Repent or Perish

The First Luminous Mystery: The Baptism of the Lord

Our Lord, though innocent, takes on our sins as He enters the water of Jordan and is baptized by John. His mission of our salvation is blessed by the Father’s praise and the Spirit’s descent. Ask Our Lady to help you pray this decade, pondering the light that comes from submission to the will of God.

–from Praying the Rosary: With the Joyful, Luminous, Sorrowful, and & Mysteries by Michael Dubruiel and Amy Welborn.

Repent or Perish Luke 13:3

“I must decrease, He must increase” St. John the Baptist told his disciples after his encounter with Christ. Our submission to the will of God begins with our submission to Christ–our own dying with Him and rising anew in Him at our Baptism. But the act of submission needs to happen at every moment of the day. Every second brings with it a moment of prayer–will I submit to my will against His or will I bow down to His authority and choose Him. The world may cry out “I’ve got to be me,” but the servant of God cries out “I’ve got to be His.” St. Paul reiterates this when he declares, “I live, no not I, but Christ.”

We fear this repentance. We secretly grieve that we won’t be ourselves if we submit. Something within at a very early age urges us to resist (original sin) and it does not go away quietly. So many of us are slowly perishing, spending our demise judging others, living in darkness.

The biblical notion of this state of humanity is that of something that is lost. Will we continue to cling on to the lost being or will we allow ourselves to be found by Christ–at this moment and at every moment walking in His light and overcoming the darkness of the lost?



Michael Dubruiel

Tuesday Third Week of Advent

Tuesday of the Third Week of Advent

O Radiant Dawn, splendor of eternal light, sun of justice: come, shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death.

“Blessed is she who believed that the message made her by the Lord would be fulfilled.” Here is where most of us fall short. We really don’t believe, silently we distrust. In our actions we loudly show our unbelief.

Elizabeth praises Mary for her trust.

What do you and I really trust in?

Today ask the Blessed Virgin to give you a stronger faith, one that looks to God expectantly at every waking moment of your day and sleeps at night with the same assurance.

More from Michael Dubruiel:

Michael Dubruiel wrote a book to help people deepen their experience of the Mass.  He titled it, How to Get the Most Out of the Eucharist.  You can read about it here. 

How to Get the Most Out of the Eucharist gives you nine concrete steps to help you join your own sacrifice to the sacrifice of Christ as you:

  • Serve: Obey the command that Jesus gave to his disciples at the first Eucharist.
  • Adore: Put aside anything that seems to rival God in importance.
  • Confess: Believe in God’s power to make up for your weaknesses.
  • Respond” Answer in gesture, word, and song in unity with the Body of Christ.
  • Incline: Listen with your whole being to the Word of God.
  • Fast: Bring your appetites and desires to the Eucharist.
  • Invite: Open yourself to an encounter with Jesus.
  • Commune: Accept the gift of Christ in the Eucharist.
  • Evangelize :Take him and share the Lord with others.

Filled with true examples, solid prayer-helps, and sound advice, How to Get the Most Out of the Eucharist shows you how to properly balance the Mass as a holy banquet with the Mass as a holy sacrifice. With its references to Scripture, quotations from the writings and prayers of the saints, and practical aids for overcoming distractions one can encounter at Mass, this book guides readers to embrace the Mass as if they were attending the Last Supper itself.

73 Steps to Spiritual Communion with God – 44

This is a continuation of the the 73 Steps to Spiritual Communion with God by Michael Dubruiel, the previous posts are available in the archives to the right. This is step 44.

(44) To fear the day of judgment.

A recent visit to a large Midwestern city was filled with moments where I paused to think about the tragedies of September 11, 2001 and what could happen again or as the United States government often relates-something worst. One of the buildings in this city, that towers over all the rest is especially impressive and the thought of it tumbling like the World Trade Centers was almost incomprehensible. Milling around the streets with thousands of others it was hard to envision some nuclear attack suddenly wiping out a million people in an instance.

Although the sun shone and it was a beautiful day there was a hint of an impending storm that post-9/11 seemed to hang heavy in the air. It made me think of the words of Our Lord when his disciples marveled at the size of the Temple in Jerusalem and its beauty (it was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World), “As for these things which you see, the days will come when there shall not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down,” (Luke 21:7).

