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Monday, August 29, 2011

Sportaholic College Football Preview: Mississippi State Bulldogs

College Football is just around the corner with the first games scheduled on September 1st. So with that in mind, we here at the Sportaholic.com figured it was about time to rev up the college football machine and review some local team in our area. With our expanded roster, we now can cover teams from all over the nation but we will start with our home teams. Each week leading up to the season we will have capsules on the University of Tennessee, Vanderbilt University, and Tennessee State University. We will follow those teams with some of the national powers as well, just to make sure we cover all of our bases.






To start things off, we will ask just a few basic questions on each team as: Offense, Defense, what are their strengths, what are their weaknesses, who will be their impact players and what do you project as their season outlook just to name a few. We love college athletics here at the Sportaholic and this just one of many college football posts we have awaiting our viewers this season. So sit back and relax as we here at the Sportaholic preview some of your favorite teams from all over the nation
 
 
Mississippi State University Bulldogs
 
By Taylor Cannon
 
 
 
Well it’s about time MSU football excitement is back. Dan Mullen has brought excitement back to the Magnolia State after completing a 9-4 record (key wins over Georgia, Florida, and Michigan in the Gator Bowl). State is also about to embark on a 100 million dollar expansion to Davis Wade Stadium and a football complex costing 20-25 million, which is breaking ground in a few months. Dan Mullen has to be feeling kind of good about this year’s team returning 8 starters on offense and 7 on the D. Having a more experienced quarterback in Chris Relf and more experienced receiving corps with Junior Chad Bumphis and Junior Arceto Clark (who combined for 996 yards receiving) they also have a talented back in Vick Ballard who rushed for a school record for touchdowns in a season with 19.



Offense - They return 8 starters. If Relf can be solid and consistent as well as if their offense line can hold up, this can be a wide open offense. The combination of Reif and Ballard has the chance of being one of the better QB/RB duos in the country. This team can run and catch. They just need to be dependable.



 
 
 
Defense - On defense they return 7 starters with 4 coming at the secondary position. But the big question is the loss of all three starting Linebackers and Defensive Coordinator in Manny Diaz bolted for the University of Texas, which leaves them wondering how the defense will do in the hands of new coordinator in Chris Wilson. The Defensive line
will also have its challenges, but Defensive Tackles Fletcher Cox and Josh Boyd look promising.





Strengths - State’s strength is definitely the offense. A veteran secondary and a strong interior line will also be key in State’s return to dominance.







Impact players - QB Chris Relf, RB Vick Bullard, WR Chad Bumphis, LB Brandon Wilson, DT Fetcher Cox, S Nickoe Whitley, DE Sean Ferguson


Weaknesses - The loss of Manny Diaz to Texas hurt, also having to replace 3 starting LBs and losing an end could give State fits early in the season. The offense lost its starting center and left tackle could prevent State’s offense from getting to its full potential.









Season prediction – State won’t be sneaking up on anybody this year, but will be in back to back bowls (first time since 98-99). The excitement will be high and the cow bells will be ringing , they may not be in a New Year’s Day bowl, but I smell Peach or Music City bowl. MSU record 9-3 (5-3 in the SEC).

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Sportaholic College Football Preview: LSU Tigers

College Football is just around the corner with the first games scheduled on September 1st. So with that in mind, we here at the Sportaholic.com figured it was about time to rev up the college football machine and review some local team in our area. With our expanded roster, we now can cover teams from all over the nation but we will start with our home teams. Each week leading up to the season we will have capsules on the University of Tennessee, Vanderbilt University, and Tennessee State University. We will follow those teams with some of the national powers as well, just to make sure we cover all of our bases.



To start things off, we will ask just a few basic questions on each team as: Offense, Defense, what are their strengths, what are their weaknesses, who will be their impact players and what do you project as their season outlook just to name a few. We love college athletics here at the Sportaholic and this just one of many college football posts we have awaiting our viewers this season. So sit back and relax as we here at the Sportaholic preview some of your favorite teams from all over the nation.






Louisiana State University




By Taylor Cannon


Now to talk about my home state University and the school I grew up cheering for LSU TIGERS. LSU had another great year on the field and in recruiting, but was marred by recruiting violations by an ex –coordinator. In spite of it all LSU has been picked by some to win it all (personally I think it’s a little much, but hey I’ll take it) , and is picked by most pundits to win the SEC West (ahead of LSU arch nemesis Nick Saban and the Alabama Crimson Tide)






