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Tennessee News – 8/26/09

Lane Kiffin told #2 quarterback Nick Stephens to be ready to play because “he’s been wrong before.”  Well, if that ain’t a ringing endorsement for Jonathan Crompton I don’t know what is.

Center Josh McNeil was schedule to undergo an arthroscopic procedure on his knee this morning that will determine the future of his playing career.

Kiffin’s coaching staff has plenty of motivation to succeed.

On the basketball court, juco point guard transfer Melvin Goins has been hampered a bit by a pulled hamstring.

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Tennessee News – 8/25/09

Last year’s start-of-the-season quarterback Jonathan Crompton has once again won the starting job… but it appears last year’s starting center Josh McNeil might lose out on that role this year due to an aching knee.

Crompton says he knows that he can’t take his starting job for granted.

Joe Biddle of The Tennessean thinks UT will still have a quarterback-by-committee in the end.

Question: Now that Crompton has won the QB job, who will he throw to? 

According to this notes column, the Vols are so decimated at receiver that they’ll be counting on true freshmen and a converted defensive back.

Their quarterback doesn’t sound worried.  “If you’re good enough to wear a Tennessee uniform, you’re good enough to go out there and get the job done.”  Nice thought.  Apparently Crompton has blocked out any memories of last season.

With so many wideouts… out… is it time to get Eric Berry some time on offense?

Here’s a game-by-game preview of Tennessee’s 2009 schedule.

In basketball news, Bruce Pearl put his players through a brutal first day of workouts yesterday.

Assistant coach Tony Jones’ murdered father will be laid to rest on Friday.

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Tennessee News – 8/24/09

As noted earlier today, receiver Gerald Jones — Tennessee’s most-experienced receiver — could miss four- to six-weeks with a high ankle sprain.

Former tight end Brandon Warren better be ready to excel at wideout because other receivers keep going down around him.

Despite the injuries, anticipation is still running high in Knoxville.

Mike Griffith of The Knoxville News Sentinel says Jonathan Crompton is better than Nick Stephens in Lane Kiffin’s simplified offensive system.

The Vols have a pair of twins on their offensive line.

Eventually, Louisville might turn out to be the best fit for Phillip Fulmer.  (As everyone continues to predict Steve Kragthorpe’s demise.)

In basketball news, Bruce Pearl wants his team to get back to his up-tempo, pressing style in 2009-2010.

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Vol fan reveals program from inside

Clay Travis was living a dream, immersed in the sights and sounds of the University of Tennessee football program. He found himself sitting in the Vol locker room at the Rose Bowl just before the Tennessee-UCLA game Sept. 1, 2008.

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UT wants stimulation from simulation

Other than lacking 100,000 fans, a marching band and TV commercial breaks, Tennessee hopes to simulate a game-day experience at Neyland Stadium today.

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Tennessee News – 8/21/09

Saturday’s scrimmage — or “preseason game” as Lane Kiffin likes to call them — will be a major test for backup quarterback Nick Stephens who’s trying to unseat Jonathan Crompton for the starting job.

Dave Hooker of The Knoxville News Sentinel provides the latest on Bryce Brown’s eligibility situation. 

Brown’s snaps might be reduced in practice if Kiffin doesn’t hear some quick news from the NCAA.

After another long, physical practice, Kiffin said he likes the fact that his team never complains.  “They just line up and keep going.”

Running backs love UT’s new offense.

One of those tailbacks is a determined Montario Hardesty.

On the hardwood, Bruce Pearl said upon the release of his team’s schedule that “There’s no question our roster is set up for us to challenge for the SEC championship again and have our deepest tournament run yet.”

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Book Excerpt: “The Guy Won Five Games? I’d Won 150.”

Let me start with two observations we’ve already posted today:

1)  Phillip Fulmer is all over the media while fellow ex-coach Tommy Tuberville sits more silently on the sidelines.  I’m not saying who’s right or wrong, just that one coach is talking more than the other.

