The Home Stretch

Posted by Graham Kelly | 12:44 PM | 0 comments »

Lane Kiffin is seven games into his inaugural season at The University of Tennessee and despite a 3-4 record, optimism and confidence surrounding the program is at an all time high. Mostly due to success in recruiting and fielding, a team that is much more competitive than last years. Tennessee arguably should be 5-2 with wins over UCLA and Alabama.

However, the would of, should of, could of talk has to end this week. Tennessee faces a fierce pace rushing South Carolina team, led by old UT nemesis Steve Spurrier, on Halloween. If UT can pull out the victory at home an 8-4 record and a possible Chick-Fil-A bowl bid becomes very practical. Montario Hardesty will once again, be called on to carry the load. The run game needs to neutralize SEC sack leader Eric Norwood who will be a huge mismatch for UT’s redshirt freshmen tackle Aaron Douglas.

Prediction: South Carolina’s defense will keep the game close up until halftime but Monte Kiffin’s unit will continue their dominating play as well. Jon Crompton continues his renaissance play that started in the 4th quarter against Auburn. Montario Hardesty goes for 100 yards and a touchdown. The Vols break it open in the 4th quarter for a final of 31-10 UT.

Watch #14 pull an Animal House at the end.

And So It Begins

Posted by Graham Kelly | 12:26 PM | | 0 comments »

Fall practice started yesterday finally giving Coach Kiffin and his staff a chance to start working with the 2009 edition of the Tennessee Vols. The early storyline has to be injuries, especially at wide out. Austin Rodgers is out for the season due to a torn ACL and UT's best deep threat from last year Denarious Moore will sit out until late September from a foot injury. Gerald Jones is also still wearing a cast from off season wrist surgery. However, Jones is embracing a leadership role and practicing despite the cast on his hand. At UT's thinnest position, defensive line expected starter, Wes brown, is continuing to battle knee problems and sat out practice yesterday.

Despite the injury problems, there were several bright spots, including the play of true freshmen Marsalious Teague, David Oku, and Bryce Brown.

Follow the link for a video of yesterday’s practice:

Eric Berry also made predictions for the season on ESPN

Links Round Up

Posted by Graham Kelly | 2:10 PM | | 0 comments »

Breaking News BJ Coleman is leaving the program read more here:

Here is an inside look at spring practice:

In the next few days I will post my thoughts on spring practice, the QB situation, and start previewing the 2009 season.

What Can Brown Do For You?

Posted by Graham Kelly | 3:19 PM | 0 comments »

Bryce Brown commits to Tennessee @ Rivals Video

Bryce Brown the number 1 prospect in the country committed to the University of Tennessee today. Brown is a 6'0 FT 215LB running back from Wichita, Kansas. Brown said that his last visit to UT last weekend was what led him to make his decision. Brown also said that he liked what he saw from the offense during spring practice and that he thinks the Vols coaching staff can help him reach the NFL.

Watch this video of some of Brown's highlights and hear why anaylsts think he is the best prospect in the country:

News Round Up

Posted by Graham Kelly | 1:35 PM | , , | 0 comments »

First off Spring Practice begins today It will be the new staffs first chance to see what these players can do on the field in person since coming to Knoxville. The staff has already begun to shake things up by moving Rico McCoy a 2-year starter at weak side linebacker to strong side. Linebacker coach, Lance Thompson, believes this will free McCoy up to rush the passer more. Sacks are definitely expected to come at a premium this year following the loss of Robert Ayers and the continued lack of depth at defensive tackle. Thus, any added production from McCoy who has knack for big plays would be a big bonus for the defense.

The staff has also already been at work shaking things up on the offensive side of the ball moving a pair of tight ends. Redshirt freshmen, Aaron Douglas to tackle and former Florida State standout, Brandon Warren, to wide receiver.

The battle for the starting quarterback job also became clearer following Nick Stephens wrist injury. Stephens is expected be out 3 to 4 works after he injured his wrist falling during a non-contact drill. This opens up the door for Jon Crompton to emerge as the starter once again going into fall camp. One can only hope his bounce pass will have a little more zing on it this year.

In other news, Coach Kiffin has continued to make waves. South Carolina recruit Alshon Jeffreys, was the subject of a fierce recruiting battle between Tennessee, USC, and South Carolina. Recently told ESPN’s Chris Low that Lane Kiffin told him that if he chose the Gamecocks, he would end up pumping gas for the rest of his life like all the other players from that state that had gone to South Carolina.

What can I say? Kiffin is the man.

As recruiting battles heat up, oddsmakers in Vegas and elsewhere begin to make their opinions known.
If online betting is your thing, remember,
this is Coach Kiffin's first class, the class of 2014, and they won't see the field for
another year (or two if they red-shirt). Be smart when wagering and know your limits.

Friday’s practice the first in full pads will be open to the public in Neyland Stadium you can read more in Kiffin’s letter to the fans here:

Lastly, The Vols added yet one more prospect to the 2009 recruiting class when Oklahoma native David Oku picked Tennessee over Auburn and Syracuse. Oku is the second rated all-purpose back on and should be a strong addition to the Vols backfield in the future.

Check out David Oku:

Kiffin V. Meyer

Posted by Graham Kelly | 7:04 PM | | 0 comments »

As the Sports Center report sums up Kiffin made some accusations towards Florida coach Urban Meyer the other day, which has caused quite a fuss in SEC country. It has left Florida fans in an uproar while Vol fans can just add to the list of fan bases of whose skin Lane Kiffin has managed to get under while at UT. Nick Saban and Steve Spurrier have also not hidden there contempt of Kiffin during his tenure in Big Orange Country.

