three of the games featuring SEC West teams are better and more compelling matchups than Tennessee Florida. So, what TV window will this likely leave this once highly regarded battle of SEC heavyweights in? Best possible scenario is a 7pm start in Knoxville. When you look at the schedule of games on that day, Tennessee/Fla could end up in that noon window. I believe any kind of daytime start time would do Tennessee a disservice toward ending that silly 9 game losing streak to Florida.

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Rank your Top 10 CFB teams this week

Vol Colonel Cometh today! For those not familiar, Vol Colonel is a huge $$$ booster with terrific access to the program. He chooses to share his thoughts with us here and he gets carte blanche.

Vol Colonel
'Today we'll take a look at what stood out from the Vols defeat at Oklahoma and take a look around the SEC and see what's sticking out as week 3 of the season is now in the books.

Tennessee/Oklahoma Game and Going Forward

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First let me say, I do not believe in moral victories. Losing by 24 pts. should never be considered a moral victory in the first place. I do however believe, you can take a loss like that and take away some positives and learn from your mistakes and grow as a football team. I thought our guys fought really hard Saturday night out in Norman. I thought the biggest difference in the game was Oklahoma's overall experience and talent differential where it matters most, up front. Their defensive line is as good as any in college football and our young inexperienced offensive line is just not ready for prime time. Justin Worley was fighting for his life out there. It's a wonder he made it through that game without being seriously injured. Oklahoma came at him all night long and Justin hung in there and gave one of the most gutty performances I've seen from a Tennessee Quarterback in a long, long time.

Let there be no doubt, Justin Worley is the Quarterback of the Tennessee Volunteers. After the Utah St. game, I said Justin was the definition of a game manager. You can throw all of that game manager crap out of the window now. Justin is a SEC Quarterback. He's finally proved me wrong. He might not have the greatest skill set or the biggest arm, but he's a leader and has a lot of heart and guts, and I'm a firm believer that without guts, there is no glory. I will never question the coaches decision to roll with him under center again.

I thought Jalen Hurd really had a breakout performance. He had almost a hundred yards on 14 carries and ran hard all night long. He's got better after every game and Saturday night he showed us flashes of his break away and get down the field ability. This kid is going to be a really good running back. I can't wait to see what the future holds for Jalen once the offensive line comes together and starts opening up some holes for him. He's a special talent.

Posted: Wednesday, September 17th, 9:13 PM
by Beano
Tennessee @ Oklahoma Game Preview
Posted: Saturday, September 13th, 8:23 PM
On the defensive side of the ball, we're coming together a lot quicker than I expected. I thought these guys played solid. Oklahoma only cashed in on 3rd down, 3 out of 12 opportunities. That's a very good sign going forward. I thought Derek Barnett had a really good game and he was being held 75% of the time. Todd Kelly Jr. is another youngster who's getting better every week. I love his football smarts and his play making ability. Some of the area's we must improve on obviously starts with the O-Line. I'm glad Coach Jones said after the game this is the offensive line we're going to go with moving forward. Now these guys know who they're going into battle with. Hopefully they can grow together and gel as a cohesive unit as the season moves on.

Matt Darr looked like the old Matt Darr out there Saturday night. He has to give us better than 36 yards per punt. That's just not going to get it done when field position is so important for a young team. On kickoff returns I think it's time to try somebody else back there. Devrin is just not getting the job done. We have some other guys who looked good in practice this summer returning kicks. I think if Vic Wharton is 100% by the Georgia game and he should be, that's who I'd turn to. Evan Berry is another option you could put back there. All in all, I took more positives than negatives coming out of this Oklahoma game.

I do hope Mike Bajakian improves his play calling, especially in the red zone and down inside the 10 yard line. You just can't empty out the backfield and get cute with it against top competition like Oklahoma and in the SEC when you have a 1st and goal opportunity. I thought his play calling really negated some big plays by Jalen Hurd that put us in position to score a touchdown. You might get away with that stuff at Cincinnati but down here in the land of big boy football that's just not going to cut the mustard. We'll take some more lumps as the season rolls on, but I think things are really on the upswing here. I'm encouraged by what I've seen so far. We just need to improve day by day and game by game and by seasonís end, I think we'll be a solid bowl bound football team.

Around the SEC East

South Carolina - Left for dead after the A&M game, Steve Spurrier again shows us why he's one of the best coaches of all-time. He had his team ready to go against Georgia and they now find themselves back in the thick of the division race. If you think the head ball coach has owned Tennessee over the years, his career mark against Georgia is now an impressive 16 wins against only 5 defeats. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Georgia - There's a few coaches around the country who could take Georgia's talent and a RB like Todd Gurley and ride it all the way to a championship. Mark Richt once again proves, he's not one of those coaches. I'm not counting out Georgia in the East race because there's a lot of football still to be played and they have a favorable schedule, but this past Saturday in Columbia could be a game that haunts the Georgia faithful for a long time.

Florida - Florida was an 18 point favorite over Kentucky in the swamp. The once mighty Gators are very fortunate to have escaped with a close overtime victory. There's more questions than answers right now in Gainesville. I'm really looking forward to knocking heads with them in Neyland Stadium this year.

Missouri - I think I undervalued Missouri going into the season. I still want to see them play against some league competition, but they look like a lot better team than I thought they would. Maty Mauk is the real deal at QB. I think this will be a much tougher game for Tennessee than I originally expected.

