Archive for the 'Jim Bob Cooter' Category

Tennessee Volunteer 2006 unit preview: Quarterbacks

Monday, August 14th, 2006

Well, what can be said about the quarterbacks that hasn’t already been said? Very little, but I’m going to mix up the order of the words to make it look brand spanking new.

Erik Ainge drew favorable comparisons to Peyton Manning his freshman year, and for good reason. He completed 109 of 198 passes for 1,452 yards and 17 touchdowns in nine games before a shoulder injury against Notre Dame ended his season. The following year, he got off to a good start, but morphed into a mushroom cloud in the end zone at LSU. The question then became Is There Life After Death Valley for Erik Ainge? By the Notre Dame game, the early returns suggested, well, maybe not.

Enter Ahead-to-the-Past offensive coordinator David Cutcliffe, sensei to the likes of No. 1 NFL draft picks Peyton Manning and Eli Manning, No. 3 NFL draft pick Heath Shuler, and National Championship QB Tee Martin. Job One for Cut is the Reanimation of Erik Ainge Project.

Erik Ainge

The jury is still out after the first all-live scrimmage, during which Ainge went 13 of 26 for 120 yards, with two interceptions and no touchdowns. Worse than the raw numbers, Ainge displayed some of the same pocket panic that we saw last year, even throwing a sure interception (it was actually dropped by the defender) off his back foot from his own end zone. Cut was “surprised,” and said such a play was unacceptable.

He did not, however, water the blooming controversy. “We are not shaking up or changing anything at this stage based on one scrimmage,” said Cutcliffe. “I evaluate every one of them every day. I grade every practice. They are all held accountable to perform.”

Cutcliffe didn’t, however, completely rule out the possibility of a change. “We are going to keep competition at all positions, including quarterback,” said Cutcliffe. “[Ainge] has to play better than he played from a mistake standpoint. I am sure he is disappointed. He is doing many things well.”

The offensive coaching staff is doing its best to both develop 2nd string QB Jonathan Crompton, a Parade All-American, and ignore the fact that he is nipping at Ainge’s heels. Crompton finished Saturday’s scrimmage 7 of 13 for 97 yards, two touchdowns, and no interceptions. According to Cutcliffe, Crompton is “transferring what I’m telling him and verbalizing it in the huddle and not getting frozen.”

Jonathan Crompton

Junior Bo Hardegree is nipping at Ainge’s other heel, and waiting in the wings is true freshman Nick Stephens, who passed for 2,602 yards and 24 touchdowns as a high school senior at Flower Mound, Texas last year.

Bo Hardegree

Best Case Scenario: Erik Ainge improves decision-making under duress and efficiently manages the offense, occasionally hitting big-time, long-distance pass plays, and racking up big early leads that enable Crompton to get healthy portions of game experience.

Worst Case Scenario: Ainge barely holds on to the starting position, hording all of the first string practice reps, through the first game against Cal where he throws an interception from his own end zone for a touchdown while in the arms of a defender and gets yanked for good. Crompton, thrown into the fire without the benefit of any real practice reps struggles and thereafter splits time equally under center with Bo Hardegree, Nick Stephens, Jim Bob Cooter, and defensive tackle Justin Harrell. Tennessee finishes 6-6 or worse, and the University decides to hire Bob Stoops, who brings Rhett Bomar with him.

Best Guess: Cutcliffe will in fact reanimate Ainge and cure him of his poor decision-making under duress by having Ainge take the snap, count to three, and heave the ball into the Tennessee River on thirty consecutive plays (or something like that) to substitute a new panic mechanism for the old one. Ainge will struggle early, fans will holler for Crompton, and Cutcliffe will wisely guide Ainge through the firestorm, molding him into an efficient QB whose game plan consists primarily of handing off to the tailback and throwing short passes.

Two Minute Drill: Two-quarterback systems; Jim Bob’s IQ, and haircuts for men

Tuesday, June 6th, 2006

This will be short, as I’m working up a response to Burnt Orange Nation’s call for thoughts from a Tennessee perspective on two-quarterback systems. Short version: no. Peter, if you’re reading, I’m not sure whether you’re getting my emails. If you are, and you are ignoring me on purpose and were wanting some other Tennessee blogger to respond instead, then, well, this is me, scratching a non-existent itch on the back of my head in embarassment after thinking you were waving to me instead of the person behind me.

Jim Bob Cooter got a 34 on the ACT? That’s . . . um, pretty good. Being smart apparently doesn’t keep you from doing something stupid, though, does it? Jim Bob, love ya, man, but go to bed, okay?

Respected NFL talent analyst Gil Brandt apparently thinks former UT tight end Jason Witten is the best young tight end in the NFL. Witten, an Elizabethton native, was way undervalued in the NFL draft, and the Cowboys got a deal.

New recruit Brent Vinson has been nothing but books since signing day, hoping to avoid ineligibility so he can join the Vols this fall. Somebody needs Jim Bob.

Oh, and I got my hair cut yesterday. Woo hoo. I’ve been seeing the sign for the new hair place — Sports Clips — for a couple of months now, and thought it was just another Super Fantastic Sam’s Cost Cutters place. But it’s not. It’s a hair place for guys. There’s a big screen t.v. tuned to ESPN in the waiting area instead of glossy magazines called Hair Styles of Rich and Famous Women Who Eat on a Weekly Basis Yet Have Superb Hair Follicles. Stylists wear jogging pants and keep their stuff in lockers. Sports parapha, paraphe, stuff (where’s Jim Bob when you need to spell a word?) adorns (learnt that one from Cooter) the walls. And the cherry on top? Little televisions at each station so you can catch up on the World Cup instead of chatting about the weather for twenty minutes. How was my haircut? Hey, we’re guys, what does it matter? It just needs to be shorter. (Actually, Kelly, my stylist was excellent, and I got a very nice cut that should last me about a month.) Anyway, it’s Sports Clips. Haircuts for guys. Check ‘em out.

On Fulmer’s punishment of Tennessee quarterback Jim Bob Cooter

Tuesday, June 6th, 2006

Okay, let’s get this out of the way. Backup backup backup quarterback Jim Bob Cooter embarassed the team this past weekend when he was arrested and charged with driving under the influence.

So how should he be punished? No more and no less than projected starting linebacker Marvin Mitchell, who was arrested for disorderly conduct a little more than a month ago. There is a perception that Coach Fulmer’s discipline is inversely proportionate to a player’s importance to the team.

But Fulmer seems to have a consistent and progressive discipline system — if you screw up once, you get a public tongue-lashing, a suspension, and some other “internal” discipline.” Multiple offenses result in increased punishment up to and including dismissal from the team. That’s why Mitchell was suspended and defensive tackle Raymond Henderson, who had received one or two warnings prior to making an inappropriate comment to an underage girl last month, was sent packing.

Fulmer needs to treat starters and non-starters similarly, and this equity should be applied in both directions. In other words, starters should get the same treatment as non-starters, and non-starters should get the same treatment as starters. So the best thing to do is to give Cooter the same treatment as Mitchell. If instead Fulmer puts his foot up Jim Bob’s rear end and sends him through the uprights, he’ll only reinforce the perception that at Tennessee, discipline is for pine-riders.

Jim Bob Cooter arrested, charged with DUI

Monday, June 5th, 2006

Oh, no.

Ugh.