As the University of Tennessee football team begins to turn its attention to the Alabama Crimson Tide, something has reached out and smacked me in the face.
The Vols have no leader.
Sure, there's tailback Travis Henry and his pounding effort to get the offense on track. However, opposing defenses in the SEC have obviously figured out his plan of attack. Not to mention that he is a senior yet he is not on the list of team captains.
The Vols also have wide receiver Cedrick Wilson. Wilson is among the conference leaders in catches per game; however, he doesn't determine the outcome of every play.
Then there's end Will Overstreet and tackle John Henderson on defense. They are doing the best job on the team when it comes to leading by example. But it's kind of hard for them to put points on the board for the Vols.
What it comes down to is that the Vols need to name one leader at the quarterback position. It doesn't matter who it is, just name one person.
This flip-flop system that Tennessee is trying to pull just isn't working. Look around the nation, no successful team runs with two quarterbacks. There needs to be one man to lead the team throughout the entire season.
So, who should it be for the Vols?
A.J. Suggs has the best potential to be the primary signal caller. He seems familiar with the system and comfortable in big-game settings, although he is 1-3 when starting for Tennessee. One plus for Suggs is that the team seems to want to stick with him just because he has played the majority of the snaps.
Casey Clausen, however, seems to be the fan favorite, but I think it's just that California appeal. Clausen has done a tremendous job when he is on the field but he seems to be a little shaky when the defensive pressure is coming.
The big complaint that has been roaring through the air is that the Vols have no consistency. They beat a good Southern Mississippi team and outplayed Florida for 58 minutes; however, LSU and Georgia completely dominated the men in orange.
Well guess what folks, you can't have consistency when your own team doesn't know who the quarterback is going to be.
Week in and week out, Suggs plays 90 percent of the downs and does a good job; however, Clausen comes in and blows up for huge numbers in his limited time.
That leaves the coaching staff, the team and the fans wondering who the signal caller is going to be for the next week.
You know, this little game that the Vols are playing could be to the students' advantage. Hopefully, by the time the Arkansas game rolls around, students will be able to swipe their student ID in order to take snaps.
I can just imagine it now, echoing throughout a half-filled Neyland Stadium Section D, Row 40, Seat 19, put your pads on because you will be Tennessee's quarterback on the next possession.
The point is that by the time Alabama rolls into Knoxville with plans of turning Neyland Stadium into their new Crimson home, the Vols had better find a leader.
Suggs or Clausen, it doesn't matter. Tennessee must pick a man and stick with him for the rest of the season if they want any consistency out of their offense. And if they want to be playing in a nice little bowl game come New Year's.
Vols must pick one QB to lead team for rest of regular season
Published: Mon Oct 16, 2000 | Modified: Sat Aug 06, 2005 03:17 p.m.