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Posted: Friday, August 11th, 2017, 11:30 AM • Permalink
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Before we do anything else today I want to call to your attention a newly minted Clone-Cast. In this episode we get into Mike Griffith's article with 'several members of the local sports coverage landscape.' Cloney is simply in another world in this 40 minute commercial free podcast. This is the type of work we aim to provide free of charge and commercial free as you help support our efforts by spreading the word and perhaps joining our T Club.

On Monday we'll drop an emergency Vol-Scar Podcast featuring UT's latest class in their Hall of Sham Fame with our Vol Historian Tom Mattingly. We'll also be recording a Gate Twenty One this weekend on the life and times of great VFL Anthony Hancock. Fun stuff. Please help us by spreading the word on our Next Level Network Podcasts that are coming your way.

Also, I'm hoping to get something recorded for 'X' next week in our first X-Cast. Spread the word.

You can listen to the following Podcast using the player below.You can find all of our Podcasts here.

Bob Shoop gets a bumper to bumper inspection from Orange Throat today. This could have you really thinking out loud before you get done with it.

Orange Throat
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'Tony B. World:

Today we dig deeper into the questions surrounding UT defensive coordinator Bob Shoop as we continue to marvel at the stupidity of our athletics department's handling of its own Hall of Fame selection process.

UT'S DEFENSE IN 2016 WAS A BUST: Any regular reader of this humble offering is well aware of our skepticism about DC Bob Shoop. We were on the bandwagon when Jones hired Shoop because of the first rate work he did with Vanderbilt's defense. We were also still smarting from the experience of seeing John Jancek's 2015 Vol defense blow leads late against Oklahoma and Florida. But, as last year unfolded, we became increasingly concerned about the "fit" with Shoop at Tennessee, and speaking of Vandy, Shoop's defense crashed and burned at Nashville last Thanksgiving weekend.

SHOOP'S EXCUSES TO JONES were, of course, injuries and bad assistants. Insiders deep inside the UTAD have told us Jones had the green light from the lame duck administration to dump Shoop after his Sunserian first season. Instead, Jones was persuaded by Shoop's excuses and chose to face the fifth and most important season of his UT stay with Shoop, despite mountains of evidence to the contrary. So, Shoop retooled his coaching staff. Charlton Warren replaced Willie Martinez and Brady Hoke replaced Steve Stripling as he moved to an administrative job inside the program. Jones did not agree to replace LB coach Tommy Thigpen, fearing that departure might adversely affect recruiting.

SO, BACK TO THE QUESTION OF: is Bob Shoop a "fit" at Tennessee? His background would suggest our skepticism is well justified.

Yale graduate

Has spent 7 of his 27 years coaching at Ivy League schools (Yale and Columbia).

Has spent 18 of his 27 years coaching at prestigious private schools (the aforementioned Ivy schools plus Northeastern, Villanova, Boston College and Vandy).

His public school experience is at highly-rated academic institutions like Virginia and William & Mary.

IS SHOOP A "WARRIOR?" We have made Nigel Warrior the poster child for the Shoop "fit" discussion. Insiders marvel at how Shoop gravitates toward players like Micah Abernathy, who comes from a prominent family and is a "heady" player. Warrior, the marvelously gifted son of Vol legend Dale Carter, was not developed very well last year as a freshman and there is a growing feeling among insiders that Shoop is going to favor Abernathy over Warrior when the bullets are flying in Atlanta three weeks from Monday night.

DO YOU THINK SHOOP MET ANYBODY LIKE DALE CARTER among the blue bloods at Yale as a player or as a coach?

ELSEWHERE ON THE VOL BEAT, there is lots of buzz around receivers Latrell Williams, Brandon Johnson and Josh Palmer. All three were fairly lightly-regarded receivers coming out of the Florida high school talent pool. Johnson (3-star, #517 nationally) showed some polish as a freshman and was a good-sized target at 6-2, 193 pounds. Williams (3-star, #722) is more of a quick, slot-type at 5-11 and 175 pounds out of Lake City, FL, and is a red-shirt freshman this season.