1. Offense - 8 offensive starters (The 4 most important are the returning starters on the offensive line) Jordan Jefferson returns at QB, but don’t be surprised if Zach Mettenberger (transfer from Butler Community College and former UGA commit) sees time at the spot. The Tigers will continue their tradition of having a talented run game with Spencer Ware Michael Ford and Alfred Blue and watch . out for true freshman Kenny Hilliard. The receiving group is led by junior Rueben Randle (led team with 544 yards and 3 TDs) and Russell Sheppard. To open holes for the run game and give Jefferson some protection is the O-line led by Center P.J. Lonergan,Left Guard Josh Dworaczyk, and Right Guard T-Bob Hebert ( yeah T-Bob defiantly an O-lineman)


























  2. Defense - 7 defensive starters return and don’t think the loss of elite corner Patrick Peterson means SEC QBs can relax and start throwing the ball against LSU; in part because LSU returns Morris Claiborne (who actually led LSU in Ints and was 3rd in the SEC in that department) they also return Sophomore Tyrann Mathieu (he recorded 57 total tackles, 4.5 sacks, forced five fumbles, recovered three and had two Ints). The rest of its D look just as good with sophomore ends Barkevious Mingo and Sam Montgomery will control the ends (If they improve on their freshman numbers RBs and QBs will be in trouble). Kelvin Sheppard will be missed no doubt, but Ryan Baker, Stefoin Francois and Karnell Hatcher will be good replacements.




















3.What are the team’s strengths? The strengths of this team is the run game (Talented and deep ) the O-line 4 starters come back and The secondary looks experienced so does the LB group









4. Who are the teams impact players? QB Jordan Jefferson who was 118-209 for 1411 yards passing looks to help lead this team along with Ware, Ford Jr. and Blue. Rueben Randle and TE Deangelo Peterson looks to help Mr. Jefferson in the passing attack. Baker and Francois look to be great replacements for the departed Kelvin  Sheppard. Also look for cornerbacks Claiborne and Mathieu look to shut down opposing passing attacks this season









5. What is the team weakness? QB Jordan Jefferson he had a solid year but has to improve on the td to interception ratio (4 tds to 9 ints). Steve Kragthorpe the new offense coordinator is going to be the most watched man in the Bayou State, and which Kragthorpe will show up is the question. Will it be the one who had success at Tulsa or the one who bottomed out at Louisville? I believe for probably the first time in LSU football history a weakness is the Special Teams (LSU lost its starting FG kicker, punter, and return specialist), so LSU may want to avoid clutch situations for a few games untill they get that situation figured out.






6. Season projection and projected record - This season LSU has the roughest set of road games in September (at Arlington vs. Oregon, at Mississippi State, and at West Virginia) and on top of that they are home vs. Florida (thankfully) at Tennessee, at Alabama. If LSU can remain healthy, Jordan Jefferson improves his throwing ability, and Miles continues to have luck on his side then look for LSU to AT LEAST win the SEC West conference. LSU’s record ( 11-1 and 7-1 in the SEC).




Monday, August 22, 2011

Sportaholic Tennessee Titans Season Preview

The NFL season is approaching fast and with that in mind, its time to preview teams and project their season outcome. I have enlisted some help in that department, as I have a few guest bloggers to go over a few teams. First up is my good blogging buddy Jim Irwin from Chicago. Jim's blog is titled http://jim-heftyinfo.blogspot.com/ and he has a ton of knowledge for football and (Surprise) Politics. Make sure to check his blog, for easy access just click his link on my blog roll. Jim is in the process of previewing every NFL team in the league and he is so kind to allow us here at the Sportaholic to use his Tennessee Titans article on our site. Now its time to turn Jim loose as he gives us the lowdown on our Titans.








TENNESSEE TITANS







2010 RECORD: 6-10-0


(4th in AFC South)






HEAD COACH: Mike Munchak

By: Jim Irwin






Offense: Matt Hasselbeck (3,001 passing yards with 12 touchdown passes and 17 interceptions in 2010) comes over from the Seattle Seahawks and will be the starter. Rookie Jake Locker (Washington) will back up Hasselbeck.

Hasselbeck will be replacing Vince Young (now with Philadlephia) and the retired Kerry Collins as the quarterback and brings much experience and leadership to the team. He helped lead Seattle to a Super Bowl appearance in 2005.

Chris Johnson ... aka CJ2K is in a holdout and when he does return, he will give the team perhaps the premier running back in the game.

The numbers for Johnson were way down from his 2,000 plus yards rushing season of 2009.

Last season, Johnson gained 1,364 yards rushing for a 4.3 ypc average and scored 11 touchdowns. In addition, Johnson led the Titans with 44 receptions and also had one receiving touchdown. Javon Ringer (239 rushing yards and two TD) will spell Johnson and the fullback is Ahmard Hall.

Kenny Britt (42 catches for 775 yards and nine TD) and Nate Washington (42, 687, six TD) will be the main targets in 2011. Tight End Jared Cook, who made 29 catches for 261 yards last season, is back and will be backed up by Craig Stevens. Justin Gage (20 grabs for 266 yards) and Damian Williams (16 catches) are the other wideouts.

