Vols look to bounce back, end streak against Gators

The Tennessee Volunteers are heading down to Gainesville to take on the Florida Gators Saturday.

The Vols have not beaten their divisional rivals in the last eight tries, and they have not won in Gainesville since 2003.
Both teams will come in to the game coming off a loss, as Tennessee got thrashed at Oregon 59-14 last week, and Florida, who is coming off a bye, was upset by Miami two weeks ago.
So far, neither offense has looked very effective. Vol quarterback Justin Worley was woefully inept against the Ducks, and he may not even start in The Swamp. Gator quarterback Jeff Driskel, along with the rest of the Florida offense, has been turnover-prone.
Both teams will probably try to lean on the run, due to the deficiencies in the passing game. In the last 23 meetings between the Gators and Vols, the team with the most rushing yards won 22 of those games. Florida has outgained Tennessee on the ground by an average of over 126 yards per game during the eight game streak, including a colossal 253 yard difference last season.
Florida has a clear advantage defensively, allowing only 208.5 yards per game. Tennessee, on the other hand, gave up more than 600 yards of offense and nearly 60 points last week. However, the Gator offense is a far cry from what the Vols faced in Autzen Stadium. The mistake-prone Gators could play into Tennessee’s hands, as the Vols have forced nine turnovers and have only committed four penalties.

The key for the Gators will be to limit mistakes and make Tennessee earn everything they get. The Vols need to take advantage of any breaks they are given and force Driskel to make plays with his arm, rather than his feet.
Tennessee and Florida will square off at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on Sept. 21 at 3:30 p.m. The game will be televised on CBS.

Oregon tramples Tennessee in 59-14 Vols Loss.

The Volunteers looked to be off to a good start after a 7-0 early lead, however that didn’t last long.

Oregon opened up the throttle on their up-tempo offense and beat the Vols in a staggering 59-14 loss.

Oregon’s balanced offense was too much for the Vols to handle. In the first half alone the Vols allowed 38 points and over 450 yards. Both numbers were higher than the Vols had allowed in the entirety of either of their last contests.

On offense the Vols looked futile early and often. Junior QB Justin Worley ended the day going 13-25 for just 126 yards and a TD, but the stats don’t tell the story. Worley led the Vols to just five third down conversions on 15 tries. Worley’s passes were off target and he put the Vols in bad spots when he was asked to pass on early downs.

Oregon QB Marcus Mariota on the other hand was exceptional, seemingly getting first downs at will. Mariota passed for four TDs and more than 450 yards, while only missing 10 passes all game. He also was a factor on the ground racking up 27 yards and a TD.

Butch Jones and the coaching staff made very poor decisions punting as many times as they did. At one point the Ducks had seven straight touchdown drives that started from Tennessee punts.

One interesting and possibly positive note, is by the beginning of the fourth quarter the Vols started using freshman quarterback Nathan Peterman. Peterman wasn’t spectacular, but the move alone was a statement that Butch Jones wouldn’t settle for mediocrity and that he isn’t afraid to pull starters after bad performances.

The Vols will have a chance to redeem themselves against Florida 3:30, Sept. 21 at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.

Butch Jones first coach since Fulmer to open 2-0

It was fitting that Tennessee Volunteers head coach Butch Jones opened his post-game press conference with General Neyland’s second Maxim.

After all, it was Jones’s second win in as many weeks. It also was only the second time in the last decade that the Volunteers have had a head coach start 2-0.

The Tennessee defensive unit was the star of this game. Between the five interceptions and the two forced fumbles, the Volunteers managed to take the ball away from the Hilltoppers seven times. That is the most turnovers forced by a Volunteer defense since 1984.

Defensive MVP honors should be given to Brian Randolph, though both Cam Sutton and Justin Coleman should also get consideration. Randolph posted eight tackles tied for second among Tennessee players and two interceptions, which lead the Vols. Sutton and Coleman both managed to return interceptions for touch downs, but Coleman managed six tackles and Sutton got only four.

