Bob Kesling is in his 20th season as the Voice of the Volunteers and one of the most talented and well-liked broadcasters in the business. A wildly popular successor to the great John Ward, Bob has carried on the superb legacy of the Volunteer Network. He is one of my favorite guys in the SEC and offers great insight every year on the Volunteers and Bulldogs.
What is the excitement level for Jeremy Pruitt as the Vols head coach?
Fans are optimistic and trying to be patient. Last year’s 0-8 SEC season was hard on everyone in and around the program. The majority of those players are back this season. The fans believe Coach Pruitt and the staff can coach them up and make them competitive this season.
With Phil Fulmer back as Athletic Director, has that rekindled some of the spirit from his great success as the Vols head coach?
Coach Fulmer certainly calmed the waters when he took over the leadership of the program. He said from the start that he knows what Tennessee looks like when it is good and he is trying to restore the program in all sports to that level. The fans have bought into that approach.
What does Tennessee need to do to beat Georgia?
Tennessee is better on defense. The Bulldogs shouldn’t have as easy a time as last year. Still, Georgia is going to score points. Can Tennessee’s offense line hold up and allow the Vols to move the ball? That is the biggest challenge.
What is your take on the Bulldogs?
Good. Really good.
This series has been funny, hasn’t it, lots of runs, and unbelievable finishes, what stands out to you when it comes to Tennessee –Georgia games. It’s hard to top the game two years ago between the hedges from a Tennessee stand point. I was there when Hershel ran over Bill Bates and when Heath Shuler just kept making plays in Athens. I was sitting in the south end at Neyland Stadium when Bill Battle called for the fake punt. It seems like each and every one of these games has a special twist with memorable moments and players.
What are a couple of your favorite Tennessee games that you have called through the years?
There was a six overtime win against Arkansas in 2002 when Casey Clausen hit Jason Witten, and a five overtime win at Alabama in 2003 also featuring Casey Clausen. Beating Miami in the Orange Bowl in 2006 to snap the Hurricanes long home game winning streak was great. All four games against Notre Dame were incredible, two wins, two loses, two at Neyland Stadium, two in South Bend. It’s always special to play the Irish.
What would you like to see change when it comes to the scheduling in college football, and the SEC specifically?
I would like to see all conferences go to a nine game league schedule. Some already do. There are too many mismatches that really nobody wants to see. It only seems fair when you start figuring out who should be in the final playoff if all teams had to play nine conference games. The coaches now playing eight games are not in favor of it and there is little or interest from the SEC to go to a nine-game slate. I think it would be better for the game, but doubt if the SEC will do it anytime soon.