The offensive line consists of center Eugene Amano, tackles David Stewart and Michael Roos and guards Ryan Durand and Leroy Harris.



Defense: This was a unit that would bend but not always break a year ago, evidenced by the numbers.

The Titans finished in the middle of the pack in points allowed (339), but near the bottom of the league in total yardage allowed (368) per game and passing yards (252) as well. The run defense gave up 116 yards per game, which ranked 20th in the NFL.

Up front in the revamped 4-3 defense for the Titans will be ends William Hayes and Jason Jones along with tackles Shaun Smith and rookie Karl Klug (Iowa). There are others who will see action, including rookie Jurrell Casey (USC), along with David Ball, Derrick Morgan and Jovan Haye.

The linebackers also have a rookie starter with Akeem Ayers (UCLA) playing along with Will Witherspoon and Barrett Ruud. Also in the mix are Colin McCarthy, backing up Ruud in the middle and outside linebackers Gerald McRath and Tim Shaw.

The leader in quarterback sacks from a year ago (Jason Babin) is no longer around, but David Ball (seven sacks) is up front for the team, which totaled 40 sacks last season. Jason Jones had 3.5 sacks and Witherspoon three from the linebacker position.

In the secondary, which was a big problem last season, the Titans have Cortland Finnegan and Jason McCourty at the corners with Chris Hope and Michael Griffin (four interceptions) playing the safety spots. Alterraun Verner (three picks), Vincent Fuller, Robert Johnson and Jordan Babineaux will give the Titans depth in the secondary.

The Titans had 17 interceptions last season, but ranked 29th overall against the pass, giving up 252 yards per game. They also were torched frequently by the long pass in 2010 and that has to improve as well.



OUTLOOK: The Titans are looking to unseat the Colts in the AFC South (which they did three years ago) in 2011 but have an uphill battle ahead of them.

The Colts are odds-on favorites in the division with Houston and Tennessee looking to battle for second place this year.

The offense for the Titans still will rely on Johnson (if and when he plays) in 2011, along with Hasselbeck getting acclimated to new Head Coach Mike Munchak's system.

Munchak replaces longtime (former) Head Coach Jeff Fisher for the Titans. In a bizarre scenario following the 2010 season, Fisher announced he wouldn't be back if (former Titans QB) Vince Young remained with the team.

Young departed, but so did Fisher.

It all adds up to a new look for the Titans, as they look to improve an offense that was 27th overall last season, averaging just 302 yards per game. The rushing game was solid, getting 108 per game, but the passing game averaged less than 200 yards per game in 2010 and that must improve.

The team must also score more. The Titans only had 356 points last season and were shut out by Houston (30th ranked defense last year) and had a four-game stretch when they put up just 39 total points in those losses.

The defense is looking to be revamped, especially in the front seven and will look to improve the pass rush and the coverage in the secondary as well.

Look for a 8-8 season from the Titans as they are definitely rebuilding and Hasselbeck will hold the reigns on offense until Locker is ready to take over in the future.



TEAM SCHEDULE:

Week 1- at Jacksonville

Week 2- vs. Baltimore

Week 3- vs. Denver

Week 4- at Cleveland

Week 5- at Pittsburgh

Week 6- BYE WEEK

Week 7- vs. Houston

Week 8- vs. Indianapolis

Week 9- vs. Cincinnati

Week 10- at Carolina

Week 11- at Atlanta

Week 12- vs. Tampa Bay

Week 13- at Buffalo

Week 14- vs. New Orleans

Week 15- at Indianapolis

Week 16- vs. Jacksonville

Week 17- at Houston





Friday, August 19, 2011

Join the Sportaholic crew for the Tennessee Dragons Summer Invitational August 27 and 28th





Looking for professional basketball in the mid-state are? Well look no further as the Tennessee Dragons have you covered with their annual summer invitational. This year promises to be the biggest and best game so far as the Dragons take on Team Japan. The Sportaholic crew will be in attendance for the Tennessee Dragons Summer Invitational on Aug 27 and 28th. We will be broadcasting live on Beatknockin.com radio. This is one of those events you won’t want to miss as it will be more than just a basketball game. Featured guest and events are as follows:




• 3pt competition


• Dunking contest


• Whites Creek High School Dance routine high school


• UBA T.V. will be on hand.


• Beatkockin.com with yours truly, the Sportaholic will be broadcasting live from 10 A.M to 12.


• UBA T.V in attendance

• DJ Whitey will be on the 1s and 2s providing live music


• Lex Top Dollar will be performing for the audience after the game.





