Archive for the 'Tennessee Volunteer Basketball' Category

Two-minute drill: Eligibility update, punt coverage, California’s take on Tennessee

Tuesday, July 18th, 2006

Eligibility update: Ramone Johnson is in, and receiver Brent Vinson and running back Dustin Lindsey are out. Vinson’s headed to Hargrave Military Academy, and Lindsey’s headed to Coffeyville Community College in Kansas.

Inside Tennessee has a couple of good articles on UT’s punt coverage concerns and on whether coach Cutcliffe can fix Ainge. UT’s punt coverage has stunk for several years, and this year, we’ll be facing a couple of really good returners in Kentucky’s Rafael Little and Arkansas’ Felix Jones.

And there’s been a lot of talk on Rocky Top about Tennessee’s concerns over its first game against California, but California’s pretty concerned about Tennessee, too.

On the basketball front, Major Wingate remains suspended, and coach Bruce Pearl hopes to make a final decision on the status of Tony Passley by the end of this week. Passley was arrested earlier this year for possession of marijuana.

Two-minute drill: cookbook for calamity, Parys Haralson, and tinkering with the system

Wednesday, May 31st, 2006

Sunday Morning Quarterback has an Absurdly Premature Assessment of Tennessee and compares the 2006 Vols to New Coke.  Best line: “REASON TO BE AFRAID, VERY AFRAID: The same Ainge behind a reconstructed line is a whole cookbook for calamity; the same guys on offense last year couldn’t score on anybody, and the defense can’t be nearly as good again without Mahelona, Haralson, Simon, etc.”

Losing Parys Haralson, Jesse Mahelona, Omar Gaither, Kevin Simon, and Jason Allen (two of four starting defensive linemen, two of three starting linebackers, and one defensive back) will certainly hurt, but defensive coordinator John Chavis always seems to have the talent and to coach that talent well, and he likes his linebackers for this year.  And the hope is that we won’t see the “same” Ainge but a reanimated one, and that the reconstructed line will be better, lighter, faster, stronger than the old one. Still, SMQ wonderfully articulates Vols’ fans’ worst fears.

Speaking of Parys Haralson, who was selected in the 5th round by San Francisco in the recent NFL draft,’s Russ Lande thinks that Haralson is going to be better than Manny Lawson, who SF picked in the first round:  “I think two years from now he’ll be the starter and Manny Lawson will be trying to find a way to get on the field.”  Pretty strong.

The off season tinkering with the system continues this year as basketball does away with the airborne timeout.  UT basketball coach Bruce Pearl doesn’t like the change.  To get in on the action, NCAA football officials decided yesterday to allow coaches to challenge one on-the-field ruling per game and have it reviewed by instant replay.  They can only challenge if they have a timeout remaining.  Y’all see any problems?

The Glimpse: Pearl’s system and former, current [and future?] Heisman candidates

Wednesday, May 24th, 2006

Inside Tennessee’s Jeffery Stewart has a must-read analysis of coach Bruce Pearl’s system and what makes it tick.  You really need to read the whole thing, but here’s an excerpt: 

Think atypical where players are concerned. Pearl proved at UMW that he likes to put personnel on the floor that creates match-up issues on both ends of the court for opponents. This strategy is an all out assault on an opponent’s comfort zone and, combined with stifling full-court pressure, disrupts continuity. In NCAA wins over Alabama and Boston College in the 2005, Pearl used 6-5 strongman, Joah Tucker on the wing to overpower smaller defenders. . . . . Pearl could use four-star signee Duke Crews in the same manner next season, playing him at power forward against slower opponents and at the wing against smaller.

On that note, Turn Up The Heat, a DVD cashing in on the surprising success of the 2005-06 Volunteer basketball season, hit JCPenney stores on Tuesday.  You can also get it at

On the football front, Arian Foster is No. 44 on College Football News’ Heisman watch list.  Former Vol quarterback Brent Schaeffer, who started as a true freshman, traded series with Erik Ainge until he broke his collarbone, and eventually transferred after being suspended for the 2005 spring practice due to a violation of team rules, is No. 67.  Schaeffer apparently had an excellent season this past year at some junior college somewhere and has resurfaced at Ole Miss.

Lastly, continues its “Up Close” series with a look at newcomer Stephaun Raines.

A glimpse: 8-4 knee injury expunged on schedule due to overachievement in the NIT

Friday, May 12th, 2006


I’m a Realist breaks down the 2006 Tennessee Volunteer football team and predicts we’ll go 8-4.  Running back Montario Hardesty, who missed most of last season after tearing the ACL in his right knee, will undergo another surgery for a less serious injury to his left knee suffered during spring practice.  He’s expected to be available this fall.  At least projected starting running back Arian Foster’s recovery is on schedule.

Senior linebacker Marvin Mitchell received diversion on his May 1 disorderly conduct charge. The misdemeanor will be expunged from his record as long as he stays out of trouble for the next 30 days and pays court costs.  Coach Fulmer said that he’ll be allowed to return to the team if he remains incident-free and faces the team’s internal punishment.

Basketball observes that the fact that 6-4 forward Dane Bradshaw played his power forward position so well even though he was undersized made an impression on recruits, who reasoned that the coaches must know what they’re doing if they can get their players to over-achieve like Bradshaw did.

The Volunteer basketball team was chosen along with North Carolina, Gonzaga, and Indiana as one of the top four seeds in the pre-season NIT.  We’ll open the pre-season against Fordham in Nashville.

