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3 Thoughts: Tennessee-Kentucky, and A Festivus to Get the Best Out of Us

I know that last week's poor-mouthing of the Vols seemed a little trumped-up. And maybe it was, it was hard to be negative coming off a game in which Tennessee ended Darren McFadden's Heisman campaign, possibly ended Houston Nutt's coaching career at Arkansas, and definitely bolstered our own chances of playing for the SEC Championship.

But coming off of last week's game, the negative vibes flow a little easier. Am I alone in thinking Fulmer's career was hanging on that last Vandy field goal attempt? Think about it, if that kick goes in, Tennessee's out of the SEC hunt, has lost to Vandy twice in three years, the second one coming in a year where we also got blown out by Florida and Bama. I'm not sure the revered General himself could withstand those circumstances.

Instead, though, the kick was missed, and here the Vols stand, 60 minutes from Atlanta and a stunning turnaround that nobody (almost nobody) saw coming. It's silly, but I'm just superstitious enough to believe that I have to write something negative again, just to keep the roll going. And since we're in the holiday season, it's time for a Festivus celebration, starting with the Airing of Grievances:

Frank Costanza: I got a lot of problems with you people! And now, you're gonna hear about it. You, [Fulmer]. My son tells me your company STINKS!
1. Can we cover a freaking kick, please? Tennessee had done everything right in the fourth quarter against Vandy, including capping off a crucial 16-point comeback with only minutes remaining in the game. And then near horror, allowing a 55-yard kickoff return to put Vandy dangerously close to chip-shot field goal range. Of course it all turned out OK, but raise your hand if you weren't thinking "oh, god, not this again"... yeah, that's what I thought. It would be one thing if poor kick coverage was an isolated incident, but it happens time and time again, and has been for years now. And we keep hearing the coaching staff say "we work like heck on that in practice," yet again we fans are left banging our heads against the nearest wall. I know that SOP says kitten pictures are reserved for losses, but I just have to say:

2. Defensively, could we please tackle somebody? I don't mean force someone out of bounds, and I don't mean grabbing jersey and slinging them down, and I don't mean launching yourself at somebody like a projectile, and i don't mean falling down in front of them and hoping they trip. I mean good, old-fashioned, head on the ball, shoot your arms and run through the man and put him on the ground tackling, like you've been taught since Pop Warner ball.

I'm looking at you, Hefney.

3. Alright I understand Cutcliffe is a QB guru and we won't stick to the running game but could we please throw the ball downfield just a little? Please? I'll even draw it up for you:

Pretty simple, eh?

Predictiony-type things:

  • If the team that showed up against Florida and Alabama shows up Saturday, Vols lose 41-21.
  • If the team that showed up against Georgia and Arkansas shows up Saturday, Vols win 35-17
  • Note that the two good games mentioned were in Neyland, the two poor showings were on the road. Saturday's game is on the road. Ugh.

But with the Airing of Grievances over, let's see some Feats of Strength. Go Vols!