Driving home past abandoned motels and gas stations, I thought of the transitory nature of life. People that I once admired now lie cold in tombs, amusement parks that delighted me as a child now lie dormant, everything has a judgment day, everything!

St. Benedict says we should “fear” the day of judgment. It should be something ever on our minds. To keep “our” final end in sight has always been an important practice because it helps us to “order” our lives to that end. Most of us can point to our greatest lapses or sins as times when we had lost sight of our purpose in life.

Fear can be a horrible motivator or it can be a great one. When I was in basic training in the Army some years ago, I remember an incident where one of my fellow trainees was having difficulty producing urine for some medical procedure. He came out to the drill sergeant holding the empty container. The drill sergeant in response yelled in his face, “Go!” And he did, as the front of his fatigues darkened. I saw him a few minutes later squeezing what he could out of his pants into the container.

But Jesus also said, “Fear is useless, what is need is trust,” and while fearing judgment day can help us to refocus on what truly matters and what the right thing to do is in any situation, ultimately it should always lead us back to placing our trust in God. Fearing judgment should always drop us to our knees and reconnect with God. Every moment is an invitation to prayer and every second has its own needs that require that special help from God.

73 Steps to Spiritual Communion with God – 6

This is a continuation of the 73 Steps to Spiritual Communion with God by Michael Dubruiel. The previous are posted below among the other posts and last week’s archives. Here is the Sixth Step:

6. Not to covet (cf Rom 13:9).

St. Benedict attaches a scripture passage to this maxim which in many ways points to where he has obtained the previous four. In Romans 13:9 the Apostle wrote, “The commandments, “Do not commit adultery,” “Do not murder,” “Do not steal,” “Do not covet,” and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: “Love your neighbor as yourself, (Romans 13:9, NIV).”

The simple rendering not to covet is intriguing. We probably are used to the formulation that we should not covet our neighbor’s goods or our neighbor’s wife, but here there is just the simple injunction not to covet. There is nothing more difficult in the culture that we live in than to rid ourselves of desire.

Siddhartha Gautama, the Buddha (enlightened one), based an entire religion on ridding ourselves of what he discovered was the source of all ill. In his four noble truths he stated, that all life is suffering, the cause of suffering is desire, the way to rid the world of suffering is to extinguish desire, that experience is Nirvana.

I remember teaching basically the same truth to teen boys in high school, and receiving a predictable response—“if you rid yourself of desire you wouldn’t move—you would just lie on the couch.” They, mirroring the culture that we live in, saw desire or coveting as a good thing. It is the very fuel that propels one to have great goals and to achieve great success.

But is it?

Doesn’t our desire or coveting rather blind us to achieving our goals, creating a false sense of what is needed to make us happy? What if we were to live each day with a sense of purpose but instead of being concerned about our plan we primarily were focused on God’s will for us.

This may seem too idealistic and we might retort, “How can I know God’s will for me today?” The spiritual writer Jean-Pierre De Caussade in his great spiritual work Abandonment to Divine Providence gave a simple guide to answering the question. The will of God can best be discerned by a simple acceptance of whatever the day brings and to a focus on that.

My spiritual director Benedictine Father Lambert Reilley once mirrored this thought when I complained about all the distractions that I was suffering from. “People keep showing up and interupting the work that I am trying to get done.”

“Why look at them as distractions?” Father Lambert asked me. “Instead see them as people that God is sending to you.” What Father Lambert (who now is Archabbot Lambert) was saying to me was mirrored in the Rule of Saint Benedict’s injunction that the monks were to welcome the stranger as though Christ himself were arriving at the monastery.

So this notion of coveting, covers not only material things and the relationships that others have, it also covers are very time and the way we view it. Time is the biggest culprit in the whole business of ridding ourselves of coveting. We want and desire to have _______________(fiill in the blank) right now rather than waiting until it comes our way.

If it is our health, we want to feel better now, so we take drugs that in the long run ruin our immune system. If we are trying to lose weight, we want it now so we may injure our health seeking a quick solution. If we want material items why wait, put it on credit. All in all, coveting is a rejection of the world that we live in as it is, and the message of the Gospel is just the opposite, the world is not changed by wishing it to be otherwise, but rather by confronting the world as it is and dealing with it.

