Browsing Posts published by Mike Mozingo

Butch- Day 4

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Sorry, I had a lot going on this weekend, and I was not able to get everything up and going. Butch Jones had his debut press conference on Friday, and the weekend had no shortage of news. The only coach from Derek Dooley’s staff that was retained was Running Back’s coach Jay Graham. Jones brought a much of his staff with him from Cincinnati, as well as former Georgia Defensive Coordinator Willie Martinez to be Tennessee’s Secondary coach, and Auburn recruiting whiz Tommy Thigpen. The newest rumor is that one of the greatest Vols of all time will soon join Jones’ staff. The quarterback of the 1998 national champion team: Tee Martin. One thing is for sure. More than Derek Dooley and certainly more than Lane Kiffin, Butch Jones has embraced Tennessee Tradition as his own.

Last Friday’s introductory press conference, gave us lots of insight on Tennessee’s new head man:

On His Staff:

I’m going to start off and answer some questions but first of all, our coaching staff. I’m up here today, I can assure that we will put together the best football staff in the country. Not just the Southeastern Conference, but the entire country. I have a checklist of what I’m looking for. First of all it starts with character. I want individuals with tremendous character and then I want great teachers. Great teachers in the game of life, great teachers in the game of football. Fundamentalists, motivators. There’s a difference between teaching and presenting. Anybody can present anything. What we want is great teachers, and individuals who have passion to be here at the University of Tennessee.

 

Ummm….I am pretty sure he wrote that down, but that is amazing. (If you couldn’t tell by now, Coach Jones has a very different style than Dooley)

On Tennessee Tradition:

To our letterwinners, you are the foundation. We will have an open door policy with our practices. You have laid the foundation for us to have much success for many years to come. I’m a firm believer that our letterwinners are the program. They will be welcomed back at any time. I look forward to getting to know everyone. I’ve had about 18 text messages from Charles Davis and I’ll probably get Peyton in trouble, but about four days ago I got a text message from Peyton Manning. He was selling me on Colorado. He said `It’s hard for a person from the University of Tennessee to selling someone to come to the University of Colorado.’ I wanted to text back `Well c’mon, let’s go. I want to go to Tennessee.’ So I look forward to obviously talking with him.

 

Erik Ainge is already impressed with Coach Jones’ desire to connect with the past. It’s one of our greatest recruiting tools. Which segues nicely into:

On Recruiting:

You win with players. Let me make no mistake that we are going to win first and foremost with the great state of Tennessee. We have tremendous high school coaches in this state. We are the state institution and we will own our state. We are going to be at every high in the state and our players are going to understand what is to wear the power T, they’re going to understand what it is to represent their home institution. I take great pride in that.

Jones started his UT career on Friday night by visiting one of the top recruits in the state: Nashville’s Corn Elder. Hopefully  Jones recruiting message sells. Very premature signs are that they will. Nashville’s Vic Wharton, Jalen Reeves-Maybin of Clarksville, and Riley Ferguson of Matthews North Carolina, all expressed their pleasure with Jones as the new hire.

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FINALLY!

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In what seems like the longest 3 weeks in the history of the Tennessee Volunteers we finally have a coach! After the rumors and offers of Jon Gruden, Charlie Strong, Mike Gundy, Rich Rodriguez, Hue Jackson, Bo Pelini, James Franklin, Al Golden, Larry Fedora, and probably dozens of others, the Vols have decided on Cincinnati’s Butch Jones. Butch brings a 50-27 record to Knoxville after stops in Central Michigan and Cincinnati. Which to be completely honest is far better than Derek Dooley brought to Knoxville with him.

Here is a good indication that he is not Dooley:

YouTube – Videos from this email

I don’t have a great handle on how good of a read of how great of a recruiter Jones is. However the reaction from the national media has been largely positive.

The first edition of Butchisms will come after today’s 2:30 presser.

