Vol Fans Start Over Again

By: Mike McCarthy
By: Mike McCarthy

Knoxville (WVLT) -- It was the day Tennessee fans hoped they could say the new football season began.

And the Vols win against Arkansas State gave some of those fans the boost they needed to restore their dwindling Volunteer spirit.

We were at Neyland Stadium where one group of fans drew quite the crowd themselves.

That group was the Johnson family, out in a campus parking lot tailgating like pros.

"It's great and we love the Big Orange," said Vicki Johnson, a Vol fan.

They love the Vols so much, they call their parking-lot party "Big Orange Tailgating."

"You start on Thursday beginning to get everything together," Johnson suggested.

That's everything from big burgers to big screens.

Even their big van is decked out like an orange and white disco.

It's called big of reason.

Some weeks as many as 300 Vol fans pack underneath the tent.

"It all started with just our family and expanded to a few friends and friends of friends," Johnson said.

And they start early.

Johnson and her family were were in the parking lot by 8:30 AM on Saturday.

That's several hours hours before thousands from the Vol Nation began lining up outside Neyland Stadium.

"We're really pumped up today," Johnson said. "We are hoping that they're going to get back on track and just go get it."

Other fans, such as Robert Briselden, are worried that UT has already dropped the ball.

"If you're a Vol Fan winning and losing go together," Briselden said.

Especially this year.

Briselden cites last weeks 59 to 20 chomping from the Gators as the reason.

It was the Vols worse loss ever under Coach Fulmer.

"We just try, but we're not going all out like we used to," he said.

This season's loss-win-loss record has fans saying the Power T stands for tired.

"You get all pumped up, then you get that let down again," Johnson said.

But nothing could kill their Vol fever.

"I think today's the turn around day," said Scott Wolf, another Big Orange fan. "We're going to win big today."

"We're going to support these guys win or lose," Johnson said.

Either way she will be there with her family next week.

Many fans were also disappointed with the low turnout before the game.

More of the Vol Nation is expected to come out next week when UT takes on 2-2 Georgia.

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