Locker room scene hits internet from Vol/Vandy game

I am involved with my relatives in a football pickem contest every week and the winner gets 50 dollars from a local newspaper. It is a fun time when we all get to pick the winners of 10 football games every week. I knew the Vandy at Tennessee game was going to be close this week, but I picked Tennessee because of the tradition that Tennessee has. I have discovered that many times the tradition rich team will find a way to win. (By the way, I also picked Oregon to beat Stanford too.)

One thing I was surprised to see a few days later was a scene from the Tennessee locker room hit the internet. Everyone knows what coaches say behind closed doors but you just expect to see it on the internet.

Franklin: UT’s celebration will remain open wound

  • TERESA M. WALKER – AP Sports Writer (AP)
  • Posted November 21, 2011 at 3:43 p.m., updated November 21, 2011 at 4:32 p

NASHVILLE — Vanderbilt’s James Franklin says he won’t soon forget the Commodores’ latest and perhaps most painful loss to Tennessee.

The coach says the way the Vols celebrated their 27-21 overtime win – which included coachDerek Dooley boasting how the Vols always beat Vanderbilt – will be a wound he leaves open until next year.

And luckily, there’s video available for the Commodores to watch over and over again.

“We’ll watch it as many times as we have to watch it next year,” Franklin said Monday. “That’s a wound I’m going to leave open. It’s not going to heal. I’m going to leave it open all year, and we’ll discuss it next year.”

Franklin said he knows his Commodores hurt themselves plenty with four turnovers and bad penalties last weekend. The final turnover was Eric Gordon’s interception return for a touchdown that officials reviewed, which theSoutheastern Conference admitted two hours later was messed up. Tennessee should have gone on offense instead.

The Vanderbilt coach said Monday he prefers to see the Vols’ celebration as a sign of respect.

“Some people act like they won the Super Bowl, and they beat a team that the two previous years had won four games total,” Franklin said. “Obviously, we’re winning, closing the gap and threatening some people and making some people uncomfortable. We’ll leave it at that. We’ll move on. We’ll have a lot of discussions about this next year when the time’s right.”

Three hours’ away in Knoxville, Dooley was disappointed video of what happened inside Tennessee’s locker room was shared, but he called it the world today.

“It’s like there’s no sacred place, and I think probably all the 120 coaches out there in football have a side to them where they loosen to the team that they don’t do in the public,” Dooley said. “Am I excited after a win? I always am. After a win is emotional, and certainly when you win a close game down to the wire, it’s exciting. You take those things for what they are. It’s a postgame, emotional, have a little fun, and then you close the door on it when you leave.”

Franklin called it a tough loss and said as rewarding as this season has been that it may be his most challenging with the tough losses combined with unusual situations. Four of Vanderbilt’s losses in the SEC this season have come by a combined 19 points.

“You can’t turn it over, especially on the road and especially early in the game and allow the momentum to swing like that. When you have four turnovers, three interceptions and a fumble, it’s hard to recover from that,” Franklin said.

The Commodores also racked up seven penalties for 46 yards, including a costly flag on lineman Josh Jelesky for a low block nowhere near a play that wiped out a huge gain by Chris Boyd down to the Tennessee 1. Franklin said he had never seen a play go from the 1 to the other 1 in two plays.

“There’s been more freakish things happen in this season than I’ve ever been around,” Franklin said.

“All I can do is coach that kid and put him in position and emphasize how important it is not making those mistakes. It wasn’t just that play. It was six or seven plays. There’s no doubt that was a dramatic one,” Franklin said.

Franklin’s bigger challenge now is rallying his Commodores (5-6) needing a win Saturday at Wake Forest (6-5) to be bowl eligible. It’s something only the Commodores thought could happen in Franklin’s first year, but now their first road win would extend their season with their second bowl game in four years.

“We’re in a one-game season,” Franklin said. “Truly, I’ve been saying that all year. We’re in a one-game season. We win this week, we’ll have more opportunities in the future probably more so than ever. The argument that I’m making is that we’ve got a one-game season, and we truly do. We win this week we’ll have more opportunities, and we’ll see what happens.”

Defensive tackle Rob Lohr said they have no problem refocusing on Wake Forest.

“We want to prove ourselves,” Lohr said. “Nobody wants to lose, let alone the way we did. So we need to bounce back this week and get a W so we can go to a bowl game.”

___

AP Sports Writer Beth Rucker in Knoxville, Tenn., contributed to this report.

To see Tennessee’s celebration in the locker room celebration see YouTube

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