Buzz's best is yet to come

Tough losses to Georgia and Louisville in the past seven days have many Vol basketball fans upset, but there's more reason to be encouraged than discouraged.

Because Tennessee posted four consecutive 20-win seasons from 1998-2001, some boosters believe the program is on the decline under Buzz Peterson. That's not true. The decline started midway through 2000-01, Jerry Green's final season. UT lost 10 of the last 16 games he coached, despite a roster that featured Marcus Haislip, Ron Slay, Isiah Victor, Vincent Yarbrough and Tony Harris. The program had great players but no discipline, no conditioning and no heart. Green's teams thumped opponents with considerably less talent but usually folded against opponents with comparable talent.

Peterson inherited a program in disarray -- no discipline, no conditioning, no heart and no point guard. He has added a superior point guard (freshman C.J. Watson), while upgrading the discipline, heart and conditioning. The program now has everything except top-to-bottom talent and a winning attitude. As Buzz brings in players with better talent and better attitudes, the victories will follow.

Remember: Green won a lot of games with talent he inherited from Kevin O'Neill but the program was on the decline when he exited. Had Green stayed, the program would be in shambles by now. Whereas we saw the Jerry Green era AT ITS BEST, we've seen the Buzz Peterson era AT ITS WORST. The Vol program has bottomed out and is on the upswing. Eventually, Buzz will win more games with good players and discipline than Green won with great players and no discipline.

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