Tag Archives: James Franklin

Former Vandy commit Michael Sawyers, planning trip to Knoxville, could be last ‘free agent’ on Vols’ board

Michael Sawyers of Ensworth High (photo by 247Sports, a News Sentinel partner)

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — Defensive tackle Michael Sawyers is one of a dozen Vanderbilt verbal commitments who have jumped ship since the departure of coach James Franklin to Penn State.

He might also be the last free agent that Tennessee is pursuing in the final stretch before National Signing Day.

Sawyers visited Ole Miss last weekend and most prognosticators on the 247Sports Crystal Ball expect him to sign with the Rebels. The Vols, however, have kept in contact and Sawyer is expected in Knoxville this weekend.


As Barton Simmons noted on today’s #GVXAudio podcast, Sawyers would be able to connect with many other in-state friends in the Vols’ current class. But Simmons also said that Sawyers has always been one to do things his own way and not necessarily follow the crowd.

Simmons also raised another question: Just how much room do the Vols have? Sawyers would be No. 35 in the class, and while the Vols should be able to sign that many, finding scholarships for all of them this summer will be more of a challenge. So does the pursuit of Sawyers indicate a defensive lineman could be de-committing? Dewayne Hendrix now seems securely in the fold. But what about Cory Thomas?

Vandy’s James Franklin says there’s no ‘hate’ between coaches: ‘I like Butch’

Butch Jones speaks at a post-practice press conference (Photo by Evan Woodbery)

Butch Jones speaks at a post-practice press conference (Photo by Evan Woodbery)

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — Vanderbilt coach James Franklin said the budding rivalry between his team and Tennessee in football hasn’t created tension among the coaching staffs, despite what many fans believe.

“There’s respect toward their staff. There’s respect toward their team, the history and traditions,” Franklin said on the SEC teleconference Wednesday.

As for the perception of a chilliness between Franklin and Tennessee coach Butch Jones?

“I like Butch. I know Butch,” Franklin said. “I know the fans on both teams get all worked up and think there’s hate, but there really isn’t.”

Jones said much the same on Monday. Jones and Franklin met, and seemingly got along well, when Vanderbilt played the Jones-coached Cincinnati Bearcats in the 2010 Liberty Bowl.

“I have a tremendous amount of respect for coach Franklin and what he has done at Vanderbilt,” Jones said.

A closer look at the 2nd half of Tennessee’s season: Can the Vols go 3-3, reach a bowl?

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — At the midpoint of the season, now is a perfect time to reevaluate my preseason predictions.

Let’s see how I fared so far and determine if we need to tweak any of the predicted outcomes for the rest of the year.

At the risk of bragging, my August predictions have been pretty spot-on so far.

Aug. 31 vs. Austin Peay

Speculative line: UT by 45.

Actual line: UT by 49.

My prediction: UT, 45-7.

Actual score: UT, 45-0.

Sept. 7 vs. Western Kentucky

Speculative line: UT by 21.

Actual line: UT by 14.

My prediction: UT, 31-14.

Actual score: UT, 52-20.

Sept. 14  at Oregon

Oregon’s Autzen Stadium (photo by Evan Woodbery)

Speculative line: Oregon by 20.

Actual line: Oregon by 28.

My prediction: Oregon, 45-14

Actual score: Oregon, 59-14.

Sept. 21   @ Florida   

Speculative line: UF by 17.

Actual line: UF by 16.5

My prediction: Florida, 31-14.

Actual score: Florida, 31-17.

Sept. 28   vs. South Alabama

Speculative line: UT by 23.

Actual line: UT by 16.5.

My prediction: UT, 38-17

Actual score: UT, 31-24.

Oct. 5  vs. Georgia

The Vols lost in overtime to Georgia.

Speculative line: Georgia by 15

Actual line: Georgia by 13.5

My prediction: Georgia 35-28.

Actual score: Georgia 34-31, OT. (fixed earlier error)

(I’m using line information from VegasInsider, which may differ slightly from other sites. All lines are for informational/entertainment purposes ONLY.)

The rest of the schedule looks more difficult in some areas, but could be easier in others. South Carolina is difficult to figure, but still quite dangerous. Auburn and Missouri have exceeded expectations, although an injury to quarterback James Franklin could be devastating for Mizzou’s powerful offense. (Coach Gary Pinkel strongly disputed a report that Franklin would be out for the rest of the year).

What about the other James Franklin? Well, he and the Commodores are having a rough year, but the UT-Vandy meeting in Knoxville still promises to be an important and emotional meeting.

Here’s a look at the final six games, with both my August predictions and any changes I care to make.

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SEC Media Days in review: Coaches in word clouds and other observations

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KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — After three days of talk — some enlightening, some mind-numbing, we took a day off to catch our breath and take stock of SEC Media Days 2013.

We decided one way — no, the only way — to fully understand the week was to put the coaches’ opening statements into artistic word clouds. Thus, the gallery above.

Other pertinent thoughts from the league’s kickoff event:

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James Franklin, in testy exchange on Nashville radio, doesn’t back down from ‘settling in life’ comment

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KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — Vanderbilt coach James Franklin went on a Nashville radio station this week apparently expecting a softball interview about the Commodores’ upcoming spring game.

Instead, as you can hear for yourself, the interview on the Midday 180 show on 104.5 The Zone turned contentious about midway through.

Jonathan Hutton, Chad Withrow and Paul Kuharsky are identified as hosts on the show’s Twitter page. Update: A reader tells me that Kuharsky is the host who will not take evasion for an answer.

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Tennessee’s post-game jubilation riled up James Franklin a year ago, but he’s no longer upset by it

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — Tennessee won only one SEC game last season and it was against the league’s only other school in the Volunteer State.

The Vols needed overtime to beat Vandy at Neyland Stadium, but they were understandably excited about getting the first win.

But when video of the locker room celebration leaked online, it caused a stir. Read on….

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