Thursday, December 3, 2009

Overall, Tennessee's football season was a mild success

The Tennessee Volunteers were a mystery team in early September, but the team showed progress as the season unfolded. Though a 7-5 record is nothing to have a parade about, it was an improvement on last year's 5-7 record. We are going to a bowl, and the coaching staff has shown it can recruit and develop talent.

The best example of talent development was the growth of quarterback Jonathan Crompton. After wandering in the wilderness in 2008 and struggling in September, he blossomed beginning with the Georgia game and was a top-level SEC quarterback the rest of the season. He threw 26 touchdowns, and I will take that every year from a quarterback competing in the toughest conference in the country.

Running back Montario Hardesty remained healthy enough to stay on the field all season, and he delivered big time. He gained more than 1,300 yards, but perhaps more importantly, he was a good mentor for young runners like Bryce Brown and David Oku. Hardesty showed them the amount of hard work and commitment it will take for them to succeed in the SEC.

The season itself had moments of greatness and frustration. The 45-19 waxing of Georgia and the 31-13 win over South Carolina were the best performances of the year. Some will point to the narrow 12-10 loss to Alabama as a high point, but I disagree. When we start looking at moral victories as high points, then we are heading down the wrong path.

The most frustrating game was the 19-15 loss to UCLA. The offense had no mojo, and it cost us the game. There is no question in my mind that if we had played them in late October we would have won by two touchdowns. I know; I'm experiencing the bitter taste of sour grapes.

So, 2009 was a small step forward for the Volunteers. Let's hope a larger one is coming in 2010.


Joltin' Django said...

I'm going to New Orleans to cheer on my beloved Blue Raiders two weeks from today!

I just bought passage, but it's a go-there/come-back kind o' thing. I'm hoping - and you know me - that I'll be able to squeeze in a visit to a famous NOLA restaurant while I'm there.

Hoping ... we'll see.

Chris said...

Middle Tennessee had a great year. They may be the best team in the state this year.