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Rocky Top Talking Points: Erik Ainge on the attitude adjustment for the Tennessee Volunteers

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Just look at that countdown clock.  Two days.  

Okay, so Tennessee basketball signee Ramar Smith is in, but the NCAA Clearinghouse denied football signees Cody Pope, Stephaun Raines, and Gerald Williams. ($) has a nice feature this morning on Erik Ainge and the improved attitude of the offense.  Here's the quote that everybody's going to be talking about today:

I don't feel like we really bought into the coaches last year as a football team. The defense bought in, but offensively last year, I think we had a lot of guys on the team, some of which are gone, who thought they knew the best way to do things without listening to coach Fulmer or coach Sanders. I think last year was a wake up call that we are just twenty years old and don't know everything. Now, if coach Cutcliffe tells me to wear one cleat to practice then I am going to wear one cleat to practice because he has been successful time and time again.

I, and so many other Vol fans, have been rough on Ainge, but let me be clear on this: I am behind Ainge.  A multitude of things went wrong during The Season of Which We Do Not Speak, and he just happened to be the one with the ball in his hands when things came crashing down.  We failed to equip him to handle team-wide, catastrophic failure, and I believe that the team as a whole is going to be much better this year.  Ainge will again be the one with the ball in his hands this year, and when things go right he should get as much credit this year as he got criticism last. also has a bunch of audio interviews with coaches and players.  If you're a Vol fan and don't have a subscription, you really should get one.

Inside Tennessee ( ($) runs the numbers on teams from the West traveling to the East to play football games.  History is on our side, at least.  On the other hand, the Vols' record against top 10 teams in openers is not so good, so who knows? has the video of coach Fulmer's comments to the media about the attempt to turn things around this season.

That's all for now.  There's still only one diary (in addition to mine explaining what the diary section is all about), so somebody head over there and start a conversation.  Thanks for reading.