The glimpse: CFN bullish on Vols, conflicting reports on Major Wingate

Wednesday, May 10th, 2006

Pete Fiutak’s front page feature on College Football News yesterday examined the 2006 Tennessee Volunteer football team.  Loaded with information, the gist of it was that 2005 really wasn’t as bad as it may have seemed.  Fiutak acknowledged the poor results but said that (1) losses to Florida, Georgia, and Notre Dame were nothing to be ashamed of; (2) losses to Alabama and South Carolina came down to a few “fluky” plays, and (3) the loss to Vanderbilt, while inexcusable, was collateral damage of the season-long flame out.

Sounds an awful lot like Fulmer saying “we were only a couple of plays of beating the tar out of the Longhorns for the national championship” or whatever he said at the end of last year.  Funny thing is, Fiutak may actually be right.  Don’t expect a VFRT recap of last season until later this summer, but I have thrown everything into a pot and turned up the heat to let it simmer, and everytime I peek in there, it’s looking like the theme will be that a lot of little things combined into a negative tipping point, a total mess at the conclusion of a high-stakes game of Don’t-Spill-the-Beans.  If the coaches and players and fans can do a lot of little things different this year, and they’re ceretainly trying, a positive tipping point is not inconceivable.

Elsewhere, a fan and poster on VolNation’s message board has some thoughts on offensive coordinator David Cutcliffe’s recent comments at an alumni event in West Palm Beach, Florida.  Also, there are conflicting reports on the reason for Major Wingate’s indefinite suspension from the basketball team.  GoVolsXtra reported that it was for failing to show up for a scheduled drug test, while and the Tennessean reported that Wingate actually tested positive for marijuana.  Dope.

Finally, continues its series on getting to know the newcomers to the football team by featuring LaMarcus Thompson and reports on a fictional encounter between Dr. Custom, Mr. Fleeting, and Mr. Middle arguing about their respective expectations for the upcoming football season.

Glimpse around Rocky Top: Out with the old, in with the new

Wednesday, May 10th, 2006

Out with the old.’s Randy Moore quantifies the Vols’ defensive losses to graduation, noting that this year’s graduating class had 24.5 sacks last year (Parys Haralson (8.5), Jason Hall (7), Omar Gaither (4), Jesse Mahelona (2), Kevin Simon (1), Jason Mitchell (1), and Jason Allen (1)), and returns a grand total of 8.5 sacks.

Former UT defensive back Jason Allen is working exclusively at safety at the Miami Dolphins’ mini-camp.  (HT to Voluminous.)

In with the new. is taking a closer look at some of the key new players expected on campus this fall for UT, including Quintin Hancock and Ramone Johnson.

More rankings and more trouble.

CBS Sportsline’s Dennis Dodd ranks four SEC teams in the post-spring top ten (Auburn (3), LSU (4), Florida (9), and Georgia (10)).  Tennessee is again MIA.

Meanwhile, linebacker Marvin Mitchell’s arraignment after his arrest for disorderly conduct at the Rocky Top Market has been postponed, and the infraction that got Major Wingate suspended by head basketball coach Bruce Pearl remains an unsolved mystery.

UPDATE: Mystery solved. Wingate was suspended for failing to show up for a scheduled drug test.

A Glimpse: Basketball awards; graduating prisoners

Saturday, May 6th, 2006

The Volunteer basketball team had its annual pat each other on the back postseason awards banquet last night, and the following awards were presented:

  • JaJuan Smith and Major Wingate were named the most-improved players.  (Okay, I’ll play along with that one.)
  • Dane Bradshaw took home the Team Before Self Award and the John Stucky Lifter of the Year Award.  (Good, good, good.
  • The Burchfield-Moss Most Courageous Award went to Jordan Howell.  (Hmmm.  Not sure what this is about.  Any ideas?)

Basketball head coach Bruce Pearl is still trying to fill his assistant coaching vacancy.

Offensive Coordinator David Cutcliffe took quarterbacks Jonathan Crompton and Bo Hardegree with him to a graduation ceremony at the Morgan County Correctional Facility where coach Cut addressed prisoners who were receiving their GED or a vocational trade certificate.  That ought to give EDSBS something to play with.

Basketball Vols No. 18 in First Pre-Season Top 25

Friday, April 28th, 2006’s Jeff Goodman takes a stab at a way-too-early pre-season Top 25 for men’s basketball. The Vols are at No. 18 behind SEC Rivals Florida (No. 4) and LSU (No. 16).

Tennessee Volunteer basketball uniforms: none more black?

Wednesday, April 19th, 2006

On his t.v. show, John Pennington recently held a contest challenging Volunteer fans to design a new uniform for the Tennessee basketball team. Almost all of the entries, including the winning entry, included more black.

Now, word is that University officials are considering some new Adidas designs that include . . . more black.

I like the black, obviously. And for the record, View from Rocky Top has been on a black background (actually very dark gray) since January. Black is good, provided it doesn’t get to the none more black stage.

Nigel Tufnel
“It’s like, how much more black could this be? And the answer is none. None more black.”

Vol basketball team adds another blue-chip to already stellar recruiting class

Tuesday, April 11th, 2006

Tennessee basketball head coach Bruce Pearl has added yet another blue-chipper to what is surely the best recruiting class in UT basketball history. Ramar Smith, a 6′ 2″ 197-pound point guard from Detroit who originally committed to Connecticut, announced yesterday that he’ll sign with the Vols tomorrow. ranks Smith as the No. 30 prospect nationally. Smith joins 6′ 7″ Duke Crews (No. 42 nationally by, 6′ 8″ power forward Wayne Chism (also in the 40′s nationally by, 6′ 5″ guard Marques Johnson (No. 37 nationally by, and 6′ 4″ guard Josh Tabb (No. 47 nationally by in this year’s recruiting class.