Joel Hollingsworth

  • This Saturday’s game between the Tennessee Volunteers and the UMass Minutemen should give the Big Orange an opportunity to find out more about their second-tier players. UMass is struggling mightily out of the […]

    • If this one isn’t north of 49-7, it will be disappointing. Really should be a shutout but their QB can probably string together enough short passes to score once against our very average secondary. The offense should score at will. Expecting 70 but Jones has been known to call off the blue tick hounds on those occasions where we play a cupcake and have a huge lead.

  • I think that’s right. Odd that I started higher than you and yet am lower than you right now, although I think we’re mostly on the same page.

  • Below are the results from our survey of the GRT community on how last weekend impacted our collective expected win total for the Vols this season. We opened this week’s Win Probability Calculator for business on […]

  • In this week’s podcast, Will, Brad, and I:

    Take turns finding something nice to say about Tennessee in a week during which everything else has been said (1:00);
    Attempt to guess where we believe Florida […]

  • It’s still mid-September, and the 2007 season is here to tell you that stuff can happen, man. And this weekend is particularly ripe for a good kind of drama helpful to the Big Orange.

    Most of the potential […]

  • The third game of the season. A humiliating, embarrassing loss to a hated rival. Folks immediately calling for the coach’s head on a plate.

    It was Saturday night, September 15, 2007, and Vols fans were livid. […]


    • Yep. It was a horrible, indefensible game. But it was just one game. If he has two or three more of those this year the AD will take the appropriate action at the end of the year I’m sure. But you know maybe they won’t have any more games like that and something good can still happen. All of that is still possible.

    • One thing I can’t shake from Saturday, and I think it ties back to 2007, is the distinction between process and results.

      To those that are upset about Saturday, is it because of the last play and the fact that they lost (results)? Or is it because of the series of miscues in coaching and execution that allowed Tennessee to be in a position that a Hail Mary could beat them (process)?

      If it’s the former, then are your feelings about 2007 positive? Because we won the division? If it’s the latter, then do you think that maybe the writing was on the wall for Fulmer since 9-3 could just as easily have been 6-6 (Lincoln misses the game-tying FG, but USCe had called TO and Lincoln hits the redo; Vandy is cruising 24-9 in the 4th before a roughing the punter penalty gives UT life [and the aforementioned missed GW FG]; UK having a chance to win in regulation and Double OT)?

      Sports are weird because the results are binary…you either win or you lose. With a win on Saturday, I think most of the fanbase would’ve been relatively happy. But the process would still have been bad, and that’s what concerns me re: Butch.

      • I think a key difference with 2007 is feeling like three of our four losses that year were talent issues. Cal and Florida made our defense look like it would never stop anyone again, LSU won the BCS title. The Alabama game was an obvious process problem in letting DJ Hall set school records, but I think the bigger concern there was whether Fulmer’s teams could compete at elite levels anymore as opposed to very good levels.

        I am more concerned about the process than the result from last week.

        • That makes sense. I think you could argue that lack of elite talent falls under a broader “process” umbrella, too, since recruiting is a crucial part of what makes a program go. And the complete whiff on a couple of recruiting classes certainly contributed to Fulmer’s downfall.

          You could just as easily argue that Butch’s inability to develop depth with his elite talent is a process issue. I realize most teams aren’t in the habit of having 5 good safeties, but it’s crazy to me that Abernathy and Warrior played every defensive snap on Saturday.

          I’m disheartened, but there’s still potential for good things this season. I’m not totally off the boat.

          • The East is a mess (and mess does not always equal bad). A successful season is still absolutely on the table and easily within reason. Saturday was some of Butch at his worst, but some of Butch at his best will win meaningful games this year.

    • You guys are always my UT football center. Y’all bring me back from the ledge every time. Thanks for always bringing perspective and not writing emotionally. It’s hard to remember sometimes that in the end, it’s just a game being played mostly by children. Thanks for staying positive and rational in the midst of all the negativity. That’s why I do my reading here the majority of the time.

    • After the game Saturday I’ve been avoiding anything Tennessee related. Not because I was upset but rather I didn’t want to read all the negativity I figured there’d be. Anyway after thinking rationally again I realized that we’re still in a good place. I still don’t believe that Georgia is a juggernaut and this week’s game with Miss State will test that. SC and LSU were brought back down to Earth and look pretty beatable. Missouri and Southern Miss look like wins. I need to see more of Vandy, but we do play that one at home. UK is our only major road test left. Besides Alabama we could still run the table and finish with an awesome 10-2 (6-2) season. It may not be enough to win the SEC East, but it would be successful in my opinion.

