Dreaming is good, it blossoms hope and from that you get initiative, ingenuity, and determination.
When you wake up and look at the sports page the first knee jerk reaction is hoping that when you open your paper everything goes just the way you dream it would. Before the season started you made a punch list of what you like to see the Vols do.
Did Bray pass for 300 yards again? Did Poole get 200 all-purpose yards rushing against the Gators? Maybe it was just something as simple as Palardy winning by a filed goal against LSU. Here are my dream scenarios for 2011. I'll show you mine if you tell me yours. Stand up and be recognized Vol fans.
Due respect that is.
Back in 2006 during a pre-game drill an Alabama player strayed too far out of the end-zone and came crashing down on Smokey IV. What ensued next was expected as any dog would have done.
Smokey's owner Earl Hudson insists that he only got a bit of uniform. Former head coach Mike Shula insisted that it was much worse, and that Mike McCoy actually suffered an injury because of the bite.
Regardless, opposing players are always straying too close to Smokey to taunt the bluetick coonhound in some way. This season I hope he bites every single player that invades his personal space.
Go get em' Smokey! Good boy!
Last season offensive line coach Harry Hiestand had his hands full with young, green players that had never seen the inside of a college stadium before. This season he still has to work with similar talent. The upside to his dilemma is the entire starting line contains no freshman.
What's even better is the line is not as shallow as one was.
The dream is this that OT Dallas Thomas, OT JaWaun James, G Jerquari Schofield, G Zach Fulton, and C James Stone/Alex Bullard take every snap all season without injury. They allow no sacks and no hurries. And, they make it possible for this guy....
...to go out with a bang.
It's a tall order for a running-back that only managed 1034 yards last season. What it really means is that in order to break Travis Stephens 2001 single season rushing record of 1464 yards he will have to rush for an average of 122 yards per game.
Again this is no small task when you consider the defenses he will have to face. But that offensive line I mentioned earlier could make it a reality....or a dream.
Never mind the fact that he has done everything asked of a football player. You can even eschew his past alliances of garnet and gold.
What's most important is that he left one home and found another.
Last season he was No. 6 in team tackles, but that doesn't give you an accurate description of his ability and talent. Even though he most comfortable at DE he will probably fill a DT position. But, because he is so versatile it gives him an edge to see where runners will shoot, and how QB's scramble. It is conceivable that Jackson could this but he will have to start early and emerge as the team's leading tackler.
Everybody that follows Tennessee football knows just how successful Justin Wilcox was at Boise State. Through four seasons he lead the Bronco's defense to 49-4 record.
To have that kind of record at Tennessee would be of legendary status that would eclipse John Chavis' service with the Vols. I want to see Justin Wilcox go into overdrive. I want to see that same DC who was jumping up and down all over the blue turf at Boise. I want to see Wilcox turn the youngest defense in the nation into the No.1 defense in the nation, but I'll settle for No.1 in the SEC.
Calm down, remember this is dream scenarios.
That being said, despite being just a freshman and only really had four...maybe five really productive games he managed to knock the dirt out of his cleats and introduce himself to the Vols and the SEC.
Now in order to this he will need numbers like this: 278/451 Comp. 61.6 Pct. 3846 Yds. 40 TD 10 Int. rating 158.1
Those were Jason Whites numbers from his 2003 Heisman winning year. But, you need numbers like that to stand out amongst the voters. To give you an idea Eli manning came in third with over 700 fewer voting points. He has the receivers to make it happen.
Nothing flashy here, I just want Janzen Jackson to have one more season.
I was very critical of this young man early on after the little robbery mishap, but much to my surprise he has walked the walk of a changed man. And, he deserves to be lifted up as so. I would love to see him win the Jim Thorpe award as his mentor Eric Berry did, but I will settle for JJ showing up for one more show.
JJ! JJ! JJ! JJ! JJ! JJ! JJ!
I don't want to be greedy. Would I like the Vols to win it all? Sure! What Vol fan wouldn't?
Would I settle for a division title that they aren't supposed to win this season or the next? You bet your orange rear-end I would. As it stands the Vols are predicted by many odd makers to finish fourth behind Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina. I actually predicted early in the spring that they would finish third, but I am bit biased so it's hard to be impartial and I actually do try despite what many might think.
So there it is, a trip to the dance to wrap up the season.....well almost.
I detest leaving things undone.
The truth is UNC didn't beat the Vols in the Music City Bowl. The Vols beat the Vols.
I don't how it would play out. I don't know that UNC would end up as third, fourth or fifth in the ACC, but it needs to happen to erase the lack of confidence and indecision that Mike Hamilton started and left.
The Vols have unfinished business.