Pearl-y Extension

•07.08.2009 • Leave a Comment
Coach Pearl receives a well-earned contract extension.

Coach Pearl receives a well-earned contract extension.

After leading the Vols to three SEC East championships in the past four years, it was announced today by the University of Tennessee that basketball head coach Bruce Pearl would be receiving a one year extension on his contract that also laid out an increased compensation package.

The contract extension will see Coach Pearl’s salary rise to $1.9 million annually, with an added $500,000 longevity bonus raising it to $2.4 million.  On the subject of his extension, Pearl had this to say:

I am grateful to President Simek, the Board of Trustees, Athletic Director Mike Hamilton, my staff and of course our players. I appreciate the Tennessee fans everywhere for the support they have shown our team.  The University of Tennessee has so much to offer – from great academic programs to incredible athletic resources to the most passionate fans in the country. I look forward to being the men’s basketball coach at Tennessee for many more years.

In five years, Coach Pearl has been able to accomplish so much for the Basket-Vols, including their first No. 1 ranking, an overall SEC Championship, and four straight NCAA tournament appearances to go with an average of twenty-five wins per season.

More than that, though, is the fact that Bruce has revitalized Tennessee basketball, bringing the program out of obsurity and thrusting it into the national spotlight.  He gave us something to cheer for when Fulmer had us in agony.  He brought a spark to Tennessee atheletics, and for that, I am forever grateful.

This extension should be viewed as a token of our gratitude for a job well done.  Keep it up, Coach.

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AD Squashes Black Jersey Rumor

•07.07.2009 • Leave a Comment

Most of the Tennessee blogs have been spurring rumors this offseason regarding the UT football team and their jersey choices for this upcoming fall.  Numerous pictures have popped up, and one blog even had a create-your-own uniform contest. There’s no problem with this, as most true Tennessee fans have their hearts skip a beat at the mention of black jerseys, or even new jerseys in general.  For example, in my four years of undergrad at UT, I would wager to say that I heard we were bringing out black jerseys for a certain game probably ten to fifteen times.  But sadly, that day never came.

And unfortunately, Mike Hamilton, Tennessee’s athletic director, seems to have squashed the black jersey rumor today, meaning that day might never come.  Hamilton said he doesn’t expect black Tennessee jerseys “any time in the near or distant future.”  He goes on to back up this claim by stating that all major uniform changes have to go through him, and that uniforms are ordered at least a year in advance.   This means no new black jerseys courtesy of Kiffin & Co, at least not in 2009.

Keep dreaming Vol fans.  Maybe we’ll get them one day…

Joyner to Visit

•07.07.2009 • Leave a Comment
LaMarcus Joyner - One of the Nations Top Prospects.

LaMarcus Joyner - One of the Nation's Top Prospects.

First Jeff Luc, and now LaMarcus Joyner.

The five star linebacker was the first to pencil in his visit to Knoxville for the first weekend in October, when the Volunteers play host to the Auburn Tigers.  Well, Luc is now being joined by fellow five star LaMarcus Joyner, who has decided to make a visit that weekend too, according to Brent Hubbs over at Volquest.com.

Joyner is the most sought after defensive back in the country, as he’s yet to commit his services to anyone, although Ohio State and Florida State seem to lead the pack of schools coveting the talented athlete.  With over twenty offers from some of the top programs in the country, Joyner has plenty to think about before making his decision on where to play college ball.

Tennessee stands to gain plenty of ground on many of these programs when they bring Joyner onto campus that first weekend in October.  When asked about Tennessee and his upcoming visit, Joyner responded, “With this new staff and the recruits they are bringing in, I think they are going to bring Tennessee back to a power house. They are going to get things rolling and I am looking forward to my visit.”

Something that might help the Vols in their quest to sign Joyner is the fact that he’s teammates with Tennessee’s newest commitment, No. 1 kicking prospect Michael Palardy.  No doubt, Eddie Gran and the rest of the coaching staff, along with Palardy, will be doing all they can to make sure this five star defensive back ends up a Volunteer.

Eighteen Days and Counting…

•07.07.2009 • Leave a Comment
Will Scroggins be our savior?

Will Scroggins be our savior?

Over the last month, the eyes of the Tennessee faithful (and obsessed) have focused upon the last remaining hope of Tennessee signing a big time QB prospect, Jesse Scroggins.  After the Vols lost out on Blake Bell and Jake Heaps, the coaches’ focus shifted immediately to Scroggins, who fits the mold of a pro-style quarterback at 6’3 / 195 lbs.  He’s a four-star prospect according to Rivals, and the No. 6 rated pro-style QB.

If this isn’t enough to wet your whistle, Scroggins has indicated the Vols sit in his top three schools, along with the USC Trojans and Florida Gators.  The elite QB has yet to tip his hand as to which school he’ll choose, saying that each of the three has its strong and weak points and he has no clear cut leader as of this week.

A leader will emerge soon, however, as Scroggins says he’s focused now on weighing the pros and cons of each school, hoping that will help him make his decision by the end of the Elite 11 Camp, which takes place July 21-24. It’s a tough call as to where Scroggins will land, as he seems to have no clear leader with only two weeks left until he announces his decision.

As Tennessee fans cross their fingers, rub their rabbits’ feet, and pray their hearts out, all we can do is wait, and hope, that our savior will come.

