Morning everyone. School is out and finals are done. Grades are now out of my hands. So what does that mean to you? Well it means I now have time on my hands to keep you all informed about all things Vol again. Are you ready? Cause here we go….Big Orange Caravan
Its money making time in East Tennessee! How do we make our money you ask? The Big Orange Caravan has officially rolled out of K-town and is making the rounds to see the Vol faithful all over the south east. Stops include Birmingham, AL, Atlanta, GA, Dallas-Fort Worth, TX, West Palm Beach, FL, and Columbia, SC as well as a thorough tour through the state of Tennessee. Bruce is leading the pack hitting up a majority of the stops but Dooley is only one off. Both are getting rounds of applause, standing ovation, and energizing the crowd as well as calming nerves of the faithful who are worried about the upcoming season. Pat is on the trail too….well kinda as she is only making one stop in Dallas, TX. Has women’s basketball really been promoted enough and the Lady Vols have that much support that she only has to make one stop and that be out of State?? I don’t think so. Shame on you Pat Summit.
Lets take a look at some of the stops and get some quotes down:
- Atlanta: “This is a critical area for our program,” Dooley said. “Atlanta is three hours from Knoxville. When I was on the other side, when Tennessee won, they had a lot of great players from Georgia. We started it on signing day, and we’re going to keep pushing it to bleed orange right into this state for a long time.”
- Atlanta: “I’m excited,” said Janette McCullum, who graduated in 1982. “He’s come in and picked up the ball in a tough situation. (Former coach) Lane Kiffin was here at this event a year ago, and he didn’t smile the entire time. He even left early.”
- Atlanta: “I’m honored to be the coach of the University of Tennessee,” Dooley said. “I look forward to being here a long time.”
- Cleveland, TN: “If you try to temper fans’ expectations, you’re walking up a hill you can’t climb,” Dooley said during the tour stop at the Cleveland Country Club. “Here’s what’s fun – the expectations now versus the fall. Now it’s, ‘Hey, coach, we’re understanding. We’ve got a long way to go. But the first time you kick that ball off, the feelings change a little bit because of the competitive environment, and that’s OK. You wouldn’t want it any other way. Surprisingly, expectations aren’t that different anywhere you go. It’s always a little higher than what you could probably pull off – no matter where you are.”
- Cleveland, TN: “The biggest thing is the future is in good hands, and it’s being built on a solid foundation,” he said. “Because it’s being built that way, it’s going to be able to handle any bumps along the way. But I think there’s also a reality about some concerns that can’t get fixed right away. That’s the inexperience, the lack of depth, but the most important thing is long term. That’s what we’re here to solve.”
- Interview in between stops: “Obviously the two biggest issues are depth and experience, not two good things to have going into the SEC,” Dooley said. “But that’s what it is. It’s undisputable. We don’t have a lot of depth and we don’t have a lot of experience. We spent the first half of spring just figuring out what we’ve got. The players learned about the coaches and what we’re doing schematically, what the expectations are, we started feeling out who these guys were. That’s why I said I wished we had another spring right after. Now we can go hone in on it. I do think we have a great feel for our personnel. I think I understand what we have.”
- Interview in between stops: “We have a very complex system in our book,” Dooley said. “But then you’ve got to shape the system to the players. And as guys grow and get better, you keep shaping that system for them. As new guys come in, you shape it for what they can do. I think it’s ever-evolving with some basic fundamental philosophies that you never deviate from. I think it’s (about) being less flexible (this season), meaning we’ve got to tighten down and keep it clean early on. What you want to do is you want a player to perform at his capacity. Here’s the balancing act – I want you to play fast and not think. Well, the only time players can do that is when they know it so well it’s like playing in the backyard. Then you balance that with you have to be complex enough to put them in a position to succeed. In other words, if you’re just real simple, well, they’ve got good coaches on the other side. They know how to stop you.”
Mike Hamilton Volunteer Award is presented to an individual who makes a special gift and unique contribution to the program
Bernard King (former player)
Burchfield-Moss Most Courageous Award goes to the Vol who displays the most courage and desire to overcome any obstacle in their way
Chad Newman (team athletic trainer)
Lowell Blanchard Award is given to the player who demonstrated the most improvement during the season
Volunteer Hardest Academic Worker Award
Bobby Maze was not in attendance as he was working out for the New York Knicks. Chism and Prince both have worked out for the New York Area teams as well. It is possible that UT could have three players taken in the draft after their impressive NCAA Tourney run and season. Josh Bone and Skylar McBee have been awarded with scholarships. Negedu is still being looked at by several schools after Tennessee and Indiana have both declined to let him back on the court.
Tennessee Baseball in the Tourney?
Shocking I know but the Baseball team may actually have resurected this season enough to get into the NCAA tourney let alone the SEC. Here is what coach Raleigh had to say.
“I didn’t look at it until probably this last week because now the NCAA projections are coming out,” Raleigh said. “I don’t think I really paid attention until this past week, but I did post something right here on the locker-room door before we left that projected Tennessee getting in if it went 7-4 in the last 11 games. I don’t know how they come up with this stuff, but I put it on the board and I usually don’t do that. I made a little note and it said, ‘Whatever you guys want to do. It’s in our hands.’ We can’t worry about what other people are doing, let’s control what we do. I thought that might be a little motivation.”
With 8 games left including two SEC series vs Auburn and Alabama UT still has work to do but things are starting to be looking up for the 27-21 club from when they were a dismal .500 team earlier this year. They have won 8 of their last 10 games and the toughest games are behind them.
It’s tough to decide to cheer for them or not. Coach Raleigh needs to go and I’m afraid he is earning an extra chance with this run but for the guys sake I hope this happens. This team deserves it.
Football News and Notes
Recruiting update will be in a post soon but just wanted to say Oregon vs UT 7:00 pm on Sept 11 carried on ESPN family of Networks.