Sanger expresses national security, foreign policy concerns

Three-time Pulitzer Prize winner David E. Sanger expressed concerns about national security, foreign policy and the presidency during a lecture hosted by the University of Tennessee Campus Events Board’s Issues Committee in Alumni Memorial Building Thursday, Jan. 25.

Sanger, a veteran correspondent for The New York Times, divided his lecture into three topics: Trump’s rhetoric and foreign policy, North Korea and cyber security.

Sanger discussed issues surrounding President Trump’s controversial rhetoric. He noted the president’s resistance to respond to foreign policy questions with an example from an early interview.

Sanger questioned foreign policy in the American nuclear umbrella asking, “will you pull American troops out of the Pacific?” Trump ignored Sanger’s question twice during the interview. Finally, the president answered Sanger’s third attempt saying, “they can do what they want.”

Sanger likened Trump’s campaign to Charles Lindbergh’s 1940 “America First” campaign. Trump responded, “America First….I like the sound of that.”

Trump’s response troubled Sanger because global perspective is increasingly important, especially given recent threats from North Korea.

Issues Committee member Avery Arons said, “My biggest takeaway from Sanger’s lecture was his point on North Korea. Our issues with North Korea are a clear problem, and they could be coming to a head very soon.”

Sanger said Trump faces one of the most unlucky presidential positions since the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962. For the past 25 years, sitting presidents have given little attention to North Korea’s Nuclear Missile program. North Korea did not successfully launch a missile until 2017.

Now, North Korea possesses nuclear weapons capable of destruction. Trump remains skeptical of North Korea using a nuclear missile on an American city, but Trump must decide to what degree he will attempt to prevent a nuclear strike.

Sanger said Trump has two options: speak with North Korea and contain their nuclear capabilities or take military action. Sanger also said if talks with North Korea are to happen, Trump needs to avoid Twitter. Trump has tweeted about the North Korean crisis, and such tweets have only created bigger barriers between the United States and North Korea.

Sanger finished his lecture with cyber security analysis. U.S. intelligence tied Russian hackers to the Democratic National Convention and 2016 election. Sanger compared the incidents to the Watergate scandal. Then, Sanger discussed potential impacts on democracy and other global threats from cyber-attacks. He listed examples of cyber hacking and manipulation in companies and foreign powers.

For example, Sanger mentioned the 2014 Sony Pictures hack. North Korea sponsored a hacker group to destroy Sony’s internet servers after the film company released “The Interview,” a comedy poking fun at North Korea.

“I think Sanger’s discussion on cyber-attacks was incredibly interesting, and I was happy that he gave a realistic portrait of what the rest of the world thinks of President Trump’s foreign policies,” Issues Committee Chairman Dylan Douglas said.

In addition to his national security reporting, Sanger authored two best-sellers: “Confront and Conceal” and “The Inheritance.”

Featured Image from TNJN

Edited by Lexie Little and Taylor Owens

Matchups to watch for as Tennessee travels to Missouri

Photo by Ben Proffitt.

This weekend, Tennessee (4-5, 0-5 SEC) travels to Columbia to take on the (4-5, 1-4 SEC) Missouri Tigers. The Vols are coming off a much needed win over Southern Miss last Saturday, and now they are looking to win their first SEC win of the season.

Here are some of the most important matchups to look for this Saturday as Tennessee takes on Missouri.

Will McBride vs. Missouri Defense

Quarterback Will McBride received his first action last week against a decent Southern Miss football team. His stats were not overly impressive, as he only accumulated one completion during the contest. However, McBride showed poise as he stepped into a leading role after the loss of the previous starter – Jarret Guarantano – who suffered an ankle injury.

McBride has been doing well in practice this week and has been studying the new-defensive style that Missouri has adopted after firing ex-defensive coordinator DeMontie Cross. Missouri head coach Barry Odom has assumed the duties of defensive coordinator, and he likes to have an aggressive front line with a 3-4 defensive scheme. It will be interesting to see how McBride and the Tigers play as they both settle into new roles.

John Kelly vs. Missouri D-Line

Running back John Kelly had a great game last week against Southern Miss with two touchdowns on the game. After a brief hiatus from playing, he returned with a very dominant performance which will hopefully stretch throughout the remainder of the season. Kelly has performed well against most of the defensive lines he has faced this season, but it could be a different story this weekend.

