[title_box title=”Rocky Topics: Should Tennessee fire Holly Warlick?”]
This week on Rocky Topics, lead sports staff writer Sam Forman and staff writer Ben Woody discuss whether Tennessee should fire Lady Vols basketball coach Holly Warlick.
Woody: This overhyped team (12-7, 3-3 SEC) has been a disappointment so far this year. Currently, the Lady Vols have losses at home against Florida, at Arkansas, which at the time was 6-10, and most recently a one-point loss at Kentucky. Injuries, inexperience and coaching have all contributed to the Lady Vols’ struggle. When watching the Lady Vols, you can tell that they could be a really talented team. But after watching for a little longer, you can tell that they aren’t inspired to play as a team. Each player tries to do it all by themselves. Bad shot selections are made and there becomes a ridiculous amount of turnovers. In the previous game at Kentucky, Tennessee committed 21 turnovers and it was obvious that Warlick wasn’t coaching basic fundamentals. The team couldn’t make free throws to take the lead or a layup at the last second right underneath the basket. If Warlick can’t inspire this team to win and play its hardest, then she will be out of a job by the end of the season.
Forman: First off, everyone needs to just take a minute and breathe. This whole situation is being blown out of proportion. Is Warlick to blame for some of the problems? Yes, but she is not the one responsible for the whole problem. Ben, honestly, you are making my case for me. Turnovers… Is the head coach the one turning the ball over 19 times a game? No. Is she the one taking a bad shot early in the shot clock? No, she isn’t. The Players should be taking a lot more of the blame. Warlick has done a great job of shouldering the pressure for the players. Ten of the 12 players to see time this season have more turnovers than assists. You don’t win many games with those numbers. On top of that, when they do turn the ball over they don’t get back and play defense. Take the Notre Dame game for example. Tennessee lost by 13 points, had 20 turnovers and gave up 24 points off those turnovers. To think Warlick isn’t making them practice fundamentals is just crazy. They just don’t know how to play as a team and sometimes it takes a whole season to find that chemistry.
Woody: It’s not just the players’ fault that they are playing unmotivated. Just watching the team makes me think that Warlick doesn’t try to push them to their limits. She should make them practice and play as a team. Compared to what Pat Summitt did in the past, Warlick doesn’t have the same ability to take players and mold them to become all stars. In Warlick’s case, she’s done a great job at recruiting. However, she hasn’t been able to develop that talent and turn it into an NCAA Championship team. If Tennessee wants to become great again, Warlick is going to have to make some major changes.
Forman: While you make a few good points, the whole Pat Summitt thing is half the problem. I hate to break it to you and everyone else, but there will never be another Pat Summitt. Warlick, nor anyone else, even Tyler Summitt, will be able to fill those shoes. The argument that Warlick is not coaching them hard enough in practice only makes some sense. The players have to be able to carry it over to the game. You have six McDonald’s All-Americans on this team. They got those accolades because they made shots. The major problems are turnovers and a lack of chemistry. You were right earlier in saying they don’t know how to play together, but coaching can only help chemistry so much. Think back to 1999. Tennessee was coming off an undefeated season and a national championship. The Lady Vols also brought back every single player from the 1998 team. The 1999 season was one of the worst in Lady Vols’ history. The players were the same, and the coach was still Pat Summitt. However, the team had no chemistry and nobody said it was Summitt’s fault. Everyone needs to calm down and support the team and see where things are at in March.
Featured image by Ben Ozburn
Edited by Cody McClure
Sam Forman is the lead sports staff writer for the Tennessee Journalist and is a senior studying Journalism and Electronic Media with a focus on sports broadcasting and reporting. He has been with TNJN since the fall of 2014. He is also a DJ for WUTK 90.3 fm. and a member of the Rock Solid Sports team. Sam has spent six years marching in the Pride of The Southland Marching Band. When he is not covering or talking sports, you can find him outdoors, playing music or hanging out with friends. You can find him on twitter: @samWforman