    • Matt replied 1 day ago

      Ah yes, the Fall of 2007…… If I were a rich man, I’d have season tickets!

      PS. 2007 is when I joined that OTHER community that you and Will used to write at and became a loyal reader. Ten yrs flies by. You take the good, you take the bad, you em both and there you have The Facts Of Life.

  • You may be safe the rest of the way, as I can’t get that stupid random number generator to throw out anything fun. 🙂

  • Take six minutes to listen to Tennessee Vols defensive coordinator Bob Shoop explain exactly what happened on that disastrous last play against the Florida Gators:

    It’s really refreshing to hear such a thorough […]

    • Well said Shoop, well said Joel.

    • “And when the time comes, we try to speak hard truth with grace, empathy, and humility. We try to listen the same way.”

      That’s what I can’t get from UT sports journalism anywhere else. That’s why I love this staff, this community, and this website. Thank you Joel, et al.

    • Well said. Best remembered.

    • Anddddd exhale, much better. Great post!

    • Pete replied 1 day ago

      I don’t get this approach at all. Shoop is responsible for teaching the DB not to get beaten deep on a long ball on the last play of regulation. This is basic high school stuff. If you are dumb enough to play straight up, please take the proper angle to the ball. Have the proper depth to begin with. Know how much time is left in the game. Call a prevent defense and adjust shorter instead of relying on a formation read and a timeout. This guy is supposed to be a genius coordinator but the fundamentals and basics are lacking. People give him a break because he confesses to a mistake for 7 minutes? Even drunk football fans on their couch know that our team blew it on that play. Great to know why it happened. Good that he understands everything in all its nuanced glory. Glad he feels bad about it. But that boneheaded play call and execution – along with several dozen other plays that day – cost us a winnable game toward the SEC East championship. I could have done without the video or this collective sympathy.

      • I will say this, Pete: I’m still waiting to see the fruits of our great-at-least-on-the-surface defensive coordinator hire. I’m still holding out hope that the poor performances of his defenses are mainly due to an unbelievable string of injuries to our most important defensive players (Derek Barnett excluded). But, the results, especially toward the end of last season, have sometimes been Sal Sunseri levels of bad. I wonder what last year would have looked like with Jancek coaching that defense again. I’m not saying it would have been better, but just wondering.

        On another note, prevent-style soft coverage defense was what we were running on the 4th and 14 play last time we were in the swamp, if I remember correctly. We had a QB spy and only rushed 3 on the play and dropped everyone back into coverage. It’s what got Shoop’s predecessor fired, wasn’t it? I know that those situations are very different, but I think there is some irony that two years later we are looking back at a Florida loss because a defensive call wasn’t soft enough. (I know that that loss was the result of 60 minutes of football, not one 9 second play, but you know what I mean)

        • Prevent defense does not equate to only rushing 3. The line should rush hard and limit the time the WR have to get downfield. Maybe even bring an extra LB, rather than the stupid QB spy, but get enough depth for your safeties and corners that they literally cannot be beaten deep for a touchdown.

          If I recall correctly, the 4th and 14 play also had at least 3 missed tackles along the way in addition to some bad angles. So it’s not just the scheme in that case but really bad execution on top of it. Shoop’s predecessor was fired for much more than the Florida play – it was a season of incompetence in both scheme and tackling.

          By the way, we don’t need a Hail Mary vs. Georgia if our DB doesn’t assume (as they did in the Florida game AGAIN) that the QB can’t throw it that far. Georgia’s QB hit a 50 yarder over our guy’s head. Florida goes for 60+ over our heads. It’s the SEC guys – assume the QB has an arm.

  • Here’s our weekly update of the Vols’ statistical rankings, after the Florida game.

    Offensive observations: The offensive line still seems to be doing a good job of protecting the quarterback. First down, […]

    • I love this series of articles.
      Here’s some additional data just compared to our conference:
      John Kelly:
      #1 in total rush yards (349) (PS that’s ~116 yards per game!)
      #1 in Rush TDs (5)
      #1 RB reception yds (191)
      #10 player recep. yds (191)
      #2 RB yds per reception (11.94)
      #2 player in total receptions (16)
      T-3 player in total points (30)
      Conclusion: JK is a total stud.