The Missouri D-line is hungry for another SEC win, and they are trying to find new life after parting ways with their previous defensive coordinator. Missouri’s defense as a whole is ranked 13th this season – second-to-last – but their D-line is tied for sixth in the SEC. The D-line is lead by Terry Beckner Jr. and Marcell Frazier who have combined for 9.5 sacks on the season and a combined 15 tackles for loss. It will be interesting to see which side of the ball prevails as we watch these players square up on Saturday.

Missouri’s Receiving Core vs. Tennessee’s Secondary

Mizzou’s receivers have amounted for most of the scoring this year with 31 touchdowns on the season. J’Mon Moore, Emanuel Hall, Albert Okwuegbunam, and Johnathon Johnson are the primary playmakers to look for on Saturday. It will be interesting to see how Rashaan Gaulden and Nigel Warrior defend against this elite receiving core. Missouri is ranked sixth in the SEC in red-zone conversions and second in total passing offense.

If Gaulden and Warrior take Missouri to lightly, it could spell game over for the Volunteers secondary, and ultimately for the defense as a whole. However, if Tennessee can contain these playmakers, then that could make Missouri’s offense one dimensional, which could potentially lead Tennessee to their first SEC win.

Edited by Ben McKee

Photo by Ben Proffitt.

Rocky Topics: Can Tennessee basketball go dancing in March?

Photo by Brad Blackwelder.

The Tennessee Volunteers tipoff its 2017-18 basketball season Friday night against Presbyterian. The Volunteers were picked to finish 13th in the conference, but many feel as if Rick Barnes and the Vols are underrated. Caleb Souders and Sean Stumpfl discuss whether or not Tennessee will be heading to the big dance in March.

Stumpl: The Vols finished last season ranked 12th in the SEC, with a 15-19 record and just six conference wins. Tennessee’s less than perfect season is nothing to boast about, but there are some arguments that can be made as to why the Vols did not perform very well.

For starters, Rick Barnes was only in his second season with the Vols which poses the idea that he is still trying to discern what kind talent he has on his team. Coach Barnes runs a pretty high-tempo offense which is good for guys who can score like Robert Hubbs and Grant Williams.

On another note, the Vols lost one of their best rebounders due to injury in forward John Fulkerson. The redshirt-freshman averaged four rebounds-per-game before his injury, which was a huge asset to the Volunteer offense. Of course, Admiral Schofield tried his best to pick up the slack, but not having two dominant forces inside the paint was a major set back. If the Vols can stay healthy, they might be able to win a few more conference games.

Souders: When the SEC media picks came out and this team was picked to finish second-to-last in 2017-18 in the conference I was shocked. Being as close to the program as all of us students are, we are a little biased, but the expectations are certainly dance-or-bust for Rick Barnes this season.

With the experience Tennessee has gained in James Daniel III and Chris Darrington, two high-scoring guards that fit well in Barnes’ system, the Vols could make a serious push in SEC play and especially when it comes tournament time.

Tennessee was on fire in the Carson-Newman game, given it was an exhibition game, and possibly the weakest team Tennessee will face all year, but they still performed well. Yves Pons, the prized recruit of Rick Barnes this season, is a high-flying player that could really electrify the second unit of the Vols this year.

Dunks aren’t everything, but they sure do electrify a crowd.

Stumpfl: The Volunteers are hungry for a positive season this year, and I think they have key players who are going to rise to the occasion. On too many occasions last season, the Vols came up short in the final minutes of games, most notably against their conference rival Georgia.

Besides winning conference games, the Vols will have the advantage of hosting some prominent non-conference teams at Thompson-Boling. These teams include No. 9 North Carolina and Georgia Tech. Tennessee will be in a great position if they can come away with a win in these games specifically.

Souders: I fully expect Tennessee to win 20 games this season. If they do not, the Vols could be searching for a new coach in 2018. Barnes, in his three years thus far in Knoxville, hasn’t upset fans due to a sort of rebuild mode after Cuonzo Martin left for California several years ago.

Now the wounds are healed and Tennessee has some serious talent on the court, Barnes is fully expected to finish in at least the top-six of the conference and make a push for the NCAA Tournament. The Vols took soon-to-be National Champion North Carolina to the wire last season in Chapel Hill, and are fully capable of competing with teams of that caliber this season.

