AN OPPOSING VIEW
John Adams has been a columnist at the Knoxville News-Sentinel for 28 years. He’s also had stints in Jackson, Miss., Baton Rouge, La., and Jacksonville, Fla. So the man knows his SEC football.
And he knows Vols’ football quite well — to the chagrin of many a Tennessee fan. This is a man who’s not afraid to share his opinion, which often runs contrary to those who bleed orange. It’s not that he dislikes UT or its fans. It’s just that he’s cold in his objectivity and unblinking on his view point.
And when it comes to a sense of humor, Adams is dry as chalk. His video feature for the Knoxville News-Sentinel’s GoVolsXtra.com called “Serious Football with John Adams” is must-view sports entertainment, in my opinion. He weighs in on mascot inadequacies between Georgia and Tennessee this week.
So it is with great honor that I present Adams — the 2015 Front Page Follies Honoree — as this week’s guest for An Opposing View. Be sure to read his columns at GoVolsXtra.com. You can also follow him on Twitter @JohnAdamKNS, though he’s not what I’d call a tweet hound.
Now, on to the questions. …
1. Obviously there was a lot of excitement and optimism regarding Tennessee’s fortunes in 2015. Were a lot of people just off the mark or has there been development that the Vols simply couldn’t overcome to find themselves in this position at this juncture
Adams: The optimism and preseason ranking were justified. UT should be 5-0 and in the top 10.
2. Let’s just cut right to the chase: Butch Jones, in over his head or needs more time? Unlucky late in games or poor coaching?
Adams: This is the first season in which he had sufficient talent to judge him as a coach. His game-day decisions have puzzled media and enraged fans.
3. As for the whole coaching dominoes at UT since Phillip Fulmer’s departure, should that serve as a cautionary tale for Georgia as the Bulldogs grapple with Mark Richt’s being good but not great enough to get them the biggest trophies? In the same vein, what’s the general opinion in your neck of the woods about Richt and his UGA program?
Adams: Different situations. Fulmer had two losing seasons in his last four years, and his recruiting dropped off dramatically. Richt’s teams consistently have contended for division championships, and he routinely has recruited top-10 classes. Richt’s record speaks for itself. He’s won a lot of games and lasted a long time in a conference where coaches come and go at a rapid-fire pace. But unlike in other successful programs in the conference, his best teams have failed to win a national championship. Georgia always seem to play an inexplicably bad game once a season — last season against Florida, for example; and last week against Alabama.
4. What’s the deal with quarterback Josh Dobbs so far this season? Is he capable of being a more complete quarterback from a passing standpoint or is he being limited because of the Vols’ issues at wide receiver?
Adams: Dobbs isn’t a precise passer, but he’s better than his stats suggest. Play-calling, pass protection, and dropped passes all factor in. Passing inconsistency aside, he’s one of the best running quarterbacks in the country. Yet he only had seven carries against Arkansas. Go figure.
5. Finally, what do you think about Saturday’s matchup? Where do you think the Vols have an edge and how important is it that they win this game?
Adams: Tennessee has to beat Georgia to have a successful season, because it’s not going to beat Alabama in Tuscaloosa. Given UT’s talent, a 7-5 season would be a failure. But if Tennessee plays up to its potential, there’s no reason it can’t beat Georgia. This isn’t one of Richt’s more talented teams, and lesser Tennessee teams than this one have played better Georgia teams close.
Prediction: With Tennessee playing at home, this is a game it should win. But then, you could say the same for its home losses to Oklahoma and Arkansas.