In just two years...

#28
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#28
"Butch Gets It". Everytime I read something like this I'm reminded of the 25,000 to 50,000 that three word sentence was put on this board. Dude. It's way too early. If we beat just one of the following three teams next year then I am with you. Georgia, Florida, Alabama. Okay. Until we can beat just ONE...ONE...of the three, then we don't have no winning damn coach. Okay?
Nobody with a clue ever wrote "Butch gets it."
 
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#33

VolRoger

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#33
I liked the post....

However, there's ONE MAJOR problem in thinking that seems to be common in the post....and I'm not trying to be argumentative...just trying to provide some info for thought and perspective on where we are.

"...In the grand scheme of things, this isn't really impressive...It's basically the minimum of what Tennessee should (be).."

When you say "what Tennessee should be"....you're referencing our SEC history.

We've lost to VANDY for 3 straight years before this year---when's the last time that happened to the VOLS? 1920s pre-Neyland???
So--this program has been led by 2 prior ADs and CDD and Lyle to a place it hasn't been in over 90 years before CJP took over.
That ought to wake some people up to how bad of shape the program was in before Fulmer took over and hired CJP.

1. CJP tried to explain that in his presser after the Vandy game...We ain't reloading---we're rebuilding from the ashes of a program that has sank to levels unseen before in at least 90 years!

Therefore, I conclude--in the grand scheme of things---it is EXTREMELY IMPRESSIVE to go from an 0-8 team with no SEC OL talent to 2-6 in year 1 (with wins over 2 ranked teams) to 5-3 in the SEC in year 2 of a new coach trying to rebuild the program.
Once again---THIS AIN'T the Tennessee we grew up watching in the late '80s or the 90's when we always had good OLs and just had to reload some key positions on offense and defense.

We lost to #4 UGA, #7 Florida, and #9 Bama in the SEC....And beat everyone else we played from the SEC to finish 5-3--and we had to win 2 of those games on the road against teams who had more upperclassmen on the field than us.

Ask Miss. State, Ole Miss, Arkansas, Michigan, USC, UCLA, Texas, etc...etc....just how difficult it is to accomplish.

2. It took Majors 8 years to get us from pathetic in '77 thru some very bad games in 1980-82....to winning the SEC in '85 when Florida was on probation from obvious cheating that occurred under Pell-----8 YEARS! And Majors could sign enough players each year to get his roster back up to full capacity of 100 scholarship players. If he lost down to 70 scholarship players...he could sign 30 more players for the next year to replenish the roster.

3. The current limit of 85 players was gradually implemented between 1992 to 1995.
And now every team is limited to signing a maximum of 25 new players each recruiting year for the next year's active roster.

Therefore, CJP and crew face a much more difficult recruiting task in order to rebuild the program.
They did an excellent job signing last year's class to replace some very important spots on the OL...and still managed to get some excellent LBs and Gray at RB....great dividends earned this year on the field from recruiting in spite of the early losses.

Once again---I'm not trying to be argumentative, but just offering some perspective concerning how far this program was down on its back and one breath away from imminent death.

CJP has revived us and nursed us out of the ICU to the point where we are ready to go to rehab (enduring some setbacks that hurt like h*&^ this year) and get our strength back in order to resume our rightful place in the SEC.

GO VOLS!
That’s why Fulmer said this was a five year process. The recruiting rules make it much tougher for teams in this conference to gain ground on the top tier programs. The hard 25 scholarship limit for each year has especially been a detriment. Saban didn’t have that issue when he took the Bama job in 2007. Heck, neither Dooley, Kiffin, or Butch had that limitation. I still think we need some help as a program to get back to the top 4 in the conference. Namely, we need Georgia and Bama to lose more and consequently take some hits in their recruiting. Preferably, we must beat those two teams on the field or at least be competitive with them. Auburn beating Alabama is not the type of Bammer loss I’m referring to as we compete against the Tigers a lot for recruits as well as Georgia and the Tide.
 
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#34

Brave Volunteer

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#34
Identify talent that fits your model, both in physical and mental make up. Recruit good kids who work hard and stay out of trouble, and do well in class, and bond well with their teammates.

Yes, we want the highest regarded recruits, but, as of now, I'll take kids that don't wash out, transfer, fail out, or can't stay out of trouble. Look at last years class, 2 "program" changing offensive lineman (who also fit being good kids and work hard), a "program" cornerstone MLB (who is the ideal mold of good kid and high character and work ethic), and then players like Crouch, Beasley, Grey, McColluogh, Harrison and a lesser known soon to be steady dlineman in Simmons. Another class like this will lead to more "highly" regarded players next year as the TEAM is better and deeper with solid contributers, not stars we all hope for, and that is fine, that will still win.

