By Frank Gale
August has finally arrived, and the Vols will be headed east to Milligan College for a five-day football camp. The players will be out in the middle of nowhere between Johnson City and Elizabethan, TN. Don’t under estimate the effect this little hiatus might have on this team.
Ever see the movie Remember the Titans? Coach Dooley can only hope that this short camp away from Knoxville pays similar dividends. Time will tell.
Coach Dooley can use some of the time they are away at camp to re-focus Tyler Bray. Some of the quarterback’s decisions while he has been on Rocky Top have not been the best. For this team to reach their potential this season, Bray will have to emerge as a leader both on and off the field.
For Lady Vol fans, this has been a special week at the Olympics, watching Candace Parker lead an all-star line up against the world in quest of a gold medal. Having former Lady Vol Tamika Catching as a teammate certainly is a plus. Despite having Geno Auriemma as a head coach, you have to like the team’s chances to bring home the ‘gold.'
Between now and Aug. 31, the Vols will become familiar with a few new rules that take effect this season. Over the next few weeks, I will try and highlight a few changes that will have an impact on NCAA football in the fall.
The first significant change involves a helmet coming off during live play. The NCAA has become very concerned with players losing their head gear either by poor strapping or an improper fit.
This season if a player loses his helmet during a live play, he will be required to leave the field for the subsequent play. Basically, it will be handled the same as an injury where the player has to sit out the next play because it caused the official to stop the clock to deal with the issue.
This new rule comes with an exception. If the loss of the helmet can be associated with an opponent’s foul, such as a face mask, then the player will not be required to leave the field for one play.
By rule, any infraction by the offense will require a run-off when there is 10 or less seconds left in the game. Only a timeout can save that run-off. It might be prudent for teams to keep a time out to guard against any potential run-offs at the end of a game. Hopefully, the so called "Dooley Rule," which came about after the Music City fiasco, will not come back and bite the Vols down the road.
I guess all that is left now as we count down to kickoff, is waiting for some words of wisdom from our No.1 Vanderbilt fan, Jim Butler (somehow using No. 1 and Vanderbilt in the same sentence just seems odd).
I understand that finding words that put a positive spin on Commodore football takes time, but come on Jim, the season is almost here.
Meanwhile for Big Orange fans, the wait is almost over — only 28 more days! Go Vols!
(Frank Gale is a Chronicle correspondent and his column appears regularly.)