This will be one of the best events for basketball in the Nashville area for the year. Tickets are just $5 dollars for adults and kids under 10 are free, the event will be held in Smyrna, Tennessee at Hooptown USA. All proceeds will be donated to Whites Creek H.S. Tennessee Dragons Owner/GM Steven Dolan is the event coordinator and if you have any further questions contact him at http://www.tenndragons.com/. Don’t miss out on one of the premier basketball events in the mid-state area!



















Thursday, August 18, 2011

Sportaholic College Football Preview: USC Trojans

College Football is just around the corner with the first games scheduled on September 1. So with that in mind, we here at the Sportaholic.com figured it was about time to rev up the college football machine and review some local team in our area. With our expanded roster, we now can cover teams from all over the nation but we will start with our home teams. Each week leading up to the season we will have capsules on the University of Tennessee, Vanderbilt University, and Tennessee State University. We will follow those teams with some of the national powers as well, just to make sure we cover all of our bases.

As we continue our journey to the beginning of the college football season, we have a special guest contributor this time around by the name of Trenise Ferreira. She was so gracious to accept our invitation on posting a preview for her beloved USC Trojans. Trenise is the host of her own radio show titled the USC Cold Hard Facts from 10-12 P.M every Friday (So make sure to tune in) and writes her columns for http://www.socalsportshub.com/. We here at the Sportaholic appreciate Trenise for sharing her expertise of the Trojans with us, even if its profiling one of the more despised teams in our state of Tennessee. So without further ado, we present USC's season preview.



USC Football: The Boys Are Back In Town!


By Trenise Ferreira











Well, it’s that time of year again: USC Students are slowly trickling back to campus for the fall semster and the University Bookstore has restocked all things cardinal and gold. This can only mean one thing—football season is upon us!

It’s time for the Trojans to once again put it all on the line and show why we run the Pac-10, er…Pac-12. Last season the Trojans fell short of expectations, but with the tumultuous offseason the team faced, it’s really no surprise. 8-5 for some teams is a good, maybe even great record—not so for the Trojans. The team is definitely entering this season with a Traveler-sized chip on its shoulders.

Because the NCAA upheld its ruling against USC, the Trojans will be ineligible to compete in the inaugural Pac-12 Championship game, which they likely would qualify for.

Outside of that, the Trojans also have a reputation to reestablish after embarrassing back-to-back losses by a field goal to Washington and Stanford, getting destroyed by Oregon for the second year in a row, an unusually sloppy defeat by Oregon State and an I-don’t-even-want-to-talk-about-it loss to Notre Dame.

If we continue to lose to teams that we’ve steamrolled in the past decade, we risk losing our status as a perennial powerhouse. This could negatively impact recruiting with the new additions to the conference and the continued emergence of Stanford and Oregon.

The Trojans will indeed have their work cut out for them, but if quarterback Matt Barkley can utilize all of the offensive weapons he has: Bilitnekoff award prospect and all-world receiver Robert Woods (as well as all the other receivers he can throw to), a talented running back corps that looks to be second only to Oregon in terms of raw talent, and a few incoming freshman that are poised to make an immediate impact—then Trojan fans can expect big things this season.

The Trojan defense—which struggled to adjust to Monte Kiffin’s system—has had a year to work the kinks out and condition themselves to the demands of one of the most versatile defenses to be implemented on any level. Fans can look forward to a more experienced secondary, led by cornerback Nickell Robey and safety TJ McDonald, to bring back the hard-hitting big plays that we’ve all missed.

Even with all the optimism surrounding USC, there is still one very pressing concern for Trojan Nation: Who will be the Trojan’s biggest competition this season?

At the outset, it looks as if Arizona State has emerged as a potential dark horse to win the Pac-12 title, either by default or outright. USC will have to bring it’s A-game to burn out linebacker Vontaze Burfict as well as the Sun Devils’ potent secondary. Pac-12 newcomer Utah also could be a threat to USC, but since Urban Meyer left the school to create a dynasty at Florida, the Utes have struggled against upper echelon BCS opponents.

UCLA is still UCLA, so no challenge there, and Colorado has never beaten the Trojans in school history. USC also faces out of conference opponents Syracuse and Minnesota, but they simply don’t have the firepower to keep up with a squad with the capabilities of USC. Arizona might give the Trojans some trouble because they have a fantastic signal-caller and potential first round pick in Nick Foles, but historically the Trojans have always faired well against the Wildcats.

Washington has beaten ‘SC on a fluke last-minute field goal two years in a row now, but with quarterback Jake Locker now calling shots as a Tennessee Titan, their offense will not be as potent. USC could upstage the Huskies in the Coliseum this season.

Stanford does have one of the best quarterbacks in the Pac-12 and the consensus No. 1 pick for the 2012 NFL Draft. However, USC has a good chance of beating the Cardinal if our defense can step up in big pass situations, which is what killed us last season. We’re helped greatly by the departure of Jim Harbaurgh and 3/5ths of the Stanford offensive line, which created the time that Luck enjoyed in the pocket last year.