As stated before above, we, as of now, had a class that didn't miss and fit needs and want. Aside from injuries, this is the best case scenario for any class as the vast majority will play and contribute, and not have us looking back after 3 years saying where did these guys go to and end up after leaving.........
Watching yesterday's SEC Championship game only reaffirmed what I posted earlier. We are simply not yet recruiting at a level that puts us in a position to legitimately compete with the upper echelon of the league. The talent disparity is immediate and noticeable. Right now we are basically the "Iowa" of our league. If Pruitt and this staff continues to recruit at the level they are currently doing, our ceiling of success is very low.
 
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#35

Roustabout

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#35
We went from being the worst program in the SEC East to the third best program in the SEC East.

Other than maybe Kentucky, Tennessee is clearly in better shape than everyone else besides Georgia and Florida.

Now, in the grand scheme of things, this isn’t really impressive. It’s basically the minimum of what Tennessee should. But for someone who was ready for Pruitt to be fired just two months ago, I think this point is very important of how far we’ve come in 24 months.

In 2017, we got blown out by both Missouri and Vanderbilt. They blew us out last year too. We lost to South Carolina and Kentucky. We dominated two of those teams this year (Vandy and USCe) and controlled the game against Missouri. Once JG came in against UK Tennessee was clearly the better team.

Are we a top program? No. Our the first two losses of the year still bad losses? Sure. But I think I’m more impressed the staff rallied to a solid season at 7-5 considering that just six weeks ago we were staring at the barrel of the worst season in program history. I think it’s better for the overall long term direction of the program that the 7-5 season is 5-3 in the SEC than 3-5.

So even if Pruitt doesn’t win titles, at the very least we are much improved from where we were two years ago to the day and have leapfrogged four other programs. Hell, maybe by next year we will have leapfrogged another one (Florida game is at Neyland next year 😉). And Pruitt took over a team that went 4-8 (0-8) and in two years went 7-5 (5-3). That’s solid improvement. That’s being in the right direction. It’s nice to say the program is trending upwards.
When I look at UT I ask, how hard is it to be the 3rd best team in the East? Not very. We have better resources and history than any of those teams. It’s an indictment on the UTAD is that we were doing so badly for so long. UT is a long way from being in the top. I think we benefited as much from the decline of SC, UK, Vandy and Missou. When four of your division foes take a nose dive, it makes you look better than you are.

Honestly, all these type of posts are an example of how much the bar has been lowered. It took a massive amount of incompetence to do what was done to UT. I’m never setting my bar by that. I predict Pruitt will go 7-5 again next year.
 
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#36

jwilliams

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#36
My only real concern right now is that expectations for next year are going to be too high. 8-4 would mean we ran the table outside the 4 high-profile games that pretty much anyone would pencil in as a loss right now. We're not losing a lot of players, but the ones we're losing have been absolutely key this year.

Will others step up? Will we take a step forward or regress? When will we see a complete game out of the team?

It would be amazing if we peaked in the bowl game and played a full, mistake-free game.
 
#37

wmcovol

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#37
Tennessee beat a string of bad football teams. Some, barely. It’s better than 2017 but then it had to be. A good team beats Ky & Mizzou by 2-3 tds this year at least.

To be consistently in the top of this league Tennessee has to get much better & consistent QB play, eliminate stupid penalties & turnovers and continue improvement on LOS.

I’m optimistic but definitely not pounding the drum or pointing fingers at the top teams in this league yet.
 
#38

kiddiedoc

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#38
Watching the big games yesterday reaffirmed my belief that we lack a very important part of the puzzle that is required to be an elite team. I hope that changes over the next two years.

With Weinke, Martin, and Chaney on staff, you have to feel positive about that.
 
#39

Brave Volunteer

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#39
My only real concern right now is that expectations for next year are going to be too high. 8-4 would mean we ran the table outside the 4 high-profile games that pretty much anyone would pencil in as a loss right now. We're not losing a lot of players, but the ones we're losing have been absolutely key this year.

Will others step up? Will we take a step forward or regress? When will we see a complete game out of the team?

It would be amazing if we peaked in the bowl game and played a full, mistake-free game.
Exactly. I might feel different about next year if our recruiting was at a higher level, but it's not. Other than a handful of bright spots here and there, our recruiting has been very pedestrian, which is something I did NOT expect from this staff! I just have to hope that we have found a disproportionate number of diamonds in the rough and their development from our staff is progressing at an unprecedented rate.
 
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#42

Brave Volunteer

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#42
But some cannot get over the 0-2 start and still are unimpressed with the turnaround. I bet people who are like this are completely miserable.
Not miserable. Just matter of fact and realistic.
The truth is the turnaround is a bit of fool's gold. We did not play very well at all down the stretch. We just benefited from playing teams that were playing worse football than we were. Unless we improve in leaps and bounds in the 15 post season practices, we will get thoroughly exposed in the bowl game if we play a halfway decent team. Losing Kennedy, Jennings for a half, and potentially Middleton certainly doesnt help either.
 