Offensively it was not a promising day for QB Justin Worley. The starting QB was hovering around a 33% completion percentage at halftime, but he did manage to rally eventually ending the game 11-19 with a TD and an INT.

The majority of the offense came from an efficient running game. The offensive line and running back’s seemed to be on different pages early, but as the game progressed the Vols really came together. By the end of the game, 63% of the team’s offensive yards had come from the running game. In terms of scoring, 80% of the touchdowns were on the ground.

The offensive Co-MVP honors go to Antonio Richardson and Rajion Neal. Richardson continued to hold pass rushers at bay on the left side of the line, and Neal was responsible for three of the four rushing TDs for the home team.

Special teams had an up and down day. The good news for Tennessee was kicker Michael Palardy pinned WKU inside the one yard-line early in the game. Also despite missing their starting kick returner (Devrin Young) the Vols had a good day returning the ball, culminating in a return to the 40-yard line to start the second half. The bad news for Tennessee was a blocked punt late in the second quarter. Michael Palardy didn’t look deep enough and ended up having an errant defender come in and block the kick.

The Volunteers now look ahead to an Oregon team known for tempo and team speed, and the must cross the country to face them.

Radio-operated cars find home, family in Knoxville

An "E-buggy" goes airborne during a qualifying race as drivers operate in the background
An “E-buggy” goes airborne during a qualifying race as drivers operate in the background

Members of the Radio Operated Car Club of Knoxville Racing club spend their Saturdays racing cars on a homemade dirt track in Chilhowee Park.

Their cars tend to land upside down after some of the jumps they drive through. Luckily for the drivers, they are perched atop a 15-foot observation deck. And luckily for the track, the cars are one-eighth the size of the rally cars.

Cars are built with either electric or gas-powered motors and races feature one class of motor. The electric cars, or “E-buggies”, feature a flammable lithium battery that is kept in fireproof bags and ammo boxes. The gas-powered, or “Nitro”, cars use nitrous methane for fuel and run at 30,000 RPM, 10 times that of a street car. Other than that the cars are identical.

“I always tell people that the only difference is that an E-buggy is like turning on your favorite movie, making some popcorn and then hitting mute,” said driver John Brascum.

Brascum, like most other drivers, like the sound of the Nitro cars because they can hear that they are doing something. Each driver claims they can distinguish their engine from the other 7 on the track at any given time.

The club was formed two years ago as a way to make an expensive hobby more affordable. With cars that can cost $2500, the club members needed a reasonably priced track to race their machines. Each member pays a $40 monthly due to pay for leasing the land in Chilhowee Park and maintenance the track.

The track is built and maintained by club members. In between races, drivers not competing in the upcoming race can be seen raking and watering the track. And during the races, those not entered serve as “turn marshals”. Seven turn marshals stand around the winding track putting cars that have flipped over right side up and returning the ones who have jumped off course back on the track.

The drivers have a common hobby but participate in different ways. Rodney Dunn joined this year and is racing for the first time since high school. Alan Fundora works on his cars out of a trailer lined with tools, spare tires, and part diagrams. Fundora started racing in Miami and helped found the club after moving to East Tennessee. Corey McDaniel was rewarded a sponsorship deal with Entec and VP Pro USA in late July, helping out with the cost of maintaing multiple cars.

Electric buggies (left) are 1/10 scale models of an actual buggy and are 15 mph faster than their 1/8 scale Nitro counterparts
Electric buggies (left) are 1/10 scale models of an actual buggy and are 15 mph faster than their 1/8 scale Nitro counterparts

The members have formed friendships on this track. There are no arguments, complaints or curse words on a race day. A dozen Girl Scouts were on hand to watch their friend Livia Brascum, John’s daughter, compete in the Novice race.

After Livia’s car crossed the finish line in the 12-and-under competition, the scouts ran and skipped off to do other pre-teen girl activities. But LIvia stayed at the track with her dad, watching him check batteries and clean tires before his final race.