      #2 in yds per reception (24.75)
      T-3 in TDs (3)
      #9 in Reception Yds (198)

      Team Offense
      #6 in total yards (1206)
      #4 in pass yds (715)
      #4 in points (104)
      #3 in yards per rush (5.34)

      Bituli is #1 in tackles (33)
      Warrior is T-6th tackles (25)
      McDowell and Jumper are # 10 (24)

      Want some ugly numbers?
      Defense: yards allowed per play: UT is tied with Florida for the bottom of the league! T-13th with a whopping 5.95 yards per play.

      Lastly, scoring defense (adjusted to remove special teams points and picks/fumbles for points, ie. pure defense let them score how much?):
      We are 12th in the SEC allowing opponents to score 9 tds on us. (6 on the ground, 3 in the air).

  • That was the feeling I got. It also doesn’t explain not running at all on their last drive. Sigh.

  • I hear you. I feel you. We should have run to win the game, and even I (a guy who doesn’t know the language) am on record with a comment before it all happened that I thought we should give the ball to John Kelly when we set up shop with the time winding down. We didn’t. And then some other things went wrong, too, and we lost.

    I’m not sure I’d…[Read more]

  • If we’re 6-6 at the end of the year . . . well, I don’t know what I’ll say. But until then, I’m going to pretend that we’re 2-1. Oh, wait. 🙂

  • Yep. We should have run. I’m not sure what to make of it yet, but we apparently did have a run play called, and either the QB audibled or it was some kind of RPO or something that caused the QB to throw based on the coverage presented or something. I don’t pretend to know enough about football to know. I’m reminded of that every time I hear Erik…[Read more]

  • Sorry — should have linked to the game page. It is still open, and you can find the info here:

  • Yeah, frankly it was good to hear. I thought it was a nice balance between acknowledging the pain but then getting right back on the horse.

  • Butch Jones spoke to the media at his weekly press conference earlier this afternoon. After reiterating that he was disappointed in the loss and commenting that the team’s will to win was derailed by details, he […]

    • Folks want Jones to break out from his talking points to be real. The opening to that quote is real.

      • Yeah, frankly it was good to hear. I thought it was a nice balance between acknowledging the pain but then getting right back on the horse.

    • Maybe you buried the lead… Did he say anything about resigning or an upcoming meeting with AD Currie or interim Coach Hoke?

    • I’m pissed Butch has not read this book yet

    • I’m still fully behind Butch for now. This team still has a lot to play for. If we can avoid further injuries, 9-3 is still a real possibility. I think that would be great considering the NFL talent we lost and the breaking in of so many new starters. We were bound to lose a game or two like this under the circumstances. It hurts for several reasons, but let’s put it behind us and get back to work. Nothing is gained from wallowing in this. UMass, here we come. 3-1 after Saturday.

      • ” 9-3 is still a real possibility”

        You honestly think with Georgia/Bama/LSU/South Carolina/Kentucky and yes Vandy we are only going to lose just 2 more times?

        Reality is this is at best this is a 7 win team.

        We used to put 10 people in the pros every year and still win 10 games ( check out the 90’s and early 00’s)

        Stop making excuses.

        Butch is way over his head.

        • I didn’t say I think we are only going to lose two more times. I said, as you quoted, “9-3 is still a real possibility.” Georgia is good but not unbeatable, and we get them at home, Alabama will throttle us, LSU just lost to Mississippi State 37-7, South Carolina just lost to Kentucky 23-13 and lost their best player for the season in the process, Kentucky has not looked very good, and Vandy is looking better than expected but is still very beatable. Only one of those is a certain loss, but all the rest are at least winnable games. Thus, again, “9-3 is still a real POSSIBILITY.” Plenty left to play for.

  • Q: Sapp, and also LB?
    A: Sapp’s worked really hard to get back from injury. DB is still a young player continuing to learn, don’t want mind to tie the feet up. He’s very talented and playing well, his role will continue to grow with absence of CM.

  • Q: Short yardage, struggle. What was that? Schemes and formations, or what?
    A: Jauan is also out for season. CM is also out for season.

    Short yardage: we didn’t pick up movement on the front very well. Will be a point of emphasis this week.

  • Q: Safety?
    A: We need to grow and develop depth there. Micah and Nigel had to play every snap; they also have large roles on ST; we need to move some players around and have some guys step up. At S and at LB.

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