If you're like me, you spent so much time last fall in misery, anger, frustration, and Gruden, you didn't realize the level of true greatness that was right in front of your face. Sure, Tyler Bray and the entire offense were something special. But, you got eight minutes? Because I guarantee you don't remember this being anywhere near as good as it actually was:
In the pantheon of Vol greats, Cordarrelle Patterson's name may never find itself alongside Carl Pickens, Chuck Webb, or Eric Berry because the team he was on didn't achieve the heights of the others. But on pure talent, how can you watch that video and say he doesn't belong in that group of the best of the best of the best, the most jaw-dropping athletes you've ever seen play in Neyland Stadium?
Patterson averaged 18.8 yards per touch. That was second in the entire country last season. His 154.8 all purpose yards per game was the best in the SEC by almost 30 yards per game over LaDarius Perkins of Mississippi State. And those are, for the most part, SEC defenses he's making look completely stupid. He's got the sort of body lean that defenders had to feel like they could eventually anticipate, but usually ended up chasing a ghost.
What will we say about Cordarrelle Patterson 20 years from now? If he doesn't pan out in Minnesota, perhaps he becomes a kind of secret handshake among Vol fans, a player only the diehards remember because the masses forgot all about 2012. But even if he's an NFL Hall of Famer - and playing like he plays, I feel like he's either going to be a superduperstar or he's going to get killed out there - will we put him in that uppermost echelon of talented players at this university?
Either way, good grief he was special last fall. It was so frustrating to watch it wasted on a 5-7 season, but now that Dooley is gone and Butch is in, perhaps we can appreciate what CP did a little more.