However, other ESPN personalities have not responded as well to Kiffin as the PTI guys Tennessee alumni Gene Wojoiciechowski wrote this scathing article about CLK on Friday.

Wojoiciechowski is also being echoed in Crimson Tide country:

I have to say that I disagree with these two columns and think that Kiffin is a genius. I am willing to bet that Kiffin knew already that Meyer wasn’t breaking the rules but rather knew what a media firestorm it would create if he did call out the Gators. Thus, in the aftermath of signing day all that ESPN has been talking about college football wise has not been the great classes that LSU and others landed but rather the Tennessee Volunteers. As they say, any publicity is good publicity. Now following the fall out of Kiffin's accusations we find out that Nick Montana, (yes Joe Montana's son) will be visiting UT next week. I think it's clear that CLK is smarter than Al Davis thought after all.

In addition, I cannot wait for Sept. 19 even though UT will surely be huge underdogs against the Gators UT vs. UF will finally have the same spark it did before Spurrier left for the Redskins.

Signing Day Recap

Posted by Graham Kelly | 10:44 AM | , | 0 comments »

Lane Kiffin’s first signing class has officially materialized this week following the late commitment of Louisiana native Janzen Jackson. In VolWatch’s opinion this recruiting class is a big success considering Kiffin had only two months to recruit players and most of that time was spent putting together a coaching staff giving the coaches even less time to recruit players. The Big Orange signed 20 players this year and the class has been ranked 18th by, 17th by and 15th by ESPN. Standouts of this class are safety Darren Myles JR, of Atlanta, CB Janzen Jackson, and WR Nu’Keese Richardson who de-committed from Florida and signed with Tennessee on Wednesday.

Kiffin also began putting up the proverbial fence he promised to put around Tennessee recruiting wise when he was first hired. The Vols signed former Hillsboro star and state championship MVP, Eric Gordon. Paris, Tennessee native Marsalis Teague also de-committed from Florida on Wednesday before signing with the Vols. The pair of four-star prospects are both expected to play Corner back in college however; Teague could also see time as a slot receiver. Seven Tennessee natives are part of this year’s recruiting class.

There are a pair of a potential diamonds in the rough with this class as well. Stone Mountain, GA native Robert Nelson given only one star by and three by Rivals is considered by UT’s staff as one of the best linebackers in the country and was rated by the staff as a five star prospect. They felt that Nelson has been underrated because of his height at only 5-11. However, the rock of Monte Kiffin’s defenses in Tampa Bay, Derrick Brooks, is listed at only 6 foot himself. Sounds like the new UT coaches knew exactly what they were looking for and got it with Robert Nelson. OL coach James Cregg also called OT prospect JerQuari Schofield the best tackle in the country. Based on the film he has watched of over 50 tackle prospects.

View a complete list of Tennessee’s commitments here:

Check out Tennessee's Nu'Keese Richardson Making Plays at WR:

Coaching Staff Finalized

Posted by Graham Kelly | 1:37 PM | , | 0 comments »

Lane Kiffin finally has finalized his first coaching staff at the University of Tennessee. Joining Kiffin on the staff will be his father Monte Kiffin long time defensive coordinator for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and widely regarded as one of the best defensive coordinators in all of football.

Jim Chaney will be joining the staff from the St. Louis Rams as the offensive coordinator and offensive line coach. Chaney gained most of his notoriety as the offensive coordinator for the highflying Purdue teams of the Drew Brees and Kyle Orton era. However, he says that after his time in the NFL he has learned to appreciate more the importance of the running game. Thus, Vols fans should not be expecting an offense that throws 40 times a game. Either way it will still be Lane Kiffin that calls the plays.

Former Ole Miss Head coach Ed Orgeron joins the staff as recruiting coordinator and defensive line coach. Orgeron is a great recruiter he used to hold the same title of the USC Trojans and is credited for assembling the talent of the Ole Miss team that recently won the Cotton Bowl in decisive fashion. Since leaving Ole Miss, he has been the defensive line coach for the New Orleans Saints.

Lance Thompson joins the staff from the University of Alabama as linebackers coach. While at Alabama, he was named recruiter of the year by
Eddie Gran joins the staff as running backs coach from Auburn. While at Auburn, he coached many notable running backs such as Ronnie Brown, Cadillac Williams, and Brandon Jacobs. Gran also fills the coaching void that was very apparent under the final years of Fulmer’s regime and that is the official title of a special teams coach. Hopefully the Big Orange won’t be giving up so many big punt returns next year.

David Reeves, Lane Kiffin’s brother-in-law, joins the staff as quarterbacks coach from South Carolina where he was also the recruiting coordinator. It will be his responsibility to mold a productive starter of the quarterbacks already on the roster since it does not appear UT will sign one in this year’s recruiting class.

Willie Garza joins the staff as defensive backs coach. Garza played the position at Texas during the 90’s and has spent the past 3 years as North Dakota State’s defensive coordinator.
Frank Wilson and James Cregg round out Kiffin's first staff. Wilson coming from Mississippi State will coach Wide Receivers. Cregg was the offensive line coach for the Oakland Raiders under Kiffin, and while at UT, he will coach tackles and tight ends.

Lastly a Video To Remind Everybody of the Good Times