2)  Fulmer has not warmed to Lane Kiffin.  No surprise there.  It’s rare for the last guy to like it when the new guys starts talking about all the things he has to come in and fix.  That’s a poor reflection on the last guy.  Also Kiffin offended Fulmer in the way he reached out to him.

Now you can add a third observation to the list: Fulmer isn’t impressed by Kiffin’s resume (hard to argue that one).

In this excerpt from Clay Travis’ new book on the 2008 football season at Tennessee, Fulmer is asked about his replacement.

“Well, that’s not my place to make a judgement, I don’t know him.  And I don’t know, you know, the guy won five games?  I’d won 150.”

The coach then reportedly laughed, shook his head and said, “It’s not my place.”

The ironic thing here is that Johnny Majors could have made much the same comment when he was pushed out in favor of 3-game-winner Fulmer back in 1992.

As far as Kiffin’s brash statements early in his tenure, the former Vol coach had this to say: “It’s either immaturity at the very least or poor judgement at the very worst.”

Just a guess, but I wouldn’t expect to see the old Tennessee coach and the new Tennessee coach hanging out together anytime soon.

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Tennessee News – 8/20/09

Monte Kiffin says Tennessee’s players are hungry to win.  Offensive lineman Vladimir Richard disagrees.  “We’re starving.  It’s beyond hungry.”

Defensive lineman Wes Brown is still trying to overcome chronic pain in his knees.  (This column also states that cornerback Brent Vinson seems to be showing signs of maturity.)

This writer wants Lane Kiffin to make freshmen available for interviews.

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Fulmer Says Kiffin “Better Be Able To Back It Up”

Former Tennessee coach Phillip Fulmer sat down with a writer from New York’s Newsday this week and he made his first real public comments about the man who replaced him.

When asked about Lane Kiffin’s “tumultuous start,” Fulmer replied:

“Well, I did it my way as I thought I would want to be representative of a school and I’m proud of what we accomplished.  We won a lot of football games and had a lot of great players and championships and all those kinds of things.

“I just think everyone has to be their own way.  If you’re going to be brash you better be able to back it up.  I’m a fan of Tennessee.  Absolutely, that’s my school and those are my players for the most part and I want them to do extremely well.”

It’s safe to say that Fulmer has not warmed to Kiffin.  According to sources close to UT’s ex-coach, in July Kiffin had his secretary call Fulmer late one afternoon to try to schedule a dinner for the two.

Fulmer wasn’t pleased that Kiffin failed to reach out directly… and that he was expected to drop everything at the last minute to meet with his successor.

It will be very interesting to hear what Fulmer has to say about the Vols and their coach when he’s on CBS College Sports Network this fall.

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Tennessee Appeals NCAA’s Decision On Brown

Tennessee athletic director Mike Hamilton has learned the NCAA’s initial verdict on freshman Bryce Brown’s amateur status and he plans to appeal it.

“That’s not a final decision by any measure,” Hamilton said.

Judging by that whole “appeal” thing, it seems rather obvious that the UT got some not-so-good news on their top-prospect tailback.  Tennessee officials would not reveal what the NCAA’s final ruling was.

Another UT athletic department official added, “Now we’re just focusing on getting him eligible.  There is no investigations ongoing right now.”

The NCAA’s investigation into Brown goes back to his sophomore year of high school and the mean in which he obtained money to attend some football camps.  His “advisor” Brian Butler it at the center of the investigation.

While other teammates of Brown also received what might have been extra benefits — according to UT sources — Brown is the only player that has been investigated/punished by the NCAA. 

Think another SEC school was pushing for this?  Nah.

It is believe that in a worst-case scenario, Brown will be suspended for a game or two and might have to pay back money he received back in high school.  Again, that’s BELIEVED to be the worst-case scenario.

YOU TELL US — Should Tennessee have known better than to recruit Bryce Brown?  Answer right here on our messageboards.

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