Swiss Biker Finishes Cross Country Ride in Chattanooga

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (UTC/The Loop) — When Mike Lüthi set out on his journey from Bäretswil, Switzerland to America for his cross-country bike ride, he wasn’t sure what to expect.

However, traveling from town to town and staying with mostly complete strangers, and “never knowing what will happen next,” was his favorite part of the trip says the 21 year old Swiss Army soldier.

 

Mike enjoys his first American football game.

Mike enjoys his first American football game.

Beginning in Bozeman, Montana, Lüthi made his way south, eventually arriving in Chattanooga, where after over 2,500 miles of pedaling from the Midwest to the Southeast, his bike trip will come to an end.

One of the most memorable stops during the trip for Lüthi was in Stillwater, Oklahoma where he spent several days on the campus of Oklahoma State University. In Stillwater, he says that he met many new people, as well as saw his first American football game as the Oklahoma State Cowboys played the Missouri Tigers.

Lüthi also had the chance to see a Tennessee Titans game which was very special to him.

“I love NFL,” he says, “But nobody in Switzerland knows about it much.”

He enjoyed the game, but said that he would have loved to see Ben Roethlisberger play.

In addition to being a 2-time Super Bowl winning quarterback, Roethlisberger is also a spokesman for “Swiss Roots,” a campaign that helps Americans of Swiss origin reconnect with their heritage, which makes it easy to understand why Lüthi is such a fan.

“Big Ben (Roethlisberger) is my favorite football player,” says Lüthi. “His name Roethlisberger is Swiss-German, which is why I like him so much.”

Lüthi also had the opportunity to see an NHL game while in Nashville, as the Nashville Predators played the San Jose Sharks. “Hockey is my favorite sport,” he says, and he,”Couldn’t believe I was at an NHL game!”

“Nashville was very good part of my trip,” says Lüthi, because it is also the place he met his new friend Jeff Glaser, 22, from Nashville, Tenn. who has also completed a cross country bike trip from Charleston, South Carolina to Los Angeles, California.

Read About Jeff’s Cross-Country Bike Trip

“I was going to get some drinks during the half time of the Tennessee game, when I saw Mike biking down Charlotte Pike,” says Glaser.  He leaned out the window and waved at Lüthi as he passed him, but was stopped by a red light soon after.

“When he rode up beside me, he was stopped next to me at the red light, so I ask him where he was headed,” says Glaser. “I couldn’t believe it when he said Chattanooga.”

 

Mike stops for a picture.

Stopping for a picture in the Midwest.

Glaser, who spent a weekend in Chattanooga with his friend Blake Meador over the summer, asked Lüthi if he would want some company on his trip to Chattanooga.

“I was excited when Jeffery asked me to ride with him to Chattanooga,” said Lüthi, and the two set off for the Scenic City on a Thursday morning. They spent the night in a Manchester hotel before arriving in Chattanooga Friday evening.

When they arrived and got settled, Lüthi spent the first part of the evening listening to some American music and enjoying some American beer.

“American beer is so expensive in Switzerland,” he says. “It costs about seven American dollars for just a glass of Budweiser in Switzerland,” Lüthi said after buying a six pack of Bud Light for about that price.  “I could not believe how cheap it is here. I had to ask Jeffery if that was the price for just one bottle of beer or all six of them.”

After listening to some music and answering dozens of questions about Switzerland for his American hosts, Lüthi was ready to experience the Chattanooga night life with an evening at Chattanooga Billiards Club.

After a “very fun” Friday night, Lüthi spent much of Saturday trying to find a way to mail his bike back to Switzerland. After finally finding a suitable box at a local bike store, he mailed it from the UPS Store for just over $800.

“The cost was more expensive than I thought,” said Lüthi, “But I am happy that it is finished, and I don’t have to worry about carrying my bike around for the rest of my trip.”

Later that evening, Lüthi had to the opportunity to see some live American music, rapper Lil Wyte, at Chattanooga’s Midtown Music Hall. “He had never heard Lil Wyte before, but I think had a great time,” said Blake Meador, a senior from Nashville, Tenn, who housed Lüthi over the weekend at his Chattanooga apartment.

