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Rocky Top Talking Points: bowl Friday edition

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  • A hearty welcome to Waggle Room, SBN's first golf blog. Guess what? It's green! Head on over and say howdy.
  • Mike from Black Shoe Diaries has some thoughts on my thoughts on the Outback Bowl.
  • Coaches Fulmer and Paterno had a joint press conference yesterday during which they both said exactly what you'd expect to hear. One interesting quote from Fulmer, though, was this bit:
    You can look at last year and there are so many dynamics in having good chemistry on a football team. We had just come off an eastern division championship and had a lot of players returning. We really felt good about our season and were ranked number three in the preseason. I don't think it was necessarily Erik not being liked at all. From a personal standpoint, you had a senior, very popular, very outgoing quarterback in Rick's personality and a youngster trying to come up and make his way. The dynamics of all that, with the injuries, with the schedule and with us not playing as consistently offensively as we thought we should, it just developed. Instead of making plays to win the games, we ended up making the plays that lost the games. It was very complicated I think.

    (emphasis mine). Does anybody else find this odd? Somebody must have asked whether the team liked Ainge, but this is weird timing. I've noticed before that after a big pass play, Erik generally lifts both hands in the air and then heads over to the sideline unlike other QBs for other teams that run down the field to celebrate with teammates. Really, does anybody find this odd?

  • There's also this humorous piece from Paterno:
    Phil and I have been on a couple of trips and I've watched his wife beat his backside in tennis I think once or twice. I didn't remember Phil playing against us in '71 and '72 when we played Tennessee down in Knoxville, but I was telling him that Bob Woodruff, the athletic director at that time, was one of the great con guys of all time. We were supposed to have a home and home and he said, `Ah, we can't go back up there. I need another game.' And I said, `I'm not going down to Knoxville to play that early in the year.' And we're in May; we're dickering. I said, `I'm going to fix this. I'm going to say we'll come down only if it's a night game.' Now this is May, and I know they don't have any lights. We became the first night game in the history of Tennessee football and they kicked our rears.
  • And one more for the road, also from Paterno:
    When there's pressure put on the university, on the president, on the athletic director, wherever it comes from, it's tough for them to handle it. At Penn State I've been fortunate enough to outlive most of the boosters. I've buried many a pain-in-the-rear-ends.
  • Bret Smith is eligible to play Monday.
  • Coach Fulmer changed his approach to bowl games two years ago for the Cotton Bowl, which is cause for optimism. Vol fans will recall back to back Peach Bowl nightmares that included players missing the bus, not appearing in team photos, and answering cell phones during halftime. The new approach calls for, according to the Tennesseean, "more hitting during practice, less finesse, and less patience with any nonsense." Good, I say, good.