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Knoxville Writer Comes Around To My Way Of Thinking

Just a quickie note for the Tennessee readers as I put together the East Division notes this morning:

John Adams of The Knoxville News Sentinel, in his latest column, writes that UT athletic director Mike Hamilton is firmly in the corner of his head coach Lane Kiffin… despite the negative attention Kiffin seems to have drawn to himself.

In the column, Mr. Adams (a friend of mine), writes that Hamilton believes Tennessee will have a tougher team under Kiffin than it had under Phillip Fulmer.

Mr. Adams writes: “Forget the talent differential.  UT’s teams haven’t been as tough as Florida coach Urban Meyer’s teams.

“It’s not just a matter or working hard.  It’s a matter of competing every day in conditioning, practices, scrimmages and games.  It’s a matter of players being more accountable on and off the field.

“It’s the head coach’s job to set the standards for competitiveness, discipline and accountability.”

Good points. 

Too bad then that Mr. Adams felt the need two years ago to write down a column that I had penned for the Sentinel in which I quoted a number of former Vols who said — wait for it — the competitive spirit had dimmed in UT’s weightroom.

One player told me, “Tennessee’s workouts are just not as competitive and intense as they used to be.  We used to enter the weight room and it was like gameday in there.”

The former players went on from there with more specifics.  Specifics which have now been proven out.

In fact, I quoted a number of former players in what was a very fair piece.

The coaching staff didn’t see it that way.  My column drew the ire of Fulmer and many other Vol fans because the players I had quoted were anonymous. 

(Try to get through a day without reading or hearing at least one story that includes an unnamed source.  It’s done everyday and it’s how news is broken.  People don’t dislike “sources” unless the sources say something people don’t want to hear.)

Just a couple of days after my column was published, Mr. Adams responded by writing that the former players I spoke with “don’t have a clue” about what they were talking about.

He finished his column with the following lines: “You can find plenty of problems when a program as successful as UT’s loses two of its first three games.  Player development probably would top my short list.  Strength and conditioning wouldn’t even make my long list.

“But what do I know?  I’m not a former player.”

That’s a pretty good shot at a column based on the views of former players, huh?  And it was used as proof by many fans that my whole column, not just the part about the weightroom, must have been bunk.

Of course, another losing season in which the Vols couldn’t control the line of scrimmage, a fired head coach, and a new coach who’s putting special emphasis right on the very areas that I was tipped to in 2007 has changed Mr. Adams’ mind.

I’m glad for him.  We’re friends.

And as friends, he didn’t hold back in sharing his views on my column two years ago, even though it damaged my credibility with a few people.

As friends, I now share my feelings on his latest column.  I’m glad that he now realizes that Tennessee’s weightroom might not have been as competitive as it needed to be.

But what do I know?  I’m not a sports editor.



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  2. [...] week ago, I had a little fun with my friend John Adams of The Knoxville News-Sentinel.Two years ago, I wrote a free-lance column in Knoxville after [...]

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