“I loved having him stay here. It was awesome learning things about him and his country, but it was just as good to teach him things about America and the English language,” said Meador, who was thrilled to give Lüthi a drinking glass with every NFL team logo on it, as well as a University of Tennessee hat.

“I just hope he wasn’t getting annoyed by me asking him ‘how do you say (blank) in Swiss-German?” said Meador.

Sunday Lüthi explored  some Chattanooga’s outdoor scenery, such as Lookout Mountain and Coolidge Park, but due to the rainy weather, he spent most of the day indoors. Although he was able to spend a Sunday watching the NFL, he said that he would have rather spent it all outdoors.

 

Jeff and Mike enjoy an evening at CBC

Jeff and Mike enjoy an evening at CBC

As Sunday night rolled around, Lüthi was ready for another night at Chattanooga Billiards Club and after a third late night out in a row, he made his way back

to the apartment to get some much needed sleep before his early morning bus trip back to Nashville.

“I had very much fun in Chattanooga, and I am very glad I met Jeffery in Nashville or I would not have had much fun,” said Lüthi of his stop in Chattanooga. “I am also thankful to Blake for allowing me to stay here. Also for the NFL drinking glass and hat that he gave me.”

Lüthi’s final stop on his trip before he flies back to Switzerland will be New York City. That will be a very different experience than his previous stops in Colorodo, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Tennessee, but it is a fitting way to end his trip in the states.

 

 

 

 

Flag Football at Chattanooga Sports Complex

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn (UTC/The Loop) — Ever wanted to play football indoors like the pros? How about play football after January? The Chattanooga Sports Complex located in Hixson, Tennessee now offers you the opportunity to do both.

Chattanooga Sports Complex, known primarily for their indoor soccer leagues for all ages, also offers youth lacrosse leagues, and now a five on five, no contact, indoor flag football league for adults. The league is split up into two divisions, the A Division for teams that are experienced at flag football, and the B Division for teams new to the league or the rules of flag football.

The complex has five seasons per year, and just weeks in between the end of one season, and the start of the next. The current season is underway and is in week four. Each season consists of eight regular season and at least one single elimination playoff game to determine a league champions. Teams must have at least five players on their roster, and as many as ten, and must collectively play a $475 fee to compete in the league.

“It’s a financial commitment,” says Carlos Sanchez, of team Invictus, “But it’s worth it.”

Invictus is in their initial season in the league so they have been assigned to the B Division, but they hope to qualify for the A Division by next season.  “It has taken us a few weeks to get all the rules down, but we are definitely improving each week.”

In addition to the 60 by 30 yard synthetic turf field, the facility also features a seating for about 200 spectators, a concession area and free wireless internet. Robby Miller, also a member of Invictus said, “The facility is great. It’s great to play indoors and not have to worry about the light or weather.”

Games are played every Friday night beginning with the first game at 6:20, and last until the end of the final game which starts at 10:20. Games are also occasionally played on Tuesday nights. Referees and flags are provided by the league, but teams are required to provide their own uniforms, which are only required to be shirts of the same (or similar) color.

For more information about the league, flag football rules, and more visit www.chattsports.com.

Doors Closed During Bye Week, Titans Seek Answers

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP/The Loop) — Whatever Jeff Fisher plans to do to fix Tennessee’s losing ways will be done behind closed doors.

At 0-6, the reeling Titans, coming off a 59-0 rout at New England that is the NFL’s most lopsided loss since 1976, are as far away from their 10-0 start a season ago as possible.

Fans want Fisher fired, though owner Bud Adams isn’t ready yet for a midseason change.

So Fisher is closing practices this week as the Titans try repairing all that’s gone wrong. It’s a flexible bye week schedule that could feature two sessions a day or walk-throughs before and after practice. The coach is looking at everything, will split work between veteran Kerry Collins and backup quarterback Vince Young, and some roster changes may result.

And the future for the NFL’s longest-tenured coach with his current team? Fisher insisted Monday he isn’t worried, not with everything he has to fix.