Why would we not sit around on the couch, if we rid ourselves of desiring? Because we would realize that we have work to do and it needs to be done now! The very act of coveting if we conceptualize it is that of a dreamer, not someone who is immersed in reality.

The opposite of coveting is acceptance.

Ascension Thursday

May is Mary’s month, a month we pay special attention to the rosary. The Ascension is on of the Glorious Mysteries of the Rosary. Check out this small hardbound book by Michael Dubruiel and Amy Welborn,  Praying the Rosary.  Click on the cover for more information.

"Michael Dubruiel"

The Gospels show that the gaze of Mary varied depending upon the circumstances of life. So it will be with us. Each time we pick up the holy beads to recite the Rosary, our gaze at the mystery of Christ will differ depending on where we find ourselves at that moment.

Thereafter Mary’s gaze, ever filled with adoration and wonder, would never leave him. At times it would be a questioning look, as in the episode of the finding in the Temple: “Son, why have you treated us so?” (Lk 2:48); it would always be a penetrating gaze, one capable of deeply understanding Jesus, even to the point of perceiving his hidden feelings and anticipating his decisions, as at Cana (cf. Jn 2:5). At other times it would be a look of sorrow, especially beneath the Cross, where her vision would still be that of mother giving birth, for Mary not only shared the passion and death of her Son, she also received the new son given to her in the beloved disciple (cf. Jn 19:26-27). On the morning of Easter hers would be a gaze radiant with the joy of the Resurrection, and finally, on the day of Pentecost, a gaze afire with the outpouring of the Spirit (cf. Acts 1:14) [Rosarium Virginis Mariae, no. 10].


As we pray the Rosary, then, we join with Mary in contemplating Christ. With her, we remember Christ, we proclaim Him, we learn from Him, and, most importantly, as we raise our voices in prayer and our hearts in contemplation of the holy mysteries, this “compendium of the Gospel” itself, we are conformed to Him.

Easter Season Reflection by Michael Dubruiel

Coming to the tomb of Jesus that first Easter morning, the

women discovered an angel there, the rock rolled away. It was a

shocking and unexpected sight. The guards, who were there to

This is the power of

the cross for the follower

of Christ, no matter

what happens to us or can

happen to us we are not

defeated.

make sure that the disciples did not steal the body of the Lord,

were also witnesses to this. They were overcome with fear—to the

point of being “like dead men.”

One experience, two groups of people, two different reactions.

One group looks at the empty tomb and rushes to tell what

they have witnessed. The other group is paralyzed by the life

event. This wasn’t just something that happened thousands of

years ago; it happens every moment of every day. Those who see

the cross as the end of their life, meet death there; those who

believe and place their trust in God, find in the cross life and victory.

"michael dubruiel"

Easter Octave Meditation

Coming to the tomb of Jesus that first Easter morning, the

women discovered an angel there, the rock rolled away. It was a

shocking and unexpected sight. The guards, who were there to

This is the power of

the cross for the follower

of Christ, no matter

what happens to us or can

happen to us we are not

defeated.

make sure that the disciples did not steal the body of the Lord,

were also witnesses to this. They were overcome with fear—to the

point of being “like dead men.”

One experience, two groups of people, two different reactions.

One group looks at the empty tomb and rushes to tell what

they have witnessed. The other group is paralyzed by the life

event. This wasn’t just something that happened thousands of

years ago; it happens every moment of every day. Those who see

the cross as the end of their life, meet death there; those who

believe and place their trust in God, find in the cross life and victory.

“The Best Thing That Ever Happened”

Tebow, not winning the Heisman, Mike Bianchi explains in the Orlando Sentinel:

Tebow was victimized by being Tebow — perhaps the most famous and highly publicized player in college football history. Some fans and voters are obviously sick of the massive Tebow lovefest that has permeated college football since Tebow signed with UF. How else do you explain Tebow receiving more first-place votes (309) than any of the other candidates, but finishing third because he was completely left off 154 of the 904 ballots?

“They either love the Gators or they hate us,” said Tebow, who failed in his attempt to become the only player in history other than Archie Griffin to win two Heismans.

Florida fans who are upset because Tebow finished third — don’t be. This might be the best thing that ever happened to the Gators heading into the Jan. 8 national title game against Bradford’s Oklahoma team. Tebow, although he was the first person to congratulate and hug Bradford after he won Saturday night, was more than a little perturbed he didn’t win.

