By: Darrell Winstead
The All Vol Call in Show
September 20, 2019
The University of Tennessee football has a rich and storied history, in which its fans are deeply invested. You won’t find a fan base that loves and stands behind their team, more than Vol Nation.
From the beginning with General Neyland, Doug Dickey and Bill Battle, through the Majors era and continued on through the Fulmer years, the Vols have had a winning tradition that we fans have come to expect. From 1902 to 2008, which was Fulmer's last season as head coach, the Volunteers had a record of 751-309-50 over that span, with six National Championships. The last of which came in 1998, under Fulmer.
However, we recently have had to endure some hard times, as we have watched our beloved Vols stumble their way to a 62-65 record, over the past eleven seasons. We have had to watch our favorite team struggle to the point where we are on edge and have grown tired of the losing. We’re tired of the rebuilding, the coaching changes and the letdowns that have now become commonplace. We as a fan base wear our hearts on our sleeves and bleed the only shade of orange that matters. All we want is for someone to Make the Vols Great Again.
Our current coach, Jeremy Pruitt, is the fourth head coach we have placed this great task upon. This is no small task and it comes with the highest of expectations. We have seen flashes or glimpses of returning to glory, only to have the rug jerked out from under us. Leaving us with the old Charlie Brown feeling each time, after Lucy has pulled the ball away each and every time.
We know this turnaround won’t happen overnight, but in year eleven this has become one long bad dream. We have entrusted coach Pruitt with ending this nightmare. In his initial season, we expected that there would be some tough times and there was. With year two we expected improvement and signs that the program was back on the rise to being great again. We expect a change for the better. High hopes and a giddiness filled the air as the season approached and the highly ranked prospects begin to come in and help us regain our place among the nations best. Here is where Lucy, fooled us once again into believing.
While we knew there was still a big hill to climb, things looked to be moving in the right direction. With our first three games on the schedule being easily winnable and getting us off on the right foot before we entered the juggernaut known as the SEC, we had ball jerked away at last minute (literally vs BYU) and we fell flat on our backs.
We lost the opening game of the season to Georgia State, a team that only won two games last season. Not only did we lose that game, but were beaten soundly. One of the biggest upset losses in our team's history and in college football overall. There was no fire or passion, other than by a handful of players and it was noticeable. We immediately became a laughing stock around the nation. Steve Spurrier even chimed in, taking yet another shot at us, saying we should change our name to Rocky Bottom.
While we get heated when anyone takes pop shots at us, we realize that the truths hurts. It should have never gotten to this point but it did. The coaches chalked this up to the team not being fully prepared and ready. So things only had to go up from here right?
Well the very next week versus BYU, with the lead in hand and just mere minutes away from victory, we let it all fall apart. We couldn’t convert on a fourth and one to seal the deal. We couldn’t prevent the big play with seconds left on the clock and allowed them to tie the game. We couldn’t stop the momentum that had swung to their side. We couldn’t stop them in the overtime period, with the result being yet another loss. With that loss, we couldn’t stop the heckling! Now we set at 0-2 and at this point, we’re wondering where we can even get a single win on our schedule. This week would be as good as any to get a win, but after our start to the season, it’s no given.
While we as fans have suffered long enough and deserve better, there is nothing we can do but continue to support our team. It’s on these players and this coaching staff, to be tired of getting pushed around. To be tired of being laughed at and tired of losing. They have to stand up for themselves and start punching the bullies back. They have to do this as a team, not only just a few of them. They have to have the pride and say enough is enough! They have to say we deserve better than this, our university deserves better than this and our fans deserve better than this. We the fans know that we are rebuilding and expect some hard times, but its been too long for our team not to be relevant again. So let’s do our part and support these guys and show them just how much we care and how loyal we are. There is no better group in the world, than Vol Nation. Go Vols!