Fisher also heard criticism from Titans fans after his attempt at humor at a Nashville charity event on Tuesday; “Jerseygate”

“I’m not in any kind of survival mode or worried about my job or worried about job security. I have a good coaching staff. I’ve got tremendous confidence in my coaching staff and tremendous confidence in my players we’re going to get this turned around,” Fisher said.

Adams’ last head coaching change came in 1994 after a 1-9 start when he promoted Fisher from defensive coordinator. Fisher has lasted longer and won more games for this franchise than any other coach. Adams told The Tennessean newspaper he is worried, but will make his decision on the future after this season.

The 0-for start is stunning because this is the franchise that returned 20 starters from the team that went an NFL-best 13-3 last season. Two local TV stations streamed Fisher’s news conference on their Web sites Monday, and one radio station aired it live as well.

The schedule hasn’t helped with four of the first six on the road against teams now a combined 22-13 and none with a losing record. The next four offer little hope either, with only Buffalo (2-4) on Nov. 15 currently below .500.

Titans turnaround ahead?

This week’s focus will be on the basics of throwing, catching, blocking and tackling. The only thing they’re doing OK? Chris Johnson is second in the NFL with 596 yards rushing.

Fisher said he isn’t making any coaching changes or taking over the defensive play calling, even though these Titans now have given up nearly as many points through six games (198) as they did in all of 2008 (234). They rank last in the NFL in that category in the first season under new coordinator Chuck Cecil.

“He’s not the one missing the tackles. He’s not the one getting to the quarterback. He’s not the one giving up the plays down the field or making the mental mistakes,” Fisher said of Cecil.

The offense shares as much blame.

The Titans dropped six passes in the first half alone Sunday against New England and turned over the ball a season-high five times. Collins botched a couple snaps and a would-be reverse to Nate Washington wound up as a 22-yard loss on a pass. The only other completed pass was a screen to fullback Ahmard Hall for 15 yards.

Collins now has eight interceptions, one more than all of 2008. Adams wants to see more of Young, the No. 3 pick overall in 2006, but such decisions are up to Fisher. Young hasn’t been any better in two relief appearances, going 0 for 5 with one interception.

Who starts Nov. 1 against Jacksonville (3-3)? Fisher isn’t saying.

The bye will heal up defensive backs Cortland Finnegan (right hamstring) and Vincent Fuller (broken right arm). But running back LenDale White hurt his left knee in the second quarter Sunday. He walked to the sideline, then rode a cart to the locker room and was seen walking gingerly after the game. He led the AFC with 15 touchdowns rushing last season, but has just one in 2009.

Finnegan ready for return

Fisher is trying to sell this bye week, with Monday a day off for players, as a fresh start.

“This is the coaches’ and players’ week to get things fixed, and there will be things that we won’t be privy to discuss for competitive reasons,” Fisher said. “There may be changes in the lineups. Hopefully, we can get some people healed up and ready to play for us. I’m expecting to put a different team on the field next week as we practice for Jacksonville.”

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Men’s Basketball Tickets on Sale for Upcoming Season

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn (UTC/The Loop) — Tickets for the defending SoCon Champs, the Chattanooga Mocs Men’s Basketball Team have gone on sale.

The schedule features 17 home games, including a headline matchup against the ACC’s Georgia Tech. The Yellow Jackets are making the trip to Chattanooga’s McKenzie Arena for the first time in almost two decades.

Season tickets can be purchased at Ticket Office located at Gate One of McKenzie Arena.

Season tickets can be purchased at Ticket Office located at Gate One of McKenzie Arena.

“This is a home schedule that fans of all ages will be able to enjoy,” said Athletic Director Rick Hart. “John (Shulman) and his staff have done a great job putting together a competitive schedule in an economic climate that makes it increasingly difficult.”

Season tickets can be purchased online by visiting GoMocs.com, or by calling the ticket office at (423) 266-MOCS. Fans can also buy tickets by visiting McKenzie Arena’s ticket office at Gate One. Season ticket prices begin at $75, and are just $50 for UTC employees, alumni, and youth. Lower level reserved seating is also available, but require a donation to the UTC Mocs Club. Lower level tickets are priced at $175, and $100 for university employees and alumni.

“We are not raising ticket prices, despite the increase in home games,” said Hart. “We have also worked hard to put together a number of packages to fit every budget,” he added, emphasizing the athletic department’s commitment to keep ticket prices affordable during these tough economic times.