“I’ll use this as motivation,” he vowed. ” … . On Jan. 8, we get to decide something a little bit better and I’m excited about that.”

Again, this is no knock on Bradford. He’s had a spectacular year. But let’s be honest, shall we? Bradford won because of his gaudy passing numbers, many of which were accumulated at the end of blowout victories against outmanned Big 12 defenses.

Could I get a clarification, please? On the top of my Heisman ballot, it says to vote for the “Most Outstanding College Football Player” and says nothing about voting for the quarterback who put up the most obscene passing numbers. The word “outstanding” in my book means you “stand out” above the others. And, to me, Bradford and the other Big 12 quarterbacks in contention ( runner up Colt McCoy of Texas and Graham Harrell of Texas Tech) were all clones of one another. Tebow stands out as a once-in-lifetime athlete.

The Big 12 quarterbacks are about numbers and statistics; Tebow is about moments and memories. The Big 12 quarterbacks are measured in passing yards accumulated; Tebow is measured in folklore created.

•Like when he gave the emotional, tear-stained speech after the team’s only loss of the season against Ole Miss. The Gators haven’t lost a game since and the speech was compared to Knute Rockne’s “Win One for the Gipper” pep talk by CBS broadcaster and college football historian Verne Lundquist.

•Or like the Florida State game when some FSU fans angered Tebow by cheering after UF star Percy Harvinlay on the wet, muddy field with an injured ankle. Tebow went up to his coaches and insisted on carrying the ball because he wanted “to hit somebody extremely hard.”

On the very next play, Tebow bulled into the line and moved the entire pile 3 yards into the end zone. After getting up from the bottom of the stack, Tebow ripped off his helmet to show a face caked with mud and streaked with FSU’s garnet end-zone paint.

Following the game, iconic FSU Coach Bobby Bowden called Tebow “The greatest football player I’ve ever seen at quarterback.”

Tebow is the greatest football player one of the greatest coaches in history has ever seen — but not the most outstanding college football player of the year?

Doesn’t quite add up, does it?

Then again, Gators fans should be ecstatic with Heisman voters. They did exactly what Ole Miss did three months ago: They not only inspired Tebow; they incited him.

Not just for one more game, but perhaps even for one more season.

“Maybe,” Tebow said and smiled coyly, “this is motivation to come back for another year and try to tie Archie.”

Ready for the SEC Championship

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Obama and I Agree

There should be a college football playoff, involving the top 8 teams.  From USA Today:

With President-elect Barack Obama supporting a playoff system to decide college football’s national champion, the future TV home of the Bowl Championship Series could become a political football.

BCS commissioners could make the call Monday on whether to move TV rights for five bowls, including the national championship, to ESPN from Fox starting in 2011. The title game would be the first major American sports championship shown on cable. There’s still roughly 16 million U.S. homes that don’t get ESPN. While ESPN has other sports properties such as Monday Night Football, a few college fans without cable have complained they’d be shut out.

So it wouldn’t be surprising to see politicians champion their cause, given that Obama told CBS’ 60 MinutesSunday that a playoff system is “the right thing to do,” For example, Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., intervened last year when fans howled about Major League Baseball moving its “Extra Innings” package of out-of-market games exclusively to satellite provider DirecTV.

Fox spokesman Dan Bell said the network will let the BCS know today whether it will match ESPN’s reported $500 million offer to telecast the BCS championship and four other bowls from 2011 to 2014. ABC, ESPN’s Disney sister network, will broadcast the national championship and Rose Bowl in 2010.

ESPN declined comment.

During Sunday’s interview with CBS’ Steve Kroft, Obama laid out exactly what kind of playoff system he envisions: “Eight teams. That would be three rounds to determine a national champion. It would add three extra weeks to the season. You could trim back on the regular season. I don’t know any serious fan of college football who has disagreed with me on this.”

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

Gators live up to hype, beat South Carolina senseless! Meyer’s expresses excitement that Jimmy Buffet is in the  locker room…Mike Bianchi reflects on the end of the Spurrier era in the Orlando Sentinel:

From now on, we must all cease and desist making a big deal about Spurrier coaching against his former team. These days, it’s more exciting when Houston Nutt comes to Gainesville than Steve Spurrier.

