Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

Sports Columns

July 19, 2013

Rocky Top Beat: Jones taking UT in positive direction

I hope by now that everyone had a chance to see the SEC Media Days appearance of Coach Butch Jones. He did Tennessee proud once again! He continues to do and say all the right things since his arrival on Rocky Top. No wonder the culture around the program has headed in a positive direction.

The combination of Butch Jones, with UT's facilities and the traditions surrounding the program, continue to bring in recruits. This week Jones added four star safety Cortez McDowell from Georgia as the latest addition to the 2014 class. Whether he ends up at free safety or linebacker, Cortez has a decent chance to see the field early. This recruit comes with a bonus — he also plans to play baseball for the Vols. 

The Vols now have the game times set for the first three games. The first game is set for a 6 p.m. EDT kickoff, but unfortunately it will be available only on pay-per- view for those not headed to Neyland Stadium for the opener Aug. 31. 

The second game Sept. 7 against Western Kentucky will be a 12:21 p.m. EDT kickoff and will be carried on the Vol Network locally. The Oregon away game is being carried by ABC, which had been previously announced, with a 2:30 p.m. CDT kickoff. 

This past weekend Johnny Majors gathered at Lake Tansi with his former players, coaches, friends and family. Most of the tournament was business as usual — complete this year with Johnny and his teammate Stockton Adkins' demonstration of the quick kick from the single wing formation on the sixth tee. 

There was one deviation from prior years with proceeds from the golf tournament going to a former Vol football player that has been dealing with major health care expenses. 

Mike Cofer played for the Vols from 1979-1982. He then went to the NFL where he also had a long career with the Detroit Lions. Mike has resided in the Atlanta area since leaving the NFL and has seen his retirement dreams turn into a nightmare because of a rare incurable disease that prevents the digestion of proteins in his body. That leads to the proteins settling in major organs, which is very debilitating and expensive to treat. 

Mike has seen most of his assets used to pay for ever-increasing medical expenses. Many have stepped up to help in recent months and this year the Johnny Majors Invitational has earmarked all the proceeds to benefit him. 

The Big Orange Nation will be hearing more from another Cofer family member in the very near future. Phillip, Mike’s son, recently committed to play basketball at Tennessee and is part of the 2014 recruiting class. 

With the 2013 Media days now in the books, football is really just around the corner. Today we only have 43 days until Coach Jones leads the Vols through the T. Go Vols!!

(Frank Gale is a Chronicle correspondent and his column appears regularly.)

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