The annual Dr. Pepper Classic, December 29-30, looks to be especially strong this year, featuring Morgan State, who appeared in the NCAA Tournament last season. Eastern Kentucky and Long Island will also be included in the tournament field.

Another intriguing matchup in the early season is that with instate rival East Tennessee State University, who will face the Mocs November 17 at McKenzie Arena. Other notable non-conference opponents for UTC include Missouri, Richmond, Jacksonville State, and Murray State.

This years Blue and Gold Tipoff will be at the First Tennessee Pavilion after the Football team's Moc Walk

This years Blue and Gold Tipoff will be at the First Tennessee Pavilion after the Football team's Moc Walk

As the Mocs prepare to defend their Southern Conference Championship from a year ago, head coach John Shulman is cautiously optimistic, but far from over confident. “I really like this team and its potential,” but added, “Potential is a nasty, nasty word. You’d like to have a lot of known commodities. There is very little known about this team.”

Both the Men and Women’s Basketball teams will officially kick off their season Saturday, October 31 with the “Blue and Gold Tipoff” which has been moved to the First Tennessee Pavilion next to Finley Stadium. Activities will begin immediately following the football teams’ Moc Walk at 11:45 a.m. before their game against Western Carolina.

Home Schedule:

  • 11/13: Tennessee Wesleyan (Exb.)
  • 11/13: Virginia Intermont
  • 11/17: ETSU
  • 12/5: Elon
  • 12/12: Mississippi Valley State
  • 12/14: Georgia Tech
  • 12/21: Tennessee Temple
  • 12/29-12/30: Dr. Pepper Classic
  • 1/11: UNC Greensboro
  • 1/14: The Citadel
  • 1/16: College of Charleston
  • 1/28: Western Carolina
  • 1/30: Appalachian State
  • 2/10: Samford
  • 2/13: Furman
  • 2/22: Davidson

Vols’ Crompton is SEC offensive player of the week

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP/The Loop) — Tennessee quarterback Jonathan Crompton was named the Southeastern Conference’s offensive player of the week after a career performance in a 45-19 win over Georgia.

The 6-foot-4, 228-pound Waynesboro, N.C., native went 20 for 27 for a career-high 310 yards in the Saturday win. He threw four touchdowns and an interception for the Volunteers (3-3, 1-2 SEC).

Crompton and his receivers have struggled often this season, but coach Lane Kiffin pledged to stick with the senior regardless of his performance.

“That’s huge,” he said after the game. “Nobody wants to look over their shoulder and worry about it because that’s when you play timid.”

Crompton won the starting job after competing with backup Nick Stephens during spring and fall practices. The two alternated as starter throughout last season under coach Phillip Fulmer, who at times pulled one quarterback in the middle of a game in favor of the other.

Crompton turned in his worst performance of the season against UCLA in week two when he went 13 for 26 for 93 yards and threw three interceptions but no touchdowns.

He’s gradually improved since as the wide receiving corps, which has been riddled with injuries this season, got healthier and improved timing with the quarterback. His previous career high came against Auburn on Oct. 3 when he threw for 259 yards.

Crompton’s pass efficiency rating for the season was 114.2 entering the game and 107.2 for his career. Against the Bulldogs (3-3, 2-1) his efficiency rating was 212.

Before his third-quarter interception, he attempted 88 passes without a pick.

“If we get our passing game on the same page and guys make plays, that helps a quarterback a ton and gives him confidence,” Kiffin said. “You saw that as the game went on. You saw him start forcing some balls in there in a good way because he had confidence the guys would make plays.”

Tennessee is off this week before traveling to No. 2 Alabama (6-0, 4-0) on Oct. 24.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Titans remain winless after 37-17 loss to Jaguars

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP/The Loop) — With slow starts, turnovers, special teams errors and defensive lapses, Tennessee’s problems are evident.

The solutions are much less clear.

The same issues that plagued the Titans in their first three games hampered them again Sunday during a 37-17 loss at Jacksonville. Now, the franchise that started 10-0 in 2008 and earned the No. 1 seed in the AFC playoffs has more losses than it did all of last season.

