It turns out that one of the writers that I chided yesterday for not getting back with me actually came through and was able to answer a few questions. Mike Strange (Twitter) is a sports writer for The News Sentinal and GoVolsXtra.com. He is a native of Kentucky, but has been covering the Vols for 25 years. Here’s a good article he wrote about Malzahn. Lucky you, an extra dose from the other (Tennessee) sideline this week. You’re welcome.
1. What is the first thing that pops into the heads of Tennesse fans when Auburn football is mentioned?
2. What do most Tennessee fans think of Lane Kiffin, and what are their expectations for Tennessee football under his tutelage?
The vast majority think he’s a good hire, due to his excellent choices for a staff, early recruiting surprises and NFL background and mindset. They also like his swagger that put Tennessee back on the map in the offseason.
3. What are most Tennesee fans’ expectations for this game?
They hope the Vols can overcome their limitations at quarterback and somehow manage to score enough points to keep pace with Auburn.
4. Auburn and Tennessee had very similar seasons last year, at least in terms offensive ineptitude . How do you think each team as done in their attempts to better their situation?
Offensively, Auburn appears to have done better, based on the stats. Although I don’t think Auburn has faced defenses as good as UCLA and Florida. Tennessee’s QB Jonathan Crompton has not advanced from 2008 as Chris Todd has. Defensively, Tennessee has the edge. The Vols have maintained their effectiveness of 2008 despite significant personnel turnover.
5. Who are two generally unknown players that Auburn should look out for?
Janzen Jackson, true freshman free safety and kick-coverage demon. Cody Sullins, center, former walk-on who won starting job as senior.
6. What is your prediction for the game?
Auburn, 24-21. Tennessee has been so limited by poor quarterback play in every game except Western Kentucky.
7. What do you think Auburn and Tennessee’s final records will be?
Tennessee 5-7 or 6-6 if they lose to Auburn. If the Vols win, 7-5. I haven’t given much thought to Auburn’s final record.
8. What do you think about the Tennessee administration banning Tiger Walk for Auburn outside Neyland Stadium?
I don’t think it’s a good idea for any visiting team to do a “walk” at another school’s home. For security reasons and also I believe the home team should be able to dictate the terms of game management and protect its home-field advantage. If it’s a bowl or neutral site, fine, let em both walk.