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October 2009 Archives

Keys to Victory: South Carolina

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South Carolina provides another intriguing matchup for Tennessee. Of course they've all been pretty intriguing so far this season.


Not only is there the Steve Spurrier factor, which always adds a level of intrigue, but the Gamecocks have probably their best team of the Spurrier era.


But despite another stellar defense and improved play from the quarterback, the No. 21 Gamecocks (6-2, 3-2 SEC) haven't exactly been dominant. Aside from Florida Atlantic and South Carolina State, the Gamecocks haven't won a game by more than six points.


The Vols (3-4, 1-3 SEC), meanwhile, have been close against more talented teams, but they've also lost a couple of head-scratchers to UCLA and Auburn.


With the exception of last year's loss in Columbia, Tennessee-South Carolina is usually a close one.


And if that isn't enough, this one takes place on Halloween. Get ready because this should certainly be interesting.


Here's this week's keys for a win over South Carolina:


Halloween memories

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With Halloween on Saturday, several Vols football players talked about some of their Halloween memories. Thanks to SIDs Drew Rutherford and Amanda Pruitt for the following update:


Summitt's take on being SEC favorite

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It's a pretty normal occurance for the SEC women's basketball coaches to pick the Lady Vols to win the conference.

But this year, given a pretty loaded team from LSU, UT coach Pat Summitt was a little surprised to learn league coaches tabbed her Lady Vols as the preseason favorite.

Her theory?

"They just want to put the pressure on us," Summitt quipped after practice Thursday in Thompson-Boling Arena. "I'm a little surprised. I think LSU has all the pieces."

As for practice on Thursday, Summitt was a little upset that her team backed down a little bit as they tired late in practice.

"We gave into fatigue late," Summitt said. "It's a challenge to get them all on the same page and playing with intensity on every possession particularly when fatigue sets in. This was not one of our better days."

Freshman Faith Dupree sat out practice with back spasms and is expected to miss a few days.

Vols defense doing work

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Monte Kiffin is still suffering the residual effects of his 26-year stint in the NFL.


"We were laughing in meetings the week we played Georgia," defensive tackle Wes Brown said. "He referred to them as Atlanta a couple of times, thinking about the Falcons. Everybody's just chuckling, and he's like, 'You know what I mean, you know what I mean. Georgia.' "


A slip of the tongue isn't the only thing Kiffin brought with him from the NFL. That Cover 2 defense that frustrated many an opponent and helped propel the Buccaneers to a Super Bowl victory?


Kiffin brought that with him from Tampa, too.


Kiffin's 'cred' gets a boost

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Hearing Lil Wayne over the loudspeakers at football practice isn't all that unusual.


But hearing Tennessee football coach Lane Kiffin turn up in one of Lil Wayne's songs? Stop the presses.


"We're Lil Wayne fans. We've played him a number of times out here before," Kiffin said after practice Wednesday evening. "I guess we're getting a little street cred. "


Lil Wayne, who won a Grammy Award last year for best rap album, drops Kiffin's name in his new song, "Banned from TV." (You can find it about a minute into the song, but it's best not to play it in front of the kids.)


Freshman running back David Oku likes the reference, and he thinks recruits will, too.


"That's a good thing, man," Oku said. "Coach Kiffin does talk a lot of smack, but he backs it up.


 "I know a lot of recruits probably listen to Lil Wayne. That's probably going to help Coach Kiffin out. That's going to play real good."


Sigilai blazing a trail

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I had a chance to spend some time with Peter Sigilai, Tennessee's first Kenyan runner, a little while ago. He's a neat kid, and his story's pretty cool.

Check out the story here, on UTSports.com.

Light the Night update

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Tennessee's baseball team has raised $5,826 so far for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society's Light the Night Walk. That's well over the team's goal of $3,900.

The Walk will begin tomorrow at approximately 7:20 p.m. from Circle Park. Registration will begin at 6:00 pm at Circle Park.

And there's still time to donate and help a really worthy cause.

