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Tennessee-Alabama recap: the grocery store edition

So, it turns out that the third Sunday is October is also starting to mean something to me. It’s the day I set aside to lick my wounds from yet another ass whooping at the hands of Alabama and that poofy-haired, shoe-insert-wearing coach of theirs.

And this year, the wounds were deep, indeed, because I decided to watch every single play – even once the outcome was no longer in question. I figured I deserved the punishment for being such a sheep.

Which, I’m assuming, is why I had such a tough day yesterday. Don’t get me wrong – it’s not like I’m not used to losing. Hell, it’s the fifth straight year we’ve sucked (and sixth in the past eight), so I’ve mastered the technique of getting over a tough L, thank you very much. You just gotta stay busy.

Which is why I spent the bulk of my Sunday running errands with my three boys. Two of my boys are five and my other one’s just a baby, which means my errands come with a reasonably high degree of difficulty.

Which was fine with me. Because very few things could ever be as difficult as the ass whooping I’d endured the night before. So the trip to the Halloween store followed by a stop at the supermarket were certain to be pieces of cake, comparatively speaking. Even with three Littles in tow.

Yet there I was, in what used to be the bread section of Butler and Bailey, perilously close to a DEFCON 2 meltdown. See, they’d moved their bread products a while back, something I actually knew, but I couldn’t remember where the new bread aisle was. After circumnavigating the store twice, I still remained in a state of complete and utter breadless-ness.

Did I mention that right at that exact moment, my five-year-olds began fistfighting over who got to push the little pint-sized buggy deal? (Boys, seriously, wtf?) And that I’d been carrying the baby around forever and ever? And that I was officially over this errand and wanted nothing more than to bring about its (successful) conclusion as quickly as possible?

So I did what any other man would do: I reached for my cell to call my wife. Because my wife is a grocery-store WIZARD, y’all — able to effortlessly conjure up multi-grain English muffins in the blink of an eye. Only one problem.

I’d left my phone in the car. And, sorry folks, but you show me a man who leaves his phone in the car while grocery shopping for his wife, and I’ll show you a fucking rookie. And because of this rookie maneuver, it took me 15 minutes to find the English muffins, 10 of which were dedicated to arbitrating the mini-buggy debacle.

I blame Saban. What a dick, no?

Other thoughts:

Our secondary:

I think our secondary misread Amari Cooper’s jersey. Because they made him look like Amani Toomer. In his prime. He had seven grabs for 162 yards and two touchdowns, the first coming courtesy of broken coverage. So broke, in fact, that even Arkansas coach John L. Smith came out of the deal feeling better about himself. (Get it? You know, because Smith filed for bankruptcy earlier this year? Oh, never mind…)

Cordarrelle Patterson:

He’s the most skilled offensive player on our team, yet he seldom touches the ball. Think about that for a second. Because that’s your 2012 Tennessee Vols in a nutshell. Fundamentally flawed.

If the talking heads are right, he doesn’t get his touches because he’s not a good route runner. But my question is why isn’t Cordarrelle a good route runner?

I’m with Erik Ainge: give him like four routes to work on. Not 40. Four. Then make him practice those routes over and over and over until he’s got ’em down cold. Then throw 84 the ball and get out of his damn way. Seems to me that’d work better than having to rely upon kickoffs, end arounds and direct snaps to get him his touches.

Because Cordarrelle, operating in his current capacity, is preposterous. I liken it to having the hottest girl in the entire school totally wanting to be your girlfriend. Only you’re not allowed to actually take her out on a date.

All you’re allowed to do with is make googly eyes at her from across the room during French class and maybe hold her hand in study hall or something.

Justin Hunter:

I tried repeatedly to reach Justin on his cell to discuss the play at the end of the first half, but he kept dropping the call.

Thanks! We’ll be here all season. Be sure to tip your ushers on the way out.

Look, I don’t mean to harsh on the kid. I want nothing more than for him to succeed. But for that to happen, he’s gotta lose this season-long case of the dropsies.

Tyler Bray:

It’s this simple. Tyler Bray’s refusal to attend the post-game press conference was complete and total bullshit. That kid’s incredibly close to becoming the Tony Harris of UT football. I actually googled Tony to see what he’s been up to lately and stumbled across this story from 2008. Check out Tony’s quote when asked a self-reflective question about his time at UT and tell me you can’t picture Bray saying the exact same thing in a few years:

“I don’t blame the media, but back then, I didn’t know how to handle the media when stuff happened. I was short, standoffish and pretty much stayed to myself… I heard about how people thought I was a thug, and I really felt misunderstood…That stuff can follow you around.”

Someone has to get through to Bray before it’s too late. A coach, a teammate, a family member, a friend — anyone who can convince him to turn this thing around. Because if he doesn’t, like Tony, he’ll have an unwanted shadow following him around for the rest of his life, too.

You don’t have to be the baddest player in the history of EVER to make your mark in Knoxville. All we really ask is that you give it your all. And if you do, you’re set for life. Particularly if you decide to live in the area.

Ask Dane Bradshaw.

Coach Dooley:

Three thoughts on Dooley. First, did you see the exchange between Saban and Dooley at the end of the game? It was painful.

Do you see the metaphor here? There’s the king of the football jungle awkwardly consoling the former underling he just devoured — the wounded one who’s reliant upon crutches to walk off the field.

They’ve got a name for wounded animals in the jungle, you know.


Second, it was chicken shit to not go for the touchdown at the end of the game. Dooley said he wanted to build upon the positive night our kicker was having, but trotting Palardy out for a 21-yarder actually put him in a no-win situation. He makes it, and WHOO HOO. It was basically an extra point. He’s supposed to make that kick. Blindfolded. But if he misses…you telling me that would have gone over well?

You go for the touchdown in that scenario. Period.

And third, remember when Bama kicked the field goal at the end of the first half? We’d stopped them on third down with 1:55-ish left on the clock and though we had two timeouts, Dooley decided to hang on to them, which allowed Alabama to let 30 seconds tick off the clock before kicking the field goal that extended their lead to 13.

Why didn’t Dooley call a time out and give our offense nearly two minutes to score? (As opposed to 1:25.) Two minutes would have been plenty of time for us to do something. Especially when you consider that our only touchdown drive of the whole night was just three plays and took only 1:23.

In his presser, Dooley said he played it conservatively because he didn’t wanna give the Tide a chance to increase their lead before half. But he didn’t seem that conservative when he dialed up the bomb that Hunter dropped, so I’m confused.

Maybe he wanted to split the difference. To take a shot, yet also bleed the clock. But my deal’s this: pick a strategy and stick with it. And my vote, down 13 at home with nearly two minutes to go in the half, would be to TRY TO SCORE.

You know what kind of guy holds his timeouts in that situation? The same kind who leaves his cell in the car while grocery shopping for his wife — a fucking rookie.

Only I’m guessing that unlike me, UT knows exactly where the bread is. In fact, I bet they’ve already loaded up their cart. Because they’ll be needing a bunch of bread here real soon.

You know. To take care of that big-ass buyout and all.

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