Brad Shepard

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    Most of us are realists who realize that six wins in 2018 is going to be a chore. That doesn’t mean we’re going to be satisfied with it or even give coach Jeremy Pruitt a pass if he coaches the Vols to it, […]

  • Our Tennessee Vols are not a good football team.

    That doesn’t mean they won’t be or they can’t be. But they were awful in 2017, as we all know. And they didn’t look a whole lot better on Saturday.

    They may […]

    • “But he’s proved before that he can identify talent, recruit it, and develop it.”

      Just because I’m in full-on editing mode, I have to say I was really glad to see your Oxford comma there. 🙂

    • The cupboard is fairly empty. We were 0-8 in the SEC because we had an intern coaching and developing players.

      For those expecting a bowl with a 6-6 record, I’d make a straight up bet against it. Doesn’t mean we can’t get to 500 – it just looks pretty dadgum unlikely.

      So, about basketball…

    • Well, from my perspective it was about as boring as most of the games last year. Nothing really exciting happened. Just some ho-hum football that left me wanting more (which don’t get me wrong – I will take for now – because I love football).

      As for Pruitt, hard to get a read on him but he was intense on the field!! Doesn’t seem to be one that excepts mediocrity or taking plays off. I saw him and other coaches light-a-fire under a couple of players and I trust this will serve us well in the future. Have to say, he seems to speak his mind – which I like.

      Looking forward to next season!!

    • I seem to recall a handful of stories about Kirby Smart being surprised at some cultural things in Athens in year one because he was used to Alabama/Saban.

    • HT replied 2 days ago

      Nebraska hired the coach that their entire fanbase unanimously wanted. Not exactly an apples-to-apples comparison. Regardless, we had the third-highest (announced) spring game attendance in the SEC, behind only the two teams that played in the National Championship Game. Ours was the fifth-highest in the country, ahead of programs like FSU, Clemson, and Ohio State. Complaining about the fans at this point is just silly.

      • It is bigger even than that. Nebraska hired their national championship winning hero who has ridden in to save the program. One of Frost’s strengths is selling himself. He is good at it and selling his program.

        Jeremy is simply not great with the media. He didn’t have to do interviews under Saban and he doesn’t like doing it so far as a head coach. Frankly Pruitt and the athletic department did a poor job advertising and trying to fill the stadium. As a first time head coach it is only natural he would have to grow into the role. Hopefully he improves in this area or wins so much much that no one cares.

        Frankly I didn’t get up in arms over Butch’s Butchisms so I am not going to worry too much over Pruitt’s shortcomings conveying his message with the media. Just give us a football team we can be proud of CJP, do it the right way. I don’t care about the rest.

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    With temperatures expected to be beautiful under sunny skies and a lot of top-notch recruits heading to Knoxville to enjoy the festivities, the biggest focus needs to be on Shields-Watkins Field.

    The top […]

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    It’s kind of hard to have a full-tilt quarterback competition when only half of your quarterback arsenal is on campus.

    So, it isn’t [only] that Jeremy Pruitt has been stubborn with information so far this […]

  • You’re a Tennessee fan, and you’re skeptical. The two things may as well be synonymous after what we’ve been through for the past decade-plus, especially after what our dysfunctional administration put us through […]

  • This past week might be more indicative of what we should expect from the Jeremy Pruitt regime, as the relationships he’s taken time to build manifested itself in a flurry of commitments.

    One common theme […]

    • Good article Brad. Very relevant too as far as the size of the team. NBA is moving to smaller, faster players and everybody wanted Oregon East with the change, but it would look the same as far as smaller, faster guys. The thing that makes the SEC stand out is size AND speed. I always tweaked the Big10 fans “you guys are just like us, just without the speed or talent”. “We’re smarter” was all they could come back with. 🙂

  • The Jeremy Pruitt era officially began Tuesday as the Tennessee Volunteers took to the practice field for the first of 15 spring practices. Coming off the program’s worst year in history and a winless slate in the […]

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    Tennessee needs immediate-impact playmakers all over the field, and that’s why the Volunteers are such an attractive option for graduate transfers.

    A week after getting Stanford quarterback Keller Chryst, […]

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    Beat Kentucky on Sunday, and Tennessee could have stared down a No. 2 seed, and the Vols were hoping they’d be getting it in their back yard in Nashville.

    Instead, following a 77-72 loss to Kentucky in […]

    • Brad, I don’t think Cincy is a good match up for us. KenPom has Cincy as the fourth best team overall in the country. They have the second best defense. Of the other two’s, I’d rather have another shot at Carolina or even a streaky Duke. I want no part of Purdue.

