Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Knoxville News Sentinel: Vols' Hefney Has Never Seen a Team Wilt Like the Cal Bears Did Last Year

By Dave Hooker

Gimmicks don’t intimidate Jonathan Hefney. Yes, Tennessee’s senior safety has heard about California’s athletic department handing out megaphones in hopes of creating a raucous environment Saturday night when the No. 12 Golden Bears play host to the No. 15 Vols. No, Hefney’s not impressed. “They did that in high school,” Hefney said Tuesday with a smile. To Hefney, megaphones are a poor substitution to what he perceives as geographical advantages. “We come from the South,” Hefney said. “We play tough football.

“In high school, we played tough football. We came here (to UT) and it was the same thing. That’s what we’re bringing to California just like when they came down last year.”

Last year’s UT-Cal game certainly bolstered Hefney’s point. UT led 35-0 in Knoxville before winning 35-18. Hefney said he’s never seen a team wilt like the Golden Bears in his UT career. “If we were to do it against anybody in the SEC,” Hefney said of last year’s fast, physical start, “they’re going to come back because they’re used to it.”

Cal quarterback Nate Longshore was one of the Golden Bears who couldn’t respond quickly enough last year against UT. Longshore, then a sophomore making his first college start, completed 11-of-20 passes for 85 yards and an interception before being benched in the third quarter. He never led the Golden Bears to a score. “This year, I think he’s trying to just to play his game and not worry about what happened last year,” Hefney said. “But in the back of his mind, he knows we’re always going to be coming on defense.”

UT’s secondary was at its best — and healthiest — against Cal last year. With a healthy Inky Johnson at cornerback, UT was able to play more man coverage, thereby allowing its linebackers to pressure the quarterback. Johnson suffered a career-ending injury the next week. “We’re just going to go in like we did last year and do what we have to do, man to man, throw the zone in there, do whatever we have to do to stay on top of them and not let them get the big play,” Hefney said. As for being a five-point underdog, Hefney isn’t insulted; he’s motivated. “I like being the underdog … We’re going to go out there and hit them in the mouth, I hope,” he said. Now, as compared to 2006, UT has far less experience in its secondary. Senior safety Jarod Parrish is the only player besides Hefney who has a collegiate start. Senior Antonio Gaines, sophomore Marsalous Johnson and freshman Eric Berry are competing for UT’s two first-team cornerback spots. None has started a game in college. Suddenly, Hefney is the grizzled ’ol veteran. “I talk to the guys now and they listen to me,” Hefney said. “Back then (when I was younger), I was talking and nobody listened to me. “They just laughed at me.” Now it’s Hefney who’s laughing — at Cal’s megaphones.

Here’s the link…be sure to leave a nice comment for our friends in the red state!


Anonymous said...

I'm a Tennessee fan and I think this is pretty funny...
Do you guys really "need" megaphones to help your crowd noise? Put down your lattes and cappuccinos and be ready to bring it Saturday...
Because the BEASTS FROM THE SEC EAST are coming for you Cal!
And the streets will run red with the blood of the unbelievers!

Anonymous said...

Go back to your comic books, sonny. Your trip to Berkely is the first stop on the Vols' ride back to 5-6 land, only it'l be 6-6 this year

Anonymous said...

We dont read. We play football.

Anonymous said...

I'm okay with the Vols coming in over confident, figuring it will be a church quiet, 50,000 seat stadium instead of a rocking evening at Memorial Stadium.

I will say though that Cal fans will need to bring it (megaphone aided or not) to match the intensity I've witnessed at Tennessee and even at USC the last two times we played there.

I'm sure part of it is the fact Memorial holds around 74K, while Neyland holds something like 106K and the Coliseum holds around 97K.

There's just a lot more lungs yelling at the same time.

Still, I know that Bay Area fans can do their part. The best stadium atmosphere I've attended (in terms of noise and constant pressure on the opposition) was the 2003 AFC Championship Game at the Oakland Coliseum when the Raiders beat the Titans.

Regardless of what one may think of the Raiders - their 64K fans at the Coliseum can make a ton of noise.

Hopefully we can weclome the Volunteers the same way on Saturday.

Go Bears!

Anonymous said...

Anyone smell that?! Smells like over-confident thugs coming to Cali for a West Coast Beatdown! Keep up the talk girls... I would like to see more articles like this.

Anonymous said...

This Heffney character is going to get knocked out for him comments! He is going to get hit so hard that he will cry like the little biatch that he is!

Anonymous said...

you do know who Jonathon Hefney is right? he is only the best free safety in all of college football this year. dont get your hopes up for mr. desean jackson will get his bell rung by the best pound for pound tackler in the game. my high school played against Hefney and i have to tell you he kicked the shit out of us. i do know that cal does have a good football team, but yall gotta watch around a team with as much intensity and tradition as tennessee. just hope your o is as good as they say it is because our d is gonna be better than it was last year.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm, The last thing tennessee players need to be doing is adding fuel to the fire at this point. Let cal think about last year, not get fired up for this year. Cal wilted, ok, but tennessee has been blown out in recent years too, every team has even the greats. 3 days left, thank God!
Bears 28, Vols 17

Anonymous said...

hmmm, last sentence....
every team has been. (brain fart)

Anonymous said...

Jason you are correct that UT has their own recent bad performances that should make 'em shut mouf (show 'em the razorback scars, guys). There should be fireworks coming from both teams, O, D, and special teams. Tennessee 31 Cal 25.