The Oregon Ducks will undoubtedly be the Trojans’ toughest match up, and if the Trojans cannot find a way to shut down The Blur for four full quarters—at Oregon nonetheless—the Trojans will once again fall to the Ducks.

The Trojans also will travel to South Bend to face Notre Dame, and after last season’s embarrassing loss the Irish believe that they have what it takes to beat USC.

What they fail to remember is that former 5-star prospect Barkley didn’t play in the game at all, and the offense suffered tremendously under Mitch Mustain’s direction. If Barkley can come into and finish this game strong—which he struggled to do towards the latter half of the season—then the Trojans have a good chance of winning this rivalry game.

The Trojans have a month to get all their ducks in a row, and come out ready to prove that in spite of all the adversity, they are still one of the dominate teams in the Pac-12.

And soon enough it will be time to don to cardinal and gold gear, kick the flag pole for luck, file into the Coliseum, throw up the Fight On, and kick off what will hopefully be a USC-Caliber season.

Game on.









Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Sportaholic College Football Preview: Tennessee Volunteers

College Football is just around the corner with the first games scheduled on September 1. So with that in mind, we here at the Sportaholic.com figured it was about time to rev up the college football machine and review some local team in our area. With our expanded roster, we now can cover teams from all over the nation but we will start with our home teams. Each week leading up to the season we will have capsules on the University of Tennessee, Vanderbilt University, and Tennessee State University. We will follow those teams with some of the national powers as well, just to make sure we cover all of our bases.




To start things off, we will ask just a few basic questions on each team as: Offense, Defense, What are their strengths, What are their weaknesses, Who will be their impact player and What do you project as their season outlook just to name a few. We love college athletics here at the Sportaholic and this just one of many college football posts we have awaiting our viewers this season. So sit back and relax as we here at the Sportaholic preview some of your favorite teams from all over the nation.



University of Tennessee

By Carlos Paige










1. Offense - Tennessee’s offense will revolve around sophomore stud Tyler Bray as he looks to build off an impressive freshman campaign. Bray was 125 of 224 while throwing for 1,849 yards and 18 touchdowns last year. He won SEC freshmen of the week honors three of the four weeks he started last season as well, throwing for more than 300 yards in four games. So you can see why UT fans are antsy to see what Bray can do in a full season of work. Coach Derek Dooley just wants to see more consistency from his QB. The Vols also return 1,000 yard rusher Taurean Poole, who gained those yards running under a inexperienced offensive line. The line should be much improved after a year of experience under their belt, especially young players like Ju'Wuan James, Zach Fulton and James Stone, who all started as true freshman at one point or another last season. Look for sophomore Raijon Neal to take the load off Poole as he did last year and is a good second option for the Vols. 4-star incoming Freshman Marlin Lane has also received a lot praise this spring, as some have even compared him to former UT great Jamal Lewis, so expect for him to steal a few carries from Poole and Neal as well. The receiving core took a couple of big losses in Gerald Jones and Denairus Moore but it opens the door for two talented sophomores in Justin Hunter and Da’Rick Rogers. Both showed flashes of becoming the next great at the school formally known as Wide Receiver U. Hunter is a just a freakish athlete who made multiple spectacular catches and averaged an unheard of 25.9 his freshman year. Rogers, who was more heralded than Hunter coming out of high school, has NFL size and measurables already and made his mark on the offense last year with his versatility. When you add incoming 4-star recruit DeAnthony Arnett in the mix and possibly at the slot receiver, than you have the makings of an explosive effense.







2. Defense – It was tough to watch sometimes for the Vols defense last year, as they lacked the physical bruisers on the interior of the defensive line that you need when you play in the ultra physical SEC. As a result, they allowed 25.1 ppg and 382.2 total ypg in 2010, in other words this was a bad defense. They still face that problem this year as DT Malik Jackson is the only proven big man for the Vols, but they did snag the 2nd rated JUCO defensive tackle in the nation with Maurice Couch. A lot will be riding of the contributions of Couch and converted offensive linemen Daniel Thomas as Tennessee’s much maligned defensive front tries to raise its level of play from last year. The ends will be anchored by Jacques Smith, Willie Bohannon and Marlon Walls who all have experience but will receive expansive time at the position. The linebacker core took a big loss as Junior Herman Lathers suffered an ankle injury that will sideline for a few weeks. He was the teams most experienced player at that position, recording 75 tackles last year. In Lathers absence, seniors Daryl Vereen and Austin Johnson will finally get their shots at starting. They will most likely be joined by one of the two impressive freshman coming into the fray, A.J Johnson and Curt Magiit. The coaches have raved about Magiit as he has wowed everyone in spring practice. He has been exceptional in playing either from the 2.0 stance or the 3.0 and could serve as the all important edge rusher for the Vols. He could also provide depth for the defensive line. The most impressive unit for the Vols has to be the secondary. After a tumultuous off-season, Janzen Jackson returned to bolster an already strong unit. When you couple Jackson with, sophomore Brent Brewer and Prentiss Wagoner at the safety positions then you can see why it should be one the better secondary’s in all of the country. Dooley also recruited well in that department as he landed speedster Justin Coleman and former USC player and transfer Byron Moore. Both of them should push incumbents Marsalis Teague and Eric Gordon for playing time. If the defensive front can at least hold their own, then this could be a surprisingly good defensive unit.



