A special dedication here!
DEDICATED TO THOSE TWO RAYS OF SUNSHINE, OPTIMISM AND HOPE, LEONVOL AND VOLMAN-------------------
This article was originally published in blog:
A special dedication here!
Big Orange Report 10-17-11
By Warner Agee
Fickle Fan Fallout
On the CBS broadcast of the Tennessee-LSU game, color commentator Gary Danielson listed his five biggest offensive stars in the Southeastern Conference this year. Two of those players watched the contest from the sidelines on Saturday. Sophomores Tyler Bray and Justin Hunter were denied the opportunity to display their quite prodigious skills because of injury. Ironically, a third member of the five, South Carolina tailback Marcus Lattimore, also was felled on Saturday by a knee problem that has most likely shelved him for the remainder of the season.
This Tennessee team has 15 freshmen in the two deep on the current depth charts. When the Vols lost their two most dynamic playmakers, there was simply no one who could replace them and maintain their magnificent levels of performance. With a schedule that already was a gauntlet of fire, Tennessee has been forced to carry on with inexperienced and less talented players. Obviously, the results have been less than pleasant for all concerned.
Then comes those lurking, fickle fans, the arm chair quarterbacks who have, at best, a casual knowledge of what is required to field a winning program in the premiere conference in America. These guys go on the internet with its anonymity, and harp about coaches and individual players without ever considering the cause and effect of the circumstances that the UT program operates under at this specific time.
They also steadfastly refuse to offer any credit whatsoever to the talented opponents on the Vol schedule. Apparently, in the view of some, the others guys desire for victory and the hours of preparations by their excellent coaching staffs are of no consequence at all. Great effort and the superior athletic skills of the opposition does not ever figure into the equation for the impatient fans who only a short time ago seemed to understand that a monumental re-building job was underway in Knoxville and the results they crave were not forth coming this season.
Manning lauds Dooley, Wilcox
In an interview during the game last weekend, former Tennessee great Peyton Manning offered his full support to head coach Derek Dooley, defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox and the rest of the staff. Manning indicated that he could see progress and that Dooley had the program pointed in the right direction. He called Wilcox a rising star in the coaching profession. But of course, there are those who have elected to ignore Manningís glowing review and instead continue to moan and complain about a problem that simply canít be fixed with one or two recruiting classes.
The fact of the matter is this program was in a shambles. Poor recruiting and terrible evaluations of both talent and character from 2006-09 left the roster devoid of any significant play makers or solid role players who form the concrete foundations of a competitive team. During those years, there were almost a dozen academic causalities that never even walked onto campus. There were players who used drugs, didnít go to class and thought that the rules applied to others but not to them. When Dooley arrived, he may have wished he had taken a job trying to herd squirrels into a dog house rather than what he walked into at Tennessee.
The program was also hamstrung by the hangover effects of the one year circus run of Lane Kiffin. Thanks to Kiffin and Bruce Pearl, a one-year NCAA investigation hung over Tennessee athletics like a very dark cloud of insecurity and uncertainty.
Derek Dooley knew the pressures and scrutiny that goes with the territory. What he may not have understood though is that some impatient fans would turn on him less than 20 months into the job. Thank goodness those in the know such as new athletics director Dave Hart, are well aware of the depths to which this program had sunk. The big decision makers are very prepared to ride out the storm and support their young head football coach as he moves forward with his rebuilding and re-tooling of this tradition-rich football program. Perhaps at some point soon, the nay-sayers will get back on board so that all who love Tennessee football can pull in the same direction once again.