Cory Jackson

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    Tennessee just released its official fan shirt for the 2018 season, and you can get it right here, right now. Wearing one of these is guaranteed to keep you off Jeremy Pruitt’s naughty list.

  • 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.

    • 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.

  • If tomorrow’s game actually is a 1’s vs 1’s, 2’s vs 2’s situation, the release of the rosters today may tell us more about how Jeremy Pruitt’s first team will look than the actual Orange & White Game itself:
    🍊 OR […]

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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 […]

  • Setting a reasonable expectation is never easy in college football, especially in a new coach’s first year. For Jeremy Pruitt, five wins would be a literal improvement; six and a bowl berth would probably earn a […]

    • Competitiveness without feeling like we let wins escape us. That’s a difference from the last regime I want as well. The teams were often competitive but absolutely collapsed late losing games they should have won (I’m looking at you OU and UF especially).

      If we’re competitive in most games and make a bowl game, I think that’s a successful season. No matter the result of the bowl game beyond competitive again.

      I’d be pretty happy if a 7-5 regular season mark was achieved. I don’t think that mark is impossible, but I recognize it won’t necessarily be easy

      • Some betting site just put out their SEC O/Us and had the Vols at 5.5, which feels…about right?

        We already know they’re sizable underdogs to WVU. Taking a loss there would require 3 SEC wins to get to a bowl game, and after going 0-8 in conference last year, it’s hard to look at any one game and say, “Oh, yeah, the Vols should absolutely win that.”

        I’d settle for a) seeing development from individual players who were around last year, b) feeling like there is a cohesive strategy on both sides of the ball, and c) not getting run off the field by teams with objectively less talent (Mizzou, Vandy).

        • 5 seems to be a reasonable number to me too. I look at the schedule and three frankly gimme games plus hopefully a couple of games from Vandy, Kentucky, Florida, South Carolina are about all I can reasonably hope for. It saddens me that I am honestly “hopeful” that we win 5 games but that is the state of the program.

          The good news for Pruitt is my expectations are the lowest they have ever been. They have all the room in the world to pleasantly surprise me. I am still looking forward to football season no matter what.

          • I think that’s an interesting question, and one that probably breaks down somewhat along generational lines…have you ever had less hope/fewer expectations for UT football than you do right now?

            I was born in 1986 and came of age during the crazy run in the 90s, so I’ve almost always had hope. 2013 is possibly the only other season where I had equally low expectations.

            • It helps that my overall expectations are higher than they could have been in the midst of the Schiano/Currie situation. I think the low points from both mid-2011 and the middle of last year, when it was just blatantly apparent that we weren’t very good (in part due to injury) were lower than preseason expectations are right now. But it might also become blatantly apparent that we’re not very good even earlier this fall.

              • You do bring up a good point. Taken in the context of how “the search” went it could have been worse. *shudders*

            • For me it is the low point. I was born in ’72 so I remember much of Majors and was really becoming a die hard fan when Fulmer was hired.

              I think what makes this the low point for me is the historic lows we hit last year. Not only did we lose to every SEC team on our schedule last year but we also have less returning production (combined offensive and defensive ) than every SEC team on our schedule.

              I think we will be better this year because of better coaching and hopefully less injuries. The question in my mind is how much. In light of the recent bad taste from the Kiffin/Dooley/Jones trifecta one more win than the worst season in UT history is all I am willing to hope for next year.

  • 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. 🙂

  • 2017-18 saw the deepest SEC of all-time, with eight NCAA Tournament teams breaking the old conference record of six. The championship banner Tennessee and Auburn will hang is the greatest testament to the quality […]

  • Earlier this week Dylan took a look at how Tennessee might adapt its offensive philosophy next season. It’s a great question: should the Vols continue to rely on their physicality and inside presence, or look to […]

    • As with most things in life, I think the answer is…it depends 😛

      The question is ultimately one of efficiency and usage, and we’re trying to determine where the inflection point is at which the Vols should eschew some tough 2s for additional 3s.

      The dirty secret of the Vols’ offense this year is that they weren’t very good inside the arc: their 47.3% was 293rd in the country. That’s not good, and it’s actually been something of an issue under Barnes (16-17: 46.4%, 295th; 15-16: 47.4%, 242nd). I would imagine that’s a product of a couple of things.

      One, at least anecdotally (and a shot chart would help confirm or deny), the offense involves quite a bit of mid-range game. Think about Moore/Punter/Hubbs in 15-16 (43% on 9.2 2PA, 52% on 8.8 2PA, and 49% on 7.9 2PA), Hubbs in 16-17 (49% on 10.6 2PA), or Williams this year (50% on 10.3 2PA). Those shots just aren’t very efficient.

      Two, as players get asked to do more, their efficiency generally drops. Grant took 3 more shots per game this year, and his shooting percentage fell both inside and outside the arc (precipitously). Admiral was actually a bit of an exception as he kept his percentages flat while taking 5 more shots per game. And then the real flip side is Alexander, who took ~1 more shot per game, but bumped his 2P% from 49% to 68%.