Kiffin: Special teams 'killing us'

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Tennessee's special teams haven't exactly been stellar this season.


Shock of all shocks, right?


"We're not very good in special teams," UT coach Lane Kiffin said. "I don't think that's a surprise to anybody, and it's killing us."


There are plenty of front-line players who contribute. Eric Berry, Janzen Jackson, Denarius Moore, Dennis Rogan - all of them have pulled special teams duty this season. But one of the reasons, according to Kiffin, is the Vols' lack of depth. 


Vols starting to feel swagger

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Sure, those barbs Steve Spurrier used to toss out about the Citrus Bowl being impossible to spell without 'UT' stung a little bit back in the day.


But deep down, most Tennessee fans would admit they were also pretty clever.


The humor wasn't lost on Lane Kiffin, either.


"I've heard them," Kiffin said Tuesday. "I think it's funny. You guys know me. I think it's funny.


"I think he's hilarious. I think he always has been. I think the way that he acts is great for football, and it's great for the league. But that's just my little opinion."


Good Sunday, not so good Monday for basketball

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Tennessee finished basketball practice Monday evening with a lot of sprints and a lengthy talk from Bruce Pearl in Pratt Pavilion.


And talk might be putting it kindly.


A day after having their best practice of the preseason, the Vols weren't exactly the kind of team Pearl wants to put on the floor this season.


"Practicing Sunday, we were inspired by what our football team did on Saturday," Pearl said. "We talked about it before practice. We've only had a week of practices, but it was the best practice of the year, then we come back today...

Kiffin turning a few heads

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This posted over the weekend, but it's worth sharing:

Andrea Adelson of the Orlando Sentinel writes that Lane Kiffin is building a contender in Knoxville.

"Who would have thought before the season started that Kiffin would make the top two teams in the country look downright ordinary?," Adelson wrote. "Though he has been the butt of many jokes because of some of his more quotable remarks, especially about Urban Meyer and the Gators, Kiffin is doing something right in Knoxville."

The Vols haven't pulled off the big win yet under Kiffin, but it's hard not to be encouraged by those two games in particular. I'm guessing Tennessee would love another crack at UCLA, and for that matter, Auburn, which hasn't been nearly as confusing to opponents on offense as they were during a 5-0 start.



Vols fans are watching

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The News Sentinel's Terry Morrow says the ratings were off the charts in Knoxville for Saturday's Tennessee-Alabama game on CBS.

Here's more:

"The 3:30 p.m. game -- filled with drama for sure -- is one of the most-watched television events of the year in the Knoxville market. How strong is a 36.7 rating? Well, "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation," one of Knoxville's favorite primetime shows, managed a 9.5 this past Thursday."

In case you're wondering, a 36.7 rating means that 36.7 percent of all televisions in Knoxville (whether or not they were actually turned on) were watching the game Saturday.

Kiffin reflects on blocked field goal, penalties

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Cody block FG.jpegUT coach Lane Kiffin said a blocked 44-yard field goal as time expired in a 12-10 loss to then-No. 1 Alabama on Saturday was a combination of a low kick and protection issues on the left side of the line.


That's where Crimson Tide nose guard Terrence Cody broke through for his second blocked kick of the game.


Another issue could have been that Lincoln reinjured a quadriceps muscle that had bothered him earlier in the year during pregame warm-ups.


Lincoln didn't tell Kiffin he tweaked his quad, although that likely wouldn't have changed Kiffin's plans to run clock once they were inside field goal territory.

Sunday practice for Vols

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What's the best way to make sure a tough loss doesn't carry over into the following week's preparations?

Change the schedule.

With that in mind, Tennessee will practice Sunday afternoon and give players the day off on Monday.

Monday practices are typically lighter workouts that mostly involve correcting mistakes from Saturday's game. The only expected difference today is, well, the day.

It's not the first time that's happened at UT, either.

Following a 41-17 loss to Alabama in 2007, the Vols held practice on Sunday night the rest of the season. After making that change, Tennessee won its final five games of the season and clinched the SEC East.