Eighteen days and counting…

Biggest College Football Rivalries in 2009

•07.06.2009 • 1 Comment

Two of the top college football gurus over at ESPN have released their takes on the biggest rivalries in college football for the 2009 seaon.

Pat Forde has put together his “red-hot rivalries” for 2009, with quite a bit of SEC flavor at the top of the list, including both Tennessee-Florida at No. 2 and Florida-Georgia at No. 3.  Here’s what Forde has to say about the September 19 battle in the Swamp between the Vols and Gators:

Why It’s Hot Now: Perhaps you’ve heard of Loudmouth Lane Kiffin? And what the first-year Tennessee coach said about Urban Meyer back on signing day? About how Kiffin was going to turn in the Gators to the NCAA after Meyer “cheated” and still couldn’t beat the Volunteers for a recruit? And how, oops, Kiffin got it wrong and Meyer hadn’t committed a violation after all — a point made swiftly and angrily by both Florida brass and SEC commissioner Mike Slive? Yeah, that’s why. Put it this way: If the loaded and defending national champions can beat the visiting and rebuilding Volunteers 100-0, they will beat them 100-0.

Upper Hand Today: It’s all Florida. Gators have won four straight and 12 of the last 16 — not a small part of the reason why Phil Fulmer is currently out of coaching.

Upper Hand Historically: All-time series is tied at 19, although 10 of Tennessee’s wins came between World War I and the Korean War.

Albert to Smokey: You’re all bark and no bite, little yapping dog.

Smokey to Albert: Don’t you have another player to bail out of jail, Gator?

* Kiffin’s brashness — that’s a more charitable word than “obnoxiousness” — has made the Volunteers a circle-the-date opponent for several other SEC schools beyond Florida. Alabama (Oct. 24 at Tuscaloosa) and South Carolina (Oct. 31 at Knoxville) lead the pack of rivals who will bring a little extra juice to the stadium when they play Tennessee.

Chris Low, the go-to-guy over at ESPN for SEC football, has followed suit by ranking the top SEC rivalries for this year, giving the Gators-Vols matchup the top nod.  Here’s what Low had to say on the matchup:

Tennessee at Florida, Sept. 19: Tennessee will probably go into the game as a three-touchdown (or more) underdog, but nothing will be able to touch this one in terms of the circus-like buildup. Urban Meyer revels in running up the score, and Lane Kiffin revels in running his mouth.

What’s everyone’s take on the job they’ve done ranking wise?  I think Low nailed it when he put Tennessee-Florida at No. 1, and bringing Tennessee-Alabama (No. 5) into the mix along with Tennessee-South Carolina (No. 10) shows he knows the Vols have a lot to show after stepping on just about everyone’s toes this offseason.

Welcome Aboard

•07.06.2009 • 1 Comment
One Says Goodbye... Four Say Hello...

One Says Goodbye... Four Say Hello...

With the start of the second session of summer term comes the realization that I am officially done with college.  My departure, however great in my eyes, is only infantesimal when compared with the fact that four (yes, FOUR) incoming freshman are starting their careers as Tennessee Volunteers.

Eric Gordon, Jerod Askew, Mike Edwards, and Zach Rogers all begin classes today, getting a late start to the Volunteer experience, but hey, at least they’re here.  Each has a lot to catch up on, but most fans, and the coaches, expect a lot out of these young men, especially Gordon, who was a highly touted four-star cornerback recruit out of Alabama.

Walk-on Chase Daniel

Walk-on Chase Phillips

On top of these four signees, Tennessee is welcoming quite a few walk-ons today, including Chase Phillips, a local stand-out from South-Doyle High School.  Phillips brings some much needed depth to the offensive line, although he likely needs quite a bit of grooming to get to the competitive level the SEC demands.

The newcomers won’t have long to adjust, as off-season workouts resume this Wednesday following the Fourth of July holiday weekend.  New strength coach Aaron Ausmus will likely have the young guns hitting the weights hard, making up for lost time and to make sure they’re ready when fall practice begins August 4.

In case any of you forgot, Tennessee football kicks off in a little over sixty days.

Palardy Time

•07.02.2009 • Leave a Comment
Michael Palardy brings a strong leg to UT. (Image courtesy of InsidetheU.com)

Michael Palardy brings a strong leg to UT. (Image courtesy of InsidetheU.com)

Well, it didn’t take long for some breaking news to hit the Vol-waves after my recent resurrection.

With a kicking game that’s struggled both on and off the field (see: Britton Colquitt) over the past few years, adding the #1 ranked place kicker according to Rivals.com, Michael Palardy, will no doubt pay dividends for the Volunteers.  Palardy had narrowed his choice down to either Tennessee or LSU, but decided to head to Knoxville after stating that the city is “unbelievable” and “a home away from home.”  As for the coaches, Palardy had this to say: “I love coach Kiffin and coach Gran, what they’re bringing to the table and what they’re doing with their team.”

There’s no doubt that this huge signing can be attributed to none other than the machine that has taken over Eddie Gran’s body.  Gran has been all over the state of Florida these past few months, and his work is starting to pay dividends, as Palardy becomes the third commitment that can be credited to Gran.  The other to include two other Miami prospects: Jose Jose (OL), and Ralph Williams (LB).

Here’s hoping Palardy brings much more than a strong leg to Tennessee, as he’s teammates with several other prospects on UT’s short list:

  • Cody Riggs (DB)
  • Keion Payne (DB)
  • Lamarcus Joyner (DB)