I have weird sleep patterns. I can go on about four hours sleep a night for several nights in a row, and then I just hit some sort of wall and the next time I go to sleep I wake up about 16 or so hours later. That happened today. I woke up with the Tennessee game having already started and to about 476 text messages, at least three of which went like this:
- Are you dead?
- Are you still alive?
- Do you still love me?
Now one of those three text messages I didn't actually receive today, but let's just pretend like I received all of them amongst the the 473 others, and then let's use that as a segue.
Tennessee Is Not Dead; Tennessee Just Had A Bad Hangover
With the exception of that the terrible Justin Coleman coverage that resulted in the Aggies' lone touchdown, how good did this defense look? How beastly did A.J. Johnson look as he made his presence felt around, over, and underneath the Utah State offense? How pedestrian did Chucky Keeton appear today? And how convinced are you that this was more than 50% Vol defense related, and not just that he may not have been the same coming off an ACL injury?
These are glorious glorious questions to be asking. And the offense didn't look too bad either. With Justin Worley mostly doing the things that I asked of him, and the playmakers making the plays that they needed to make to separate this offense from one that was merely not abysmal from one that might just possibly be pretty good. Von Pearson jumped off the screen when he scored his touchdown. That guy is legit. Marquez North is still big and athletic and hard to cover. Pig Howard is playing like a man possessed. Jalen Hurd flashed signs of his potential in slicing and dicing through Utah State's defense in his second half score. And Justin Worley didn't do anything terribly terrible. Things are looking up.
Yes, Tennessee, We Still Love You, Baby!
This game was a sellout, and the first home-opener sellout since 2007. The 102,455 were treated to a nice show. They had something to smile about. They had something to dance about. And they're not the only ones. Indeed, let the record reflect that as I sit here typing this, I am kind of also doing a little shoulder shake dance thing. It's pretty awesome; you should see it.
And it's not that we ever stopped loving you, or that we're certain you're not going to break our hearts again. Some doubt surely lingers. But this looked like a new Tennessee team out there. Much more like an old old Tennessee team. One with athletes and a fire in their bellies. One that *expected* to win and then went ahead did just that. They say dance like no one's watching and love like it's never gonna hurt. And I don't care if this team breaks my heart, because I love ya, baby! This is fun stuff.
Give us your thoughts on the game in the comments. And if you're dancing, don't worry, because no one's watching. We're having too much fun on our own.