    • As a grad student at Cincinnati, I’m pumped by the idea of getting to play them in the Sweet 16. Not because I’m disputing Pete’s point that they are a tough match-up for us, but just because victory would be so sweet, I’d wear orange to teach that Friday 🙂

    • Here’s a link to a great article in The Athletic: https://theathletic.com/269948?shared_by=181394

      • Liked the start of Dawn’s article at the Athletic. They make you register to read the rest, so beware of the paywall.

        • Oh, sorry about that. From the way the invitation to link the story was worded, I thought the entire story would be available without registration, or I wouldn’t have linked it. Now I know, so I won’t do that again!

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    For the past decade-plus, I’ve worn my Power T with pride, but there have been a lot of times where I’ve looked down forlornly at it, wondering if it was my scarlet letter. Living in Alabama, it’s been a […]

    • Thank you Rick Barnes and the Vols for having such a great season and allowing the Vol faithful to share in this championship! It couldn’t be understated how much Vol Nation needed this.

  • Good football news has been hard to come by in Knoxville the past few weeks, and Saturday brought another blow as VolQuest.com’s Austin Price and Brent Hubbs reported all-star sophomore offensive lineman Trey […]

  • The only way to put a forgettable ’18 National Signing Day in the rearview mirror is to move ahead to the 2019 recruiting class, and new Tennessee coach Jeremy Pruitt and Co., already have started building […]

  • Hey, listen: Let’s just call National Signing Day 2018 what it was, independent of passing judgment on any of the kids who signed to be Tennessee Volunteers and without heaping criticism on new UT coach Jeremy […]

    • “Pruitt entered his first [mini] recruiting cycle swinging for the fences, aiming at marquee players who were unsigned, hell-bent on bringing at least a couple of them to Knoxville. None of those materialized in commitments.

      Zero. Zilch. Nada.”

      I think JJ Peterson would count as a marquee player who was unsigned that materialized in a commitment, right?

    • Honest assessment and good (though sobering) write-up, Brad.

    • What do we expect? 0-8 SEC team with almost no time to build relationships with kids going up against National Champions, ACC Champs and SEC East winner with great recruiters and two years of history. To end up with a top 25 class and several 4 stars is really a testament to UT’s brand…Should have been much worse.

  • As we wind down below a week until National Signing Day, this is the most clueless I’ve ever been on how Tennessee is going to finish its 2018 recruiting class.

    There are so many names on the board, and while […]

    • Damn. That is a fantastic read. Always appreciate your work/insight here and on other sites. Thanks Brad. And go Vols.

    • Good read Brad. I just moved to Houston area a couple of months ago (used to be IndyVolFan). I know we’re on a Katy kid and one from Oak Ridge which is 5 minutes from my work in Woodlands. I’ll go see them this fall and report what they look like in person. On a basketball note, I wish Barnes could have gotten in on Quentin Grimes (#8 I think in 24/7 and Kansas commit). He’s the best kid I’ve ever seen at this level (in person) and the smoothest player since Alan Houston (my UT days). I’ve seen most of the top Indiana kids over the last several years and they don’t touch this kid (Conley, Oden, George Hill, Bluitt, Jaren Jackson – he was in our conference b4 transferring to Lumierre). Absolutely amazing ball player.

    • Great read, Brad. I’ve said it before and I’m saying it again. We finally have us a football coach.

    • This showed up in my Facebook “On This Day” today and while there are a variety of emotions it brings out, I am mainly looking at it as a reminder not to get too ________ (too excited, too upset, too whatever) about NSD: http://grantland.com/features/tennessee-volunteers-butch-jones-signing-day-2014/

      • Yeah. In the same boat. I’ve been actively working to resist the temptation to go back and listen to the podcast we did after Jones was hired. Scared to death I might hear myself say the same things I said right after Pruitt was hired. So, right now I’m in I CAN’T HEAR YOU NANANANANANANANA mode.

  • New Tennessee football coach Jeremy Pruitt is swinging for the fences on several elite, playmaking athletes as the days tick off toward national signing day.

    But, due to the Vols needing depth at key positions, […]

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    Three days ago, Jordan Young was a barely-known, unranked wide receiver who was toiling in obscurity in broad daylight. At 6’2″, 185 pounds, he certainly had the size, played in the Atlanta suburb of […]

    • He was a second team all Georgia WR not sure how everyone just missed on him but I am glad they did now that he is a Vol

    • This seems like excellent evaluation. A top 20 recruiting class so far is pretty amazing.