Kentucky - Here's a team I threw under the bus in my SEC Outlook on this blog back in August. They are clearly an improved football team. Can they hold up over the course of the season?...If they can, they will be another team that will pose more of a challenge for Tennessee than originally expected.

Vanderbilt - Oh why bother. They're awful.

Around the SEC West

Alabama - Sims or Coker, Coker or Sims. Lane Kiffin, Nick Saban, Blah, Blah, Blah...Boring!

Auburn - I think the sky is the limit for Auburn. They still have to go to Alabama for this year's Iron Bowl. We'll just have to see how things shake out in the strongest division of all time in college football history.

Texas A&M - This team has been a real surprise so far. You'd think a team that loses a Heisman Trophy winning quarterback and two other players to the 1st round of the NFL draft could have a little rebuilding to do this year. I guess Kevin Sumlin didn't get that memo. Kenny Hill looks like another Heisman Candidate and A&M's defense looks to be improved over last year. I think Sumlin is the best in the land at teaching and developing quarterbacks. I don't think A&M wins the West, but when you're as well coached as they are and you have a dynamic offense like they have, you have a chance to win every game on your schedule.

Ole Miss - They look for real to me. They have a lot of play makers on offense and their defense looks to be very solid. Their defensive front might be one of the strongest in the land. Can Bo Wallace keep on, keepin' on, or does he have a bone head game in him that could really cost the Rebels?

LSU - I thought they could be a sleeper in the West this year and while they still might be, I don't like them as much as I did before we kicked off the season. Youth at some key spots could hold them back this year.

Mississippi State - I said before the season started that for Mississippi St. to make any kind of noise in the log jammed SEC West, QB Dak Prescott would have to elevate his game to a higher level. From what I've seen early on, Prescott has done just that. Right now, I have no idea where Miss St. finishes in the West. This division is so loaded, it's just going to have to play out some more to see where these teams stack up. I do know this year's Egg Bowl with Ole Miss could be one for the ages.

Arkansas - Much like Kentucky in the East, I didn't give Arkansas much of a chance coming into the season. I even went as far as saying I thought Bret Belem wouldn't have a long tenure as the head guy for the Hogs. There's just so many talented teams in the SEC West, somebody has to stink, don't they?..I'll tell you what, Arkansas might be one dimensional as far as their offensive attack, but you better pack a lunch if you want to stop it. They just rushed for 438 yards on the ground at Texas Tech and took Kliff Kingsbury's team behind the shed 49-28. I don't doubt now, that they could find a path to 6 wins and a bowl game.

Well, there it is folks. That's how I see our Volunteers and the rest of SEC after 3 weeks. It's going to be a lot of fun watching this football season unfold.

Hey, If you love football and sports in general and you're on Twitter, you can follow me @TheVolColonel

Have a Great Week and Go Big Orange!

Your Vol Colonel'

I love you Vol Colonel! Great stuff!!

Tee Mail: Mike in NC pounds home my wrongheaded stance. And he's right to do so.

'Ref: My same sub Email before the season

THAT's why we play these games even when defeat is 90% assured - to build character (not for a moral victory), to see what we truly have, and to give the kids a chance to play at the top of the ladder which I think is a draw for the out of state talent we do get.

But for the early gift TD on our broken coverage, and the INT for 6 (the second ball Worley should not have thrown), we were in the game all the way. Think about it, had they not gotten that first TD for free, and we had gotten into the EZ instead of the pick with 12 to go, the score would have been 20-17.

Worley deserves a LOT of credit, playing as did the ENTIRE game - 2 forced/unwise throws notwithstanding. Give him credit for keeping our O together with his determination, stability and good play otherwise.

Now I will say we have a shot at all our SEC games, and I will be surprised if we get really skunked by more than one SEC team. Not because I think OK was better than our SEC brethren, but because we played a BIGGER and faster team so well.

Now I look for our coaches to do some improvement coaching and game management. No reason a single player (Striker) should be able to do what he did all that time, and not have something change to stop it WHILE it's happening. More O plays that use Hurd as a break-away runner, not a line hitter, and more variety in the passing game featuring quick releases like 10-15 yarders across the middle, and more than 2 down the field.

I'm very GLAD we kept the OK date, and I truly hope we continue to schedule tough games outside the SEC. Think about it, if we can play FL in our 3rd game all those years, why not someone else that gives us true gauge.

PS - have I ever said how much I enjoy your blog and the way it keeps me informed from afar? Thanks and Peace!

Mike (UTK '66) in NC'

Mike: You were 100% right and I was 100% wrong. Now, let's go 1-1 at the worst in our next 2 and take it to house!!!! I want Florida for the main course and Georgia for desert. You like my menu?

Tee Mail II:
'Tony....I came out of OK game depressed and mad that we lost. As the clock turns Iím thinking a whole different thing. We stood toe to toe with those bastards and never let down. Now Iím seeing some pride around Nashvegas that I havenít seen in a few years. People are wearing the orange and talking loud. Loving it! No where to go but up from here. You ready to hang from the telephone poles on the strip again? (referencing you from mid 90s)

JM, Nashville'

JM: I love a little bit of anger after a loss. Nothing wrong with that. It's symptomatic of a fan that believes. And the way those guys played 60 minutes of quality football the other night has me believing the best is yet to come.

Everybody's great from last night's Monday Night Game! John Gruden told me so. Can he criticize anything and be real one time in that booth. Everybody's great!

Have a 'great' Tuesday!


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