It's almost here! College football season, that is. Tennessee kicks off four weeks from tonight in the Georgia Dome against North Carolina State, in what is shaping up to be a very big game for the Big Orange. A Volunteer win and the season is off to a great start. A loss, and the countdown begins on Derek Dooley's future as the Vols' head coach.
All the excitement that has been building since the spring, came to almost a complete halt a few days ago, when Tennessee junior quarterback Tyler Bray was accused of throwing beer bottles and rocks at parked cars in a Knoxville parking lot. Not exactly the thing to do after your head coach called you the "Face of the Tennessee offense.
" In addition to Coach Dooley, other people close to the Tennessee program had commented on Bray's maturity and improvement in leadership. There had been talk about a BCS bowl game, and a ten win season for the Big Orange in 2012. Now, even the most ardent U.T. fan thinks twice before making such a prediction.
The bottle throwing was discovered just a few days after the SEC Media Days in Birmingham, when Coach Dooley made the bold statement, "You're not going to have Tennessee to kick around anymore." Other SEC fans have had a field day with this.
It seems the bottle throwing incident has blown over in Knoxville and thoughts may be returning to the actual football season. "Boys will be boys......." Sometimes, even young men will be boys. I'm sure some of the die hard Tennessee fans can remember when Peyton Manning was just a lad. Peyton showed his rear, literally, back in 1996. Peyton apparently, "mooned" a female trainer in the Volunteers' locker room that year. After the trainer filed a sexual harrassment suit against Coach Phillip Fulmer and the University of Tennessee, that "mooning" incident wasn't so funny. The lawsuit was settled out of court and things returned to normal. That was the only time Peyton Manning was caught with his pants down.
So, it appears that even the most "saintly" Vol quarterback who ever came down the pike, was guilty of the "Boys will be boys" thing. There are other incidents from other quarterbacks at Tennessee which shall go unmentioned. As far as Tyler Bray is concerned, let's hope a big lesson has been learned from this. After all, we wouldn't want the heralded, "Face of the Tennessee offense" to start showing up on a post office wall near you.
Randy Smith firstname.lastname@example.org
Randy Smith has been covering sports in Tennessee for the last 43 years. After leaving WRCB-TV in 2009, he has continued his broadcasting career as a free-lance play-by-play announcer. He is also an author and is a media concepts teacher at Red Bank High School in Chattanooga. Randy Smith's career has included a 17-year stint as scoreboard host and pre-game talk show host on the widely regarded "Vol Network". He has also done play by play of more than 500 college football, basketball, baseball and softball games on ESPN, ESPN2, Fox Sports, CSS and Tennessee Pay Per View telecasts. He was selected as "Tennessee's Best Sports Talk Show Host" in 1998 by the Associated Press. He has won other major awards including, "Best Sports Story" in Tennessee and his "Friday Night Football" shows on WRCB-TV twice won "Best Sports Talk Show In Tennessee" awards. He has also been the host of "Inside Lee University Basketball" on CSS for the past 11 years. He was the first television broadcaster to ever be elected to the "Greater Chattanooga Area Sports Hall of Fame", in 2003. Randy and his wife, Shelia, reside in Hixson. They have two married children (Christi and Chris Perry; Davey and Alison Smith). They also have three grandchildren (Coleman, Boone, and DellaMae).