Brad Shepard

  • It’s time to see if coach Jeremy Pruitt can keep this ball rolling.

    We’ve seen that the first-year Tennessee coach can recruit, and we’ve seen that he can develop. But can he get his Vols to pull off their […]

  • The biggest recruiting trend so far in the Jeremy Pruitt era at Tennessee is the Vols getting bigger and stronger across the board at every position. If there’s another trend that is continuing on Rocky Top, it’s […]

  • We’re just going to get this out of the way up front: Regardless of what happens the rest of this season, Jeremy Pruitt is the real deal.

    Tennessee finally has a football coach who eats, breathes, and sleeps […]

    • Wow… looking forward to next week… great game plan, solid coaching and good execution… all = a recipe for success. Go Vols!!

  • You’d be right to be a Tennessee fan and be concerned that the Vols are hosting a top-15 program in a must-win situation in order to make it to the postseason [at least, with a traditional 6-6 record…]

    Yet, […]

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    This is going to be short and sweet.

    The first reason for that is there simply wasn’t much about which to be excited in a lackluster 14-3 win over Conference USA also-ran Charlotte that looked like […]

    • I don’t want to psychoanalyze 50+ kids and staff, but I wonder how much of this team’s motivation is driven by Pruitt. He’s a first year HC, so he’s learning how to lead, and that comes with some growing pains.

      Is it that hard to imagine the 3-year Alabama assistant and lifelong Auburn hater was fired up as all get out for that game? And maybe, after the better part of a decade with elite programs, he might not have been too fired up about a game against a C-USA also-ran?

      I don’t want this to be taken as a knock on CJP, just as an observation that maybe our guys follow the tone set by the HC more that we think, and he’s learning on the fly how to get the same fight from the team every game…

    • I gotta reiterate that Saban’s first Alabama team lost to UL-Monroe. So as long as we win in season one, I’ll be happy. If we get to a bowl game I’ll be ecstatic. Right now we’ve got a shallow Sun Belt offensive line and that will change.

      We will be a decent team next season and downright scary by year three. Pruitt gets “it” in a way that Dooley and Jones don’t. The man knows what is and is not important to win at football. And Helton is a phenomenal coordinator, QB developer and playcaller… he’s just trying to cover up the one thing no coordinator can completely cover up, a bad offensive line. And, FWIW, with a healthy Chandler we probably score a couple more TDs.

      Also, I don’t want to brag… at least that’s what I think I’m supposed to say just before bragging… but 19-1 in this week’s pick’em baybee! Now I just need to make up 27 more spots.

  • At this point, I feel like Tennessee is going to struggle to make a bowl game. But that’s not to say the Vols can’t.

    When you have a game like they had against South Carolina where you’ve got myriad […]

    • Can’t take the 49er’s lightly… need to maintain momentum going into the KY game. Rhythm and discipline will go a long ways to getting out in front of these guys early so the banged up guys get some rest. I prefer not seeing a sloppy game on a lesser opponent.

      Good luck Brad on your picks this week… mine have been lousy all year. Go Vols!!

    • 3-3 last wk. Navy (2-6) outscored the overrrated Irish in the 2H after scoring precisely zero points in half#1. Not bitter about missing on 4-2. Not at all. Not one bit. Overrated Irish should be hypenated. If they make the playoffs, I hope they face Bama.

      BC -1.5 (Westgate/Unibet) over Va Tech is a gift. Old Dominion, Georgia Tech and the aforementioned overrated Irish all scored 45 or more ag’in’ that Hokies D. BC has a mildly above average QB and a great RB.

      Clemson -39 over Lousiville. Like Tennessee and Bama – in the first quarter – times 4. Wake Forest hung up 56 & Ga Tech put 66 on Louisville.

      Wake Forest/Syracuse – Over 76.5. Wake avg 33 and Syracuse avg 44. Wake gives up 37 a game. Syracuse isn’t much better.

      PSU +12 vs Michigan. The UM D is solid but +12 is pretty rich. I’d love to see a straight up win and relegate the Big 10 to the couch for the playoffs.

      TN -21 over Charlotte. I hate laying 3 TDs as we haven’t done a terrific job covering against teams like this in the past decade. Of course, Pruitt isn’t the Intern, or Dooley or Kiffin, either.

      Oklahoma -13 over Texas Tech. Just because the Sooners need a big scoreboard every week to get into the playoff discussion. Plus I think they can outscore TTU with a modicum of defense.

      • WIN & COVER – BC 31-21 ; Clemson 77-16;
        FAILS: Wake/Syracuse over 76.5; PSU +12; TN -21; Oklahoma -13

        But I was feeling pretty good about my Vols pick at 14-0 in the first quarter….

  • I just watch the game back, normally really late on Saturday night or early Sunday morning and then again during the week if we win. I try to rewind every offensive or defensive play that results in a big UT gain or loss or an opponent’s big gain or loss.