Tennessee made it a permanent part of the routine last season, before Lane Kiffin went back to Monday practices this fall.

Keys to Victory: Alabama

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The Vols are on the road this weekend, playing the No. 1 team in the nation.

You've seen this movie before, right? Linebacker Rico McCoy hopes not.

"I haven't played Alabama yet," McCoy said, when asked to compare Alabama to Florida, which held the top spot in the AP poll when the two teams met last month. . "All I've seen is film. Teams play different from week-to-week. I'm hoping they're not as good as Florida. We did lose that game. I'm hoping they're not as good as Florida, to be honest with you."

Tennessee's only other trip on the road was against the No. 1 team in the nation that week, too, when it stayed closer than expected to the Gators. A few plays here or there, and the outcome could have been different in Gainesville.

But the Vols will likely approach Alabama much they did Florida. It's the result they hope is different.

Here are this week's keys to victory against the Crimson Tide:

Jones making good on guarantee

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After Tennessee's loss to Auburn, Gerald Jones walked into wide receivers coach Frank Wilson's office and made a guarantee.

"I said, 'Be harder on me than you are any other receiver on this squad because I'm going to get better. I'm going to stay after practice,'" Jones said Wednesday. "I'm going to do extra work. I'm going to get better, and it's going to show. I guaranteed him. I told him, 'I guarantee you that.'"

Since then, Jones has been a man of his word. He's stayed after practice throwing with quarterback Jonathan Crompton, most days for about 20 or 25 minutes, he said.

The results have been hard to miss.

Still competing in October

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Since arriving at Tennessee, head coach Lane Kiffin has preached competition. And the Vols continue to live it out on the practice field.

Leading up to Saturday's game against top-ranked Alabama (TV: CBS, 3:30 p.m.), the Vols listed four positions as up for grabs on the depth chart.

Berry named Lott quarterfinalist

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In perhaps the least shocking news of the season, Tennessee All-American safety Eric Berry is on the list of 20 quarterfinalists for the Lott Trophy.

Berry, a consensus All-American last year, is one of eight defensive backs on the quarterfinalists list. Six linebackers and six defensive linemen made the cut as well.

Berry was a quarterfinalist for the Lott Trophy last year. He was also a semifinalist for the Bednarik Award and a finalist for the Jim Thorpe Award.

Baseball updates

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The baseball team will participate in the Light the Night Walk on campus next Thursday, Oct. 29.

The Vols have helped raise $15,000 in the last two years for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

Click here to contribute to the team's fundraising goal, or donate at any of the remaining Orange and White World Series games.

And if you're interested in reading more about the Vols baseball team, check out Matt Duffy's post on High Heat, where several UT baseball players will be blogging throughout the year.

Change up for Vols' offense

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So far this season, the Vols have seen plenty of opponents run some version of the option. Now they'll see the defensive equivalent.

Facing No. 1 Alabama on Saturday, Tennessee's offense will have to contend with a 3-4 look up front from the Tide, something it's not used to seeing that often.

Assistant coach ties 'overrated,' Kiffin says

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For the second time this season, a Tennessee coach will be facing his former employer.

UT linebackers coach Lance Thompson left Alabama's staff last season to join Lane Kiffin in Knoxville. And while Thompson recruited many of the Tide's players and knows Nick Saban's defense, it's not as big of a factor as most people think.

"I think that's a little overrated. We had Eddie Gran, and we lost to Auburn," Kiffin said.

By the time Saturday rolls around, most coaches have a feel for what an opponent wants to do on both sides of the field and tendencies out of certain formations. That's what watching all that film is for. The real challenge comes in stopping it on the field.

"We get paid to coach," Kiffin said. "We get paid to watch a lot of film, stay here a long time to figure out what people do. I don't think it helps that much."

Getting to know Alabama

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Tennessee will face a top-ranked Alabama team on Saturday for the third time in school history on Saturday.

Check out this week's Scouting Report for a quick primer on the Tide.