3. What are the team’s strengths? It has to be their athleticism at wideout with Justin Hunter and Da’Rick Rogers. These two will be beasts as they have the size and speed to create problems all over the field. Tyler Bray has a gunslinger mentality so they will have plenty of opportunities. You also can’t forget incoming freshman DeAnthony Arnett at the slot position as his speed will offer a counter to the size of the outside receivers. The Vols will be able to create multiple mismatches with these guys and if they face an inferior secondary then you can forget about it, as Big Orange should put up huge numbers on them.







4. Who are the team impact players? Tyler Bray and Malik Jackson. Both players are the leaders on their respective sides of the ball for the Vols. A lot is expected from Bray after his sensational freshman campaign. And to be realistic he has to be even better than he was last year when there wasn’t any film on him besides his high school days to study. Bray has the chance to follow in the footsteps of the great Peyton Manning as he has all the tools to become that good. His learning curve and ability to lead this team could be the difference in a 6-6 year or a 8-4 year. Malik Jackson is the lone starter on a defensive line that was mediocre at best. The USC transfer produced the most for the Vols recording 5 sacks and 19 tackles as he was named to the AP All-SEC Second Team. He has to be the leader for that unit as they hope to improve to at least average this year in the SEC.





5. What is the team weakness? It has to be the defensive line. The Vols ranked ninth out of twelve teams in the SEC in total defense last year, they were 60th in the nation with 26.0 sacks, and 60th again in the nation in rushing defense. Those numbers will not cut it for a winning club. The Vols as we all know have their problems up front and its difficult to fathom a team that has had greats like Reggie White and Albert Haynesworth (At least while he was in college) now having trouble landing the big time recruits for big men. Hopefully junior college transfer Maurice Couch can provide any type of contribution to Malik Jackson and that would help improve this unit's performance from last year.





6. Season projection and predicted record: I have seen some projections that the Vols will finish second to last in the SEC East and some actually have them winning the East. I say it’s somewhere in-between with this current version of the Vols. I believe this team is good enough to win 8 games this year. It will all depend on how they play early and especially what they do in their first real test of the season versus Florida. If they go out and defeat the Gators, then the season could gain momentum and be a good one. The Vols could be 4-0 entering October, but thats when the real meat and potatoes of the schedule hits Rocky Top. The Vols have one of the toughest stretches for any team in college football as they face Georgia, LSU, Alabama, and South Carolina in consecutive weeks in the month of October. That tough spell will truly test the Vols will. If they could win at least 1 or 2 of those games and finish strong in November as they always do, then they could be on their way to a New Year’s Day bowl game. Realistically, I see the Vols winning 7 games, which will be just the next stepping stone in the rebuilding of the program under Derek Dooley.

Sportaholic College Football Preview: Vanderbilt Commodores

College Football is just around the corner with the first games scheduled on September 1st. So with that in mind, we here at the Sportaholic.com figured it was about time to rev up the college football machine and review some local team in our area. With our expanded roster, we now can cover teams from all over the nation but we will start with our home teams. Each week leading up to the season we will have capsules on the University of Tennessee, Vanderbilt University, and Tennessee State University. We will follow those teams with some of the national powers as well, just to make sure we cover all of our bases.




To start things off, we will ask just a few basic questions on each team as: Offense, Defense, what are their strengths, what are their weaknesses, who will be their impact players and what do you project as their season outlook just to name a few. We love college athletics here at the Sportaholic and this just one of many college football posts we have awaiting our viewers this season. So sit back and relax as we here at the Sportaholic preview some of your favorite teams from all over the nation.




Vanderbilt University Commodores:

By Taylor Cannon



After Head Coach Bobby Johnson resign before the start of the 2010 season, it started a rough ride for the Commodores which ended in a 2-10 record, but with a new offensive minded and driven head coach in James Franklin (For more on Coach Franklin read this one on one interview Carlos wrote on him at http://sportaholic2112.blogspot.com/2011/08/can-james-franklin-change-vanderbilt.html) who hopes to turn a program who is well below .500 in conference play (.248) and barely cracking .500 historically as a program (.498) in wins.


