Archive for the 'Kentucky' Category

Re-living the Tennessee Volunteers 2005 football season: Part 12, Kentucky and the End of an Error

Tuesday, August 8th, 2006


It was the first game I could remember that really didn’t mean anything at all. Thoughts of the Rose Bowl and the National Championship had been chucked out the window long ago, and with the ugly loss to Vanderbilt the prior week, the 2005 Tennessee Volunteers had lost any chance at post-season play.

With one game remaining, the sole remaining goal was to avoid taking up residency in the cold, damp cellar of the SEC East usually reserved for Vanderbilt or Kentucky.

The Vols had lost to the Gators. Lost to the Bulldogs. Lost to South Carolina. Lost to Vanderbilt.

Only Kentucky remained, and horror of horrors, its offense appeared to be twice as efficient as the Vols’.

The game

NOTE: A larger version can be found on the Animated Drive Charts page.

Quarterback Erik Ainge got the start and played the entire game going 17 of 25 for 221 yards and two long touchdown passes. On UT’s first drive, Ainge’s fifth consecutive completion resulted in a 50-yard TD pass to Robert Meachem.

On Tennessee’s first drive of the second quarter, Ainge hit another: a 32-yard pass to receiver Chris Hannon for a touchdown. All in all, Ainge had a decent, but not spectacular, game. He did not throw an interception, but he did lose two fumbles, and he gave up a safety when called for intentional grounding while attempting a pass from the end zone to avoid a sack.

Arian Foster also had a good game, better even than his 114 net yards on 26 carries would indicate. On UT’s second possession, Foster’s 55-yard dash to the end zone was nullified by a motion penalty. Later, a screen pass to Foster, which he took 78 yards to the end zone was reduced to a net gain of 39 yards due to a holding penalty.

The defense contributed three interceptions, one for a touchdown by Justin Harrell.


And that was it. It was all over but the shouting by Thanksgiving weekend. All that was left to do was to further sift the coaching staff, send an apology letter to fans, and say “wait until next year.”

As the Knoxville News-Sentinel put it, it was the End of an Error.

Alternative cover art for SEC media guides

Monday, July 31st, 2006’s John Adams dreams up his own ideas for Media Guide cover art for each SEC school. For instance:

  • Kentucky: A picture of a football as the centerpiece with a small picture of a deflated basketball in the left-hand corner, and the SEC East basketball standings in the right corner: 1, Tennessee; 2, Florida; 3, Kentucky.

    The headline: “We’re Not A Basketball School Anymore.”

  • * * * *

  • Ole Miss: Half the cover is a picture Ole Miss fans partying in the Grove before the game. The other half is a picture of opposing fans partying in the Grove after the game.

    The headline: “It’s Only A Game.”

Nice twist on the old “we’re not an X, Y, Z school anymore,” and the Ole Miss jab is just precious.

Here’s mine for Florida:

A full body image of quarterback Chris Leak being hammered by an oversized Urban Meyer into a round hole at the 50 yard line, with shaved-off slivers of the image curling off to each of the four sides to accommodate the fit. Tim Tebow is warming up in the background.

The headline: “Round peg. Round hole.”

If you could animate the thing, he’d be springing up out of the ground like a greased jackrabbit, sort of like Michael Jackson suddenly appearing out of a cloud of smoke at Superbowl XXVII.

What are your ideas?

Two-minute drill: VQ’s Gator preview, opponent QBs and RBs, freshmen on campus, and . . . not

Wednesday, July 12th, 2006 previews the Florida Gators and says that offensive linemen Jacques McClendon, Darius Myers, and Ramone Johnson are the freshmen with the best chance of making an impact this year. Johnson, by the way, has been cleared to attend the second summer session of class. Brent Vinson, on the other hand, is headed toward Hargrave Military Academy, having not made the grade on his standardized test.

Looking toward the season, UT faced some marquee quarterbacks last year, , but QB stability is, let’s say, questionable throughout the SEC this year. (HT: Georgia Sports Blog.) No, this year, says Inside Tennessee, UT’s challenge is facing stellar running backs: California’s Marshawn Lynch, Alabama’s Kenneth Darby, Arkansas’ Darren McFadden, Kentucky’s Rafael Little, and Georgia’s Thomas Brown, all of which College Football News has ranked in their national top 20. Not especially good news if your strength is the secondary and there are question marks with the front seven.

Vols lose close one to Kentucky

Thursday, March 2nd, 2006

Somebody stop Morris!

Somebody stop Rondo!