And it’s not going to get any easier for Tennessee (0-4), with games against Indianapolis (4-0) and New England (3-1) up next.

“When you’re in a situation like this, every man has to take it upon himself to figure out what he needs to do,” quarterback Kerry Collins said. “As a team, collectively, we need to come together and not listen to the criticism from the outside and keep believing in what we’re doing.”

Easier said than done, especially since the Titans have shown a penchant for repeating their mistakes this season.

They had two missed field goal attempts and two turnovers in the opener against Pittsburgh. They had countless blown coverages and two turnovers against Houston the following week. They had more special teams woes and four turnovers last week against the New York Jets.

Tennessee also trailed in the first half of all three games.

It was an all-too-familiar feeling against the Jaguars (2-2).

David Garrard threw for 323 yards and three touchdowns, shredding Tennessee’s injury-depleted secondary. Rookie Mike Thomas set up two touchdowns with long returns. His 34-yard punt return set up Maurice Jones-Drew’s 9-yard TD run in the first quarter, and his 42-yard kickoff return set up Garrard’s first TD pass to Mike Sims-Walker in the second.

Jacksonville’s defense caused problems, too.

The unit held Chris Johnson to 83 yards rushing, kept steady pressure on Collins and forced three turnovers. Tennessee’s first eight possessions included four punts, two interceptions and a fumble.

All those gaffes had the Titans trailing 30-3 in the third quarter and searching for answers.

“Being at a loss for words is a good way to put it,” linebacker Keith Bulluck said. “We’re obviously not playing good football. This is the fourth week, and the last three I used up my excuses for what’s going on.”

The Titans could have had an excuse in this one: They played without cornerback Cortland Finnegan (hamstring) and nickel back Vincent Fuller (forearm). Clearly, the Jaguars took notice.

A team built to run the ball, Jacksonville threw early and often — even without starting tackles Eugene Monroe (illness) and Eben Britton (knee). Garrard dropped back to pass 27 times in the first half, and the Jags called seven running plays.

“We knew they were going to stack the box and try to stop Maurice,” Sims-Walker said. “We just took advantage of that. It’s about time. We knew we were capable of doing it. It’s just time we did it.”

Garrard completed 27 of 37 passes, the latest quarterback to burn the NFL’s 29th-ranked pass defense. Sims-Walker caught seven passes for 91 yards and two scores. He had a 9-yard TD reception in the second quarter and a 15-yarder with 27 seconds remaining in the half that made it 27-3.

It could have been worse for Tennessee, too.

Collins threw an interception on the ensuing possession, and Gerald Alexander returned it to the 26-yard line — well inside kicker Josh Scobee’s range. But Garrard was sacked for an 11-yard loss, and Scobee missed a 55-yarder as time expired.

Collins threw a touchdown pass and ran for a score in the second half, but it was too little, too late.

“We can’t put a finger on what’s wrong and we don’t want to point fingers at each other,” Titans defensive end Jevon Kearse said. “Whatever we’re doing, we’re doing as a team. We’ve been losing together, but we’ve been doing it as a team. There’s a lot of stuff we need to do that we haven’t been doing yet.”

Quarterback Controversy in Tennessee?

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Struggling Titans still searching for first win of 2009

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Tennessee Titans aren’t panicking. One more loss, they just might.

The team that lost only three games in the 2008 regular season already has matched that in 2009. The Titans are saying all the right things about not pointing fingers, tuning out critics and the need to dig out of this 0-3 hole.

The AFC team that earned home-field advantage throughout the playoffs? Not talking about the postseason right now, not with all three losses to AFC teams and the defending AFC South champs sitting on the bottom as one of six winless teams left in the NFL.

“It’s not the division, it’s not playoffs,” coach Jeff Fisher said Monday. “It’s just win a game, win a game.”

The Titans have blown second-half leads in each game. Fisher is taking the blame on the latest after going with rookies at returner. That cost him two turnovers and 14 points in Sunday’s 24-17 loss to the New York Jets. Fisher said it’s his responsibility to get someone that can make those plays, though he still thinks Ryan Mouton will be a good player.

