Questions about Tennessee

One of my counterparts in Tenneesee, John Moorehouse of the Kingsport Times-News, have decided to do a blog exchange. From now until Friday, post questions on this blog entry about the Vols. About middday Friday, I will be forward the questions on to him and he will respond. I am doing the same with readers of his paper. So fire away!

Jonathan Okanes

Jonathan Okanes is in his fourth year covering Cal's football team. Previously, he covered Cal's men's basketball team for four years. He can also be followed on Twitter at twitter.com/OkanesonCal.

  • Build-A-Bear

    A link to Moorehouse’s blog would be useful. Thanks.

  • RHemenez

    I would like to know what the majority of Vols and Vol-fans truly think of our Bears. Quality opponent or Pac10 pushover?

  • GoBears82

    I want to know if he has annoying Florida fans continually posting comments about how more NCs are coming? But seriously, which team benefits more from a win and who is damaged more by a loss?

  • Brandon

    I would like to know how Tennessee fans can remain so ridiculously optimistic about their team when their fastest back is suspended and their starting QB has a broken pinkie.

  • Big D

    I hear a lot about how the PAC-10 is weak and how great the SEC is.
    Do Vol fans ever watch Pac-10 games or do they go by what they hear from ESPN?
    Also, why do teams in the SEC usually play 3 weak non-conference teams such as Garder-Webb, UL-Monroe, and Div 1-AA teams? Those aren’t real jugernaughts are they?

  • Big D

    I hear a lot about how the PAC-10 is weak and how great the SEC is.
    Do Vol fans ever watch Pac-10 games or do they go by what they hear from ESPN?
    Also, why do teams in the SEC usually play 3 weak non-conference teams such as Garder-Webb, UL-Monroe, and Div 1-AA teams? Those aren’t real jugernaughts are they?

  • Big D

    I hear a lot about how the PAC-10 is weak and how great the SEC is.
    Do Vol fans ever watch Pac-10 games or do they go by what they hear from ESPN?
    Also, why do teams in the SEC usually play 3 weak non-conference teams such as Garder-Webb, UL-Monroe, and Div 1-AA teams? Those aren’t real jugernaughts are they?

  • SRF

    Hey Big D,

    This isn’t an ESPN chat…you don’t have to send your question over and over to get it picked! ; -)

  • Big D

    Why does a conference such as the SEC boast to be the best when they have teams such as Vanderbilt, Miss State, Ole Miss whom stink every year? Conferences are top to bottom, not just top teams. Heck even our Vanderbilt (Stanfurd) went to a bowl in 1999. Vanderbilt hasn’t gone since 1982? How do people in the SEC justify that?

  • Anonymous

    The triple post was not intentional. I kept getting an error message and so I kept hitting the post button. What can I say? (don’t answer that)…

  • milo

    I know the SEC has a proud and strong tradition (although the Pac-10 has the Rose Bowl, the granddaddy of them all) and always fronts a great top 4-5 teams but what about the rest of the conference? How does the SEC feel about the bottom half? Except for Stanfurd and Wash, everyone in Pac-10 has a “chance” of beating anyone else and it’s not just luck.

    Also – what else do you guys do in SEC country for fun? Is there anything else beside football and brewskis going on down there? Y’all take football real serious (not that there’s anything wrong with that) so perhaps you can break it down for us left-coast hippie types.

  • SRF

    Big D,

    I knew that. I was just giving you a hard time. The same thing happened to me TWICE on another site and I never heard the end of it!

  • MoreNCsarecoming

    Thanks for doing this.

    Last year the Vols completely humiliated Berkley with a 35-0 thrashing at halftime. The final score could have been up in the 70s if PF hadn’t called off the 1st string. They were too physical, too talented, too athletic, too strong and too fast.

    What has changed so much in one year that a different outcome can be expected? What has changed so much in one year that would lead someone to believe that you will lose? I don’t get it.

  • Dave

    How is the UT defensive backfield? Do you think that the Cal WR/TEs will give them trouble? Will the UT DL make up for their inexperience?

  • Dave

    Is Phil Fulmer on the hot seat? Does the average UT fan want him gone and replaced with some new blood?

  • Brad

    How well can we expect Tennessee to travel, both as a team and their fan base? Last year’s game was impressive, obviously becasue of the capacity, but how well do the Tennessee faithful pack opposing stadiums? Has Fullmer’s team played a regular-season road game this far west recently? Surely the cliche response will be that they have to play well regardless of the time zone, but can the geographical distance actually make some difference?

    As a side note, I was greatly impressed with the people in Knoxville for last year’s game. The Vols fans and Knoxville residents were so genuinely gracious as to render moot any temptations I had of acting like a sore loser.

