Vols finally win, Offense Sputters
While it’s safe to assume that Mike Hamilton’s decision on who to hire as Phil Fulmer’s replacement will not be based primarily on the current win-loss record of the coaches on his short list, there is no doubt that several candidates for the UT job saw their stock affected over the weekend.
(+) Steadily Rising- Brian Kelly, University of Cincinnati
Kelly has managed an unstable quarterback situation so brilliantly this season at UC that the Bearcats are now in position to capture the Big East title next week with a win over Syracuse. Despite being forced to use four quarterbacks over the course of the season, Kelly has led Cincinnati to a 5-1 mark in the Big East and a 9-2 record overall.
Saturday’s 28-21 victory over #20 Pittsburgh extended Cincinnati’s win streak to four games and further proved Kelly’s readiness to take on a bigger stage. Since the UT coaching search began Kelly has done everything right to have his name at the top of the list.
(+) Outperforming the Market- Chris Petersen, Boise State
The Broncos survived a scare from Nevada to move a step closer to another undefeated season. Petersen's name was one of the first to be thrown around for the UT job, but he seemed to get lost in the fanfare over newer commodities such as Kelly, Lane Kiffin and Tim Brewster.
A coach with two undefeated seasons in his last three would be very hard to argue with.
(-) Slightly Bearish- Butch Davis, University of North Carolina
There was a time when Davis was considered the most sought after candidate for the Vols’ job despite his constant statements of disinterest. Following two consecutive UNC losses including an embarrassing 41-10 defeat to instate rival NC State on Saturday it is very possible that Davis’ interest in coming to Knoxville has increased as Mike Hamilton’s interest in him has declined.
(-) Oversold Stock- Mike Leach, Texas Tech University
All those Tennessee fans out there who think Leach’s exciting spread offense is the answer to all of the Vols’ problems were served a large dose of reality Saturday night. Oklahoma dismantled the seemingly unstoppable Red Raiders 65-21 in a game that highlighted Leach’s questionable game management skills.
This game served as a reminder that Leach’s success at Texas Tech has been mediocre before this season.
(-) The Bottom Has Fallen Out- Tim Brewster, University of Minnesota
Cross Brewster off your list of prospective candidates to be the next coach at Tennessee. Brewster’s first season at Minnesota was a complete disaster, but after a strong showing on the recruiting trail in the offseason and a 7-1 start to the 2008 season his stock began to soar.
The hype didn’t last long because Brewster’s Golden Gophers have gone on to lose four consecutive games including a 29-6 blowout loss to Michigan and Saturday’s 55-0 meltdown at home vs. Iowa.
Brewster is probably best served focusing on keeping his job at Minnesota at this point.
Vols Finally Win, Offense Sputters
Vols Finally Win, Offense Sputters
It was good to see Coach Fulmer win in his last trip to Middle Tennessee as UT’s football coach, but don’t be fooled into giving offensive coordinator Dave Clawson an ounce of the credit.
Week after week Clawson’s offense shows little or no improvement, yet thankfully on a few occasions the Vols’ defense has performed so admirably that Clawson’s ineptitude has been overcome. Such was the case on Saturday as Eric Berry returned an interception 45 yards for yet another trademark "pick six" and Brent Vinson set up a field goal with an interception return of his own deep into Vanderbilt territory.
Those 10 points combined with the 10 first half points scored by the Vols’ offense were enough to fend off the lifeless Commodores.
Saturday marked the seventh time in 11 games this season that Tennessee has scored exactly one offensive touchdown. That pretty much sums up the legacy that Clawson will leave behind.
After Jonathan Crompton proved yet again that he is not ready to play in the SEC, Clawson was forced to do what most coaches would have done eight games ago: put B.J. Coleman in the game. However, Coleman seemed so micromanaged by Clawson’s confused play calling style that he was never given a chance to shine. Coleman was constantly in flux as the G-Gun and Wild Berry packages were shuffled in and out of the game with little success.
Though he had hardly been allowed to throw the ball, upon making his first passing mistake, Coleman was quickly thrown under the bus by Clawson and replaced with the gaffe-prone Crompton. Not surprisingly, the Vols fumbled the ball away within seconds of Crompton’s return to the game.If nothing else the Vols seemed more motivated with Coleman at the helm than they have been for months. Want proof? The Vols quickly built a 17-0 lead once Coleman went in the game without him completing a single pass. And we all know how hard 17 points is to come by for this Volunteer squad.
In the second quarter the offensive line put together their most impressive drive of the season with Coleman under center and he seems to be just the type of leader capable of undoing the damage that Clawson has done to the offense’s production and morale.
Here’s to next year and B.J.’s bright future.