Roundtablin' time. Your host for this week is The Power T.
1. A position of strength for the Vols this fall should be wide receivers. Which 2 guys will emerge from the pack to start the opener against UCLA alongside Lucas Taylor? Why?
Predictability is the second-leading cause of death of offenses, and I'm still holding out hope that with Dave Clawson comes an entirely New Order, meaning that almost all of the old ways of doing things are in fact history. Under Cutcliffe, we would have expected to see Lucas Taylor, Josh Briscoe, and Helmetless Austin Rogers. I love those guys. They're very good receivers and excellent people. But rather than have a team filled to capacity with Very Goods, we need a team staffed with mostly Very Goods and a few Elites. Elites, like Gerald Jones (RTT#7) and Eric Berry (RTT#1). There are likely some others yet to be discovered out of the Class of 2007, say, perhaps Ahmad Paige (RTT#4).
Gerald Jones is the consummate playmaker. You remember the excellent series of plays in the Kentucky overtimes, right? Or the G-Gun runs in the SEC Championship Game? Or the spring game -- the true test of what Clawson intends to do with Jones -- where Jones was seemingly everywhere doing everything all the time? That tells me that the playmakers will have a shot at cracking the starting lineup without having to wait for the upperclassmen to graduate. Jones will be in, and Ahmad Paige will have a chance.
Bottom line, what I'm hoping to see in fall camp is that all positions in the wide receiver corps are up for grabs. My best guess is that Taylor will remain a starter, and that he'll be joined by Rogers in the slot and Jones. Paige will be in the rotation.
2. Which game on the schedule do you, as a fan, need Tennessee to win for your own sanity and happiness? Why?
Florida. Part of it is process of elimination. Okay, so there's the Third Saturday in October, and yeah, Alabama pummelled us last year, but we've had the upper hand in recent times. Georgia? Two blowouts in a row in our favor. But Florida? 2005-2006. 2002. 1999-2000. 1993-1997. Our wins in 2003 and 2004 came against Ron Zook. And 59-20 in the wrong direction last year. 59-20.
The East was pretty much ours for the taking when Spurrier left, but we largely blew it. Mark Richt got in the way while the Zooker was at the helm in Florida, and then Zook was gone and Urban Meyer was there. Three losses in a row to the guy, and he's got a national championship and a 59-20 beatdown on the record.
59-20. I can't get it out of my head. My public complaining last year about Florida keeping the starters in and throwing bombs despite being up large and late was largely misunderstood as whining. It wasn't whining, which presupposes that the Gators did something wrong. They didn't. It's not that they shouldn't run up the score if they can. It's our responsibility to stop them, not theirs to stop themselves.
But it wasn't whining, it was anger, and it was necessary and good. Still is. Look, if the team and its fans don't get angry about it, what do we have? A beatdown and another game next year. That's it. It's like last year is just another loss. But if we harness the humility and the outrage, some good can still come from the dishumilarrassment. Every punch thrown after the opponent is unconscious and defenseless is fuel for revenge. And if you haven't heard, fuel is at a premium these days, so let's use the gift they've given us. Let's not let them both beat us senseless and attempt to persuade us that we can't use it against them.
Beware, Shakespeare ahead:
Sweet are the uses of adversity, which, like the toad, ugly and venemous, wears yet a precious jewel in his head.
3. What are your thoughts on the 8-win clause in Coach Fulmer's new contract that automatically rolls his contract over another year if he wins 8 games in a season?
I never really get overexcited about college coaching contracts. If you just look at the dollars and the "importance" of the job, these guys are overpaid as compared to actual important jobs like soliders, teachers, law enforcement, etc., etc., etc. But because life is stressful, there is a huge market for Escape, and it pays well. So the coaches are paid market value, and at that point, it's all about the dollars. Extensions in contracts really aren't so much about committing to another year for the coach as it is committing to more dollars in the event of an exercise of the buyout provision. So yeah, if The Papa wins eight, then has another 2005 or worse, it will cost more to change directions. But it's all still market.
Besides, who am I not to trust Mike Hamilton, who brought us Bruce Pearl?
4. What is your favorite gameday recipe, whether for tailgating or in your own kitchen? Explain why in delicious detail.
Hmm. It's funny. I like to cook, and I have several of my own recipes. Pecan-crusted southern friend chicken. Garlic chicken. Ground peppercorn burgers. Orange chicken kabobs. Super smores, substituting chocolate chip cookies for graham crackers.
But I don't cook on game days. It's generally a pizza and soda for me. I think the stuff is actually poison, but I often can't help myself from downing too much Mountain Dew, mostly because of its origins:
According to the Mountain Dew history page, moonshine was, back in the days, sometimes euphemistically referred to as "mountain dew." In Knoxville, Tennessee, sometime during the 1940’s, a lemon-lime whiskey mixer was invented and sold as "Mountain Dew." The flavor as we now know it was only perfected several years later, after a franchise was granted to Tri-Cities Beverage in Johnson City, Tennessee. Tri-Cities Beverage packaged the soft drink in green bottles with red and white labels depicting cartoon character Willy the Hillbilly "shooting at a revenuer fleeing an outhouse with a pig sitting in the corner." Hooo-weeee! Mountain Dew went national in 1964 when Pepsi bought the franchise. I believe the revenuers are getting their cut nowadays.
5. You have a tag team championship match against the Legion of Doom coming up. Which current Volunteer do you choose as your tag team partner? Why?
You youngins and your "legion of doom" talk. But I'd have to go with Eric Berry. Do you remember at Cal last year when Xavier Mitchell was motionless on the turf for a frightening 15 minutes before being immobilized and carted off on a stretcher? Thankfully, it ended up being merely a concussion, but do you remember what led to the concussion? He didn't collide with a Cal player, he got accidentally hit by Eric Berry. Accidentally.
Oh, and this:
So yeah, I'll take him. And I'll never get in the ring.
And I'll win.