  • LaughingBear

    Given the injuries/inexperience of the offensive skill positions on the Vols roster, how will Fulmer/Cutliff respond? Will stick to a running attack and win by keeping the bears off the field? or try and air it out against cal’s “suspect” secondary?

    and since i’m posting (moreNCsarecoming — I guess the trojans will loose to OSU and UCLA again this year? right?)

  • Jonathan Okanes

    Because of John’s schedule, we’d like to have all the questions in by tonight, if possible. He and I are going to answer them in the morning. Here’s a link to his blog:

    Don’t be surprised when you don’t see any questions under his entry for the blog exchange. Most of his readers are e-mailing them. He’s already sent me a handful of them.

  • jon

    Although I am not a newspaper writer for the, what was it? Kingsport News? I am a Tennessee Blogger, and would like to attempt to answer at least a couple of the questions here(I hope I’m not stealing any of your thunder there Jonathan… great name btw).

    Big D and Milo – In terms of the conference comparisons, those have been going on forever, and likely will never stop.. If I had to offer a rebuttal, I would say that your argument is a bit flawed in that by discounting 2 teams out of your conference (Stanford and Wash) leaves you with 8 teams, whereas the 3 schools that were cited (Mississippi, Mississippi State, Vanderbilt) leaves 9 teams in the SEC most of which made it to bowls last year.

    Brad – Tennessee generally travels extremely well. The 7,500 ticket allotment was sold out in short order, and there are some estimates that close to 9,000-10,000 Vol fans will show up for the game in Berkeley. For most SEC road games, there are generally 10k fans from Tennessee minimum. I’ll be one of the hopefully many UT fans in Berkeley on Saturday. This is already very long and thunder stealing, so I’ll stop.

    Go Vols!

  • Jonathan Okanes

    OK, folks. That’s it for the questions. I”m going to pass them on to John and he said he will answer them Friday morning. Thanks to all of you for your involvement!

  • OK! I’m here and ready to answer questions.

    As Jonathan said, my name is John Moorehouse and I’m a sports writer for the Kingsport Times-News, located in the Tri-Cities area in Northeast Tennessee, about 100 miles east of Knoxville. I’m on my fourth year covering UT football and I will do my best to answer all your questions…

    RHemenez, I think the Vols respect Cal as an opponent. If they don’t, they certainly should. There’s been a few incidents of what you’d call bulletin board material in some Tennessee players’ comments, but I think they know they’re going to have to come to play.

    GoBears82, I think Cal would be more damaged by a loss. The Golden Bears return more starters than Tennessee, and it’s being played at their place. UT is young in a lot of spots, and can use the “valuable experience” party line if Cal wins.

    Brandon, a broken pinky finger does not hinder a QB as much as one might think. It’s the first finger to come off the ball when you throw and it affects grip more than anything. As for the other two backs, the Vols think Arian Foster’s poised for a big season and Montario Hardesty is healthy for the first time since his first game as a true freshman in 2005.

    Big D, from top to bottom, in my opinion the SEC is the toughest league in the country. It’s not just because of the talent or the coaching (4 current coaches have national titles) but because of the culture and fans’ expectations. Let’s just say I’d be surprised if some overzealous Oregon fan filed a FOI request for Mike Bellotti’s cell phone records. As for the scheduling, most SEC teams play at least one decent nonconference game per year. Tennessee’s got UCLA, North Carolina, Oklahoma and Oregon lined up in future seasons.

    MoreNCs, this is a very diferent Vol team. Lots of question marks at WR, D-tackle and the secondary, and no one on the offensive line is starting at the same spot he did last year except C Josh McNeil. UT is really counting on a lot of young guys–both true freshmen and rarely-used returning players–and expecting them to jell right off the bat in a game played across the country is a lot to ask.

    Dave, the only returning starter in the secondary is Jonathan Hefney. but he’s a good one–maybe the best DB in the SEC. Freshman Eric Berry is as talented as advertised and will play a lot, but he’s still a freshman in his first game. Fans either love Fulmer or want to see him gone. A lot of the fans who are most active on the message boards and what not seem to fall in the latter category. It’s my opinion that the stability of the coaching staff at UT is what has helped them recruit so well year in and year out. I think Fulmer is safe this year barring a disaster–six losses or more–and even then he might have one more chance.

    I hope I’ve provided some insight on Tennessee heading into tomorrow.

    Enjoy the game, everyone!

  • Craig Latimer

    A have a question for the Tennessee, but it can only be answered after Saturday: what did the Tennessee player think of the visiting locker room and does it increase their appreciation of what Coach Tedford has done given the state of the facilities?