Sunday, January 31, 2010

Hopson hits clutch shot to beat Florida

Earlier this week Bruce Pearl challenged Scotty Hopson to take more shots as Tennessee's offense has struggled lately. Hopson came up big when it counted hitting a fall away shot with 21 seconds left to give the Vols a one point lead against the Gators.

Tennessee then turned up the defense and did not give Florida and easy shot, got the rebound and ran out the clock defeating the Florida Gators 61-60.

Hopson's basket gave Tennessee their sixth straight win over Florida and it also kept Tennessee from losing their third straight game in a row. While a win over Florida always makes me happy, Tennessee should have won this game by much more.

Tennessee played a slow and sloppy first half, falling behind by 10 at one point while letting the Gators shoot 57.7 percent. Tennessee got tougher on defense in the second half, holding Florida to only 36.4 percent and outrebounding them 27-12.

What really hindered the Vols in the game was their poor free throw shooting. Tennessee was 4 of 12 from the charity stripe against the Gators. This has become a trend for Tennessee. They have not shot well from the line all season, shooting only 66.4 percent which is ninth in the SEC. If the poor free throw shooting continues, it might cost Tennessee a game they should win.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Snow Storm is Coming

Well for the first time in a very long time it looks like we are going to get a huge amount of snow here in Virginia Beach! I have heard anywhere from 6-12 inches and for here that is a lot!

Of course it won't start until around 6 am and I have to work at the radio station from 10am-2pm so hopefully it won't get to crazy out there.

However, knowing the history of snow forecasts in this area, it also will not surprise me if it doesn't snow at all. Which will make those people who bought six loaves of bread and gallons of milk feel pretty silly.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Laughter takes pain away from Tennessee loss

So my family had tickets to see Bill Cosby last evening and it was awesome! Bill Cosby: Himself was the first stand-up I ever saw and I had never laughed so hard. I spent the next few years memorizing the album, much to the chagrin of my parents. At 70 Mr. Cosby can still make me crack up. He told some great stuff about getting married and what to look forward to after 40+ years or marriage. If you have the chance, go see his show!

All that laughter sure took the pain away from the Tennessee loss at Georgia last evening as well. I kept getting score updates during the show, and it just kept getting worse and worse. I think the Vols were due for a wake up call. They had been very resilient since all the arrests and suspensions, it was about time they walked into a buzz saw. Georgia may have been 0-3 in the SEC but they had played every team close, including Kentucky on the road.

I wouldn't worry about the Vols too much. They will be just fine this season. Bruce is one of the best coaches Tennessee has had in any sport, just keep the faith in him.

One other note, my Championship game picks:

Colts over Jets

Saints over Vikings

Enjoy the football today!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Tennessee Lands Virginia Beach Star

Tennessee has been able to land some really great players from the Hampton Roads area of Virginia. A few Tennessee Volunteer legends you might have heard of from the Tidewater area include: Jerod Askew, who red shirted this year but I think will be a great linebacker, Jerod Mayo, 2008 AP Defensive rookie of the year for the Patriots, Todd Kelly, 1992 Team Captain and All-SEC, Frank Emanuel, 1965 All-American and 2004 College Football Hall of Fame, Ed Beard, C.J. Fayton, Mark Adams, and Steve DeLong, All-American 1963-64, and Outland Trophy Winner 1964.

Another top player from Hampton Roads is heading to Rocky Top, from Ocean Lakes High School in Virginia Beach, Justin Hunter. Hunter originally committed to LSU last spring but has changed his mind and is headed to Tennessee.

Hunter is 6 foot 4 and 185 pounds and can catch the football, which I got to see first hand. I was announcing at Kellam (my old high school) when Ocean Lakes came to play this past fall and Hunter led Ocean Lakes to a win with eight catches for 179 yards and three touchdowns.

This is a big gain for Tennessee and a strong start for new head coach Derek Dooley. Hunter said he felt much more comfortable and more trusting with Dooley than with the other Tennessee coach.