First half analysis

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Who's the defensive MVP through UT's first six games? What's been the best moment so far for this football team?

Check out my breakdown of the first half of the season to find out. And e-mail me your thoughts, too. I'm curious to hear what you guys think.

With an open date, it'll be quiet on the blog tomorrow, but check UTSports.com this weekend for an update on former Vol linebacker Daniel Brooks.

Watch for basketball yearbooks

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Just finished a story with Vols forward Tyler Smith for the men's basketball yearbook.

Smith looks back over his UT career and how he got here in his own words. (And since it's his words and not mine, I can brag on what a cool story it is.)

So be on the lookout for men's and women's basketball yearbooks in stores and when the season starts.

Fewer 3-pointers? Not likely for Vols

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Last season, the Vols made more 3-pointers than eight other SEC teams. But their 31.5 percentage as a team ranked last in the SEC.

Those numbers, though, won't deter this year's team from shooting from behind the arc.

"We're not giving up on the 3-ball," UT coach Bruce Pearl said during Wednesday's preseason media day. "As long as that thing is still worth one more than two, we're going to keep shooting it."

And there's a major reason, besides just getting an extra point when it goes down.

"It's all about spacing, and you've got to make people extend defensively, otherwise driving lanes and post-up lanes are not available to you," Pearl said.

The absence of Chris Lofton and JaJuan Smith was glaring at times last season - and it wasn't always because 3-pointers weren't falling.

"The court looked different," says J.P. Prince. "When Chris was here, going left, no one would help off me because you're not going to leave Chris wide open. And Tyler (Smith) knew the same thing going right - nobody's going to help off JaJuan."

Still, Pearl is confident the Vols will have more success from the outside this season.

"(Last season) new guards did not shoot it nearly as well as they needed to shoot it," he said. "Tyler and Wayne (Chism's) percentages weren't as good as they will be and can be. We spent a great deal of time with our shooting, and it's my job to make sure we take better shots. I thought we missed way too many open shots, shots that we normally see."

Men's basketball getting after it

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Thanks to men's basketball SID Tom Satkowiak for posting this update:

The basketball team met at Gate 10 at Neyland Stadium Monday and Tuesday morning and ran "The Ramp" for the final two times this preseason.

Tuesday afternoon at Pratt Pavilion, basketball strength coach Troy Wills conducted agility drills and NBA Combine testing.

When asked what the most surprising result was from today's testing, Wills responded that he was most surprised to see that -- despite having run The Ramp for two straight days -- each player's vertical jump increased from the last time the team went through NBA Combine testing.

Jumping high doesn't necessarily equal wins, but it's another great example of how hard the team is working and how hungry the players are as they look to compete for another championship.

Basketball preseason activities continue Wednesday afternoon with Media Day at Thompson-Boling Arena.

Coaches scare on Tuesday

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Tennessee's football practice had fewer whistles on Tuesday.

With an open date this weekend, six of the Vols' assistant coaches were on the road recruiting , leaving just head coach Lane Kiffin, defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin, offensive coordinator Jim Chaney and assistant Eddie Gran, who works with special teams and running games.

"It's actually kind of fun because individual's not that long, and that's the boring part of practice for me," Kiffin said, smiling. "We just get to do a bunch of team stuff. It's good though. Our guys are around the country seeing the best players and the reception has been phenomenal, especially after our last game."

Lane Kiffin and Gran both saw that reception first hand. The two coaches arrived back in Knoxville on Tuesday afternoon in time for position meetings before taking the practice field.

"We did a good job today," Kiffin said. "We handled the meetings. When you have all the coordinators here, we were able to still get a lot done today and a lot of work."

Much of the work centered on special teams, a major concern even in last week's romp over Georgia.

"It was the first thing that we did and we spent a lot of energy on kickoff coverage again," Kiffin said. "We spend a ton of time with it. We spent 30 minutes today on special teams from the (Georgia) game."

Ahead of the curve?

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johnson_7203-150.JPGEveryone who walked by asked the same question: Are they making a video game?