Like Johnson, true freshman Palmer (3-star, #837) is a rangy 6-2, 198-pounder out of the talent oasis of Ft. Lauderdale and Vol coaches think they might have pulled off a nice steal on this kid.

SENIOR WR JOSH SMITH continues to struggle with injuries, so some slot help is needed behind another Floridian, sophomore Tyler Byrd.

RECRUITING UPDATE: Though our Volunteers still lead SEC teams in the 247 Sports 2018 class rankings at 6th nationally, Florida has surged to 7th by getting commitments from four-stars WR Jacob Copeland (#52 nationally) of Pensacola, FL and RB Dameon Pierce (#186) of Bainbridge, GA. LSU is in 8th place and Bammers can start to relax ... the Tide has ascended to 26th nationally, with seven of 10 commits rated as four star's.

GEORGIA IS STILL 59TH IN THE NATION and is 13th in the league so far but Kirby Smart and his staff are trending with several Top 50 players and are likely to zoom up the rankings in the fall. Poor, lowly Ole Miss has slipped to 90th in the nation, with only seven commits and zero four star's.

WE'LL HAVE MORE THOUGHTS on the UTAD Hall of Shame next week.

IGYAEPP (International Geophysical Year of Aunt Edna's Parking Place)
Orange Throat'

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Throaty....I'm putting you in my first ballot Mike Griffith HOF after that hit job on Bob Shoop. I must say that it's thought provoking. It reminds me of a conversation I had with a former player that just came back from a practice after watching Dave Clawson's offense in Phillip Fulmer's final Summer as UT Head Coach. He said something to the effect that Clawson had his O Line completely confused because he was teaching offense way faster than his kids were absorbing it. It turns out he was right. Shoop's defense got worse last year AFTER Cam Sutton came back and the team got seemingly healthier. It's interesting food for thought. Therefore I'm putting you in Basilio Contributor Hall of Fame on the first ballot. Doesn't that make you feel good on this Friday?

Next up is Matt Dixon with a tremendous report after yesterday's practice/media opportunity.

Matt Dixon
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'Tennessee’s second-year defensive coordinator Bob Shoop, first-year offensive coordinator Larry Scott and first-year defensive backs coach Charlton Warren spoke on Thursday as the Vols are nine practices into fall camp.

Here are some quick hits from their media session:

- Shoop said senior Cortez McDowell is the 1st team Will linebacker. McDowell’s leadership experience gives him the edge right now over Elliott Berry, Quart’e Sapp and Austin Smith. Sapp and Smith both missed most of last season due to injury. McDowell played in all 13 games last season, starting four, and finishing with 54 tackles, four TFLs and an interception.

- Senior cornerback Justin Martin has had an up-and-down career at Tennessee. The JUCO transfer has the size and athletic ability NFL teams crave, but he constantly seemed to be in the coach’s doghouse until this year. Martin had a terrific spring practice and that has carried over into fall camp.

“I am really pleased with his attention to detail, his leadership for some young guys,” defensive backs coach Charlton Warren said. “Justin is getting to the point when another guy is taking a rep, when they come off, he is coaching them on the sideline about what they did wrong or right in a play. I think when players can get the point where they see mistakes of other players, that shows growth in them.”

- Cornerback is one of the positions that has the easiest transition from high school to college, with players often times relying on athletic ability to cover wide receivers in man coverage.

Shawn Shamburger is ahead of fellow freshmen Cheyenne Labruzza and Terrell Bailey. The 6-foot, 191 pounder from Moultrie, Ga. was rated only a 3-star out of high school. He was the 111th cornerback in the 247sports composite ranking and the 101st best player from the Peach state.

“Shamburger is the one guy we think has a chance to make some contributions at corner right now,” Shoop said. “He's probably a little bit ahead of the other guys.”

- Shoop said freshman Deandre Johnson has positioned himself to be the 4th defensive end behind Jonathan Kongbo, Darrell Taylor and Kyle Phillips. Johnson was an early enrollee and participated in spring practice after being a underrated high school prospect from Miami. Johnson was ranked the 46-best weakside-defensive end and the 104th-best player in Florida by the 247sports composite rankings.

