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Big Orange Roundtable: RTT in the chamber with the sword edition


Roundtablin' time again. I'll be hosting this week, which means I have the questions this morning and a round up of everyone else's answers Friday-ish. Last week's roundup is over at The Power T. Readers, chime in with your responses below. They can make the roundup, too, you know.

All right, then. Questions:

1. For some inexplicable reason, Phillip Fulmer invites Urban Meyer, Mark Richt, Steve Spurrier, Nick Saban, Les Miles, and Tommy Tuberville over to his palatial estate for a dinner party. At 2:00 a.m. the next morning, The Papa discovers that Smokey IX has been murdered. Who did it, with what, and where? Think Clue. You know, Mr. Mustard in the parlor with the candlestick?

Tommy Tuberville, in the trophy room with the crystal football. Since the time he arrived for dinner at 8:00, he'd listened to seemingly endless boasts from Fulmer, Meyer, Spurrier, Saban and Miles about their national championship seasons. Every time Tuberville mentioned his perfect season, the others just smiled condescendingly, reminding him with their eyes that "perfect" was something less than "champion." Tuberville had had enough by 1:30, but when he saw what he believed to be a snarky look from Smokey, he gave in to his outrage and put an end to both Smokey's smug look and the crystal football all in one fell swoop.

2. Who between Eric Berry for the defense and Gerald Jones for the Clawfense will have the biggest impact for the Vols in 2008?

I'm going with Jones here. Berry makes the entire defense better, allowing the corners to play tight and with aggression in the comfort of knowing that not only Berry, but Morley as well, have their backs. Knowing the defensive backs are in good shape, Chavis should be able to mix up the blitzes and help get pressure on the quarterback, which will make things easier for the defensive line.

That's all good, of course, but Jones potentially gives the offense something we've not had for too many years: a consistent, dynamic playmaker. Taylor, Briscoe, and Rogers are good, but they're not dynamic. Same for Arian Foster. Robert Meachem was very, very good, but mostly because of his speed, size, and strength rather than that "it" factor. LaMarcus Coker had "it," but he also had "it," and therefore divided his time between the field and the doghouse.

Jones has the right kind of "it," and the somewhat veiled comments from Clawson seem to indicate that Clawson not only recognizes Jones' wow factor, and not only wants to develop a handful of plays for him, but wants to develop an entire package for and perhaps the entire offense around him. If that happens, we'll see an offense we haven't seen in a long time, one for which fans have been clamoring for what seems like seasons upon seasons.

3. You devise a way to harness the Lost island's temporal displacement properties. The island will allow you to change one thing, but one thing only, in the history of the Tennessee Volunteer football program. What do you change? By the way, Ben warns that if you try to say "2005" or any other entire season, the mysterious clicking black smoke will sound its wailing siren, shoot from the earth, grab you by the ankles, and pound you to a pulp against a palm tree. So change only one thing. Unless, of course, you like that sort of thing.

I'd undo the hobnail boot from 2001. That was not only a soul- (and face-) crushing defeat, it was apparently the tipping point for Georgia under Mark Richt. And worse yet, it destroyed what would have ranked as one of the most amazing finishes in Vol history. I can't locate the video or an article synopsis, so this is from memory, but if I recall correctly, we were behind something like 17-20 with time and hope running out when the QB threw a screen to Travis Stephens, which Stephens took for a 62-yard touchdown, the lead, and what each fan in Neyland Stadium was viewing as certain, dramatic victory. The memory of the replay is especially vivid because it's one of those shaky camera replays. You know, where the crowd was so raucous that the stadium was actually shaking.

It would have been one of the best, most dramatic plays in Tennessee history, but it was all undone by the hobnail boot. So yeah, let's correct that.

4. What about the future? What is your worst fear for this upcoming season, the turn of events that would send you into a blind rage?

My biggest worry is that the Clawfense will struggle against Florida and, rather than chalking it up to the fact that we're, you know, playing Florida, Fulmer instead concludes that there's something wrong with Clawson and/or his offensive philosophy, and yanks away the reigns. If that happens, Clawson is finished, and we're back to where we were when Randy Sanders was the offensive coordinator but really wasn't in control.

Be on the lookout the rest of this week for responses from our fellow roundtablers: