1967 - 76 Volunteers
(Authentic Reproduction)




The '67 squad was treated to an alteration in the orange "Tennessee T" on the sides of the helmet, as it was changed to an arched rather than a squared-angle logo. This team was often referred to by Dickey as the most team-oriented group he had ever coached. While not the most talented, they played together best and the team finished the year with a shared national championship and overall number-two ranking, won the SEC Championship, and put up a 9-1 record, beating SEC heavy-hitters LSU, Alabama, Ole Miss, and Auburn. The 24-13 Alabama win broke the Tide's twenty-five game unbeaten streak and featured three fourth-quarter interceptions by All American DB Albert Dorsey. The offense lived by the pass and when regulars Dewey Warren and Charley Fulton went down, Bubba Wyche went in and threw to All American flanker Richmond Flowers who pulled in forty-one passes for 585 yards, and TB Walter Chadwick. The O-line was simply great with All American Bob Johnson later becoming a great All Pro with the Bengals and a member of the College Football Hall Of Fame, and OG John Boyton winning numerous honors and who then put a year in with the Dolphins. Soph LB Steve Kiner was The Conference Sophomore Of The Year and Bear Bryant compared him to his own former great Leroy Jordan. The season ended on a downer with a 26-24 Orange Bowl loss to the OU Sooners. The installation of "Doug's Rug" in '68, one of the first artificial turfs used in the entire southern U.S., caused quite a stir. The 8-1-1 Vols also created a stir with a QB Wyche-to-end Ken DeLong passing combo behind a line led by All American guard Charles Rosenfelder and All SEC soph weightlifter Chip Kell who was perhaps the most highly recruited athlete out of the South the year before. Flowers missed the Olympic team with a pulled hamstring but played productively for the Vols while winning six SEC and one NCAA track title. He later went on to both an NFL and WFL career. The defense regained their "LB-U" reputation as Steve Kiner garnered All America mention as did DB Jim Weatherford (Falcons for 1969). Cincinnati's Jack Reynolds shifted from FB to LB with great results. A 36-13 Cotton Bowl loss to the new Texas Wishbone was the only embarrassment of the season.
In what could have been an undefeated 1969 season, a comment made in early September eventually buried the Vols' dream. When one of the pre-season beat writers asked, "How about Ole Miss? They look like they have the horses this year." two-time All American LB Steve Kiner said, "They played more like mules up here last year." After intercepting seven of Ole Miss QB Archie Manning's passes, it may have been true but the Rebels took it to heart and vowed revenge. Undefeated behind the defensive work of Kiner and fellow All American LB Jack "Hacksaw" Reynolds who earned that nickname by using a hacksaw to hand-cut a car apart after a loss, the 7-0 and number-three-ranked Vols went to play Ole Miss in Jackson, MS. With UT fans wearing "Archie Who?" buttons and Rebels showing "Steve" (for Kiner) buttons, the "Jackson Massacre" was on and the Orange suffered a horrid 38-0 loss. It was over when it was 21-0 in the first quarter and that one loss was the only one for UT in the regular season as All SEC soph FB Curt Watson ran up big yardage including 197 yards against Georgia, QB Bobby Scott was often terrific throwing to end Ken DeLong, and All American Chip Kell proved he could play guard as well as he did center. Kell won the Jacobs Blocking Trophy as the best in the SEC and continued winning the SEC shotput and discus titles. Bobby Majors, the last in a long line of Majors players, was unstoppable on punt returns. The drama got worse as the team prepared for the Gator Bowl against Florida and two days before kickoff, word was leaked that their coach Doug Dickey would return to his alma mater at Florida after the game. When the Gators prevailed 14-13, there was a cry in Florida to keep out-going coach Ray Graves! Dickey was named the SEC Coach Of The Year, did in fact depart for Florida where he had more success, and later was an innovative athletic director before being elected to the College Football Hall Of Fame. The loaded Vols lost All American Kiner who became a member of the College Football Hall Of Fame, to the Cowboys (nine years with Dallas, New England, and Houston), and Reynolds to the Rams (fifteen years with Rams and SF). Assistant Bill Battle, former Bama player who had tutored under Bryant, Bud Wilkinson at Oklahoma, and Paul Dietzel before working for Dickey, was named the new head coach on January 3, 1970.
With their new coach in place, the graduation losses on defense were an apparent problem, especially for a defensively oriented head coach. With Kiner and Reynolds gone to the pros, the stand-ins, Ray Nettles, Jackie Walker, and Jamie Rotella were just a bit more than unknown quantities when the season began. They didn't remain unknown for long as the linebacking trio led the team in holding eight of their eleven regular season opponents to single-digit tallies! The 24-0 win over Battle's alma mater and former college coach Bear Bryant was especially rewarding to Vols' fans. Beating their own former coach Dickey the following week 38-7 on their home field was icing on an already satisfying cake. The victory over Air Force in the Sugar Bowl left the Vols with a number-four ranking for their 11-1 performance. QB Scott and second-time All Conference FB Curt Watson spear-headed the offense behind guard Kell who won his third All SEC honors and another All American award. He went to camp with the Chargers but was crippled by a severe knee injury, attempted a comeback in the CFL but retired to follow in the footsteps of his father who was both his high school coach in the Atlanta area and highly respected throughout the South. Kell was named to the College Football Hall Of Fame in 2006 and repeated as a three-time All American and All SEC thrower for the track team. Guard Philip Fullmer would later become a name well-known to Vols fans. DB Tim Priest joined the three LB's in the stout defense, with LB Walker gaining All American honors. The big name and big performer in the secondary however, was All American Bobby Majors, the last of the Majors brothers who intercepted ten passes and was a terror on punt returns.
The Vols closed out  '71 with their sixth consecutive season showing eight or more victories. Even with the need to rotate four QB's, they finished at 10-2 and defeated Arkansas 14-13 in a great Liberty Bowl match-up. HB Curt Watson scored the winning TD with less than two minutes on the clock to complete a three-time All SEC career that totaled a record 2364 rushing yards, a mark that still leaves him number four on UT's all-time list. Watson played a year each with the Saints and Packers before becoming a Navy pilot for eleven years, part of that flying with the world renown Blue Angels and he left the service for a career as a Fed Ex pilot. Guard Fulmer graduated and went into the coaching ranks while DB Bobby Majors completed an outstanding career setting the UT record for career INT's, punt returns and yardage, and being named an All American. So-called "Super Soph" Haskel Stanback never got untracked at tailback due to injuries. In 1972 the offense finally started to look as good as the stifling defense. With slippery SEC Sophomore Of The Year Condredge Holloway at QB and the developing Stanback at TB, the Vols had a solid 10-2 year that included an Astro-Bluebonnet bowl win over tough LSU. Stanback broke Hank Lauricella's single-season rushing record with his 890 yards Safety Eddie Brown maintained his steady play and Jamie Rotella moved to MLB, picking up All American honors. Losing consecutive years to Bama and Auburn frosted some fans but with three national top ten finishes, most were happy with Battle. 

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