Hopefully there is some concrete coaching news to report this week. Hopefully that is as soon as Friday. Until then, here is the last regular season edition of the blogpoll

The 2012 Tennessee Volunteer football season concluded on Saturday. The Vols won’t see the field for 278 more days. That’s a long long time. Hopefully soon there will be some tangible news on who the next coach will be for the University of Tennessee. But until we get something tangible…let’s review one final time. The game (and UT’s first conference win) of 2012

The Good

An SEC win and the avoidance of one of my favorite random college football facts. Tennessee and Ohio State are the only FBS schools to never have an eight loss season. Not Alabama, not Michigan, not Texas, not Notre Dame. Just UT and OSU.

Tennessee’s defense was improved against the Wildcats. They only gave up 17 points, and they had some critical  4th down stops. The season ended on a positive note for the defense.

It was a nice way for the seniors to go out on top. If you read this blog last year, you know I had no love for Zach Rogers. He really stepped his game up this year. I appreciated him and those other seniors giving it their all for Tennessee #VFL.

The Bad:

The fact that the game was essentially meaningless, but that’s over now. Hopefully we won’t be writing about back-to-back bowl-less years for a long long time.

The Ugly

That we won’t get to see Tyler Bray, Justin Hunter and Cordarrelle Patterson again this season.  What a wasted offensive explosion. The Vols averaged 37 points per game, they were fun to watch. I have no inside information, but my gut says we have seen the end of at least two of them in orange and white.   One of the new coaches first orders of business will be to talk to these three and Juwuan James to see if they would stay. Hunter said as much in his post-game remarks on Saturday. Only thing left to do now is wait.

Kentucky’s Good, Bad and Ugly to follow soon. Not a lot of change from last week.

Hartisms

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No more Rommel, barbershop poles, no more “dumbass” remarks. It’s a sad day at 3sib. No more Dooleyisms. But never fear.Athletic Director Dave Hart spoke, so we have a batch of Hartisms to throw at you.

On Derek Dooley

Thank you for showing up on short notice. As you are well aware by now, I have made a decision relative to the leadership of our football program. Derek and I visited at length very early this morning. I want to say because it is factual nature that I have really enjoyed the 13 months that I have worked with Derek. We have an open honest and respectful relationship and all of our conversations have reflected that as this season has progressed and it was no different his morning…I told Derek that we were going to move in a different direction with new leadership for our football program. He handled as you would expect. He handles it in a a mature manner, in a respectful and appreciative manner as far as him being the head football coach at the University of Tennessee for the past three years. It meant a lot to him. I will tell you while the results, which are very important are not what he wanted, now what the team wanted, not what our fan base wanted, Derek Dooley did indeed improve this program. There is no question about that. He inherited a very, very, difficult environment. One that I am familiar with having been here these 13 months. Quite honestly he was given a pretty short stick to take into that battle. Given those facts, he did a good job in a lot of areas in putting a solid foundation under our football program…As I told our football team and our staff, this team was close to having a very good season. I admired the fact that they never came unglued so to speak. They never pointed fingers or said this was your fault, my fault. They showed maturity through a very disappointing football season in terms of excruciating losses in October. I let them know that I did admire that. It was a tough morning. The one thing people forget is, yes coaches are paid well and are compensated well and they do know what the expectations are when they enter the profession, but they are human beings with spouses and kids. It’s tough. Today is a tough day for that staff and our football team. We will now move forward in our search process with the goal of securing the best coach we possibly can to come and lead the football program at Tennessee. You have heard me say this before. This is a great place, a tremendous place. We have tradition, we have history, we have a brand that is still meaningful. But, we have a long way to go to get back to where we need to be. You can’t put all of that on coach, I don’t care if his name is Vince Lombardi or Derek Dooley. We have an obligation as an administration to give our coaches the resources they need, the support they need, intrinsically and extrinsically to back to where we want to be. This will be a collective effort from a lot of people to have us take our rightful place in the Southeastern Conference and beyond.

