With the 24-17 win over rival Vanderbilt yesterday, the Tennessee Vols football team is heading to its first bowl since 2010.
It wasn't pretty, but the Vols did enough to finish the regular season with a 6-6 record. It has been an up and down season for Tennessee, but the Vols finished strong enough to reach the postseason.
After a 10-9 loss to the struggling Florida Gators earlier in the season, the Vols hit their low point. The team bounced back with an easy 45-10 win over Chattanooga. Then Tennessee went to Oxford, Mississippi and got blown out by Ole Miss 34-3. With Alabama looming as the next game, the Vols played well at times and played a competitive game in a 34-20 losing effort to the Tide. A lot of teams would have crumbled, but not the Vols led by Butch Jones. Tennessee kept fighting and it's resilience is what enabled the big orange to finish the regular season on a positive note.
The Vols finished the season, winning three of four games, including a thrilling 45-42 overtime win in Columbia against South Carolina.
Finishing at .500 may not seem like a great season, but for this Vols team, it is a step in the right direction. At the beginning of the year, I was hoping for a seven win season. However, I said i would be happy with a bowl birth. I still feel that way.
|Jake Roth-US PRESSWIRE|
This is devastating news. Berry is a class act on and off the field. Get well soon. The Vol Nation is behind you.
Here is a statement from Berry:
“I am truly thankful for all of the support from family, friends, coaches, teammates and the entire Chiefs kingdom. At first I was in shock with the diagnosis on Saturday and did not even want to miss a game, but I understand that right now I have to concentrate on a new opponent. I have great confidence in the doctors and the plan they are going to put in place for me to win this fight. I believe that I am in God’s hands and I have great peace in that. I know my coaches and teammates will hold things down here the rest of the season and until I am back running out of the tunnel at Arrowhead. I am so thankful and appreciative of being a part of this franchise and playing in front of the best fans in the NFL. I will be back!”
These responses from Griffin come only days after he was heavily scrutinized for his comments about his team after a horrific loss at home to Tampa Bay.
Redskins coach Jay Gruden didn't help matters much by essentially calling Griffin out and publicly commenting on his performance. In essence, the coach did the same thing Griffin did.
So what I like about the message Griffin emphasized Wednesday is that the team is ready to move forward and focus on the task at hand, which is the game Sunday against the 49ers.
While it remains to be seen if this focus will enable the Redskins to play better this weekend, it at least signals that the team is doing it's best to do the right things after a week of amplified media attention.