It is also a win for the Tennessee track team. Hunter is one of the nation's best in the long jump, triple jump, and high jump.

While I will always cheer for the Vols no matter where they are from, it is great to have another player from my hometown on Rocky Top.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Poker in Atlantic City

My birthday present this year is a poker trip up to Atlantic City! I am heading out tomorrow morning and will be there till Wednesday. I am looking forward to finally playing some poker in a casino for the first time since Josh's bachelor party in Tunica a year and a half ago.

I will have a few stories to tell so check back for updates!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Derek Dooley is Tennessee's New Head Coach, Like it or Not

The reaction around Big Orange Country to the hiring of Derek Dooley has been about what I expected. The first thing everyone looks at is his record of 17-20 at Louisiana Tech. The next thing they look at is he was Tennessee's fifth or sixth choice for the head coaching position. Those facts have many in Knoxville, thinking Tennessee is doomed and we will be looking for another head coach in 2-3 years.

However, that is a very myopic view of the situation. There are some things a really like about Derek Dooley and why I am willing to give him a chance on Rocky Top.

Derek's father is legendary Georgia coach Vince Dooley who won 201 games, six SEC Titles, and the 1980 National Championship. That is some great pedigree to come from. He also sounds just like his father with that southern drawl, which is a big contrast to the California boy who left town.

Not only did he learn from his father, but he learned coaching from maybe the best coach right now in college football, Nick Saban. In 2000, Dooley was hired by Saban at LSU as the Tigers’ recruiting coordinator/tight ends coach, a capacity in which he served until 2002. Dooley then spent the 2003-04 seasons coaching the Tigers’ running backs and special teams. In 2005, Dooley left LSU with Saban when the latter became head coach of the Miami Dolphins.

Dooley then had a choice, he could follow Saban to Alabama where he would probably end up being a hot commodity for a head coaching job, or he could take a gamble and become a head coach at Louisiana Tech where he could work to build a program that did not focus much on football, and so far away from the other WAC conference schools (the closest is New Mexico State). Dooley stated in his press conference that his experience at La Tech better prepared him for the job at Tennessee, than staying a coordinator with Saban.

With that great pedigree comes a love and understanding of the SEC. It was pretty apparent that Kiffin did not really fit into the SEC mold. Dooley understands how much SEC football means to the fans and the south in general.

He has spent time as a lawyer, so he knows to be diplomatic and not pick fights he cannot win, a stark contrast from Trojan Boy.

I am willing to give Dooley a chance to be successful, not label him as a failure before he has even gone a a recruiting trip, let alone coach a game. If he can keep what is left of this recruiting class together and maybe add a four star recruit or two, he will be off to a good start.

Look, the 2010 season is not going to be pretty anyway for Tennessee. We have to replace four of five starters on the offensive line, replace Eric Berry, and have a new starting quarterback. Also, the Oregon Ducks come calling in the second game of the season and then it's the usual SEC wars.

Welcome to Rocky Top Derek Dooley.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Big Second Half for Tennessee Blowing out Auburn in SEC Opener

I expected Tennessee to have a little bit of a hangover from the big win over Kansas. So it was no real surprise to me when Auburn jumped out to an early lead at Thompson-Boling arena. Then the Tigers behind 10 first half three pointers, stretched the lead to 12, and I got a little worried.

However, Bruce Pearl got the Vols back on track and the Big Orange went on a nice run to take a one point lead at the end of the first half. Tennessee then went on to shoot 65.5% in the second half, while Auburn went cold from three only going 1-11. When the buzzer sounded, Tennessee won 81-55.

The what really sparked the turnaround was Tennessee's defensive pressure. When they were down 12 midway through the first half, Tennessee turned up the intensity on defense and Auburn could not respond. Bobby Maze also got on track and made things look easy in the second half, earning my player of the game honor ending the game with 14 points and nine assists.

In the Kansas game, Scotty Hopson, Bobby Maze, and Renaldo Woolridge had to step up when Wayne Chism and J.P. Prince were in foul trouble. Chism and Prince returned the favor leading the charge for the Volunteers. Chism has a double-double, 12 points and 12 rebounds, while Prince added 14 points.

