If you were watching Monday's Tennessee–Georgia Tech game, you might have seen a trash can bearing Tennessee’s classic orange and white pattern. On Tennessee’s own sideline. During a nationally televised game when there would be no hiding from the onslaught of obvious memes.
Confused? You should be. Tennessee decided to motivate its defense by having an assistant coach hoist a large trash can over his head during the game. When the Vols force a turnover, the players take the ball over to the sideline and make a show of dunking it in the trash can, which is emblazoned with the acronym ”HTB“—Hide The Ball.
If this sounds absurd, it looks even worse.
This gimmick is made even better when you consider the source. Tennessee coach Butch Jones was pilloried last year for defending his outgoing senior class, which graduated out without ever winning the SEC East, as winners of “the championship of life.” This February, as he landed the seventh-best recruiting class in the SEC, Jones said that “the only five-star that we even concern ourselves with is a five-star heart.”
The optics were no better during Monday’s game, as Tennessee struggled against the Yellow Jackets, projected by most as a middling ACC team, and one of the Volunteer assistant coaches is holding up a giant trash can on the sideline like it's the Stanley Cup. The Volunteers’ late rally to tie the score at 28 quieted the memes momentarily.
Irony is not dead.