This game is no longer about Steve Spurrier coaching against Florida. It’s only about Florida. It’s no longer about Steve Spurrier vs. Urban Meyer. It’s only about Urban Meyer.

Meyer’s very first words in his postgame news conference after handing Spurrier the worst loss of his coaching career: “Can you believeJimmy Buffett‘s in our locker room?”

That’s right, Meyer seemed more excited about his favorite singer being in the locker room afterward than he was with beating Spurrier’s Gamecocks like they were some outmanned 1-AA team. Meyer’s favorite Buffett song is “It’s 5 O’Clock Somewhere.” If Spurrier had to name a favorite Buffett song after the beating he took Saturday, it would probably be, “Why Don’t We Get Drunk” (and figure out a way to score a freaking touchdown).

Actually, a more appropriate tune for how Spurrier must have felt Saturday might be “Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes.” In that song, a nostalgic Buffett twangs: “Visions of good times that brought so much pleasure makes me want to go back again.”

Those good times for Spurrier must seem like a million miles away now. For Florida fans and media members who witnessed Spurrier’s greatness at UF, it’s shocking to see just how pedestrian his offense has become. It’s sort of like watching Bob Dolegoing from presidential candidate to making Viagra commercials. Or like watching a young Marlon Brando in On the Waterfront and then seeing him years later at the end of his career playing a bloated prison warden with dyed red hair in that awful comedy Free Money.

Spurrier used to be so cocky and sure of himself — a proud perfectionist who only talked about winning championships. But after Saturday’s dismantling, he sounded so unfamiliar. He uttered unSpurrier-like phrases such as: “We were just trying to keep the score respectable.” Or: “We’re having a good season. We’re 7-4 with a chance to go 8-4.”

These are words you never thought you’d hear out of Spur-Dog’s mouth, but that is the reality of his situation right now. As great as he once was, he’s now just another coach for the Urbanator to seek out and destroy. Spurrier may have once been the king of The Swamp, but on Saturday the deposed king returned and the Urbanator guillotined him.

In 309 games as a head coach in college and pro football, Spurrier never has been beaten this badly — not even when he was at Duke. But at least he’s not alone. Urbanator’sGators are dismantling anybody and everybody who gets in their way. They became the first team in Southeastern Conference history Saturday to win six consecutive conference games by 28 points or more.

A dozen years after Spurrier won his first and only national championship at Florida, Meyer is potentially on his way to a second national title by dominating SEC opponents much like Spurrier did back in the day. In the middle of Spurrier’s 1996 national championship season, the Gators went on the most dominating stretch in school and SEC history — a six-game SEC winning streak where Florida won by an average score of 49-11. If you’re scoring at home, Meyer’s Gators are on a six-game SEC streak, winning by an average score of 50-11.

Said Spurrier: “We have to recruit us some athletes like Urban’s recruiting.”

Funny, huh?

Urban Meyer came to Florida and wanted to be like Steve Spurrier.

Now Steve Spurrier is at South Carolina and wants to be like Urban Meyer.

Changes in latitudes, changes in attitudes.

What Gator Fans Fear

Not to mention the looming Florida State game as well.

The normally right on Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel and native rural Floridian totally misses the point of this week’s game involving former head coach Steve Spurrier. No Gator fan wants the ole ball coach to win this game, but all secretly fear that he might. From Bianchi’s blog:

Believe me, I know University of Florida fans would never admit it publicly but there are many of them who, deep down in places they wish didn’t exist, will be secretly rooting for Steve Spurrier to beat their own team Saturday.

That’s right, I’m saying there are some Gator fans who want Stevie Spurrier to turn into Stevie Spoiler Saturday.

They are like the conflicted kids from the broken home who, even though daddy ran off with another woman, somehow blame mommy for the divorce. And they want daddy to come home and make things like they used to be.

They want the old Swamp Fox, Stephen Orr Spurrier, to come back and turn the Swamp into his own personal playground once again.

When South Carolina’s Spurrier comes back to the Swamp for the second time Saturday, it won’t be at all like when Alabama coach Nick Saban made his return to LSU last weekend. Saban is truly despised by LSU fans, who consider him a traitor. He was never truly part of the LSU family.

