Tennessee 24, Fresno State 0, Casey Clausen -6Well, UT won their season opener against Got-No-Offense State today. A few thoughts from one of the 103,000 in attendance:
- Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha.
That was me laughing at all the people in the sun all day long, while I was in the nice breeze and shade of the row 54 in Z12 ("in the dry"). Ok, sorry, that's my one and only snide comment for the whole year. Back to being nice....
- Casey Clausen looked like...well, he didn't look like a leader, and he certainly didn't look like a senior today. He was innefective on long passes, was off target on several others and threw two incredibly (potentially) costly interceptions. I haven't seen the TV coverage, so I couldn't see his face very well but he looked to me like a guy with something other than football on his mind. Never mind first-game jitters, the heat, the sun, new receivers and all that - he never seemed focused on the game, and played like his mind was somewhere else. I've known people to play ball, while at the same time trying to deal with personal problems. It definitely affects your concentration and decision-making, and that's what he looked like today. I may be way off base, but that's what it looked like to me.
Oh, and if I were the defense, I'd duct tape him to the goalposts overnight for blowing their shutout with that ill-advised and ill-timed interception returned for a TD.
- Welcome back, UT Running Game. After taking a vacation last year, it was nice to finally have more than one tailback show some results. Unless I miss my guess, the tandem of Houston, Davis, Riggs, Larkin and co could be as special as Garner/Stewart/Hayden in the early 90's. And that may be what our offense has to count on this year. That's ok, plenty of championships have been won with superior running games.
- While I thought it was good that starting kickoff man Phillip Newman was lifted and replaced by JC transfer Fusco (who did a great job in relief), in fairness to Newman, his two kickoffs were 1) The very first kick of the season, which went out of bounds - I can forgive almost every player on the team who flubs their first play from scrimmage), and 2) A squibber that was taken by an upback and returned to FS's 45. He had to kick from the 20 due to a penalty on the previous touchdown, and that can screw up any kicker's rythem. If Fusco can continue to kick like he did today, he should have the job, but give Newman another look at placekicking....because there - well, as Tootie always said, "We're in trou-bllllllllllllllllllllllllllllle!"
- Did FS really not Pass Interferere on our first offensive series near the goalline? And did we realy miss that second field goal attempt?
- I liked members of the Vol Booster club greeting people as we went in. If this is another of new A.D. Mike Hamilton's ideas, score another one for him.
- Dumbest Big Orange Tradition that Everybody Loves:
"We urge you, to pay these prices...and please pay no more!!"
- Dumbest Big Orange Tradition that Probably Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time But Now Seems to be Thankfully Gone:
Reciting General Neyland's "Maxims" before the game.
- Classiest Big Orange Tradition that I'm Probably the Only One in the Stadium that Appreciates:
The Marching Band playing the opposing team's fight song in the pregame show. I've liked this ever since I spent my three years in the Pride of the Southland band back in the mid-80's. It's just classy.
- Newest Big Orange Concession (To Me):
Italian Ice. Is this the first time it's been available, or did I just miss it last year? Along with the Petros, the North End zone has an eclectic food menu.
Next year: sushi!
- Prediction: The Vanderbilt game this year will be the highest attended game in history at Neyland Stadium. Reason? You have a one-in-107.000 chance of walking away with a truck, a boat, and Running through the "T" before the game as the 25,000,000th fan to visit the stadium. Speaking as one who's actually helped form the "T" for three years, there's nothing like it.
Question: What would happen if the mythical 25,000,000th fan is a Vandy fan? My advice for Vandy fans coming to the game (all 3 of you, that is) is wear a UT shirt to the game and change after you get inside the gates.
Well, that's it for now. Next week: Marshall, 45-21 winner today over Bill Cosby's nemesis Hofstra.