No football coach at any level sits his team down at the beginning of the season and says, “Listen guys, we’re not going be spectacular this year. In fact, we’ll do well to salvage our dignity in the face of our more talented foes. But hey, let’s go play some football, shall we?” Actually, a coach would tell the worst team in the world just the opposite, and probably mean it. But beyond professional motivation, the facts remain: a poorly prospected team generally fulfills its prospectus. And that’s looking like the case for the 2010 Tennessee football Volunteers. Don’t think so? We’ll, keep the following in mind as you place your bets, or agree to play a game day drinking game.
New Coach Syndrome
Lane Kiffin is out and Derek Dooley is in. What that means for the team’s quality of play is that it will have some growing pains as it adjusts to a new system, however slight the adjustments. Dooley is former lawyer, and like Kiffen, he can conjure the verbiage to give some decent locker room speeches. It doesn’t matter. A new coach rarely takes a team to new heights in his freshman campaign, even when the team is stacked, and the Vols certainly aren’t stacked.
The backfield? What backfield? Not to take anything away from Tyler Bray, Nash Nance or Matt Simms, son of NFL Hall of Famer, Phil Simms, but the transfer of 2009 quarterback Nick Stephens leaves the Vols with three quarterbacks that haven’t seen a single snap in live play. If one is dreamy enough, the concept of Simms making good on his genetics and taking the Vols a notch higher than Stephens did seems somewhat plausible. But when you’re using words like plausible, you’re not talking about a situation that’s bound for success.
The Volunteers still have cloud hanging over their head after three of their freshman players in 2009 players participated in an attempted armed robbery just off the Tennessee campus. Why three college athletes with their futures ahead of them and their necessities taken care of by the university would get up to such chicanery is anyone’s guess. But the fact is: they did, which did more than all but ruin their careers; it also jeopardized the morale of their team. Much has been written in the annals of sports about the importance of a winning mentality. Thug life just sort of takes that mentality away.
If you’re a Tennessee football fan, the 2010 Vols will give you some reasons to cheer. But they won’t be winning you many bets or keeping you very sober if you agree to chug Bud Light every time they throw an incomplete pass.