In contrast, Spurrier is still beloved by Florida fans. He is a bonafide UF icon — a player who won the school’s first Heisman Trophy and a coach who won the school’s first national championship. For long-time UF football fans, he is their first love. And we all know that you never forget your first love.

Admit it, Gator fans, you love Steve Spurrier. You’ll always love Steve Spurrier.

If the Gators win Saturday, you’ll be happy for the way things are.

If the Gators lose Saturday, you’ll be nostalgic for the way things used to be.

Saturday Night in Nashville

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Not to see the Grand Ole Opry, but to see the Florida Gators take on the Vanderbilt Comodores. This is the first time I’ve been there for a night game, and in November that isn’t necessarily a good thing for the person watching the game or for those warm blooded Florida players on the field–but on this night the chill in the air did not stop the Florida team from performing on all eight cylinders. From the Tennessean:

 

The Gators (8-1, 6-1 Southeastern Conference) scored on each of their first four possessions — taking advantage of an interception and a pair of blocked punts for three of those touchdowns — and converted five of their six first-half drives into a 35-0 lead at halftime.

“We have a lot of confidence in our defense and our team as a whole,” said safety Ryan Hamilton, who finished with 13 total tackles. “We really felt we were going to come out here and shut them down, make them punt the ball. We weren’t making them punt the ball. We weren’t doing our job.

“Playing a team with that many good athletes, you’ve got to tackle, and we didn’t. We weren’t doing our job.”

Florida — which clinched the SEC East title with the victory — rolled up 407 offensive yards in the opening three quarters, with reigning Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow rushing for 88 yards and a pair of touchdowns while throwing for 171 yards and three more scores.

Vanderbilt, meanwhile, didn’t pick up a first down until the last minute of the first quarter. By that point, the Commodores had seen a Brett Upson punt partially blocked and a Mackenzi Adams pass intercepted, with both plays leading to Florida scores.

The Commodore defense finally came up with a stop in the second quarter, with Chris Marve stripping Percy Harvin at the goal line and Hamilton recovering in the end zone.

Vanderbilt’s offense was unable to take advantage of the break, though, and Florida scored on its next possession to take a five-touchdown lead into halftime.

“That was a huge play,” Johnson said of the Gators touchdown — a 41-yard pass from Tebow to David Nelson — with eight seconds remaining in the half. “From 28 to 35 at the half is extremely different.”

Trailing 42-0 — and with starting quarterback Mackenzi Adams sidelined by a second-quarter hip injury — fifth-year senior Chris Nickson led the Commodores on consecutive scoring drives of 81 and 87 yards. Nickson threw 2 yards to Jamie Graham for a touchdown and 14 yards to Sean Walker.

“We were moving the ball pretty well in the first half,” Nickson said. “We just had some crazy penalties, hurting ourselves. In the second half, we … eliminated the penalties and just executed the way we could.”

The Commodores’ wait for the sixth victory they need for bowl eligibility will carry into next weekend’s trip to Kentucky, which barely lost Saturday to Georgia.

Gators Taking Vandy Serious

Let’s hope, from the Orlando Sentinel:

You won’t find a critic in Florida Coach Urban Meyer, who calls this year’s Vandy squad the best one he’s faced. The Commodores haven’t defeated Florida since 1988, but they’ve lost by single digits in two of the last three meetings in Nashville.

Vanderbilt hasn’t given up more than 24 points all season, and that was to a high-powered Georgia offense. With experienced leadership in the secondary, Vandy’s defense could fluster a Florida offense that’s rolling with a league-leading 42.9 points per game.

“They are very well coached,” Meyer said. “They started off 5-0. We have our hands full. Defensively, they are playing very well. On special teams, they are very well coached. They are a bowl team.”

Only a win over Florida, Kentucky, Tennessee or Wake Forest would guarantee that. And rarely has a Florida team been this hot.

“We just playing with so much pride and so much passion, it’s going to be hard to stop us,” Gators wide receiver Percy Harvin said.

Johnson said his team must maximize its capacity in order to win and be “encouraged” by Florida’s recent blowouts because it should make his players want to work harder.

“They don’t have a lot of weaknesses,” Johnson said of Florida. “The thing I see in those blowouts, the other team helps them a whole bunch. You do all you can to turn it around and have a chance in the fourth quarter.”

If Vanderbilt can salvage what began as a magical season, that’s just part of Johnson’s plan:

“You’re trying to go beyond what you’ve done before, lift your team up to do things no one has ever done.”