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    According to VolQuest.com’s Austin Price, Tennessee head coach Jeremy Pruitt has filled the final vacancy on his coaching staff, choosing Memphis wide receivers coach David Johnson to coach the same position […]

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    If you watched Tennessee play football in 2017 and you then watched Alabama’s performance in the College Football Playoff semifinal trouncing of Clemson, you know the Vols have a long way to go to get to […]

  • New Tennessee head coach Jeremy Pruitt has found the man he expects will prepare the Vols to morph into a bigger, more physical SEC program. On Friday, the Houston Chronicle reported that Craig Fitzgerald resigned […]

    • This is probably not the place to discuss this, but maybe it is as good a place as any since injuries were mentioned again here. Writers, fans, butch jones etc often talk about all of the injuries the Vols have had over the last couple of years. I’ve begun to wonder if some, or maybe many of them may have been players who just didnt want to play for Butch. Obviously you cant go with a broken limb, but there are a lot of guys who play through less significant injuries all the time and linemen are basically hurt from start of the season to finish. Concussion symptoms could easily be played up. I’m not accusing anyone of anything sinister, it just seems like a tempting and viable out if you wanted out. My kids fake sickness and injury all the time to get out of work. 🙂

      Give it to me straight, I can take it. Am I way off base?

    • Not sure if this will help with the injuries…
      https://sportsnaut.com/2017/12/texans-used-record-number-players-2017/

      • I saw that! I think the point I didnt articulate was that I would bet that the whole injury thing just clears itself up no matter who is the strength coach.

        • There have been numerous breakdowns of the Texans injuries this year and very few point to poor conditioning. We still let Fitz go. Not sure if an audit of the Vols injuries this year would cast a doubt on conditioning or not. Personally I think the UT issue may have been strength in general.

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    A huge part of being a great basketball team is overcoming adversity, and that’s the simple reason why this Tennessee team has to settle for “very good” right now.

    It’s going to take a major breakthrough […]

    • I listened to this on the way home from Nashville, so I can’t speak for the visuals or the correctness of the foul calls.

      However, I do think the “can’t close” stuff needs context. Tennessee closed against Purdue on a neutral floor, in regulation and in overtime. Purdue is currently #4 in KenPom.

      Villanova wasn’t a closing issue. They had the lead five minutes into the second half and never gave it up. Also, Nova is the best team in the country by a healthy margin. I’m not nitpicking that one.

      North Carolina and Arkansas do both feature preventable turnovers at crucial moments. Those need to be teachable, correctable moments. But UNC is ninth in KenPom, Arkansas 22nd and playing at home with, as Brad noted, two of our three best options fouled out.

      If we’re as good as we think we are, I don’t think this was a game Tennessee “needed” to win. We’ll see how they respond against Auburn, but I still find more validation in today’s performance than disappointment beyond the moment.

      A more important takeaway than what we do or don’t do in the last couple minutes, to me: we’ve got an issue dealing with great guard play. Villanova hurt us there, Joel Berry hurt us, and Arkansas got what they wanted from their guards too. We won’t see this level of talent in every backcourt, and we still almost won all three games anyway. But defending a great backcourt is red flag number one for us right now.

    • Will is right. This isn’t about Barnes inability to coach or to lead us properly to close out games. This whole theme is a bit ridiculous.

      We’ve lost 3 games this year – all to top 10 RPI teams. The players (not Barnes) went mental in the UNC game and blew the lead under pressure. At Arkansas, an incredibly difficult place to win, the Hogs got hot and we also went mental with our two best players on the bench. When you end up with 4 players unavailable in OT due to fouls, we should talk about the zebras’ influence on the game, not Barnes’. Even still, we closed OT really well – after digging a huge 11 point hole as Arkansas lit us up from 3 and we did nothing on offense for 3 and half minutes of OT. And we closed without experienced leadership on the floor.

      We have had ZERO bad losses and have won every game we’re supposed to. When was the last time we had a coach do that? (It’s the main reason Cuonzo was fired….)

      Several of those wins required closing out the game against pesky and/or quality opponents -Top 50 RPI Furman and Purdue in OT come to mind. Btw, that Purdue win will look pretty good at year end.

      This is coming form a team that’s ranked in the top 25 and was a preseason pick at 13th in the SEC.

    • In spite of your protestations, I’m still hot under the collar about that foul call on Grant Williams when we were up by 9 late. That was not a foul, and it changed the trajectory of the game, both in the moment and subsequently when Williams fouled out earlier than he should have.

    • Good catch on Daniels’ bad 3 starting the run. With 3:30 to go, we were up 8 and had the ball. 24 seconds later, it was a 3-point game.

      Though it wasn’t a “bad” loss, it was incredibly frustrating and ramps up the pressure tonight and the next few games to claw back a win that we had in our hands.

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