The Vols could not stop Morris in the first half and at times appeared not to even try to stop Rondo in the second. In the end, Tennessee lost to Kentucky 80-78 when C.J. Watson’s desperation three-point attempt found the rim instead of the net and bounced out.

Good game, though, and the giant human checkerboard was cool, huh? Anybody have their own pictures I can post?

And anybody know why coach Pearl was so steamed at Chris Lofton during a second-half timeout?

One of the coaches had this to say after the game:

When you shoot like we did the latter part of the second half, you’re going to win a lot of games. This shows we can compete with anyone, and we have the ability to go on the road and win a game like this against the East Division champions. With their power rating, it’s a feather in our cap.

That’s something you would expect from a Tennessee coach about a win over or a close loss to Kentucky, not the other way around.

Game recap here.

Volunteer basketball seniors hope to sweep the ‘Cats in final home game of magical season

Wednesday, March 1st, 2006

Tennessee Volunteer basketball fans get a chance to honor C.J. Watson, Stanley Asumnu, and Andre Patterson during tonight’s game against the Kentucky Wildcats. The three seniors will attempt to do what was almost unimaginable this time last year: sweep the dreaded Wildcats in front of a sold-out Thompson-Boling Arena and the world’s first gigantic, human orange and white checkerboard.

As put it:

With a win, Tennessee sweeps the regular season series for the first time since the 1998-99 season, and would give Pearl a very impressive 4-0 mark against his two biggest division rivals in Kentucky and Florida. Not a bad way to punctuate your maiden voyage through the SEC.

Not a bad way for the seniors to say goodbye, either.

Coach Pearl’s thoughts on Watson:

He just does it all for us and he’s logged a lot of minutes. This league has got the best point guard play in college basketball. C.J. has to bring it every single night, and he has on most all occasions. He’ll go down as one of the best point guards in the history of Tennessee basketball, and especially now that he’s got a championship, that will add credibility to his legacy.

He’s got a great future. He will make an NBA roster. He’s just going to be one of those guys that plays for a long time because he can defend, he can run a team, he can make open shots and he’s a really smart player. He’s really, really good off the ball.

Pearl also had some good things to say about Patterson despite the fact that he introduced himself by suspending him:

Andre has been one of those guys, that if you look back at our preseason comments, we said he had to step up. I felt like of all our players, Andre had more to give, and he has stepped up. He’s still an undersized player in the SEC who is our best rebounder. He’s one of our best inside scorers and a guy that’s able to take the ball to the basket and break defenses down.

I feel closer to Andre as the season has progressed. There was a lot of discipline involved and a lot of tough love early. Andre has made progress, but he had a ways to go. His experience has helped us win basketball games.

If you can get tickets to tonight’s game, go and become part of the checkerboard. If you can’t get tickets, tune in. Regardless of what happens the rest of the season, the 2005-2006 team should be remembered and revered as one of the greatest stories in the history of Tennessee basketball. The team has over-achieved its way from obscurity to a national top 10 ranking and positioned itself for a run in the Big Dance.

Tonight will be the last opportunity for the home crowd to show the senior leaders of the team their appreciation for the magical season.

Giant orange and white human checkerboard on tap for Kentucky

Tuesday, February 21st, 2006

The Kentucky Wildcats are to be greeted by a giant orange and white human checkerboard when they visit on March 1, 2006:

The University of Tennessee basketball program will experience another first on March 1. For the home finale against rival Kentucky, the Vols will attempt to make the entire lower bowl of Thompson-Boling Arena become an orange and white human checkerboard with specially designed Tennessee basketball T-shirts. By strategically alternating the arena sections so that fans in one section adorn orange, with adjacent sections dressing in white, the goal is for Vol fans to create a first-of-its-kind human checkerboard.

Very cool.

Oh, and the game’s sold out, but it’s on Jefferson Pilot.

Tennessee Volunteer basketball team gets huge win over Kentucky

Wednesday, February 8th, 2006

Note: the Getting to Know Tennessee’s Class of 2006 series will resume tomorrow. Maybe Friday.

The Tennessee Volunteer basketball team continued its winning ways last night with a huge win over its nemesis to the north, the Kentucky Wildcats.

Former Kentucky Mr. Basketball Chris Lofton was again the catalyst, scoring a career-high 31 points in the Vols’ 75-67 victory. UT ended an eight-game losing streak to Kentucky and strengthened its leading position in the SEC East.

Said Chris Lofton, “I got in my rhythm and my teammates kept feeding me the ball. I just tried to block everything out tonight.”