      And Alexander’s example is key…if you’re going to run a true Daryl Morey-style NBA offense, you’re trying to shoot 3s (preferably from the corner) and layups/dunks. Again, without seeing a breakdown, I’m going to assume Alexander got more layups and dunks this year than last. So the question is, can you turn more 49% elbow jumpers into 70% layups? Can you turn more 45% turnarounds into 35% 3s?

      I think the Vols CAN do that, but it would require something of a philosophical shift or a leap from some players. The Vols don’t run a ton of pick-and-roll, but would they if Bone and/or Turner become a real threat to get to the basket, throw lobs to a diving big, or hit Bowden/Schofield for a corner 3 when the defense collapses? Can Bowden develop a drive/slash game that enables the same thing (he, Bone, and Turner were all 39%-40% on 2s and that’s just not good enough)?

      We don’t have to be Villanova (59% on 2PA, 40% on 3PA), but an offense that took out some blah 2s and replaced them with blah 3s would be a bit more explosive and give the Vols a higher ceiling.

      • Good stuff, Gavin.

      • Good stuff. I think a big component of this is lineups/minutes.

        Tennessee’s two most frequent combos, in-game and in closing time, were Bone/Turner/Bowden/Admiral/Williams, or against better post teams, Bowden/Admiral/Williams/Alexander and one of the point guards. Without James Daniel to provide some relief next year (nearly 20 minutes per game this year), will they go to Bowden and Turner as more of a Bobby Maze/Melvin Goins situation where the two aren’t on the floor much together?

        Derrick Walker played 8.8 minutes per game. I think that’s easily going up. But Alexander still only played 20.3 minutes per game. Will we make an intentional effort to get him involved more? If so, you’re almost automatically taking better outside shooting minutes off the floor. And who’s going to win the Yves Pons/Jalen Johnson struggle for minutes behind Bowden/Schofield at the 3? Teeny tiny sample size, but those two were 5-of-9 from the arc combined this year.

        Lots of ways to slice it, and Barnes is right when he said good chemistry one year doesn’t automatically lead to good chemistry the next year. But I still think the clearest room to grow is a more productive inside game from Alexander/Walker, which might mean even fewer threes but even better looks.

  • The end of a couple of long seasons is a fine time to catch your breath and maybe focus on a few things you’ve been neglecting for a bit too long. There will be no condemnation here because that’s exactly what […]

  • 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 […]

  • Yesterday was Pro Day on Rocky Top, and several former Vols football players were in action hoping to improve their NFL Draft stock.

    Shining on #ProDay 🍊🏈
    More » https://t.co/wnZgOeuyKS pic.tw […]

  • Whew, that was an exhausting weekend, both for the Vols and their fans, as well as for anyone who filled out a bracket.

    Here are the standings in the Gameday on Rocky Top 2018 Bracket Tourney Pool after the […]

  • When you play close games, you put your heart out there to be broken. We can argue about the match-up and whether this game should have been this close, but too much of that does a disservice to Loyola-Chicago, […]

    • I’ve already talked myself into this loss being an inspiration for next year’s team. I really enjoyed watching this team play and am excited about their future. Good luck to JD3 and let’s win the whole damned thing for him next year.

    • I feel like the older I get, the better I am at appreciating the complexities of sports outcomes.

      On the one hand, yes, it’s easy to look at what the Vols achieved this year with a roster that will return almost intact next year and project additional development. With the at least outside possibility that a dynamic, 5* player could be added to said intact roster, we should all be really excited about next year. Williams should improve his range, Bowden should get better at creating off the bounce, etc.

      On the other hand, development is rarely linear. The Vols won’t sneak up on anybody next year, and may have absolutely maximized their talent/luck this year (there were no major injuries to a starter until Alexander against Loyola). LSU (!), Kentucky, Vanderbilt (!), and Mississippi State (!) are all in the top 10 of next year’s recruiting rankings, so the league isn’t going to take a step back.

      And it’s that duality that makes it so tough to be a sports fan. Yes, we should all be proud of what the Vols accomplished this year; I certainly enjoyed watching them play almost every night out. I never would’ve expected them to be in this position when the season began. But given that they did reach this point, it’s tough not be disappointed with missing out on a chance to play Wright State, Loyola-Chicago, and Nevada on the way to a potential Elite 8 game against a team we’ve beaten twice. In Atlanta. In front of a lot of Vols fans.

      Sigh…

  • The Vols take on the Loyola-Chicago Ramblers this evening at 6:10 p.m. ET. The game is on TNT, and a win will advance Tennessee to the Sweet 16.

    While you’re waiting, check out our game preview, and have […]

  • Survive
    Tennessee didn’t just survive and advance in the NCAA Tournament yesterday, they absolutely throttled Wright State.

    Pressure? What pressure? No, they are the ones who pressure. And they’ve traded their […]

  • When the at-large bids came to an end on the 11 line, the selection committee chose San Diego State and Loyola-Chicago as the top remaining automatic qualifiers. The Aztecs carry some recent tournament history. […]

  • The Vols missed their first six shots in the first three minutes, a few nerves showing their face in Dallas, perhaps. But in those same three minutes, Wright State went 0-for-3 and turned it over twice. Then the […]

  • The Vols open NCAA Tournament play at 12:40 p.m. ET today against the Wright State Raiders. TruTV has the broadcast, so if you’re not watching online or casting to your big screen, you’d better start looking for […]

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