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For Some Tennessee Vol Fans, Flowers Are in Order

tre wellsCorrespondent IFebruary 18, 2010

Lately, no matter how many showers I take, I still feel dirty.


This doesn’t speak to all Tennessee fans, but I am sure there is a pocket that feels the same.


Lane Kiffin leaving in the middle of the night felt more like me being caught cheating on my wife than it did a coaching change.


For years, as a Vol fan under Johnny Majors and then Phillip Fulmer, I enjoyed all the success that the era of the "good ole boys" would bring. Life was good and the wins were plenty.


Anyone who had the responsibility of making a football decision in Knoxville literally bled orange.


They went there. They practiced there. They played there. They coached there. They lived and died there every Saturday.


There was no such stronger loyalty than there was to the Orange and White.


But sometimes apathy will set in.


I’m not ripping the less than successful last few years of the Fulmer era. I’m ripping myself.


I’m the one who failed to see what I had when I had it.


It’s as if after 15 years of marriage I start ripping my wife for a little weight gain, and without even giving her a chance to work it off, I’m gone, looking for a younger, firmer, more free spirit, wanting to have a good time.


Well, those types of women usually make their money one dollar at a time.


Believe me, Kiffin was the stripper girlfriend that for a few moments of fun would, in return, destroy everything you had ever worked for over the last few decades.


No one took up for Kiffin more than I did over the past year. No one wrote more articles defending his ignorance, excusing his lack of couth, and explaining his motives than I did.


Even then I felt something was wrong, but with all the neon lights and the loud music, I was just sucked in.


As I metaphorically sit on my bed now, hungover and looking at all the ATM receipts from the strip club, all I can ask myself is, “How did I not see this coming”?


I gave up on a staff that cared more about the school than they did themselves, for some fly by night kid who talked a big game but simply had an agenda.


Strippers have an agenda, too. You do know that they don’t really think you are cute, right?


Kiffin was less worried about “making Tennessee the USC of the east” as he was simply making it back to USC.


Somehow though, life gives you a second chance.


Derrick Dooley may have won me over instantly when he used the word “britches” in one of his first press conferences.


A southern boy with a respect for southern football, and a respect for the south, has gone a long way in many Tennessee fans including myself. Bringing former Vol Chuck Smith in to coach the defensive line doesn’t hurt either.


These may not be all former Vols making the calls in Neyland next year but they are definitely "good ole boys".


The neon has been replaced with integrity, the music has been replaced with class, and the agenda is to get Tennessee back to the top, not to get back to USC.


I just hope that the Tennessee tradition can forgive me as I come crawling back on my knees.


I did bring some flowers.

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