By: John Dunn
Founder, Managing Editor, Producer, Host
The All Vol Call in Show
In 2022, the University of Tennessee football team experienced more success than it had in almost two decades. The season was highlighted by incredible amounts of individual accomplishment and recognition, such as Jalin Hyatt winning the Biletnikoff Award or Hendon Hooker being a Heisman front-runner until his disastrous ACL injury against South Carolina. However, there were no accomplishments deemed greater than the home victory over Alabama or the Orange Bowl victory over ACC Champion: Clemson.
With such amazing accomplishments to build off of in 2023, you may be asking yourself, "John, why would we want to move on from that season if it was such a smashing success?" The answer is actually incredibly simple. If you keep looking behind you, you'll never see the path ahead.
Yes, it's absolutely wonderful that Tennessee was able to finally topple the Tide and tilt the Tigers; two programs which have enjoyed immense success over the last decade or so. But also yes, it is indicative of the direction of the Tennessee program. There is a clear cut resurgence taking place on Rocky Top, right before our eyes. Anyone who says otherwise clearly isn't watching, isn't paying attention, or has an agenda to push. That is why it's time to move on.
Yes, it happened; let it go. Remember the days when Tennessee used to beat the likes of Alabama, Georgia, LSU, etc, and it was just "another day at the office"? When that was the norm, is when Tennessee was at the top. Guess what? Tennessee did defeat LSU and Alabama last season. Unfortunately, Georgia has recently kicked off an extremely dominant run in the last few years, but Tennessee is nipping at their heels. That is a great sign of things to come for the Vols, but hopefully the team is looking ahead to the 2023 match-ups with these schools. If you keep looking backward, you're going to trip over your own feet, and that's just something that Tennessee can't afford to do this season.
Following an 11-win season, the Vols can't afford any self-inflicted setbacks.
This is an opportunity for Tennessee to return to the precipice of college football where it rightfully belongs, but in order for the Vols to do that, they have to capitalize on the growth that has been made during Josh Heupel's short time with the school. It's honestly remarkable what he has been able to accomplish in such a short time. But, he is no stranger to the expectations that accompany the football team every single year, regardless of previous season results, or other circumstances. On that same hand, that's exactly how the 2022 season should be viewed.
Although it was a success, it has no bearing on the results of games this coming season. Use it where you can: recruiting, video marketing, or whatever else you may need to, but the team and fan base should look ahead; not backward. Tennessee needs to get back to winning consistently against top competition, and treating it just like "another day at the office."