Things do not get any easier for Tennessee. They have to get ready to host Ole Miss on Saturday, and then head to Tuscaloosa to play Alabama on Tueday.

Will Muschamp Turns Down Tennessee

It looks like it is official. Texas' Defensive coordinator Will Muschamp has turned down a rumored $3 million a year contract to become the new head coach at Tennessee. He will remain at Texas and is still the head coach-in-waiting whenever Mack Brown decides to retire.

With recruiting going live again on Sunday, Tennessee is working feverishly to get a new head coach in place my then. The Vols had Muschamp as number one on their list of candidates, but have now turned their focus to current Duke head coach David Cutcliffe.

Cutcliffe is the former Tennessee offensive coordinator who tutored Peyton Manning, as well as Eli Manning when he was the head coach at Ole Miss. Cutcliffe returned to Tennessee as offensive coordinator in 2006 and helped Erik Ainge rebound after a disastrous 2005.

I think Cutcliffe would be a great fit at Tennessee. He knows the area backwards and forwards, he knows how to coach quarterbacks, and he won't bolt after one season. I also believe it would be a safe hire after the wake of destruction Lane Kiffin left in only 14 months. He has also been a proven head coach. He had turned around Ole Miss, and was then unceremoniously fired after one losing season after Eli Manning left. So far in two years at Duke he has won nine games, at at Duke that is phenomenal!

On top of all that. Peyton Manning recommends Daivd Cutcliffe to become the new Head Coach at Tennessee. How can you disagree with that?

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Reaction to Lane Kiffin Leaving Tennessee

Well well, what a 27th birthday indeed! I figured my birthday would be as good a day as any to start a new blog, rambling about Tennessee, movies, video games, etc. I just never thought it would start off like this.

I was announcing a basketball game at my high school when I got a text telling me that Kiffin had taken the job at USC. My first reaction was not of surprise like so many of my Tennessee friends have had. Maybe it is because I am a little bit of a cynic and really never believed that Kiffin bought into the whole Tennessee family. I told my parents two months ago that the only other head coaching job Kiffin would take would be at Southern California. I just did not think that job would open up so soon.

In reality it is a better job for Lane Kiffin to be the head coach at USC. You can be a little more laid back in the Pac-10 than you can in the SEC where you have to be on your game 24/7 and fans live and die by every little rumor that they hear. Also, at USC all Kiffin has to do is recruit the state of California and the Trojans will have a competitive team every year, instead of having to recruit against Florida, LSU, Alabama, Georgia, and the rest of the SEC for every five star recruit.

My first reaction was actually of disappointment. I felt really upset for the Tennessee players who will be under their third head coach in as many years. The reaction on campus and in the players meeting when Kiffin told his players he was leaving was one of betrayal. No surprise there as the players believed Kiffin would be in Knoxville long enough to at least to see his first recruiting class graduate.

Fans in Big Orange Country are not used to seeing this happen either. Johnny Majors and Phillip Fulmer were on Rocky Top a combined 32 years, so loyalty and longevity are big in the minds of the Tennessee faithful.

Tennessee fans may feel hurt, but you have to take off the orange shaded glasses and realize this is the college football world we live in. Coaching promises mean nothing anymore. Fans will just have to understand that Tennessee will probably go out and do the same thing USC just did and get a coach from another school. Fans at UW-Milwaukee were not happy with Tennessee after we hired Bruce Pearl in 2005. This is just the nature of the beast.

Now, the ball is back in Tennessee's court. AD Mike Hamilton will have to find a new head coach that will have to not only clean up the mess that Kiffin left on his way out, but salvage a recruiting class with only three weeks left until National Signing Day.

On top of all that is the 2010 football schedule, not only does Tennessee have to go through the usual wars in the SEC, but the defending Pac-10 champion Oregon Ducks come calling in week two.

Thank you to everyone who wished me a happy birthday yesterday! I look forward to all of your comments!