“I’ve been doing it about a month,” said Livia, “I really like it… I want to do it.”

Some drivers, such as Fundora, feel that just like any other hobby, racing can steal time they spend with their families. Fundora balances the time in his trailer with his cars with the time with his wife in his new boat, which he showed off with a proud smile in between races.

In the tent adjacent to Fundora’s trailer the Brascums have found a common hobby, a father and daughter united by four-inch tires and nitrous methane.

Car enthusiasts flock to charity cross country car race

Car admirers gathered in Davenport, Iowa on June 23 for “The Great Race” in which competitors race along the Mississippi River for prize money, charity and to show off their vintage cars.

There is over $150,000 in prize money, with $50,000 going to the winner of the race at the end of this eight day event. Scores are based not on who arrives first, but on who arrives closest to their projected time, without the use of odometers or GPS.

“We love old cars, we have five great race cars… the most fun part is family. It can’t get any better than this,” Howard Sharp, a 22 year veteran who is in the lead after day two, said.

In 2012, the race raised $68,000 for autism, and have already raised over $14,000 this year. However, the love of cars and healthy competition is what keeps fans and competitors excited.

Brian “Motormouth” Goudge, the event announcer of 18 years, said that cities up and down the Mississippi competed heavily to be stops in the race, especially since it’s been growing in popularity. The race started in St. Paul, Minn. and ends in Mobile Ala., with notable stops being Davenport, Iowa and Germantown, Tenn.

“This year we started with 99 teams, and I believe that now, on day two, we have 92 teams. We had some really challenging drives for these cars and they’re really old. The good news is, we have 31 rookie teams — first time ever doing this event. That demonstrates to me just how popular this event is,” Goudge said.

No cars younger than 1969 models are allowed to compete in the race, and the entry fee is $5000. According to Goudge, there is almost $4 million worth of cars in the race, most of which would normally not leave museums. The event has changed routes over the years, with the original traveling from California to Indiana.



Knoxville Catholic High School to hold Brixx FIRE Volleyball Tournament

Knoxville Catholic High School in west Knoxville will hold the Brixx FIRE volleyball tournament on June 22 and June 23.

The second annual Brixx FIRE grass volleyball tournament is to raise awareness for the American Cancer Society. All of the proceeds from the tournament and the events surrounding it will go to the society’s signature event Relay for Life. This year’s goal is to reach $15,000.

The tournament is welcome to players of all ages and skill levels. It has men’s, women’s, and juniors’ divisions and includes players from around the Southeast. Laura Dammer, Brixx manager and tournament director, hopes Brixx FIRE will create the largest competitive volleyball tournament in the area while supporting the Knoxville community.

“The volleyball community is very large in Knoxville and all over Tennessee, but most of the large tournaments in the Southeast are hours away.  This tournament allows players to compete closer to home, as well as bringing in players from all over the Southeast,” Dammer said.

The Southeast is known for having volleyball excellence with a large number of players especially in Tennessee. Just last year The University of Tennessee’s volleyball team barely missed out on having the top class in the conference. Co-tourney director and head volleyball coach at Knoxville Catholic, Andrew Garland, said that everyone involved with Brixx FIRE is dedicated to making this tourney a “first class event” that will invite players from all around.

Garland believes that Brixx FIRE is something to support with great pride.

“It’s a fun-filled weekendwith great cash and prizes for division winners and lots of other goodies for everyone involved. All this, combined with it’s all for a great cause, makes it a special tourney,” Garland said.

This is the first time the volleyball tournament will be held at Knoxville Catholic High School. It is Garland’s hope that the school will become the permanent host site for the tournament due to the central location and its facilities, which includes a practice football field with concessions and bathrooms.

Related web sites:
Brixx FIRE

This article was written by Melitta Markey,
<a href=”mailto:rwb978@utk.edu”>rwb978@utk.edu</a>

Laura Dammer, 504-878-6148, ‎brixxfire@gmail.com
Andrew Garland, 865-789-5407, agarland@knoxvillecatholic.com