Vols Prepare to Host Skyhawks

And...we're under way. Real, live, it-counts football is officially back and not a minute too soon. Our old favorites had good showings last night, with Spurrier getting the W at Southern Miss's expense and Kiffykins improving to 13-21 lifetime (apparently permanently scarred by Daniel Lincoln, he largely eschewed PATs). But, most importantly, it's (just about) football time in Tennesee:

  • The Times Free Press and News Sentinel go with looks at our new QB and RT, respectively, where we learn that Matt Simms is "just going to try and stay focused and not keep my mouth wide open" and that Ja'Wuan James "could barely breathe in the mock game from anxiety." Best of luck with basic oral respiratory skills to the both of them.

  • Sadly, they will not be the only ones out there tomorrow taking it all in for the first time. I don't know about his math, but Dooley's saying 2/3 of the roster has never taken a snap at Neyland.

  • This may sound somewhat familiar, but special teams will supposedly be improved. Can't hurt that there's an actual special teams coach this time around.

  • Chris Low says expectations haven't been this low for the Vols since Bear's boy was forced out after a 6-5 year to make way for Majors and a return to our natural whiskey-lovin' ways.  Majors, coming off an undefeated national championship season at Pitt, started things off at 4-7 before righting the ship (and then taking a pirate shiv to the back and being dumped overboard).

  • Herman Lathers gets the start over Savion Frazier at WLB.

  • In other news from around the Conference, 'Bama's Marcell Dareus faces a two-game suspension for taking his talents to South Beach.  Saban's appeal will be based on Dareus's having been "Shanghaied."  

  • After the jump, some looks at the Martin Skyhawks (né Baby Vols) and notable kin, profiles on the Dooleys and Gen. Neyland, and a smidgen of hoops.

 

  • The News Sentinel talks to the Skyhawks' starting DE Josh Cody, son of Tennessee great Tony Robinson (pictured here, as depicted less-than-convincingly by Keanu Reaves). UTMSports.com has more. Doesn't sound like Robinson's been the world's most attentive father ("Do I have any brothers...sisters? Those are the kinds of questions you want answered."), but Cody says he picked Martin in part to get a shot at playing in Neyland. "I want them to know I am my father's son." 

  • Skyhawks' Sophomore RB Jason McNair and Sophomore QB Julius McNair are the nephew and cousin of the late Steve McNair.  R.I.P. #9.

  • Hard to focus on much other than football today, but here's a good look at this year's hoops schedule.  I'm sure we're all looking forward to welcoming Kevin O'Neill and Southern Cal.

  • Not too much new in the latest Dooley profile, but it's a good read.  We do learn about young Derek budgeting a family trip while Vince was home wooing Herschel, and, most shockingly, that Precious carries a comb.  The relentless shaping down hasn't quite broken the pelt's will? There's a separate piece on Derek's wife Allison...an OB/GYN who, as a coach's wife, is of course sharing gameday recipes.

  • Another good read here, this one on Gen. Neyland through the eyes of an old secretary.  Highlights include an armed groundskeeper and the General outdoing even Houston Nutt with scholarship offers for 110 freshmen.  We'll close with this from Neyland's secretary: "I have heard him say that by game time, ‘You’ve taught them all you can, they’re supposed to know what to do.’"

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