Now the Titans will be without defensive back Vincent Fuller for up to six weeks with a broken right forearm and All-Pro cornerback Cortland Finnegan hurt a hamstring. Fisher did not give an estimate on Finnegan’s status but the coach said the Titans are looking at their options for help both at returner and at cornerback.

This wasn’t expected from a team that went an NFL-best 13-3 in 2008 with 20 starters back. Even linebacker Keith Bulluck said after the Jets’ loss he wouldn’t have believed anyone forecasting such a woeful start.

 

Jeff Fisher is still looking for answers to solve Tennessee's 0-3 start in 2009

Jeff Fisher is still looking for answers to solve Tennessee's 0-3 start in 2009

“But we are 0-3,” he said.

Everyone has had a hand. Kerry Collins fumbled to ruin a drive in Week 2, then he was intercepted twice and finished the loss to the Jets with 13 straight incompletions. Nate Washington, the top free agent signee, dropped at least two passes. Justin Gage and rookie Kenny Britt also missed catches as Fisher counted five drops in the second half.

The defense that couldn’t get to Ben Roethlisberger in the opening loss at Pittsburgh or stop Houston a week ago rebounded by holding the Jets without a first down and to minus-3 yards in the second quarter.

Collins said he will do everything in his power to keep the team together.

“That’s the only thing we can do. It’s certainly frustrating, I think everybody’s frustrated, but we have to come back to work. We can’t be fazed by it. We have to come back and try to get a win next week. That’s the situation we’re in, and we have to deal with that and move on,” Collins said.

Collins might get back tight end Bo Scaife, who hurt his left knee in the opener. Scaife was the team’s leading receiver in 2008.

Plus, this team has plenty of players who survived an 0-5 start in 2006 before reeling off eight wins over the next 10 games. That squad missed the playoffs by losing the final game. Center Kevin Mawae said the veterans need to show the younger players how to dig out of this hole.

“We’ve done it before, and we can do it again,” Mawae said.

Defensive tackle Tony Brown, who was signed by Tennessee after the fourth loss to open 2006, said the Titans are going to remain calm.

“We are grown men. Everybody just has to stay focused,” said Brown, who forced a fumble and had a sack against the Jets. “We are going to get it corrected.

The Titans visit Jacksonville (1-2) on Sunday before hosting Indianapolis on Oct. 11. Then there’s their fourth road trip in six games to New England before their bye.

Bulluck expects people to write off the Titans now despite two straight playoff berths.

“We don’t need to spend our time worrying about the stories in the newspapers. We need to worry about ourselves. At a time like this, the team needs to get tighter,” he said.

 

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

0-2 Titans Face Jets Sunday in Must-Win Game

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) — The Tennessee Titans aren’t afraid to express their emotions, using words like embarrassed, disappointed, frustrated.

Now that they’re in touch with their feelings, they are about the business of fixing a defense shredded through the air the first two games.

“The defense that played last Sunday, I hope everybody got a good glimpse of them because they’ll never show up again this year I guarantee that,” linebacker Keith Bulluck said Wednesday. “We’re definitely going to get back to the basics, the defense that we’ve played here the last 10 years I’ve been here starting Sunday.”

That would be good timing with the Titans (0-2) visiting the New York Jets (2-0) and hot rookie Mark Sanchez — backed by a defense that hasn’t surrendered a touchdown yet this season.

Tennessee has lost two games by a field goal each, but the defense has given up 678 yards passing through for an average of 339 yards per game. The Titans aren’t happy because this is a veteran unit that returned 10 starters from a defense that ranked second in the NFL in 2008 in points allowed and ninth in yards passing allowed.

The only missing link? All Pro tackle Albert Haynesworth, who now calls Washington home.

Cornerback Nick Harper said it’s surprising from a secondary playing its third season together and featuring three pro bowlers. That includes safety Michael Griffin who said he messed up on a 72-yard TD catch by Andre Johnson and doesn’t’ want to be considered a one-year fluke.

“My eyes got caught in the wrong place so just got to learn,” Griffin said.

Harper found himself clarifying remarks he made after the 34-31 loss to the Texans about the Titans not making adjustments. The cornerback said Wednesday that he meant the players, not the coaches, and that he wasn’t the kind of person to point fingers.