That's a logical question when you walk by and a player is wearing a black body suit with white round balls attached.

But it's not NCAA 11 or the latest Madden game.

On Tuesday, Bryce Brown was one of several Vols undergoing 'fatigue testing' to see how his body mechanics are affected by fatigue.








Great weekend for tennis

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It should be a great spring for Tennessee's tennis teams.

And it's already been a great fall.

Over the weekend, John-Patrick Smith swept the ITA All-American Classic - the biggest tournament of the fall season - over the weekend, winning the singles title and the ITA doubles title as well with teammate Boris Conkic.

Smith is the first men's player to sweep the ITA since James Blake, now a fixture on the ATP tour, did it in 1998.

And on the women's side, the Lady Vols tandem of  Caitlin Whorskey and Natalie Pluskota took the ITA All-American doubles championship as well.

Crompton named SEC offensive player of the week

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A lot of people have said a lot of nice things about quarterback Jonathan Crompton's performance in a 45-19 victory over Georgia on Saturday.

Add the SEC to the list.

Crompton was named SEC offensive player of the week after throwing for a career-high 310 yards and four touchdowns against the Bulldogs. Not only that, but Crompton was consistent and accurate, completing 20 of his 27 passes.

His only interception of the day was tipped by receiver Zach Rogers, and that play snapped a streak of 88 consecutive plays without an interception.

Keys to Victory: Georgia

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While Tennessee coach Lane Kiffin stopped short of calling Saturday's game against Georgia a must-win, it certainly feels that way heading into the kickoff at 12:21 p.m. (TV: SEC Network).

It's already October, and the Vols are without an SEC win. After Saturday's game, the season will be halfway over - and it doesn't get any easier after an open date next week.

Here's a look at what the Vols (2-3, 0-2 SEC) need to do against Georgia (3-2, 2-1 SEC) to keep their backs from getting closer to the wall.

Johnny Majors chat transcript

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In case you missed it, we had a great live chat with Johnny Majors on Friday morning.

He talked orange pants, quarterbacks, Dale Jones and more.

You make the call...

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Remember when I said it was a shame that we didn't have any picutres of Tom Satkowiak painting the rock?

That was so 31 minutes ago.

Here's photographic evidence of Harry Potter's involvement:



Bright side for Tom: You've already got your Halloween costume.


Bud Ford still rockin' it

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Take a look at today's picture of 'The Rock,' painted in honor of Bud Ford's 65th birthday on Thursday.


Thanks to men's basketball SID Tom Satkowiak for passing it along.

Sadly, there's no picture of Tom wearing an old graduation gown (or was it a Hogwarts robe?) as a smock while helping paint. I'll let you know if it surfaces.

A little for the Vols

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Count me among those who was a little surprised to find out this week that the Vols were a sllight favorite over Georgia this week. But it seems the oddsmakers aren't the only ones who like the Vols this week.

This, from ESPN.com's Chris Low:

Tennessee 21, Georgia 17: The Vols have been close enough to be dangerous in their two SEC losses. Their defense has given them a chance against both Florida and Auburn. Now, if only the offense would cooperate. The Bulldogs haven't been able to run it the past two weeks, which doesn't bode well for them against Monte Kiffin's defense. Meanwhile, the Vols' running game seems to be hitting its stride. It all adds up to Lane Kiffin's first SEC win.

Catching up with Chris Scott

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Vols left tackle Chris Scott is a little thinner and a little more mobile this season. He's also a lot more consistent, and there's correlation between the two.

Scott talks about that and more in this Q&A:

Get to know Ealey before Saturday

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Word out of Georgia is that tailback Caleb King won't play Saturday after breaking his jaw last week, which means more of true freshman Washaun Ealey.

Ealey is 5-11, 205 pounds and rushed for 33 yards on eight carries last week against LSU.

In fact, he was expected to redshirt this season, but Georgia coach Mark Richt put him in the game with about seven minutes remaining. At that point in the game, Georgia had just 8 yards rushing.

"It wasn't the game and how it went that we said 'Hey, let's throw him there,' " Richt said, according to the Athens Banner-Herald. "We prepared him to play this week. ... I think he did give us a spark. He ran well."

Richt said this week that he expects Ealey to play more against Tennessee this week.

Former Ole Miss LB Fein's death hits home

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Sad story yesterday about the death of former Ole Miss linebacker Tony Fein.

Recruited by UT assistant head coach Ed Orgeron, Fein served in the Army for more than three years and completed a tour in Iraq.

"It is so sad to hear this news," Orgeron said Tuesday night, according to ESPN.com. "Tony was a great young man, who had served his country then lived his dream of playing middle linebacker in the SEC. He will be sorely missed by his former teammates and coaches."

Negedu: 'God is going to see me through this'

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For nearly eight years now, Emmanuel Negedu has lived the same routine.

Since coming to America from his native Nigeria, the 6-foot-7 basketball player has spent most of his days in the classroom and on the court. From Brewster Academy in New Hampshire to the University of Tennessee, the routine was a constant.

Until last week.

Negedu had just finished lifting weights with his teammates in the Neyland-Thompson Sports Center. He challenged guard Bobby Maze to race on the indoor football field and won, just like he said he would.

Then Negedu's 20-year-old heart stopped beating.

"My life was going good, doing everything I had to do," Negedu said Monday, a day before undergoing successful surgery to insert an implantable cardio defibrillator at UT Medical Center. "I had just gotten done with weights, going to open gym, happy, playing around.

"And that happened."

Continue reading 'Negedu: "God is going to see me through this"'

Back to familiar for Tennessee's defense

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No pistol. No option. No hurry-up. No draw-it-in-the-dirt plays.

Georgia's offense is a welcome return to the familiar for Tennessee's defense this weekend.

Each of the last three weeks, the Vols faced some version of the spread-option attack. Auburn ran a hurry-up version of the spread last week, which defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin likened to trying to read a book with some waving their hand in front of your eyes.

This week, though, Georgia brings a cozy pro-style offense to Neyland Stadium.

Continue reading 'Back to familiar for Tennessee's defense'

Congrats to Lady Vols' Harrison

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Lady Vols forward Amy Harrison was named the SEC's soccer freshman of the week.

From the SEC's release:

Harrison made her first career goal count in a big way by scoring the eventual match-winning goal at 27:52 as Tennessee downed Kentucky, 1-0, on Sunday in Lexington, Ky.

The Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, native settled a cross from midfielder Lara Langworthy, turned from about eight yards out in the middle of the pitch and fired just inside the left post for the goal.

Another Eric Berry video

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In case you missed it, here's the latest Eric Berry for Heisman video. This one debuted Saturday before the Auburn game. And props to Renaldo Woolridge (aka Swiperboy) for the song and Barry Rice's crew for another great video.


Get to know Georgia

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Josh Pate has an advance look at Georgia, which comes to Neyland Stadium on Saturday for a 12:21 p.m. kickoff.

The Bulldogs were one late stop away from upsetting No. 4 LSU last week. And while they're 3-2, they've played one of the toughest schedules so far of any team in the country.

That's no joke. Georgia's first five games:Oklahoma State, South Carolina, Arkansas, Arizona State and LSU. Not a breather (or a Western Kentucky) in the bunch.

Keys to Victory: Auburn

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At first, you might think Tennessee needs to avoid a shootout against Auburn on Saturday night. But that's not the worst case scenario. 


"I wouldn't say it's the last thing I want to see," UT coach Lane Kiffin said. "The last thing I want to see is them score a lot of points and us not. If they're scoring a bunch of points, I hope we're scoring a bunch of points. They have a lot of firepower."


If the Vols (2-2, 0-1 SEC) are going to earn their first SEC win of the season, they'll have to find a way to slow down Auburn's spread offense. But that's not all.


Here's five more keys to victory Saturday against the Tigers:

Busy afternoon with Lady Vols

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I got a chance to spend a good chunk of the afternoon watching the Lady Vols basketball team go through an offseason conditioning workout. And I'm tired just from watching.

Strength coach Heather Mason keeps the workouts competitive, and she's always on the go. Maybe that's why the Vol Network folks asked me to do a story on Mason's conditioning program for the women's basketball yearbook.

Stay tuned for the yearbook on newsstands as the season approaches.

Berry No. 2 on Kiper's 'Big Board'

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ESPN.com's Chris Low writes that Tennessee safety Eric Berry is the second best player overall in the 2010 NFL draft, according to Mel Kiper.

It's no surprise that Berry, a junior, rates that high. Oklahoma quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Sam Bradford is No. 1 on the list.

Check out Friday's epic David Oku chat

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So we just finished with Friday's live chat with David Oku, and I think 'epic' is probably the best word to use.

Check out the transcript here, in case you missed it. For everyone who participated, thanks for your questions. They were good ones.

And to whoever told me not use my hands so much on TV, it's been duly noted.

Live chat with David Oku at 10:30 a.m. Friday

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Make sure you don't miss Friday morning's chat with freshman running back David Oku.

Gerald Jones says that he had to kick Oku out of his room during fall camp. And anyone who can out-talk Gerald Jones is pretty impressive.

Start asking your questions here, and check back for the transcript later in the day in case you can't be there live at 10:30 a.m. Friday.

Vols can't give it away against Auburn

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t's so important that it borders on cliché. But that doesn't make taking care of the football any less important.

Against Auburn on Saturday (TV: ESPN, 7:45 p.m.), it's even more vital.

The Tigers (4-0) lead the SEC in turnovers caused with 12. They're tied with LSU for the conference lead in turnover margin at plus-seven, a figure that ranks fifth nationally.

Talking baseball with Todd Raleigh

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Had a chance to catch up with baseball coach Todd Raleigh this morning before the Vols begin the Orange and White World Series this weekend.

It's a busy time for the baseball program, with ongoing construction at Lindsey Nelson Stadium and a strong recruiting class beginning work for the upcoming season.

Here's a preview of today's Q&A, and check back in a little while for more from Raleigh, who's pretty excited about the upcoming season.

How have offseason workouts gone so far, and what will you be looking for during the Orange and White World Series this weekend?

"We've been working out since school started and we stated competive practice in the last couple weeks. The biggest difference for us is depth. The competition has been unbelievable at each position. Competition's a good thing. Kids are more focused, they're working harder. Their talent level's better. We're just deeper. I've been excited with workouts all the way around.

"I haven't had a chance to evaluate pitchers a whole lot in game-like situations, but that's something that is going to be key for us. I feel like we've got good arms, and that's an area that we've certainly got to get better in. I feel like we do have the arms to do it. I'm looking forward to the World Series to be able to evaluate them in those game-like situations."

Continue reading 'Catching up with Todd Raleigh'

Recent Comments

  • Shane: Hey Art and Drew. I live in Tampa and am always sporting something Tennessee. I get hounded all the time. read more
  • James Clark: I think that the first two quarters of saturday's loss were very impressive by the young Vols. I feel like read more
  • M. Xanoly: Simms is a JR .. the Ducks made adjustments to take away the run game, we couldnt get any plays read more
  • Hunter Ford: Tennessee has good young talent around the football this season. They have strength on both lines of scrimmage and two read more
  • Chris DeAngelo: im with marty on his or her comment,the vols looked great in the first quater,but there wasnt no whole first read more
  • Marty Traxler: Historically, it seems that the Vols are at their best in the first half and then weaken in the second read more
  • Bill: Thank you for being an inspiration. You are fun to watch. Your hustle and desire to win shows and is read more
  • Ray Cantrell: The Ducks, I believe, are definitely a top 5 team with speed, poise, and experience. I'm sure the Vol coaches read more
  • rockytopmama: So what happens if it stays storming for a good long while? will the game just be postponed? or will read more
  • Richard: I like what Matt Simms said. He's going to help these guys develop well if he himself also pushes the read more