Edited by Ben McKee

Feature image courtesy of Brad Blackwelder

Five things that Tennessee needs to do to beat Kentucky

Photo by Sumner Gilliam

Tennessee and Kentucky are coming off blowout losses, as the two programs are set to clash in Lexington on Saturday night. The Vols are coming off a 45-7 loss to Alabama, while the Wildcats traveled down to Starkville last Saturday and lost 45-7.

While both teams are down in the dumps following last weekend, Tennessee has hit rock-bottom, whereas Kentucky still has a possible path to make it to Atlanta as the SEC East champions. Forget about the drama surrounding head coach Butch Jones. The Vols are headed to Lexington without their best player.

On Tuesday night, star running back John Kelly was cited for having marijuana in his vehicle along with freshman linebacker Will Ignont. Kelly was pulled over due by the Knoxville Police Department due to a busted headlight, and that is when KPD smelled marijuana coming from the car.

Following the citation, Kelly and Ignont were suspended for this Saturday’s game by Jones on Wednesday afternoon. Despite everything going on off the field in Knoxville, here’s what Tennessee needs to do in order to beat Kentucky.

Find more production in the passing game

From the moment Tennessee started the season, the offense seems to have become very one dimensional in their efforts to score. It’s possible that the quarterback situation has contributed to the offense’s mediocrity, but if you look at the play calling from the South Carolina game, it is apparent that Coach Jones isn’t taking any chances down field.

For example, Jarret Guarantano only had four completed passes in the first half against South Carolina, which only amounted to 54 yards.  However, if you look at the Vols last offensive drive of that game, Guarantano had four completed passes for 72 yards that got the Vols down to the two-yard-line. It’s very clear that if Butch gives Guarantano more opportunities to pass the ball, he could have had a more successful game and possibly a win. If Guarantano shows up ready to play on Saturday, the volunteers could have a very good chance of beating the wildcats.

Ty Chandler needs to be ready to play

After the suspension Kelly, it will be interesting to see how the Volunteer’s running game will respond. Kelly is leading the team in rushing with 615 yards on the season. Chandler hasn’t been given many moments to shine, but when he gets the ball, he has been pretty productive.

The true freshman is averaging about four yards-per-carry, which is comparable to Kelly’s average rush. Chandler is just as good as of a receiver as he is a running back. He has the fifth most receiving yards on the team, which shows that he is reliable at catching the ball out of the back field. If he is given the chance, he could cause real problems for the Kentucky defense.

Tennessee’s offensive line needs to play better

Tennessee’s offensive line has made a lot of mental errors this season. A few notable occurrences are from the South Carolina and Florida games. The offense’s momentum was brought to a halt as one of the starting five linemen was flagged for holding or a false start.

These minor issues would be easy to over-look, but if you add these mental mistakes to the offensive line’s inability to protect the quarterback, it presents even greater issues that need to be worked out.  The O-line has given up 16 total sacks this season, and if they aren’t prepared against Kentucky, it could be time that some of the backups are given a chance to compete.

Contain Stephen Johnson

As a dual-threat quarterback, Stephen Johnson has scored 11 total touchdowns for Kentucky this season. If the defensive line can win their one-on-one matchups,  they can put enough pressure on Johnson to make mistakes. If Rashaan Gaulden can cause an interception or disrupt a few passes, it could definitely put more pressure on Kentucky to run the ball. Kentucky is ranked 10th in the SEC in rushing, so by all means if the Vols stop Johnson from making accurate throws, it could spell trouble for the wildcats.

Tennessee need to be more creative on offense

Tennessee is ranked last in the SEC on third down conversions, only picking up 30 first downs on 96 attempts. This begs the question, does Tennessee have any trick plays up its sleeve? Apparently not, because the Vols also haven’t scored an offensive touchdown since Sept. 23rd, when the Vols barely escaped with a win over UMass.

Butch Jones’ offense is generally conservative, but it seems overly obvious that this might be the wrong route to take. Jones needs to consider throwing some unorthodox plays in the play calling this week, or it could spell disaster again for Tennessee if the offense doesn’t convert on crucial third down situations.