- At safety, Theo Jackson has had a better than expected fall camp, according to Shoop.

“As a freshman, he has a composure about him and he has a high football intellect,” Shoop said. “The game is just not too fast for him. He asks 200-level questions in meetings and I think Charlton and I are both really pleased with his progress so far.”

Jackson, from Nashville’s Overton, was the 17th-best player from Tennessee and 37th-best safety in the class of 2017.

- With Darrin Kirkland Jr. and Daniel Bitouli banged up for the first part of fall camp, freshman middle linebacker Will Ignont has made the most of his opportunity.

“Ignont has some of that 'it' factor to him,” Shoop said. “He's highly football intelligent and he's very confident out there. He's making freshman mistakes, but at the same time you can see that it's not too big for him. I'm not sure if it will be in 2017, but I think Tennessee football fans have a pretty good player for the future.”
While Kirkland Jr., Colton Jumper and Bitouli will be ahead of Ignont on the depth chart this season, he could see significant time on the Vols’ special teams.

Posted: Thu, Jan 11th, 1:31 PM
by Beano
Posted: Mon, Jan 15th, 11:03 PM
by Doink
National Champions!
Posted: Tue, Jan 9th, 12:24 AM
by Alison
Coach Speak Scott on quarterbacks Quentin Dormady and Jarrett Guarantano: “They’re constantly being challenged on everything from scheme to their fundamentals to their leadership to the ways that they handle themselves with body language and everything.”

Warren: ”If you play consistently and make plays, that creates the energy and the juice and the emotion of that group. For me, it's about consistent productivity. We can have rah-rah guys, which are great, but you really have emotional leaders because they are making plays on the field and they are consistently doing what they need to do.”

Scott on the offense developing an identity: “Toughness is one of those things that you're going to talk about from day one until the day a kid leaves the program. Consistently, constantly you're going to talk about that, whether that's physical toughness or whether that's mental toughness.

Shoop on the defensive tackles: “Kahlil (McKenzie) has had a solid camp but Kendal Vickers is the leader of that group up front. As good of a player as he is, he's a better person and he just comes to work every day. You know what you're going to get with him and that's what I like about him. Shy (Tuttle) continues to improve every day from a health perspective and we're looking forward to hopefully getting Quay (Picou) back. Alexis Johnson has been pretty good throughout the course of camp too.

Matt Dixon'

Matt...That's an incredible report. The words flying around about the 3 star DB remind me what we heard about 3 star Cam Sutton during his first Summer camp. Some guys just come ready to play. Let's hope these coaches are telling the truth and a bunch of guys from the 2017 signing class pan out sooner than later.

Hatfield's Nine
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The race to kickoff is really heating up around Knoxville. Nothing like a media created controversy to get the countdown in the front of everyone's mind.

1. Questioning the toughness of a college player to give cover to a coach making millions of dollars to go 9-4 is straight garbage. It's coach worshipping at its absolute worst.

2. It's no secret I am not a fan of Butch Jones. If he doesn't come out strong in defense of his players, whatever respect I have for him will be exhausted.

Click to 21st Mortgage!
3. The injury bug continues to plague the Vols. If this trend doesn't change, nothing else will much matter.

4. I'm intrigued to see who ends up getting the call as the number two ball carrier. Rare is the season in the SEC where a team goes the distance with one guy carrying the load.

5. The 3-0 finish in Europe is encouraging for Vol Basketball. It's not like they beat Barcelona, Real Madrid, and Chalon, but their opponents were pros.

Click to TN Bank!
6. The young frontcourt was especially impressive. Derrick Walker and Kyle Alexander both has nice series against more experienced and physically mature players.

7. College coaches anonymously sniping about Nick Saban being overrated reminds me of all of the unattributed shots NBA head men used to take at Pat Riley. Jealousy is ugly, especially when people are too cowardly to put their name on it.

Click to Clancy's Tavern & Whiskey House!
8. The Spurs continue to be incredibly undervalued by the NBA powers that be. Their absence from the Christmas Day lineup is ridiculous.

