|Big Orange Report wants to hear no talk of Vol moral victories |
|Posted: Thursday, October 2, 2008 3:47 pm |
| Please, no moral |
Earlier this season, the Auburn Tigers defeated Mississippi State by a score of 3-2. Last Saturday in south Alabama, Tommy Tuberville’s gritty squad won another slobber-knocker of a defensive struggle.
This time, the victim was reeling Tennessee. Meanwhile, down in Gainesville, a funny thing happened to Florida on the way to an unbeaten season, Ole Miss came to town and whipped the Gators by blocking an extra point try late in the fourth quarter.
So the question here would be this, do we think that the Gators feel they won a moral victory because they kept the game close against the Rebels? I think not and so too is there no moral victory in Tennessee’s loss to a team that has an offense that just might be as totally inept as the guys in orange and white. But more of that later in the piece.
In this game, the Big Orange defensive players laid it on the line. They slugged it out with the Auburn offensive line at the point of attack, they ran to the football and they, for the most part, tackled with purpose and a desire to reverse the fortunes of this floundering football team.
In the end, it did not matter. The totally inept Vol offense could not get into field goal range in the fourth quarter despite playing almost the entire period on the Auburn side of the 50-yard line.
Making a play
There could not have been a bigger and more stark contrast in the thin line between winning and losing than what we saw at the conclusion of this football equivalent of a sumo wrestling match.
Auburn backup quarterback Kodi Burns made a play by completing a third-and-long, or third-and-Chavis as some Vol fans would say. Rolling to his right, Burns fired a laser that moved the chains and handed Phil Fulmer loss No. 3 on the season.
Tuberville had the good sense to get his struggling starter out of the contest and give Burns a shot to be a hero. Presto, Burns stepped up and the Tigers stepped out with a hard fought SEC victory.
Now for the contrast. On the other side of the field, Fulmer stayed with Jonathan Crompton at quarterback and lost the game. Maybe one of the backups — Nick Stephens or B.J. Coleman — would not have had more success, but of course we will never know the answer to that question.
Coleman and Stephens could only stand and watch as Crompton threw passes 20 yards out of bounds, down the field when receivers were running sideline out patterns and into the turf six feet away from the intended receiver.
Crompton did probably accomplish one thing during yet another gridiron disaster, however, by completing an embarrassing 8-of-23 passes for an under whelming 67 total yards, he should maintain the worst quarterback ranking in the entire Southeastern Conference and one of the lowest in the entire nation.
From where we sit, we can only suspect that Fulmer must believe that Stephens and Coleman would have a difficult time walking and chewing gum at the same time.
Crompton has been accused of staring down his primary receiver, check. He has been accused of, perhaps, not knowing all of the pass plays, check. And finally, he has been accused of being very inaccurate with his passes, check. Many times in this game, he did not even throw it close enough for his man to catch it or for a defender to pick it off.
It will be interesting this weekend
Already estimates are rolling across the Internet as to what the predictions are for the size of the crowd as mighty Northern Illinois rolls into Knoxville on Saturday. Tennessee fans are angry and fed up; there are reports of tickets being tossed into the waste basket and one knowledgeable fan of 30 years has suggested that he would be surprised if 70 thousand bother to show up.
But before you think this game will be a laugher, it most be noted here that Northern Illinois has a very good offensive team. Last weekend, they destroyed Eastern Michigan 37-0.
Obviously, Tennessee should be able to run the ball on a suspect NI defense, but who knows what frame of mind the Volunteer players might be in after this 1-3 start. I suspect that this game will be one of Fox Sports top 10 potential upsets for the weekend!
Gee, how should we all feel? Here we are, on the bottom of the SEC East standings looking up at, of all people, the Vanderbilt Commodores. Well friends, it’s no mirage; Bobby Johnson has slowly but surely built a good football program in Nashville.
We might be asking this question come November, “How long has it been since Vandy was the betting favorite in its game with Tennessee?”
A quick note
Basketball practice starts in a little over two weeks!