1. Offense – The run game looks to be rock solid (maybe Vandy has one of the most talented backfield in the nation) With Warren Norman and Zac Staley. Franklin is going to have fun trying to find ways of getting them on the field at the same time (maybe he might move Staley to a slot receiver position), but the key has to be the QB position. Larry Smith is the starter but do not be surprised to see true freshman. Lafonte Thourgood seeing some playing time (Virginia Tech wanted him, but VU stole him they even called it one of the signs of the 2012 Apocalypse ) and JUCO transfer Jordan Rodgers (little brother of the Super Bowl MVP Champ Aaron Rodgers) . with receivers John Cole Jonathan Krause, Mackey Award Finalist Brandon Bardon, and converted wideout Wesley Tate hopefully this offense can be quite effective, as injuries plagued the offense last year and in 2009 but if they can stay healthy don’t be surprised to hear the Naval horn sounding off frequently during the season




2. Defense – Vandy’s D is experienced but could be better as upswing Chris Marve returns at LB. It remains to be seen if he can stay healthy, if so he will be a major help and at secondary. Sean Richardson, Kenny Ladler and Casey Hayward should make SEC QBs think twice about passing in their zone and the line is talented as well with Colt Nichter, Josh Jelesky and TJ Greenstone. If the team remains healthy they should be able to do great things and improve on the horrible 31.2 points allowed a game average from last year.







Vandy Coach James Franklin.

3. What are the team’s strengths? 19 starters, a young energetic and positive coach who should play some of his freshman class, a good run game, and a decent secondary. This team played mostly freshman last year, but now they have a year of experience and ready to prove to the conference that they aren’t the same Commodore teams of years past.






Lafonte Thurgood
4. Who are the team’s impact players? Running Backs Zac Staley and Warren Norman on offense. On defense Casey Hayward at Cornerback and Chris Marve at Linebacker. Look for Rodgers and Thourgood to push Quarterback Larry Smith for playing time this season and either one might give Vandy some upside should Mr. Smith is inconsistent or injured.








5. What is the team weaknesses? Youth (Most of last years starters were freshman), defense and adjusting to a new coach. The team hasn’t been healthy enough to show their talent. Offensive line may be a problem with only 9 players from the unit that participated in the spring game, but 5 of them were starters last year so they are experienced but must improve on the 36 sacks (most in the SEC they gave up. Plus a brutal schedule with a stretch of games at South Carolina, at Alabama and home against Georgia will test this young Vanderbilt team for sure






6. Season projection and predicted record: After watching video on Mr. Franklin talk and hearing him on the radio, Vandy has found its coach to take them to the next level and might win SEC coach on the year this season. This team is a sleeper if they can be healthy and feed off their energetic coach I predict 7-5 (key wins over Ole Miss Georgia and Kentucky) should have them here in the Music City Bowl. Even if they do not become bowl eligible this team might be the most exciting football team to watch in Nashville.





Monday, August 15, 2011

Weekend Round-up Aug, 15 2011

Weekends like the one that just passed is what I live for as a Sportaholic, as it was great action across the board in various sports. I was able to have the high of seeing my beloved football this weekend, as the NFL finally got back on the field. I was also hit with a low as Dan Uggla’s 33-game hit streak came to an end after a great catch by Cubs 2nd baseman Darwin Barney made a spectacular catch to ice Dan’s historic steak. Serena Williams continued her path back to the top of women’s tennis as she won yet another tournament (The Rogers Cup) coming off of her injury and looks to be rounding into form just in time for the US open. And low and behold, Keegan Bradley, an American won the PGA championship tournament ending a major drought that hasn’t seen an American win a major since Phil Mickelson won the 2010 Masters championship. Even college football is making waves as conference realignment has reared its head again with Texas A&M supposedly headed to the SEC, only to have to pump the brakes and be on temporary hold until the most powerful college conference decides just how it this to shake out. .




A wild weekend of finishes, rumors and pressure filled tournaments to get me fired up and ready to go on this Monday, so lets jump right into things.



Dan Uggla streaking no more: The Atlanta Braves 2nd baseman finally had his 33-game streak snapped as he went 0-3 against the Cubs on Sunday. The streak which started way back on July 4th saw Uggla raise his average from .171 to .231 and he hit 15 home runs during that span as well. The steak may have very well have continued if it wasn’t for the web gem Darwin Barney made on Uggla’s third at bat. The Cubs 2nd basemen busted it over from his position on a sinking liner and made a leaping catch that most 2nd basemen including Uggla would not have made. Uggla said as much when interviewed on ESPN’s Baseball Tonight, “I wish I was playing 2nd on my hit, because I ain’t making that play/” joked the Braves 2nd basemen. As much as I hate to see his streak end, his team the Braves is in good position for the playoffs as they are leading the NL wildcard by 2 games over Arizona.