9. The Premier League is back. Going to be some really foggy early Saturday and Sunday mornings ahead.

Clancy's is the place to hit before and after all the great shows at the Tennessee Theatre. Stop in and enjoy a true Irish pub atmosphere.

Click to Sapphire!
Sapphire is Knoxville's premier nightspot. Take a look at their fantastic signature cocktail list.

With football back front and center, let's drive the Blankenship Field renovation project forward. Go to to donate.


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Next up is Jack Tate, the Movie King presented by Smoothie King.

Jack Tate - The Movie King

Logan Lucky is a throwback comedy that puts Channing Tatum, Adam Driver, and Daniel Craig in unaccustomed territory. The 3 are the “masterminds” of a hastily planned robbery at the Charlotte Motor Speedway on the day of a NASCAR race. Jimmy Logan (Tatum) and his younger brother Clyde (Driver) are two members of a lifelong hard-luck family in the hills of West Virginia.

After losing his job working construction underneath the Charlotte Motor Speedway, Jimmy sees a way to get a quick $14 million or more and hopefully change the Logan family story. He and brother Clyde launch their plan, but will need help from a master safe-cracker. Joe Bang (Craig) is the guy they want, but they’ll have to break him out of prison to be successful.

Logan Lucky is funny throughout, thanks to the brilliant cast, all playing slow-talking Southern characters of possibly questionable intelligence. The plan to rob the Speedway on race day turns out to be more complicated than it looks.

I had the feeling that I was watching a movie from the 1970’s, but that may have been director Steven Soderbergh’s stroke of genius. If you’re familiar with previous movies starring Channing Tatum, Adam Driver, and Daniel Craig, Logan Lucky will be even funnier to you. All 3 are cast against type and it makes for a very humorous movie.

I was very fortunate to have been given a ticket to the premier of Logan Lucky, which raised almost $600,000 for Variety, a great organization that does wonderful work on behalf of children. Regal Cinemas (Pinnacle) and Variety made it a night to remember. Logan Lucky should officially open in Knoxville next Friday. I give it a solid 4-star recommendation!

Also Seen This Week:


Detroit is a very serious and dramatic look at the 1967 riots in the Michigan city. Hundreds of city businesses were burned to the ground and many were looted. This took place during the Civil Rights movement of the 60’s when many Americans had become restless and began to demand change.

The police force in Detroit responded to the violence and the movie focuses on one night when officers went to search for a suspected sniper in a hotel/apartment building. Racial tension was high and when the night was over, three people were dead, shot by one or more of the officers. Detroit does not paint a positive picture of the police force in general, but makes note in the credits that this film is based upon eyewitness accounts, but doesn’t claim everything in the movie to be the absolute facts of the evening. Only those present in 1967 know for sure.

Detroit will keep your full attention for the entire 2 hours, 23 minutes. The movie is highly entertaining but also disturbing in many ways. Expect several Academy Award nominations for Detroit when they are announced in January.

Save me some popcorn.

Jack Tate'

Tony B Needs You For Gate Twenty Won & Vol-Scars!!! I'd like to get your personal stories to include in our Gate Twenty Won and VolScars audio podcasts! Here's a link to the contact number and a list of all of the games.


FIVE KEYS TO VOL SUCCESS: With “5 Things” seemingly being the new journalistic craze I thought I would use the format once as well. With print media going the way of the dinosaur I’m not sure this is a wise tact but here are my 5 keys for Vol success during the just around the corner season....


COURAGEOUS: (Taking a chance of losing more than one)

CHALLENGING: (A Power-5 + a team with a pulse.)

CRUISIN: (One that “could” beat you)


Final Thought comes today courtesy of Fab Five Freddie:

I didn't think I would see a worse Tennessee defense in my lifetime than Kiffin's daddy put out there, then Sunseri's was worse, then Shoop's was even worse. What's next, that group Saddam Hussein put out there?

Over 2,500 words in a free blog on a Friday 3 and a half weeks from kickoff. Please consider joining the T-Club so we can continue this tremendous work rate here at

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