6 (not 5) things that need to occur this season
· Remain healthy……no room for error.
· Players must improve…….not a little but significantly. Coaches must coach up.
· Quit playing not to lose, but to win
· Look only to the next game
· Continue to get quality recruits.
· Neyland needs to be feared.
Simple statement. The Vols are still not good enough to lose quality players at key positions. We are getting to a reasonable 2 deep depth chart but are still not close on a SEC quality 3 deep.
Players must improve:
Another simple statement but we know Butch Jones and staff can recruit and create a strong positive buzz for the program. Now we must see 5 stars be 5 stars and 3 stars get much better.
Quit playing not to lose:
This is part of the brick by brick mantra that includes learning how to win……that means playing thru adversity that affects every team in every game. The Vols have been so "jinxed" in the past 4-5 years; we begin to believe….how will we lose this game?
Look only to the game:
Another cliché……but in this case I want to be clear and specific. The next game is Utah State. The Aggies are 1 of 4 non-conference games the Vols play this year. The only away game non-conference is at Oklahoma….not exactly the easiest opportunity. Therefore, for the Vols to be bowl eligible this year, they must defeat Utah State, Arkansas State and Chattanooga at home and then carve out 3 SEC wins….a feat that has been terribly elusive lately. To say the opening game is important is an understatement for team 118 and fans. Finally Utah State is no pushover team and will likely come to Knoxville with a win in their mind.
We are currently basing our "new-found success" on the achievement of the 2014 recruiting class. It certainly appears to look strong and provide some immediate help. WE must be careful, however, fans don’t expect too much as the 2 deep depth chart is riddled with players who have yet to run thru the T. Regardless, the Vols need another comparable class in order to continue to build a firm foundation for the future….one class is NOT the answer, legacy or not.
Has been more like a funeral parlor in recent years than a place opponents fear. I attended the California game in Knoxville in 2006. It was the season opener. Cal was ranked top 10 with DeSean Jackson and Marshawn Lynch. UT was coming off at that time an uncharacteristic season before when we did not become bowl eligible. I watched the game on you tube this past week and remembered the fan intensity at that game. Several Cal plays were disrupted by the crowd noise resulting in false starts and delay of game. UT won big and we, the fans, didn't expect anything different on that September day.
There are more than 6 things that need to occur but the above list is a good start. Each is manageable by the team/coaches and fans…….other issues such as scheduling, weather and the rise and fall of other teams are out of our control.