A lot going on here that I like. One, Hart expect UT to be a top-notch SEC program, and he is willing to go whatever lengths are necessary to get there. You have to love that, and you have to think that any potential coaching candidate will like that as well. Secondly this is not all on Dooley. It’s on Mike Hamilton, Jimmy Cheek, Phil Fulmer, and Lane Kiffin as well.

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Blog Poll

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Dave Hart-isms to follow later today. But first here’s the most current look at the blogpoll. It appears that the Bama-UGA winner has a clear shot at the BCS national title game assuming the win their rivalry games this weekend.

Press Conference at 2pm. It’s doubtful the next coach will be introduced. Right now I have no solid source on anything. Hiring time-line, who the next guy is etc. When I know, you’ll know.

The List According to the Knoxville News Sentinel.

 

John Gruden (I’ll believe it when I see him sitting next to Dave Hart addressing the press)

Jimbo Fisher (Ditto)

David Cutcliffe (Certainly intriguing, but I don’t know if this is the best long-term option for the program)

Charlie Strong (My personal preference)

Al Golden (This would be an under-whelming hire to me)

Mike Gundy (I can’t see why he leaves his alma-mater)

Greg Roman (49ers OC and Stanford’s OC under Jim Harbaugh. He recruited Andrew Luck to Palo, Alto which is about all I know of him, but that’s a nice ace in the hole.)

I incorrectly guessed that the Final Dooleyisms were going to be South Carolina week. We’ve had a couple of editions since. I still am wondering how many of these we’re gonna have. This one was tough to listen to and watch. He seems weary of the stress. Which is reasonable. That being said, I think it’s time for Dooley to go. Even if he wins three more games.

On Mizzou:

I will really sum up on the Missouri game is we were sitting there with 4:43 to go in the game and our defense [to that point] had 59 plays, 295 yards, 14 points and two turnovers. At that point, that is about as good a defensive game that you can play. Then we gave up three plays there on the last drive, two on fourth down, and we really struggled in overtime to slow them down. Another tough, disappointing loss, that is four in this league where it came down really to the last possession. For both squads, all three units had a chance to impact the game and we didn’t get it done so we move on to Vandy.

Oh boy. It’s telling that giving up 295 yards (which is good) is as good as UT can do. I don’t fundamentally disagree with this statement, but it sure is sad that it’s true.

On Not Attempting to Win the Game in Regulation:

Everybody is making a huge deal about that. I answered it after the game and I don’t feel any differently. We were struggling on offense. The last four possessions we didn’t execute well, we weren’t looking good and when we went out there we were going out there to win the game. That is what our philosophy was and the first play we screw up, get the ball, and then the second play we screw up the execution. I think there were about 35 seconds and we had a third and 10. I just didn’t have confidence that we were going to get it and then, all of a sudden, you put the best player on their whole team out on the field to change the game and I didn’t want to do that. I felt like we could beat them in overtime. We were at home and I felt like our offense, over the course of time we performed better than their offense.

Hindsight is definitely 20-20. However, if the Vols tried once more and punted. Aren’t you willing to take that chance? It seems like a super-conservative decision especially considering how terrible the defense looked in the four minutes of football immediately prior to this.

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Oh boy. Can I just repost what I wrote last week? Same old same old for the 2012 version of the Volunteers.

The Good:

Oh my, is this offense explosive. This team can score in buckets. They are averaging nearly 38 points a game. It’s so good, and so fun to watch. I’ve been down on Tyler Bray at times this year. I’ve also been down a few times on Justin Hunter. Early in the season I was down on the offensive line, but those gentlemen are now the core of this team. I really can’t find much to gripe with on offense. They did turn the ball over once, but that kind of stuff happens.  It didn’t cost UT this game. The offense boasts all kinds of play-makers. Cordarrelle Patterson is a human highlight real. Marlin Lane is turning into a tough between-the-tackles guy. They are so much fun to watch. Also, even though it should never have come to that, Tyler Drummer’s touchdown was super awesome.

 

Also, just so I am not a broken record. In the first half the Tennessee defense played well. There I said it. It wasn’t awful.

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