#43

ABINGDON VOL FAN

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#43
Not miserable. Just matter of fact and realistic.
The truth is the turnaround is a bit of fool's gold. We did not play very well at all down the stretch. We just benefited from playing teams that were playing worse football than we were. Unless we improve in leaps and bounds in the 15 post season practices, we will get thoroughly exposed in the bowl game if we play a halfway decent team. Losing Kennedy, Jennings for a half, and potentially Middleton certainly doesnt help either.
The facts are we won 7 out of 10 to finish after it looked like UT football would never be relevant again. We are not elite but we have a good foundation for recruiting now and with good Qb play we may gain that level. The defenses under Pruitt will be elite IMO.
 
#44

JonGrudensAgent

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#44
A winning record and going to a bowl is much more enjoyable than not making a bowl but we Vol fans do this to ourselves every season.

We go through this lather, rinse, repeat cycle every year where the team looks good against the back end of the schedule against the worst teams in the division. Then we talk about how much they have improved and how awesome they will be next year.

Beat UGA. Beat UF. Beat Alabama. That's what will show some real improvement in this program.

Otherwise, we are still just treading in Butch Jones territory.
 
#45

Brave Volunteer

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#45
The facts are we won 7 out of 10 to finish after it looked like UT football would never be relevant again. We are not elite but we have a good foundation for recruiting now and with good Qb play we may gain that level. The defenses under Pruitt will be elite IMO.
You're taking a lot of leaps of faith with your comments...

"with good QB play we may gain that level."- We have yet to see good QB play under Pruitt.

"We aren't elite but we have a good foundation for recruiting now."- Yet recruiting under Pruitt thus far has been shall we say less than stellar. This years class may finish lower than last year's.

"The defenses under Pruitt will be elite."- They won't be against the good teams if our recruiting doesnt pick up.

You're stating a lot of feel good "what ifs." I'm just stating what IS.
 
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#46

JonGrudensAgent

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#46
We won’t beat Florida next season just forgot about that they own us. We have a better chance of beating Oklahoma or Georgia we should go 8-4 next season
Next year will be the prime year to beat GA with them maybe losing Fromm,Swift, and Thomas along with their defensive line.

Pruitt needs a signature win over an upper tier team next year to show more progress.
 
#48

LAVol1

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#48
We went from being the worst program in the SEC East to the third best program in the SEC East.

Other than maybe Kentucky, Tennessee is clearly in better shape than everyone else besides Georgia and Florida.
I see the reason for optimism, but warn against being too optimistic. The schedule is BRUTAL next year, very likely facing 4 top 10 teams. I think 8 wins will be a very good year, but expect 7-5, with losses to OU, UF, UGA, Bama and one more somewhere on the schedule. If you look at the stats, we improved only marginally from 2018. Marginal improvement over 2019 won't get wins against the top 4 teams on our schedule. We lose 5 impact players and we won't have a top-tier edge rusher. Bituli will be missed. The offense will have to generate a run game against top-tier talent to get more than 8 wins. The team will be better but that may not translate into 9 wins. I would submit that 7 wins is more likely than 9 wins.
 
#49

ABINGDON VOL FAN

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#49
You're taking a lot of leaps of faith with your comments...

"with good QB play we may gain that level."- We have yet to see good QB play under Pruitt.

"We aren't elite but we have a good foundation for recruiting now."- Yet recruiting under Pruitt thus far has been shall we say less than stellar. This years class may finish lower than last year's.

"The defenses under Pruitt will be elite."- They won't be against the good teams if our recruiting doesnt pick up.

You're stating a lot of feel good "what ifs." I'm just stating what IS.
Of course we are talking about possibilities for next year and cannot speak with absolutes. Recruiting is doing very well now based on our record the two previous years. Premature to say how we will finish until ESD. It seems you are speaking with “What if’s” by stating we may finish lower than last year. The defenses will be elite because of Pruitt’s coaching pedigree and the players we already have in the program. We just need more depth and recruiting will accomplish that. “What is” without doubt there should be optimism about where the program is today compared to earlier this year. I do not seeing people making guarantees.
 
#50

Brave Volunteer

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#50
Of course we are talking about possibilities for next year and cannot speak with absolutes. Recruiting is doing very well now based on our record the two previous years.Premature to say how we will finish until ESD. It seems you are speaking with “What if’s” by stating we may finish lower than last year. The defenses will be elite because of Pruitt’s coaching pedigree and the players we already have in the program. We just need more depth and recruiting will accomplish that. “What is” without doubt there should be optimism about where the program is today compared to earlier this year. I do not seeing people making guarantees.
But see, that doesnt encourage me. I just dont subscribe to the "we're doing well in recruiting considering..." rationalization. Either we are doing well in recruiting and stocking the cupboard to compete for championships or we're not. Right now, we're not. It's just that simple. We are recruiting to be a perennial middle of the pack SEC and mid tier bowl team. If you're happy with that, hey more power to you. But as for me, it's hard to get excited about the future of this program knowing we have no chance to compete with the upper echelon of the league.
 

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