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Talking Points - Christmas Vacation

So, every year around the holidays, Joel, Hooper, and myself all take vacation.  They're off enjoying themselves (weather permitting) as we speak, and I'll be heading that way on Thursday.  So things might be a little slower than usual around these parts for the next few days, but we'll still have plenty of stuff for the Chick-Fil-A Bowl and Tennessee Basketball, as well as wrapping up the all-decade pieces before New Year's. 

That said, here's a delayed look at what's out there on this Monday:

  • Lane Kiffin thinks the only thing that prevented Bryce Brown from having a great freshman season was Montario Hardesty.  The experience should bode very well for him once he becomes the alpha dog in the backfield in 2010.  Also from practice:  thanks to Jonathan Crompton banging his hand on a helmet, Nick Stephens has seen a lot of work with the ones in preparation for Virginia Tech, which should also give him a leg up on next year (same link).
  • New WR coach Kippy Brown will earn $300,000 a year in a three-year deal, a significant upgrade from the $170,000 Frank Wilson was making.  Still no word on the search for Eddie Gran's replacement at RB/special teams coach; I would think, however, that if it was going to be Jay Graham that would've happened already.
  • Getting blown out by 22 points - the worst loss of the Pearl Era in Knoxville - will cost you, as the Vols drop to 16th in the AP poll, getting passed by 10-1 Ole Miss at 15th.  Kentucky holds at #3, the Purdue team that beat the Vols by one point is #4, and Florida is #18.  After a date with North Carolina A&T on Wednesday night in Knoxville, the Vols' next three opponents are receiving votes (Memphis, Charlotte) and the best team in the country (Kansas).  The tune-up part of the schedule ends in two days.
  • Bruce Pearl wants to the loss to USC to be a wake-up call, while Kevin O'Neill has some nice things to say about the Vols, and admits to his own immaturity in leaving Knoxville twelve years ago.
  • If you can make it all the way through this, you've done better than me.