The Vols led most of the way, but Kentucky closed the gap as the clock wound down. Then, with 2:26 left in the game and the Vols behind 64-65, Major Wingate put Tennessee back on top with a bucket underneath to make the score 66-65.

Lofton scored the next seven points and was still calling for the ball when the clock ran out. “I was going to do something I probably shouldn’t have done,” he said. “I’m glad they didn’t throw me the ball.’’

I noticed something from the television coverage that was very telling. When the Vols scored the basket that effectively guaranteed the win, they danced over to the timeout huddle only to be greeted by coach Bruce Pearl yelling at them to calm down, to control their elation. Not one single player on this team has ever beaten Kentucky, much less at Rupp Arena. Pearl looked like he was instructing them, however, to act like they weren’t surprised they won.

Pearl coaches 24-7. During the game, he coaches from tip-off to final buzzer. His style of play uses all 94 feet of the court, and he makes the most of the talent on his team.

Pearl wins because he uses everything at his disposal.

Tennessee Volunteer football team No. 9 in CFN’s pre-preseason poll

Friday, January 27th, 2006

College Football News has the Tennessee Volunteers ranked No. 9 in its Pre-preseason poll. Here’s how the Vols’ 2006 opponents stack up in the same poll:

  • California — No. 12
  • Air Force — No. 89
  • Florida — No. 2
  • Marshall — No. 88
  • Memphis — No. 73
  • Georgia — No. 21
  • Alabama — No. 20
  • South Carolina — No. 35
  • LSU — No. 4
  • Arkansas — No. 34
  • Vanderbilt — No. 72
  • Kentucky — No. 78

Tennessee Volunteer basketball odds and ends

Tuesday, January 24th, 2006

Lots-o-news on the Tennessee Volunteer basketball team today. A few odds and ends:

  • The Vols’ win over the No. 2-ranked Florida Gators on Saturday has propelled the team into the top 25. Tennessee is No. 19 in the AP poll and No. 20 in the ESPN/USA Today coaches poll. Said coach Pearl:

    At this point of the season, there’s some substance to it. After the Texas game (Dec. 17), I don’t know we deserved to be top 25. But, really, the body of work to this point, with us competing well on the road in defeat as well as the quality victories we have, yeah, I think we’re deserving of the ranking.

  • Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley complained to the SEC office about the Volunteer fans storming the court after the big win. (Pulling a John Pennington here), to quote Brad Paisley, “Waa, waa, waa, waa, waa.” (That’s still very hard to type, by the way.) UT was fined $5,000 for the on-the-court celebration. UT athletic director Mike Hamilton and coach Pearl both asked Volunteer fans to refrain from doing it again. Subsequent violations could cost UT up to $50,000.
  • Coach Pearl has written a letter to UT donors and season ticket holders imploring them to buy as many tickets as possible for UT’s home game against the Kentucky Wildcats on March 1, 2006. It’s a campaign to “keep the blue out” of Thompson-Boling Arena.
  • On that note, thanks to Akijikan, who pointed out that “The Summit” is the name for the court in Thompson-Boling, not the new name for the arena. No offense to Thompson or to Boling, but I think “The Summit” makes a great name for the UT arena and an odd name for a floor, but I have too few dollars to make my opinion count.
  • Coach Pearl said this week that talk of an NCAA tournament berth is still a bit premature: “Just the math doesn’t allow it. You have to win half your conference games, and we’ve won three.”
  • Sophomore guard Chris Lofton, who scored 29 points against the Gators and made the defensive play of the game, was named the SEC Player of the Week.

Former offensive coordinator Randy Sanders to coach Kentucky quarterbacks

Monday, January 23rd, 2006 is reporting that former Tennessee Volunteer offensive coordinator Randy Sanders will coach quarterbacks for the Kentucky Wildcats next year.

Sanders apparently accepted the job on Saturday after it had been offered to him Friday.

More from the Tennessean:

Tennessee Coach Philip Fulmer shrugged off the irony of having Sanders in the same division.

“It’s just the nature of the business, and he’ll do a good job for them,” Fulmer said. “We play them every year, so there’s not a lot of secrets anyway.”

Kurt Roper spent last season as the Wildcats’ quarterbacks coach, but was hired earlier this month to coach running backs at Tennessee. Roper was a graduate assistant at UT from 1996-98.

Sanders, who resigned last season after seven years as the Vols’ offensive coordinator, will step in for Roper at Kentucky. Sanders will not be the offensive coordinator at Kentucky. Joker Phillips enters his second season as the Wildcats’ play-caller.