Bray needs to cut the throat-cutting

From my seat at what seemed like Klingman’s Dome at last season’s Music City Bowl loss to North Carolina, I couldn’t see the Tyler Bray throat-slashes. From our point-of-view as couch coaches, we had no way of knowing to what level running back Tauren Poole got down on himself last year for his inconsistency. And from my bed in New Market, Ala., I didn’t exactly have a very good look at just what caused senior linebacker Austin Johnson to go into a drunken rage and start banging on car hoods in the wee hours of a morning last week.

But all of those things not only happened, but happened to players the University of Tennessee football team will be looking to for leadership when practice kicks off this week and the season opens in about a month.

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Camp begins tomorrow for the University of Tennessee, there are a few notes of interest. To wit:

*Toney Williams is transferring
*CJ Fleming is simply not invited to camp
*DT Arthur Jeffrey who was told to go home after spring practice to determine whether or not he wanted to make the commitment to be on the team is back on the roster
*Austin Johnson will be punished internally but is practicing with the team and will be available for the first game.  Coach Dooley said he was a great senior leader all through camp and made a mistake that was uncharacteristic.
*Ben Martin is back and will be eased into action.
*Jacques Smith is full-go.
*Antonio “Tiny” Richardson will be limited to start practice after still recovering from shoulder surgery but is expected to be full go.
*Janzen Jackson is ready and raring to go and expects to start immediately.
*Tino Thomas and Waldo Orta neither are on the opening roster. They are both recovering from shoulder injuries and Dooley said they have a week to determine which of them will grayshirt.

It's almost football time in Tennessee

Coming to an end zone near you!

UT got it’s twelfth commitment of the 2012 recruiting class when Knoxville West kicker George Bullock called Jim Chaney today and committed. Bullock’s only other main offer was from the Naval Academy.
UT has had a strong history of kickers including, but not limited to, Fuad Reveiz, John Beksvoort, Jeff Hall, and James Wilhoit. Since Wilhoit left it’s been up in the air. The jury is still out on Mike Palardy though.
Bullock’s best skill is his ability to put 86% of his kickoffs in the end-zone. That % includes onside kicks. For those who are accustomed to UT’s recent inability to force a touchback, that’s welcome news. It also helps perception wise to see that Derek Dooley and company are interested in local products.
Welcome to Big Orange Country George!

Dang. My headset mic is HUUUUUUGE.

May 2003. Mike Shula becomes the head football coach of his Alma Mater, the University of Alabama. A place that needed stability. A tank of a program who’s national championships and dominating teams of the past were now just tiny specks in the rearview mirror of tradition. Alabama Football was now just football. Just another team.

Sure, the 2002 team won 10 games and seemed to be on the upswing until Dennis Franchione left skid marks in the halls of the athletic office on his way to Tuscaloosa Regional to catch the next flight to College Station, Texas. ‘Bama’s next move was to hire Washington State head coach Mike Price in hopes winning the conference with a fancy offense just like his Cougar team did 2002. Price’s 2002 season was so successful, in fact, that he was allowed to coach the Cougars in the Rose Bowl before heading over to Tuscaloosa. Upon his arrival, Price shouted, “It’s rolling, baby!” at the wrong place and wrong time and he was history.

Enter Mike Shula. The hire took place over a month after the A-Day game had been played and just a little over three months before the 2003 season began. It was awkward from the moment Shula accepted the job.

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The newest member of the SEC East?

There were some rumblings in the past week about SEC expansion. Specifically, Texas A&M and Oklahoma are interested in joining the greatest conference in the world, and get away from the Texas 12. A fourteen team SEC would make a strong conference even stronger. However, Oklahoma isn’t coming without Oklahoma State, and a fifteen team conference makes no sense. So we at 3SIB had an interesting debate on who that elusive sixteenth team would be. The top candidates: Clemson, Florida State, USF, Louisville, Georgia Tech, Kansas, and Virginia Tech.

Clemson doesn’t really add anything other than an SEC quality stadium and fan-base. Florida isn’t going to want to lose the in-state recruiting advantage so FSU and USF are out. Louisville and Georgia Tech both make geographic sense, but what do they really add? Kansas-Kentucky would be the premier regular season basketball rivalry in the country, but let’s not kid ourselves, we live in a football world. That leaves Virginia Tech. Not only do the Hokies pack a strong football punch, but for the conference it adds the huge Virginia-DC-Baltimore market into the league. It’s a win-win.

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Third Saturday in October

I never knew how big of an Alabama football fan I was until I moved to Tennessee. I had always pulled for Alabama as a child, but it wasn’t until I moved from the safe confines of God’s state to the place of Volunteers and shirts and hats that resemble an orange with the stomach flu.

I was born in Sylacauga, Alabama in 1977 and stayed there until my parents drug me kicking and screaming to Springfield, Tennessee in 1984. As a child in the early 80s, I dreamed of having a website called ericfromsylacauga.com, but now I’ll have to settle for ericfromspringfield.com one day. “At least the ‘S’ will stay the same and I can keep the ‘EFS’ logo,” I told my seven year-old self on the 300-mile ride from Sylacauga to Springfield in the backseat of our 1984 Oldsmobile. All I needed was for Al Gore to hurry up and get the Internet to the people. I knew he was working on the global warming thing. I’m hot natured, so keeping the climate as cool as possible is key.

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Damien Jacobs

The Tennessee Vols got a big commitment at a major position of need on Thursday when 6-foot-4, 300-pound East Mississippi Community College defensive tackle Damien Jacobs pledged to coach Derek Dooley and staff.

Jacobs — who was a three-star Florida State commitment last year before failing to qualify — visited Knoxville this past weekend with his teammate, four-star defensive end Denico Autry. Autry is thought to be favoring Alabama and Mississippi State, but his visit to Knoxville gave the Vols a shot to secure his commitment. Getting Jacobs — his roommate and good friend — won’t hurt, either.

The former Houma, La., standout played last season as the backup for Alabama commitment Quinton Dial. As everybody around these parts know, Dial is a monster, but Jacobs didn’t do too bad himself coming off the bench, amassing 48 tackles. Though UT was his first offer this time around this season, he had drawn interest from Alabama, Miami, Texas A&M and Mississippi State. He has told different services he may still visit A&M and Mississippi State, but he is a Vol.

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It's just been one embarrassing moment after another in Knoxville

Editor’s note:  Before we dive into this diatribe, I want to point out one positive: While we were away on our, er, hiatus, the Tennessee football program secured eight — EIGHT!!! — verbal commitments for next year’s recruiting class. Of course we’re not around for the positive news, but I want to point that out before I absolutely shred our AD. So, Go Vols! Now, onto the bloodshed.

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It’s Life 101 — try to be successful at everything you do, and when you fail, either spin that frustrating time into a positive or keep your plight as quiet as you can. Taking steps beforehand to ensure that you’re suffering in silence when things don’t work out rather than becoming a public portrait of Fail will save you a lot of frustration.

People actually get paid to help you accomplish this. They’re called Public Relations departments. The University of Tennessee may need to invest in a better one.

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This is a picture or Trent Richardson in his natural habitat, the end zone.