Talking Points for 3/22/10:
- Spread the credit for the Vols getting to the Sweet Sixteen around. Give some to the coaches for implementing a ball-screen defense strategy (don't let them even get to the screen) it learned from the NBA's Denver Nuggets. Give a bunch to J.P. Prince, for whom no one seems to have an answer. Give some to Bobby Maze (Prince does) for breaking Ohio's press and making their guards work. And give some to Scotty Hopson, who not only got 17 points on 7-9 shooting, but also pestered Ohio's leading scorer Armon Bassett into a 2-10 performance against the Vols. And senior Wayne Chism and everyone else, too, for that matter.
- So now that we've advanced past the first week, how far can we go? Two-seed Ohio State looms (the game will tip off at 7:07 EST on Friday), and they bounced us in 2007 in almost the same exact scenario. But perhaps we can squeeze some more mileage out of the rallying cry we gained at that time:
Adversity is life's most-effective tutor if only the student submits himself to the pain of the lesson. Over the next several years, Tennessee's young players may often find themselves on the court with an advantage over a good opponent. When the advantage threatens to wane, perhaps the older, wiser players will rally around a singular cry: Remember the Alamodome. And if they find motivation enough at that point to press on to victory, then the harsh reality of the lesson earned the hard way tonight will have found its purpose.Get past the Buckeyes and we'd only need to beat a surprising Northern Iowa or an injured Michigan State to get to the Final Four.
The cameras were there to catch it: Wayne Chism and Prince got animated with one another in the second half after an on-court disagreement. "That's my roommate, and Wayne's like my brother, and we were just settling something real quick,'' Prince said. "It looked worse than it was.'' Chism laughed about it in the locker room. "I told J.P. he had to come and get the ball,'' Chism said. "We were just on a different page. "J.P. and me are tight, and we've known each other since we were little.''
Football Spring Practice
- Running back Tauren Poole thinks he's the guy to beat for the starting gig, with or without Bryce Brown. He was disappointed in part last season because it became obvious earlier on that Lane Kiffin was hell bent on playing Brown so he could use it as a recruiting pitch to other blue chippers.
- Derek Dooley and Jim Chaney have the quarterbacks throwing like crazy already. Nick Stephens is loving it and working hard to find positives in last season:
When asked what he gained from that season, he paused thoughtfully.
"Are you talking about a positive experience?" he asked, grinning sheepishly.
After another pause, he replied: "No matter what you do, you've got to pull a positive out of it or you'll make yourself miserable. From the playing experience I got last year I think I played pretty well.
"I knew coming into this year that there would be nobody in front of me and it would be my job to lose. If you worry about last year it's just going to make you a negative person, so I'm not doing that."
After three head coaches in three years, Gerald Jones has no time or patience for niceties:
"I've had so many coaches, so I'm not really looking forward to relationships outside of football," Jones said after UT's spring-opening Thursday practice. "I just want them to coach the (heck) out of me, and I'm going to play the best I can and do everything I can for them.
"If they'll just be themselves, actually be here for us and try to help us get better every day, that's all I really care about."
The o-line, as of right now? Pretty green, with right guard Jarrod Shaw, right tackle JerQuari Schofield, left tackle Dallas Thomas, left guard Cody Pope, and center Victor Thomas.
Nuggets from this article: (1) Dooley wishes he had four Luke Stockers. (2) Offensive line coach Harry Hiestand is getting his players to go 100% by telling them that he'll take the blame for any missed blocking assignments. (3) The new offense has a lot of the same concepts as last year's, but uses "far different" terminology.