Tennessee’s senior captain feels the criticism and personal attacks that led Randy Sanders to resign as offensive coordinator have been unfair and extreme.Opponent in seeming disarray? Players popping off about fans, coaches firing assistants midway through the season? Things setting up nicely for the Irish, right? I'm not so sure. Personally, I think this is a classic trap game.
"It’s a bunch of crap that fans and media blame coaches when players can’t go out and make plays," Clausen said. "Coaches don’t fumble, throw interceptions, miss blocks or miss passes."
"You are going to use coaches as scapegoats," Clausen said. "That’s apparently what college football has come to now. You blames coaches rather than players."
Clausen feels there is plenty of blame to go around.
"It’s just disheartening that everyone claims this is a Tennessee family and Vol Nation. But at the first sign of adversity, everybody decides to blame Coach Sanders," Clausen said.
"I’m just pissed at the whole situation and everybody. I feel like I let (Sanders) down. If I don’t throw an interception against South Carolina, we probably beat them. The players have basically forced Coach Sanders to resign, and that’s an awful feeling."
(Trap game: I couldn't find an official definition of "trap game" anywhere; it seems to be one of those sports idioms that appeared in the lexicon already fully-formed, direct from Jung's collective unconsciousness. If somebody wants to provide a succinct definition of a "trap game", we're all ears.)
In any case, Charlie disagrees with me. (And confound it, he doesn't provide a definition, either).
Q. How would you define a trap game?I'm sure that's the focus Charlie instilled over the past two weeks ("don't underestimate these guys"!), but it's gotta be tough to maintain proper perspective. After all, on paper, the Vols just look pathetic: 98th-ranked rushing attack, 79th passing, 99th overall. Squeaking out a meager 16 points per game. You don't have to be Gregg Easterbrook to see that a backwoods jalopy runs better than the Vols' offense. I'll be disappointed if we give up more than a couple of touchdowns. Final score: ND 24, Tennessee 9.
COACH WEIS: This certainly isn't one. All you have to do is watch the tape. When I sit there and give these facts and figures right there, it isn't just trying to make myself look good to make it look like we know what we're doing here. This is the scariest 3 4 team that you're ever going to go against because they're capable of beating everybody every week and they know it. Our guys know it, too. All you got to do is put on the tape. They see it. They see these things that I just talked about because I've shown them these same things I'm telling you about. They've seen it. There's no trap. You don't have to worry about a trap in a Tennessee game.
(Is this the kind of mentality they're talking about when they talk about a "trap" game?)