Tennessee Football 2011: 9 Bold Predictions for 2011
Here again is yet another installment of predictions that border on the insane.
Will this Tennessee starter be an All-American? Will the incoming freshmen get a start? Is there any life left in a struggling coach? Which coaches might end up on Derek Dooley's staff? Is there a recruit out there that can single-handedly save the offense? Will Tennessee's new athletic director cripple the coaches? Or, will a powerful adversary suffer at the Vols' young hands?
Come inside for another look at Madame Volsmoke's predictions.
Derek Dooley Will Ask a Friend To Leave
At present time, defensive backs-coach/recruiting coordinator Terry Joseph is doing a fine job of coaching the secondary, but his recruiting efforts have been nothing short of dismal.
While everyone else in the SEC has been piling in verbal commits for the 2012 season, Tennessee has slipped to dead last.
Two verbals as the rest of the SEC coaches laugh in silence.
Derek Dooley will be forced to sever ties with an old Louisiana Tech colleague, but the Vol Nation will praise Dooley for landing this guy...
Derek Dooley Will Bring a Lane Kiffin Assistant Back to Knoxville
...Frank Wilson got a taste of Knoxville in 2009 and liked it, unfortunately, he jumped ship and ran for LSU when Lane Kiffin absconded.
Head coach Les Miles was quick to snatch up the talented running backs coach and quickly put him in charge of recruiting. It turned out to be the best thing that Miles could have done as Wilson was named Recruiter of the Year in his first SEC rodeo and nabbed a top 10 class.
Derek Dooley will lure him away from the Mad Hatter with big dollars.
Justin Wilcox Brings in a Familair Face
A big part of Justin Wilcox's success at Boise State came from the help of secondary coach Marcel Yates.
Yates actually joined the Boise State staff in 2003, three years after playing four years as a letterman for the Broncos. Before joining the Bronco staff, he got his coaching feet wet by helping Montana State win it's first Big Sky championship in 18 years.
He has been the primary instrument responsible for the secondary's achievement at Boise, and this is the vital piece of Wilcox's puzzle to achieve that winning edge.
Dooley will open the checkbook.
A Freshman LB Gets a Chance To Shine
Madame Volsmoke orginally thought Curt Maggitt would get redshirted along with the other recruits, but this aint your grandpa's Vols.
Curt Maggitt will surge to the top this summer and claim his spot as starting OLB. Greg King will struggle against the faster and more agile Maggitt finding that he just can't keep up with the speed and talent. By season end, Maggitt will be a freshman All-SEC.
A Successor Is Awarded Eric Berry's Prize
While Prentiss Waggner spent his spring training for the summer grind and being named to the Bronco Nagurski watch list , Janzen Jackson dealt with personal issues and many speculated (including myself) that he would not return, but what do I know?
The truth of the matter is that only Janzen Jackson knows exactly how much training he got in while he was off campus.
Madame Volsmoke says: JJ got in a lot of roadwork, running drills and free weights. He'll step up and claim the throne vacated by Eric Berry and will win the Jim Thorpe award by a very very close margin. She purrs like a Romanian Gypsy.
I also think he will rotate back to safety in the Florida game.
A Freshman Single-Handedly Saves the Offense
There are few that really believe that Marlin Lane would have a chance to start this season. Madame Volsmoke reminded me that I predicted Tauren Poole and Toney Williams would be the starters and have very respectable seasons, while Rajion Neal would end up on kick return.
So what chance would a freshman get if all that I predicted comes to pass? As the smoke clears away she says: Someone will become unavailable due to academic eligibility.
While this is a bit extreme, she says she feels very strongly about this prediction. Of the two runners, there are two possibilities.
Lane will start against a team that shuts down the passing game. I see the colors of red and black.
Look for the freshman on October 8.
An All-American and Outland He Is
As Madame Volsmoke begins to speak like Yoda, she yells. Too easy this is! One who once wore colors of garnet and gold, now holds orange close to the heart. I look over her shoulder but she slaps me away.
Malik Jackson will be an All-American and will win the Outland Trophy as well. I see this as a distinct possibility.
Jackson has always had the ability and the tools to be successful. Lance Thompson will be the catalyst as he tightens his skill set, sending him into the ever-waiting arms of strength and conditioning coach Ron McKeefery. He will have a lot of competition, and if he isn't pushing 290lbs. by kickoff, it will be a tough row to hoe.
Expect his best games against Florida and Alabama.
The New AD Puts a Chokehold on Dooley
Mike Thomas has won the Robert R. Neyland Outstanding Athletics Director Award twice, once at Akron in 2005 and while on the job for Cincinnati in 2008.
While many believe Thomas will be chosen now that Dan Radakovich of Georgia Tech seems a little to familiar with the recent happenings, Vols may not want to celebrate just yet.
Reports are he is quite the controller and plays a big part in every nuance where decisions are to be made. This may have played a part in Brian Kelly leaving for Notre Dame, but hey, it is Notre Dame and not Cincinnati. No offense Bearcats.
Regardless, Derek Dooley may have the toughest time of any coach simply because he has worked in the role himself.
Madame Volsmoke says: If he is hired early there will be trouble. If they wait to hire him after summer camp it will be much easier. And, if Dooley wins strong this year, there will be trouble from contract disputes.
Side note: David Blackburn should be picked at this point. Blackburn has held everything together but has never been recognized for his efforts and loyalty.
The Tide Will Fall
Alabama will come off an easy road game against Ole Miss and expect the young Vols to be intimidated coming into Bryant-Denny. The home crowd in Tuscaloosa will expect Nick Saban to whip the Vols soundly during the first half.
Alright Volsmoke, lay it on me. What makes you think the Vols can beat the Tide?
They will underestimate the Vols: At halftime, both teams will head into the locker room tied 14-14. The Tide will come out frustrated trying to get in close for a knockout punch. QB A.J. McCarron will make too many costly mistakes, and the secondary will force him into a fourth quarter bench. LB Dont'a Hightower will try valiantly but will find the Vol speed too cumbersome to out-distance.
RB Trent Richardson will have his worst game of the season and be held under 50 yards. SSs Robert Lester and Mark Barron will find it very hard to match the stamina of the Vol receivers. At the end, backup QB Phillip Simms will put up two more scores, but the damage will be done.
Thanks to QB Tyler Bray, the receivers and TB Toney Williams, SSs Janzen Jackson and Prentiss Waggner, and of course DT Malik Jackson, the final score will be...34-28.