  • I heard more about that after I wrote. Seems like he wasn’t allowed to challenge, which makes me appreciate it more.

  • If you’re not encouraged about the improvement and development of the Tennessee Volunteers over the 2018 season, it’s because of some pre-programmed belief that we’re destined to fail.

    I get it. The Vols lost […]

    • So nice to read a grounded and objective point of view instead of the rants with all the answers on some of the other sites. Hopefully the Vols can take it one game at a time and continue to focus on improvement. The “W’s” will come and they will surprise some teams in the near term… and perhaps make a bowl. Go Vols!!

    • I was wondering about the non-challenge of the fumble, but someone on some site said they aren’t allowed anymore and all challenges are the league only. Other than that point, great article.

      • I heard more about that after I wrote. Seems like he wasn’t allowed to challenge, which makes me appreciate it more.

    • Brad, in your article you mentioned doing film study. Do you know of any way to get access to All-22 footage of the Vols? Do you get to use All-22 footage or just rewatch broadcasts?

      I am a big-time football nerd, but the only place I really get to play around with football schemes and strategy is on video games. I would really love to see everyone on the field on each play so that I can go back and see, for example, if the offensive line is playing well from play to play. When there is busted coverage, I would love to see whether the corner or the safety screwed up, or if the receiver just made a great play or ran a great route, etc.

      I know that you can see some NFL All-22 footage if you pay a bunch of money for a special package, but I don’t know of any way to see college All-22 tape.

      • I just watch the game back, normally really late on Saturday night or early Sunday morning and then again during the week if we win. I try to rewind every offensive or defensive play that results in a big UT gain or loss or an opponent’s big gain or loss.

  • Great post. It’s frustrating, but we’re getting there.

  • Will Muschamp is not a good football coach.

    There is empirical evidence supporting this. It was obvious at Florida, and even though there have been some flashes at South Carolina, we’re beginning to see it this […]

    • My guess is that one good hit on JG will knock him out of the game if he starts. The lack of zip on the ball with bruised ribs and sternum is probably due to pain and stiffness. Rib pads will help, but he probably has a very painful injury that doesn’t allow him to follow through on his passes. Go Vols!!

    • Georgia -6.5 over Florida. The Dawgs are better than they showed against LSU. Florida is not a top 10 team.
      Okla -24.5 over Kansas State. The Sooners need style points to get into the playoff discussion. Big Scoreboard.
      Duke -2.5 over Pitt. Coach Cutt in a pick ’em game of less than a field goal? And Pitt’s about as good as Vandy? Let’s go Coach K, um, C!
      Wash -11 over Cal. Agree with Brad that this is a gift.
      Vols +8 over SC. Could lose in a blowout if we have Florida style turnover game but I really like the fight and improvement on this team. Think this should be close loss or an outright win.
      Notre Dame -24 over Navy. Notre Dame is grossly overrated after struggling with Vandy and Pitt. But Navy isn’t what it used to be. Hope they play Bama in the first round of the Playoffs – it will be a repeat of the National Championship blowout.

    • BC +3.5 vs. Miami
      Arkansas +1.5 vs. Vanderbilt
      Missouri -7.5 vs. Kentucky
      Nevada +2.5 vs. SDSU
      TAMU +2.5 at Mississippi State
      Syracuse +0.5 vs. NC State
      Oregon -9.5 at Arizona

      I just do not bet on Tennessee unless the spread is just obscene and this one is within the range where if I’m wrong about this team it’s reasonable.

      I don’t think most observers of our team fully understand just how close we are to being a really good football team. With accurate and smart QB play we’ve got weapons everywhere and have been fortunate that our tailbacks have been *good enough* to be taken seriously by everyone except Alabama.

      I honestly believe South Carolina will have trouble keeping up with us.

    • I want the fans to watch this “film study” from the Alabama game.

      Our cornerbacks are arguably the best I’ve seen in thirty-plus years watching Tennessee football. That, and the immense improvement in our pass blocking given the unwinnable talent situation, give me some serious hope about this staff and team.

      • Thanks for posting that. It’s fantastic. It also shows just how spectacularly good Alabama is. I had the general feeling that we really didn’t play that poorly, just that they were too perfect, and that film study kind of supported that.

      • Great post. It’s frustrating, but we’re getting there.

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    Up until the minute Jarrett Guarantano left Saturday’s game with what originally was called a collarbone issue but wound up being bruised ribs, I would have told you the guy under center was the one who gave […]

    • Excellent points and couldn’t agree more. My concern is whether this Team has the mental strength to rise to the occasion. Pruitt has been doing a good job of giving them every chance to win, but poor execution is an issue. He will likely push hard on those he believes are not competing and how they react is a big question mark in my mind. They have the talent, but do they have the mental strength? Go Vols!!

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    When I was younger, there were no games I looked forward to more than Alabama. Your really could throw out the records, and the streaks were even fun because you knew it could go either way any year.

    Nick […]

    • Hoping most importantly for an injury free game and beat the spread second. I’m like you in the fact that we can’t be banged up before playing a pivotal game for a bowl against SC next week. Unfortunately I have this weird feeling in my gut that it may be unavoidable.

    • I’m probably going to regret this, but don’t forget that Auburn was allowing fewer pass YPG than Alabama with what was a far tougher schedule. Until they ran up on Guarantano Inc.

      I don’t think we win this game, but if we don’t give them essentially free points we’ll have a puncher’s chance.

      Alabama 38 – Tennessee 24

  • Thanks so much, Harley. I’m excited to write about the win. That’s what a big one looks like.

  • After a late-game collapse made a close Georgia loss a virtual runaway a couple of weeks ago, Tennessee coach Jeremy Pruitt nearly was moved to tears talking about how much better his guys were getting when […]

    • A great read… many of the long downfield passes JG threw were to the back should away from the defender. You may recall that was a drill being specifically worked on during the off week… good coaching and good execution are working hand in hand. Lets keep the momentum and improvements going. Go Vols!

      • Thanks so much, Harley. I’m excited to write about the win. That’s what a big one looks like.

  • The rumor mill hasn’t been kind to the Vols this week as there are whispers that freshman safety Trevon Flowers has a collarbone injury and is walking around campus in a sling after getting hurt in practice.

    It […]

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    We all got through the moral victories phase long ago, so it’s hard to come out of the second-consecutive 26-point loss feeling anything warm-and-fuzzy about the Vols.

    This year isn’t going to go like any […]

  • I have never felt the way I did sitting in Neyland Stadium last week. Ever. It was a hopeless, helpless feeling. Being competitive feels so far away as everything fell apart in what wound up being a 47-21 loss to […]

    • Let’s catch them looking ahead… let’s keep it respectable… and stranger things have happened. Go Vols!!

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    We all know how we got here.

    You don’t hire Derek Dooley and Butch Jones in back-to-back searches after Lane Kiffin’s one-and-done and expect any differently. You don’t load up recruiting classes with the […]

    • Brad,

      If our Vols played on the level that you, Joel, and Will have written in the last 10+ years, we would have several SEC Championships. Great points in this article.

      Still, I don’t know why anyone in their right mind who is a Tennessee Fan would willfully sit down and watch the game this Saturday-or for the next month for that matter- knowing what will happen. Why put yourself through this pain? Listening to East Tennessee Sports Radio this past week leading up to the game, you would’ve thought we had a decent chance, which I really didn’t understand after watching the WVA game. Our O-line continually was getting beat that game and wasn’t sure how you can fix that in three weeks.

      Honestly, I feel the same about the SEC since Bama has become such a machine. It is not enjoyable to me knowing the ending every season before the first game is even played. Sure it MIGHT be UGA, honestly, who cares, hate em both.

      Unfortunately, what I saw of our new coach Saturday reminded me of the criticism that came out of Athens after the hire and when he had issues with Mark Ritch. If you have a confrontation with Mark Ritch, you have problems. My gut tells me that the next four years are going to be a continued walk through the wilderness with the only solution being to hire a “Saban”esque coach on the next hire. I know it is premature to call out Pruitt, just don’t have a good feeling about him now. Not bc of the loss, but how he handled the adversity on the sidelines and after the game.

      Not walking from my Vols, just not going to torture myself the next month as we lose by an average of 28 points a game. I suggest you don’t either. Life is too short.

      Peace,

      Matt

    • Btw the Gameday On Rocky Top, I hope I am so wrong! I hope this team and Coach Pruitt prove me flat out wrong on one of these SEC games left. Honestly don’t think we can beat any SEC team right now.

    • Good points Brad. Agree, there is lot of work to be done to bring this program back to the “good ole’ days”… unfortunately it is going to take a long time and I hope JP and crew are the right guys to lead the rebuild… regardless, I have enough memory of the “good ole’ days” that I will continue to support the Orange and White through thick and thin. I will be watching on Saturday… Go Vols!!

    • I think there might be something to watch for in the next month of games. What I think we hope to see is some kind of inflection point, after which the team starts to play better and we maybe have a chance against November. And as distasteful as it is, that could come in a quasi-competitive loss to one of these elite teams. Lose to Auburn by 15, and I think it might actually make me feel better about the long term future.

      • Good point.

        Although I think that being up against three Top 10 teams, we could actually get better and still have no knowledge of that fact. Getting beaten into absolute submissive unconsciousness will make anybody look inept. And yet it doesn’t really say much about how you might do against non-elite teams.

    • Really like this new Sunday series, Brad.

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