In what is shaping up to be a fierce Super Regional against LSU, Tennessee head coach Tony Vitello met with the media on Wednesday to discuss the upcoming series. The Vols and Tigers are definitely familiar with each other, especially coming off a highly contested series earlier in the SEC season.
As Tennessee takes this week to prepare, with the series not starting until Saturday, it gives them more time to rest their bullpen and scout the Tigers. As pertaining to the players, Vitello has mentioned that his team has taken on the mantra of “One Last Ride In Lindsey Nelson”, as the Vols look to secure a trip to Omaha this weekend.
Things have already gotten off to a hot start in town, as the Vols sold out every game this weekend, as they look to establish the same home field environment you say last weekend in the regionals. Yes, it was an interesting morning when it came to ticket sales and how the school has gone about their business in that manner, but Vitello is hoping to carry over that same energy.
“If it’s anything like last weekend, if you want to call it nasty, make it that again”, Vitello said, in reference to LSU coach Paul Mainieri’s comments about the environment in Knoxville during their previous series.
There’s no love lost between these two teams, after that feisty series in March, where Tennessee ended up winning 2 of the games in walk-off fashion, on their way to sweeping the series.
I know you’ve all seen the videos of Tony Vitello celebrating after their wins this weekend, especially him tumbling into his players in right field, while also heading into the stands to celebrate with the fans. Evan Russell absolutely loves the fire and emotion from his head coach, saying that one day when he Bec comes a coach, he wants to have that same kind of fire and be there for his players, like Vitello.
Russell has been part of some of amazing celebrations this season and mentioned that these moments don’t happen often for players, so why not soak it in and take full advantage of the opportunities. Which if you look at some of the walk-off moments this season, it’s hard to to become emotional, from a players standpoint.
As Russell mentioned, this team has taken on the fire from their head coach and have all the confidence in the world that they can get it done this weekend. As you watch his speak about this school and his coach, it’s not hard to understand why he came to play at Tennessee.
“If you’re a recruit, why wouldn’t you want to come play for a guy like coach?”
As this team heads into the rest of the week and preparations for LSU, they do so knowing it could be the last time some of these guys suit up at home. So, the “Last Ride At Lindsey Nelson” is a perfect mantra to build upon for this weekend.
It will be a heavyweight fight, come Saturday night and the Vols will be looking for the knockout punch, possibly in dramatic fashion again. I mean, what’s one more weekend of craziness in Knoxville. It sounds about right to me.