Fulmer to Leave with $6 Million

Spurrier commented that it was like he won the lottery. There was great jubilation on Alabama sports radio yesterday and a feeling of justice. Mike Bianchi’s take from the Orlando Sentinel:

It should come as no surprise that Phil Fulmer announced he was stepping down as Tennessee’s coach Monday. In fact, I could tell he was a dead coach walking two months ago after his 30-6 loss to Florida in Knoxville.

  It seems only appropriate that the loss to Florida set the wheels in motion for Fulmer’s demise and his old nemesis, former UF and current South Carolina football coach Steve Spurrier, finished him off Saturday.

  Here’s the prophetic column I wrote after the Florida-Tennessee game:

“And pretty soon there’ll be no Phil.”

  KNOXVILLE, Tenn. _ Look what you’ve gone and done now, Gators.

  Hope you’re happy.

  Yes, you showed everyone you are a contender to win the Southeastern Conference title.

  Yes, you showed everyone you are national championship material.

  Yes, you showed everyone that your defense is for real.

  But you probably just got Phil Fulmer fired in the process.

  Way to go.

  The one coach the Gators can always count on lambasting and they’ve had so much fun lampooning is so squarely on the hotseat after Saturday’s 30-6 loss to the Gators that he should be wearing asbestos coaching shorts.

  If we never see you again, Phil, so long.

  You’ve given us great column fodder over the years.

  It’s not even Halloween yet and Fulmer _ the coach Florida fans derisively refer to as “The Great Pumpkin”_may well be on his way out at Tennessee. The only thing missing from this sad scenario is an angry Linus clutching his blanket and wailing, “Just wait ’til next year, Charlie Brown. You’ll see! Next year, I’ll sit in that pumpkin patch and the Great Pumpkin will appear.”

  Sorry, son, but it’s looking more and more like there might not be a next year for the beleaguered Fulmer. The only stock more volatile than Fulmer’s right now belongs to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

  After a second-consecutive blowout loss to the Gators, boos cascaded down throughout the game. As Fulmer left the field, a fan above him disgustedly threw some debris in his general direction. When a reporter in the postgame news conference asked the coach how embarrassed he was about his team’s performance, Fulmer’s wife and adult daughter stood up and glared at the mean ol’ reporter.

  “That loss is on me,” Fulmer said. “I’ve got big, broad shoulders. I can take the responsibility.”

  It’s honorable of Fulmer to take the blame, but it’s not like he wouldn’t get it anyway. There is a growing feeling that Fulmer is simply no match for Florida coach Urban Meyer, who has never lost to Tennessee since taking the UF job four seasons ago.

  Here’s all you need to know about Fulmer matching wits against Meyer: Early in the game, the common belief was that Fulmer would attempt to punt the ball away from Brandon James, Florida’s ultra-dangerous return man. Meyer countered the expected move by putting two punt returners _ James and the equally dangerous Percy Harvin _ on the field.

  Sure enough, on the Vols’ first punt, they chose to kick to James, who rocketed up the middle for a 78-yard touchdown burst. The Gators led 17-0 before the UT fans could take their first gulp of moonshine.

  Maybe it’s appropriate that there’s a checkerboard pattern in Tennessee’s end zone. Fulmer is indeed playing checkers. The problem is Meyer is playing chess.

  This game was even more effortless than last year’s 59-20 blowout of Tennessee at Florida Field. At least last season, Tennessee was in the game midway through the third period. This time, the bumbling, fumbling Vols were done by halftime.

  Fulmer may have signed a contract extension after last year, but it’s hard to believe Tennessee is going to keep him after the devastating loss to an awful UCLA team in the season-opener and, now, yet another blowout loss to the Gators.

  Last week, in the home opener, there were at an estimated 20,000 empty seats in Neyland Stadium. This week, many of the 106,138 fans had left before the fourth quarter even started. Was this Neyland Stadium or Tropicana Field?

  Sadly, it seems, Rocky Top has now hit rocky bottom.

  In fact, maybe it’s time for a new opening verse to Tennessee’s famous fight song:

“Wish that I was on ol’ Rocky Top,

“On top of that Tennessee hill,

“Ain’t no smoggy smoke on Rocky Top,

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