Edited by Ben McKee

Photo by Sumner Gilliam

Tennessee falls to No. 1 Alabama in 100th meeting

Saturday marked the 100th time that the Tennessee Volunteers (3-4, 0-4 SEC) and the Alabama Crimson Tide (8-0, 5-0 SEC) have faced off on the field, and it turned out as many had expected, utter domination. Head coach Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide throttle Butch Jones and the Vols 45-7.

The First half of play was dominated by the Alabama offense exponentially. The tide offense scored on three of their first five drives, two of which were scored by Doak Walker Award hopeful running back Bo Scarbrough. The Tennessee offense was held scoreless in the first half, with a few promising drives that came up short.

As the second half came around, Alabama did not let off the pedal. They came out and immediately scored on their first drive out. Tennessee then showed their first sign of life by grabbing a pick-six on the Tide’s second drive, but that was about all the action the Vols could muster.

The last two touchdowns were conducted by backup quarterback Tau Tagovailoa out of Hawaii, as he ran for a 23-yard score and he completed a pass to Henry Ruggs III for 60 yards for another.

Even from the beginning of the contest, Alabama capitalized early and made very few mistakes on both sides of the ball. The Crimson Tide defense held the Vols to five punts during the first half, while the Alabama offense scored 21 points. The offense was lead by quarterback Jalen Hurts and the tailback tandem of Scarbrough and Damien Harris. Hurts was 13-of-21 with 198 yards and one touchdown, while Harris and Scarbrough collectively had 90 yards with three touchdowns on the Game.

The Crimson Tide Defense had quite the day as they foiled almost every attempt made by the Vols offense. Tennessee quarterback Jarrett Guarantano made a few quality plays throughout the game, but his momentum was brought to a halt after he was sacked for a total of four times. He never seemed to recover and on his second to last drive of the game he threw an interception on the Alabama five yard line. Plays like this could have decreased the deficit slightly, but there really wasn’t much for the orange-and-white to work with by the end of the game.

Tennessee’s only touchdown was created by Daniel Bituli as he grabbed a pick-six from Tagovailoa. The Vols defense really put up a good fight against the Tide’s elite offense. However, by the end of the game, even the Alabama second team proved to be too much for the Vols defense. Bituli scored the first touchdown for the Vols since the second quarter of the UMass game, the offense still remains scoreless since then.

With the Crimson Tide’s 45-7 win, they increase the win streak over Tennessee to 11 games, which ties the longest streak in the rivalry of all-time. As a whole, this game cemented Alabama as dominant force and Tennessee as a declining force in the SEC. The Crimson Tide continue to trend upward as the Volunteers descend deeper into turmoil. Tennessee looks to learn from their mistakes in Tuscaloosa and turn their season around when they face off against the Kentucky Wildcats next Saturday in Lexington at 7:30 p.m. on SEC Network.

Edited by Seth Raborn

Featured image courtesy of UT Sports 


Guest lecturer draws parallels to poverty and disability, discusses societal view of the poor

Poverty and disability were at one time almost seen as parallel characterizations, according to Lennard J. Davis, distinguished professor of English, disability services and medical education at the University of Illinois at Chicago said.

Through a lecture titled, “The Aesthetics of Poverty and Disability” as part of the “Literature, Criticism, and Textual Studies Series” at the University of Tennessee’s English department, Davis discussed how the public spheres of society are essentially content with shunning the poor, much like how people with disabilities were in the past.

Davis said poor people have been characterized as one dimensional representations from misleading content creators, meaning writers, artists and television producers have constructed romanticized depictions of people who are struggling to support themselves. As a result, the public sphere has become accustomed to seeing poor people in the same light. This light could be seen as dirty, shaggy, sickly, alcoholic, disease ridden, etc.

Davis demonstrated these characteristics in famous paintings and photographs depicting poverty stricken people. He also gave examples of how writers from the 19th and 20th centuries would find inspiration of poor communities by studying their daily lives for brief periods of time.

Davis said many of the writers and artists were in middle to upper class and had no idea what it was like to beg for money or work three jobs to support a family.

“It matters who represents the poor,” he said.

For more information on Davis, visit his website.

Featured Image courtesy of Nima Kasraie, obtained through Creative Commons

Edited by Kaitlin Flippo