A final look back at the 2008 season, quick-like, because pain should be fast.
Up today: On finding who we are.
Due to the rescheduling necessary to put the pants on display for the entire nation to admire, we had nearly two weeks before the next game. While us fans used the time to conclude that we'd simply failed to read the fine print (some assembly required), the coaches busied themselves trying to identify the offense's fastball, that one thing the offense could do well and use as a building block for the rest. Eventually, they concluded that they needed to "air it out," which made sense because that is what you do with things that stink.
The good news was that UAB was coming to town, and, despite the UCLA game, everyone was brimming with confidence that the Vols could get the kinks worked out against the lowly Blazers.
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Okay, 35-3. Not bad. Gerald Jones had two touchdown receptions, Lennon Creer had two rushing touchdowns, and the Tennessee secondary added three more interceptions to its tally.
Of course, Jonathan Crompton did throw two interceptions against the third-worst defense in the nation. And Luke Stocker was dropping catchable pass after catchable pass. And overheated fans were acting ugly, not only booing Stocker when when he dropped the ball, but applauding his return to the sideline.
Notwithstanding former Vol defensive end Will Overstreet's post game rant for ages directed at the fans booing their own players, the team appeared to have found its identity. After flirting with success throwing the ball, the subsequent failure throwing the ball led the team to lean almost exclusively on the running game for a series of three consecutive drives that all ended with touchdowns.
Maybe the Clawfense had finally been assembled.
Up next: the Florida Gators.