Serena wins the Rogers Cup: It has been a long winding road for Williams who has endeared a tough year to say the least. The former number 1 ranked Williams sister seems to have found her grove as she won her 2nd tournament of the year and is heating up right before the US open. She defeated Samantha Stosur 6-4 6-2 as she dominated the Australian in straight sets. Williams was sidelined just days after her Wimbledon victory last summer, first with a foot injury sustained when she stepped on a piece of glass in a restaurant in Germany, and then diagnosed with pulmonary embolism in her lungs late this summer. Said Williams: I consider myself a favorite to just do what I can do best, if that means winning the U.S. Open, obviously I want to,'' she said. "I went through a lot of things physically and mentally and emotionally, and going through so much, I'm just taking it one day at a time and just going with it.'' Williams will continue her comeback and with this win she put the women’s tennis world on notice that she is back.



Keegan Bradley wins the PGA Championship: It had been awhile since an American had won a prestigious major and the boys across the pond had no shame in telling us about it, until now. Bradley became the first major winner for the Americans in 5 majors as he captured a heart stopping and epic PGA Championship. On a week where Tiger Woods was no where to be found on the leader board, Bradley and fellow American Jason Dunfer staged a mano e mano battle for the championship. Bradley who is also a PGA rookie, hit an assortment of wild shots that got him into contention after Dunfer looked as if he would run away with the win. Dunfer squandered a 5-stroke lead and Bradley capitalized as he forced a playoff and would eventually win. It was great to see two contrasting personalities going all in as Bradley was the picture of exuberance and Dunfer had a cool and calm demeanor. The end result was that America rightfully owned a major and it came in dramatic fashion.



Texas A&M to the SEC? Not so fast: The SEC has rebuffed the Aggies for the time being it their bid to become the 13th SEC school. Per Florida president Bernie Machen: "The SEC Presidents and Chancellors met today and reaffirmed our satisfaction with the present 12 institutional alignment. We recognize, however, that future conditions may make it advantageous to expand the number of institutions in the league. We discussed criteria and process associated with expansion. No action was taken with respect to any institution including Texas A&M." Long story short, The SEC decided to let the process of adding another member play itself out. In the world we live in today its easy to get phony info and anything else off the internet but its hard to figure out the truth from the rumors. Texas A&M more than likely will eventually land in the SEC just not at this current moment. Plenty of legal play will be involved which means more time before this one comes to fruition. Hold your horses just a bit longer Aggies fans, but your day of SEC play should be on its way.



Tennessee Titans win their first pre-season game over the Minnesota Vikings: The Titans kicked off a new era, as this was the first official game under new Head Coach Mike Munchak. So it goes without saying that the Titans wanted to make sure to get the win for their newly minted coach. We all know it’s a preseason game but no matter what you do, you win it,” Munchak said. I personally wanted to see how Matt Hasselbeck would respond as it was reported that he was struggling in the new system of Chris Palmer and the Titans offense. Hasselbeck went 5-6 for 55 yards and even rookie Jake Locker got in on the action as he tossed a 45-yard bomb to Yamon Figurs on a busted play to begin with. Locker botched the snap, then picked the ball and delivered a perfect strike for the touchdown. “Crazy way to have your first touchdown pass, but again, that will be a great story for him to tell,” Hasselbeck said of Locker’s TD.Locker ended the game with an impressive 130.0 QB rating and was 7-10 for 89 yards. The Titans looked impressive on the defensive side of the ball as well as they held the Vikings to just 3 points for the whole game. The defense looked more disciplined as they forced two turnovers on Minnesota’s offense.



All in or in all a good start to the season for the Titans as they saw some things they can build off of going into the season. Both QBs looked sharp and look to get better with every snap under their belt. Even Stefon Johnson, the USC product who suffered a season ending ankle injury, got iinto the action and ran over a couple of Vikings in the process. The Titans next pre-season game is this Saturday against the St. Louis Rams as they try to improve as much as they can before their first regular season game.



Notes: Titans DE Derrick Morgan(notes) had a sack. The first-round draft pick a year ago, Morgan is coming back after tearing his left ACL in his fourth game. … Griffin is returning from knee surgery after tearing an ACL in October, and Shiancoe was out this week with a hamstring injury … Asher Allen(notes) started for Griffin, and Kleinsasser started for Shiancoe. … The Titans sat WR Kenny Britt(notes) and DT Sen’Derrick Marks(notes), and rookie Karl Klug(notes) started for Marks. Justin Gage(notes) started for Britt. The Titans also scratched S Robert Johnson(notes) (hamstring) and Nick Schommer(notes) (hamstring) and LS/LB John Stokes(notes) (shoulder).