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Friday, February 10, 2006

From Vol-Addict: HOMER and SHEEP defined

Some of the other guys could probably give a better definition of 'homer' and 'sheep' but I will take a shot at it anyway.

IMO, a "homer" is someone who absolutely refuses to look at their favorite sports team objectively. They get very defensive whenever anyone criticizes their team, the coaches, or any other aspect of the program, no matter how valid the criticism might be. They basically have their head in the sand, and they don't want to hear any bad news, even if it is legitimate news. They want to think that EVERYTHING is 100% wonderful, and they often lash out at people who offer criticism (even constructive criticism that might be on target).

For example, someone with homer tendencies might tend to "buy into" spin that attempts to show the program in the best possible light, but may not be the most objective description of the situation. I think many fans fall into this category, and I don't think there is any big problem with this either.

To some extent, most fans have some homer tendencies, IMO. I probably have some myself, even though I try extremely hard to look at everything as "dispassionately" as possible (from being forced to do that as an auditor for 28 years).

The "homers" I have a problem with are the ones who will defend Fulmer 100% of the time, even when criticism is EXTREMELY valid, and they attack those who are actually trying to look at the situation dispassionately and objectively. They try to spin things in the most positive light possible, even when the actual record is quite poor. I don't have that problem very often, but it has happened occasionally.

And I expect it will happen a lot less often in the future because even the "homers" have been forced to acknowledge that there were huge problems this past season that the coaching staff did not handle very well. I think even the least objective fans were forced to acknowledge some of the problems this past season, and so they will be less likely to attack those who offer constructive criticism in the future.

As for the definition of "sheep," I would say that "sheep" are those fans who "blindly" follow the leaders (Fulmer, etc.) without ever "questioning" anything the leaders do or say. They have 100% confidence in the coaching staff and think they are more than capable of addressing every single problem that arises. It is an unrealistic mind set, IMO, and that is why those fans are called "sheep."

Hopefully the above comments will give you a general idea of what we are referring to when we call fans "homers" or "sheep."

Discuss in the FORUMS

Thursday, February 09, 2006

FosterMom Wants To Know What Will It Take For Fans To Believe In Phil Fulmer Again

Here is what the
  • Tennessee Vol Blog
  • has to say about the topic.

    You can see that there is lot of doubt in the minds of UT fans on whether Phil Fulmer can turn things around. As one poster at OutMonVOLia stated, Phil Fulmer has never had to build or re-build a college football program. He inherited a pretty rock-solid program when he was inserted as the head coach at UT. Read the posts and feel free to add your response.

    Friday, February 03, 2006

    GreatGourdAlmighty's "Airball!!!!!!!!"

    So PF’s attempt to close out recruiting with a trey from downtown falls to the floor without ever threatening the rim. Airball. 0-5 from the field. I choose the basketball analogy on purpose because the contrast between the UT football and basketball programs is so unbelievably striking right now. What I take away from NSD isn’t so much that we signed lower ranked players than usual, or that we should be “disappointed” in the quality of players – that may or may not translate onto the field 2 or 3 years from now. What gets me is that PF continues to find ways to disappoint and de-energize the fan base, while Pearl achieves success after success and creates a fever pitch around the basketball program.I don’t pretend to be an expert on recruiting, but I do know a lot about business strategy and brand management, and the role of the CEO in building successful organizations and brands. This recruiting finish is another in a long line of communications, decisions and actions that produce the end result of leaving fan base (customer) feeling like it’s been collectively kicked in the groin. Performance/expectations = perception. Perception matters a lot and it’s a CEOs job to manage it. PF’s failure has been nothing short of epic.The failure to produce a positive “surprise” on signing day, coupled with the loss of another top recruit to Ears, and whiffing on two-team battles with the likes of West Virginia and North Carolina….in essence, the airball at the buzzer….means that once again the Vols underperform, and Big Orange football brand loses value with existing and potential fans and players. This, on the heels of- Off the field embarrassments, including assault and battery- a debacle of a season- Being mocked by the national media, which, love them or hate them, matters a lot when you are committed to a national recruiting strategy - muddled CEO communications that fail to take full accountability or outline a clear turnaround strategy- executive hiring decisions that are at best boringly pragmatic, and at worst, the re-hiring of Ole Miss retreads that ignore the demographics of our recruiting baseEven IF the sum total of these “moves” is marginally better performance on the field next year, the damage to the brand has already been done and will take years to recover. There are absolutely ZERO rational reasons to be excited about, and pay a premium for, the Big Orange brand. ZERO. And by the way, “paying a premium” in the recruits’ eyes is leaving the home state or turning down another premium brand program, so this perception stuff has real business consequences. So I see the recruiting finish more as another damaging, de-energizing blow to brand/perception than a good or bad recruiting haul…whether the actual players pan out or not, who knows? Meanwhile, Bruce Pearl is demonstrating masterful leadership on all dimensions. Granted, he has the advantage of being new and inheriting low expectations. But even if the wins weren’t coming as quickly, he would still be articulating a clear strategy, producing an entertaining product, energizing the student body and demonstrating a knowledge of Tennessee history/pride. He is actively building the brand on AND off the court. He not only “gets it”, he manages “it”…actively. Actually, the only sign of life from PF is that he is consistently showing up in his size XXXL sweater vest next to Pearl’s bench. Unfortunately, it just reminds everyone what an inarticulate blob he is next to a leader like Pearl.

