Hatches Battened. So far. With National Signing Day a mere week and a half away, it is in fact pretty impressive that Tennessee's managed to hold on to most of its commitments, the probable loss of Santos notwithstanding, despite the multiple coaching changes.
#opportunityisnowherereturns. Perhaps that has something to do with the fact that it appears that we've turned adversity into opportunity and replaced the outgoing coaches with guys like Jay Graham, who, you may be surprised to learn, started to turn South Carolina's running game around even before he landed Marcus Lattimore. The Gamecocks were one of the worst rushing teams in the nation in 2008, but when Graham arrived in 2009, the team improved from 94.1 yards per game to 121.2. In 2010, Graham added Latimore, but more than that, the team actually used him as a freshman, and they averaged 154.4 YPG that season. Even better is that even though they were without Lattimore for the last six games in 2011, the team still improved to 192.1 YPG. Lattimore's backup -- Brandon Wilds, put up 100+ yards three times in four games.
But wait there's more. And then there's Sam Pittman, who just about has to be an improvement for the offensive line. Tauren Poole just wowed folks at the Shrine Game and even won the Pat Tillman Award while there.Yes, still holding out hope for those guys.
So maybe better days are indeed ahead for the football team, and five or ten years from now we'll be watching even more former Vols playing in the Super Bowl.
See? There is opportunity in most bad news. Remember this: Jarnell Stokes would be playing bad defense in high school right now if the TSSAA hadn't ruled him ineligible and denied his appeal. He's loving life now. And so are we. And if Cam Tatum can stop the roller coaster, this season could still be a lot of fun.
Tennessee-UConn YouTube playlist:
Off Rocky Top: It appears Chip Kelly is headed to Tampa Bay. [UPDATE: Nope.] Is he climbing the career ladder or running for cover? Stay tuned. . . . Auburn hired Scot Loeffler to replace Gus Malzahn as its offensive coordinator. Seems like I've typed that name before when we were looking for a QB coach or something. Oh, yes, here it is. Yikes, there's an abundance of bizarre in that 2008 post. Anyway, Loeffler most recently served as Temple's OC.