Dear Peyton; Your old Vol Network buddy Randy Smith here. First let me say how happy I am that things are going so well for you in Denver. The thin air in the Mile High City doesn’t seem to be bothering you nearly as much as the Broncos’ first-half performances so far this season. If they could just avoid digging a huge hole for you to climb out of each game, you might be able to build some consistency, but 3-3 going into a bye week is pretty good.
I must apologize for my actions this past Monday night. I watched the first half of your game at San Diego against the Chargers, and when you guys trailed 24-0 at the half, I gave up and went to bed. No team had ever been as far behind as the Broncos were and come back to win on Monday Night Football. So, I gave up. After all, 5:30 a.m. is awfully early to have to rise in the morning. Even though I gave up, I’m glad you and your teammates didn’t. (I must have forgotten who I was dealing with here.) You rallied Denver to a huge come-from-behind victory over the first place Chargers, and now instead of being two games behind them in the AFC West standings, you’re tied with them for the top spot at 3-3.
I really must explain further my reasons for giving up. You see, Saturday night was one of the worst nights in recent memory for me. The Vols lost at Mississippi State to the one team they had on the schedule in October they had a reasonable chance of beating. Now, they must close out the month of October at home against the top-ranked Crimson Tide, and next week at once-beaten South Carolina. (Oh, by the way, my New York Yankees also were beaten by Detroit in the most anemic example of Major League hitting I have ever seen.)
Peyton, you were 3-1 against mighty Alabama while you were at Tennessee. Maybe you could swing by Neyland Stadium and give the men in orange a big pep talk. They sure need one now. After all, you do know something about beating Alabama. (Since you were 0-4 against Steve Spurrier though, you may want to see if Casey Clausen, 2-2 against the Gators, could be there next week at South Carolina.)
You may also see if Leonard Little or Al Wilson could also stop by and visit with the Vols defense. In fact, they might want to get there earlier than you do, just to teach our defenders how to tackle. They’ll need it when they tee it up against the Tide.
I really think the Tennessee players simply are not thinking about the tremendous pride and tradition involved in wearing that orange jersey. You, Al, and Leonard understood it. So did Casey, Andy Kelly, Jeff Smith, Dale Jones and Spencer Riley. I could go on and on about some of the older guys who got it. Guys who knew when they put that orange shirt on, they were representing every other player and coach in Tennessee football history. Guys who understood the importance of the third Saturday in October, guys who knew all the words to Rocky Top and would sing it anytime they felt like it; or as you did that October evening in 1995, when after a 41-14 Tennessee win in Birmingham, you led the Tennessee Pride of The Southland Band in several rounds of our fight song..
Well, I must go now. I have a press pass for the game on Saturday night, but I may stay home and watch it on television. I haven’t missed a Tennessee-Alabama game either in person or on TV since I was a young lad. I’m not going to miss this one. I sure hope our players don’t.
Randy Smith has been covering sports in Tennessee for the last 43 years. After leaving WRCB-TV in 2009, he has continued his broadcasting career as a free-lance play-by-play announcer. He is also an author and is a media concepts teacher at Brainerd High School in Chattanooga. He is also the Head Softball Coach at Brainerd. Randy Smith's career has included a 17-year stint as scoreboard host and pre-game talk show host on the widely regarded "Vol Network". He has also done play by play of more than 500 college football, basketball, baseball and softball games on ESPN, ESPN2, Fox Sports, CSS and Tennessee Pay Per View telecasts. He was selected as "Tennessee's Best Sports Talk Show Host" in 1998 by the Associated Press. He has won other major awards including, "Best Sports Story" in Tennessee and his "Friday Night Football" shows on WRCB-TV twice won "Best Sports Talk Show In Tennessee" awards. He has also been the host of "Inside Lee University Basketball" on CSS for the past 11 years. He was the first television broadcaster to ever be elected to the "Greater Chattanooga Area Sports Hall of Fame", in 2003. Randy and his wife, Shelia, reside in Hixson. They have two married children (Christi and Chris Perry; Davey and Alison Smith). They also have three grandchildren (Coleman, Boone, and DellaMae).