    Click here for the forum topic

    Wednesday, February 01, 2006

    Vols Recruiting Class of 2006

    K Chad Cunningham
    LB Dorian Davis
    DE Walter Fisher
    DT Blake Garretson
    S Justin Garrett
    WR Quintin Hancock
    OL Ramone Johnson
    K Daniel Lincoln
    RB Dustin Lindsey
    OL Jacques McClendon
    OL Darrius Myers
    DE Chase Nelson
    OL Cody Pope
    WR Stephaun Raines
    DT Jarrod Shaw
    TE Lee Smith
    QB Nick Stephens
    TE Luke Stocker
    DE Victor Thomas
    LB LaMarcus Thompson
    WR Brent Vinson
    LB Gerald Williams

    List and Bios

    SoCalVol's AniVOL Farm

    Fulmer's state of the "Union"...
    and "Union" is the proper term. UT football, under Fulmer now sits proudly alongside such great "leadership" models as the teamsters and UAW.

    All three are firmly grounded in the Orwellian "Animal Farm" brand of "communism". And for all the hard-working, honest, decent auto workers and trucking folk, no disrespect, but these "organizations", along with an equal measure of bad, corrupt, non-union management have all but destroyed two American industries that were once dominant. The "Animal Farm" only last as long as the next coup is ready to revolt.

    The bottom-line, at least to me, and to Fulmer (at one time), was that UT, with it's massive budget, facilities, best conference, best atmosphere...has no excuse to NOT play for National Championships. Fulmer, himself used this "mantra" as a battle cry, and gained great favor upon taking the HC job...and what set him apart day one from "Old Major", I mean, Majors.

    The sheeple, the "ignorant masses", whomever can compare and contrast UT and Ole Miss, Vandy, Arkansas or whatever "alsoran" program and atttach some sort of "esteem", but unless that NC Goal has changed, the ONLY thing that matters is how UT is positioned vs those that more than likely will be playing for the NC's...
    USC, Texas, Florida, OSU, OU, Miami, FSU, LSU and maybe a few others like Mich, ND and UGA/Auburn, etc.

    As long as there is ONE program, so far ahead of UT in talent and coaching, like USC the hope of any shot at a NC is fast approaching zero.

    USC, has averaged over 4*'s in talent in the past four years, they like the other powers play a game that looks nothing like what UT under Fulmer has put on the field in recent memory. They have a professional staff, that is young, energetic, competent and play, not only to win, but to demoralize opponents. Other programs are close and have legit shots to, simply by the "fruit" of their well managed organizations.

    What has changed for the worse? Neyland?, Gibbs?, the UT academic support? the indoor practice facility? the budget?, UT's acadmic hurdles for a SA's?

    It is Fulmer that has changed, or simply been revealed for what he has been all along, but is simply not willing to accept the change in the game and his own conference. As he has attained "more to lose", he has done less, and surrounded himself with "yes" men, and "advisers" that are not threat to him. (Just as Napoleon did in AF). The truly virtuous (and competent), "Snowball's (Berry, Marrone, and to some degree Trooper) have either been run off or "knocked back down" into the party line. Orwell aptly named Snowball, because he did not stand a chance in hell...

    Fulmer has made a career of NOT maximizing potential and talent, but by living off the incompetence of others like Goff, Donnen, and Dubose. I sincerely think he is no better coach than these guys, but just had a much better program to attract talent that pounded these hapless leaders. Bama has not been "Bama" during Fulmer's entire HC career, and Phil has done all he can, to keep it that way...mostly off the field. How Bama kept some of those games even close it a tribute to their uniforms.

    Fulmer lacks personal discipline, abhors decisions-making of any type and is simply not an "alpha male"...he would make a good Union shop steward, but those guys are usually about themselves and their "buds", not the best interest of the "customer", stock holder, or bottom-line.

    He is a control-freak, that does not delegate and then controls next to nothing, except the out put and potential of the program, as a result of his lack of vision, slow twitch decision-not making, discipline...and yes, character. The sheeple want to praise him as a "Good Christian Man" (I have no idea if he is or not, and am not a theologian...don't even know how to spell it), but have read the parable of talents, and Phil does not approach his "stewardship" of this program in a WWJD manner. He may be the man with one talent, but then just as predictable as he has been to the AF model, he buries the talent in a hole...JC called this "wicked".

    Player, Parent, Alum, Sidewalk Alum, Fan...whatever is owed more than this...because the ONLY ones that do not suffer from this brand of "stewardship/leadership" are the middle aged, tubby guys, who's checks keep clearing.

    The ONLY question now (unless you believe that you will get a different output from the same or less inputs) is:
    what is the final & total cost UT's upper management (if there is such a thing), is going to bear at the expense of all those "stake holders". Fulmer has created this mess with his own actions, non-actions and denial...much like a prisoner who arrogantly approaches a "parole board" with no acceptance of responsibilty, contrition or is always someone else's fault...and stoops as low as to blame "kids", whom he has failed to teach fundamentals and discipline.

    Put him "back out on the street" and the overwhelming evidence is that he will be back before the "parole board" again for the same "offense"...UT's admin has used the same approach with Fulmer as he has with players, and you wonder why so many "kid's" dreams are dashed, seriously injured and simply unfulfilled.

    UT's football HC position is no different than any other "job" except it pays more than most. It is a special postition, in that he is in a position to teach and mold future "role models" (or cast offs), depending on the job he does. It is not a lifetime position like a the Pope or a Supreme Court is just a job that requires basic skills that maximize the overall value of the inputs. Again, is the overall program less? Has that program failed to attract more than adequate talent? What's the problem here? Judging from a quick look at the "nations top 150" some of the best are just not willing to "roll the dice" on UT under Fulmer, too much at stake, dispite all the great things the overall program is.

    Link to Forum Topic