But he said the secondary is embarrassed.

“We feel like we’re letting the team down. The past two seasons we felt like we was the strongest unit. Now we feel like we’re the weakest unit right now,” he said.

Schaub shredded the defense with seven passes of 19 yards or longer, repeatedly finding open receivers.

The Titans all agreed that the mistakes are fixable by studying film and working at practice. Defensive back Vincent Fuller called it basic fundamentals.

“We just learned how not doing it every single play can cost you. We just have to get back to keying on the little things and playing football the way it’s supposed to be played,” Fuller said.

Jets coach Rex Ryan said mistakes happen. But he sees Tennessee as an outstanding defense that will get everything fixed. The Titans have shut down the run so far, allowing a meager 49½ yards per game.

“They can wait a week, and that would be fine with me,” Ryan said.

It wasn’t just the Tennessee secondary. The Titans didn’t sack Schaub once, though they hit him a few times after he had released the ball. Defensive end Jevon Kearse said they are looking to get to Sanchez who has studied up on Kearse and Vanden Bosch, Bulluck and All Pro cornerback Cortland Finnegan.

“We’ll go with what the game plan calls for. We know we have a great running game, and we want to keep that up and keep our rush attempts high. If we need to throw it, we’ll throw it. We enjoy throwing that ball, too,” Sanchez said.

Not that the Titans are too worried. Coach Jeff Fisher pointed out it’s the same defense the Titans played in 2008 even though he has a new coordinator in Chuck Cecil with Jim Schwartz now the head coach in Detroit.

Linebacker David Thornton called last week’s game a wakeup call for the Tennessee defense.

“We just have to continue to stay poised and don’t panic. We still have a very, very good football team despite what our record says right now. Our confidence is still high. … We’re going to stick together and get through this,” he said.

Notes: Tight end Bo Scaife did not practice (left knee). Starting left guard Eugene Amano also sat out with an illness along with linebacker Stanford Keglar (hamstring).

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.

Lacrosse Club Looking Forward to Season

By Michael Murphy

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn (UTC/The Loop) — Lacrosse, a popular sport in the northeastern part of the United States, is slowly making its way south. Sometimes referred to as “the fastest game on two feet,” lacrosse has made its way to many college campuses in the Southeast, contributing to the growing awareness of the sport around the country.

The Mocs Lacrosse Club has seen its share of hardships, but after last year’s 16-2 victory over Mississippi State, club founder Andrew Wilson feels, “We finally have things ironed out.”

When Wilson formed the club he had difficulty finding players, much less experienced ones. “The first team had five players that had played the game before,” said Wilson, “The other 11 were totally new to lacrosse.”

Once Wilson and other members of the club got enough players out on the field, another problem they encountered was how to keep them out there. According to Wilson, many of the new players with no lacrosse experience only stick around for a semester or two. “It’s the real fire-breather types that are the ones that stick with it, because it is such a vigorous game.

Funding was and still is a problem for the club. Raising enough money to pay for equipment, travel, and referees is an obstacle, as well as the fact that their competition was well-funded, had 45 players and had three coaches.

Andrew Wilson graduated last fall after two impressive wins, beating Mississippi State and Middle Tennessee State. Senior defenseman Tabor Dugger has since become club president, and is optimistic about the future.

The club is still actively looking for members. Experience is preferred, but players that are new to the game are welcome to join. If interested, contact club president Tabor Dugger or Kyle Edmunds, the club’s vice president.

Iverson’s Heading to Memphis says his Twitter Account

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn (UTC) —Former two-time NBA Most Valuable Player Allen Iverson has joined another team —his third in two seasons— after the Memphis Grizzlies agreed in principle to sign the 34 year old Iverson.

Iverson announced his decision via twitter —a growing trend in the world of professional sports— before the Grizzlies front office was able to make it official. “God Chose Memphis as the place that I will continue my career,” Iverson tweeted on Wednesday.

Iverson has averaged 27.1 points per game in his NBA career, and will be a big-name attraction for a struggling franchise that finished 24-58 last season.

Memphis will be the fourth team Iverson has played for in his 13 year career: