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From Our Senior Writer: Fan to Fan

Sep 10, 2019 | Tennessee Volunteer History, VOL Articles, VOL Football 2019

For writers, it’s frowned upon to use “I” or “we” but for me, this is very personal. So, I’m going to break that rule for the purposes of sharing my thoughts as a Vol fan.

I’m awake at 2:48am (CST) because I had a dream that Brian Maurer started the UTC game Saturday and Tennessee won 63-7.

This is the first time in my life I’ve ever had a dream about Vol football. I’m not sure what this means, If anything… Disclaimer: I have no background in psychology or dream interpretation.

It could mean that Tennessee football is in such bad shape that it’s consuming my thoughts (most likely scenario).

Or it could mean something is finally about to change for the better.

Either way, I find myself at peace with the current state of Tennessee football. Do not confuse being at peace with being satisfied. No one is satisfied with the current state of Tennessee football.

I think we as fans needed to be humbled in order to appreciate the good things that are yet to come.

When we lost 2 in a row to Vanderbilt I said “well it can’t get any worse”. When we went 4-8 I said “well it can’t get any worse”. When we lost to Vanderbilt a 3rd time I said “well we’ve hit rock bottom”.

The loss to Georgia State was truly rock bottom. It cannot get any worse. We can lose every game including UTC in the remaining season and it won’t be any worse than the state we are in right now.

We can stay bad for while… That’s a real possibility… But there is no room for anymore decline.

So, we can say with complete confidence that there is nowhere to go but up from here.

If you still count yourself amongst Tennessee Volunteers fans, then you’ve bought in at the bottom of the market and it’ll be all profit as we ride the trend upward from here.

There is no more room for denial… No more excuses to be made… No money in the budget for hiring and firing coaches…

So latch on to HCP and the staff, embrace the players on the roster, and as fans, let’s all grow along side our beloved Vols with zero expectations. Any win this season will be a bonus.

We’ve got a fantastic recruiting class coming in 2020 led by, and being held together by Marietta QB Harrison Bailey. The future looks bright as the young players that keep grinding in these terrible losses get experience and new faces continue to buy into the power T.

There is still a lot of football to be played in 2019 and the Vols can play the role of season killers. Any win they get aside from UTC will be an upset.

We get to start over as a program, and to me, that’s exciting and opens up all kinds of possibilities.

We can finally let go of ’98 and quit trying to “save” the program, and start truly building a new program.

We have an opportunity to establish a new identity as a fanbase. Whether you like it or not, the rest of the college football world views our fans as spoiled, entitled, delusional, whiners. But what can they say now as we continue to show up in droves to support a team that’s lost games like GA state and BYU?

You learn a lot more about yourself on the way down than you do on the way up.

I’m sure I’m not the only Vol fan that’s taken a long hard look in the mirror. That look for me, revealed a fan that expected to win every Saturday and did not appreciate those wins. I only counted the losses and that is how I defined the team. I barely noticed the positive things and I put the negatives under a microscope.

The script has now been flipped for me personally. There is a barrage of negativity and it’s becoming easier to tune out as I put the positives under that same microscope.

Sure, I wanted to burn my orange when we lost to Vandy, when we went 4-8, when we lost to GA State… It’s frustrating to watch something you love destroy itself and to know there’s nothing you can do to stop it.

But as I sit here tonight having been woken by a dream of Volunteer football redemption, reading post after post of people blaming the quarterback, the coaches, the fans on social media, the attitudes of players, the administration… All I see is confusion and chaos.

People are criticizing Jeremy Pruitt for comparing the program to the Titanic… I ask you, what analogy would you use that is more fitting?? This is a GREAT program with a storied winning tradition that has sunken to the deepest depths imaginable. It is the Titanic, and while most fans are running around on deck blaming the captain, or the watchmen, or the rudders… The smarter fans are calmly filing onto the life boats.

So be a smart fan. Get on a life boat. Quit trying to figure out why the boat is sinking, because that’s not going to fix the massive hole in the hull. It’s too big to fix.

Pointing fingers and placing blame will not make this a better program. Accepting that the program has sunken completely, and working to build a better program is the only thing that’s going to make being a Vol fan better.

There are star players waiting to be born on this roster. There are future stars waiting in the wings to come to Knoxville and give their all for Tennessee. But none of these stars will be able to shine if their light is stifled by a dark cloud of criticism and negativity from the fans.

It’s a new day on the hill. Let’s clear that cloud of negativity, get on the life boat, and let’s all paddle calmly to the shore so that we can all live another day to be Volunteer fans, because the best days for this program are yet to come.

Josh Griffin

Josh Griffin

Senior Writer

Attended Walters State Community College and the University of Tennessee. He enjoys spending time with his wife and 3 kids.
 
Writing career started in 2013 at Rivals.com and Yahoo sports. Appearances on: The All Vol Call-In Show, SB Nation Radio, WNML 
 

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