The Sycamores Visit Rocky Top

Indiana State Football Takes On Tennessee In Neyland Stadium

One of the longest jobs that I have ever had on my calendar was also the one I have looked forward to for the longest time. I have watched Tennessee from afar for the last couple of decades so it was nice to finally make the trip to see the team up close and personal. Sadly the day that I was able to see them at home I was rooting against them. The task for Indiana State was not going to be an easy one. Any time a MVC school faces a SEC school the talent gap is wide. It was great fun though watching the Sycamores compete in that arena. They came out to play, and they made many great plays on the day.

Another Look At Neyland Stadium

Neyland Stadium really is a great place to watch a game. When we arrived at the stadium we took the scenic route to the press box. It was neat to see how the old stadium walls were expanded when they upped the capacity. It was done much the same way that Notre Dame did it when they expanded. The old windows and stadium walls have seen so much history it was hard not to think about it as you walked around the stadium. Just when we nearly reached the press box I saw this statue of General Neyland and stopped to make a quick photo. I loved the gates leading up to the statue. It was my first photo at the stadium, and still one of my favorites from the day.

The Volunteer Atmosphere

Early on before the teams came out of their tunnels the band started up Rocky Top. With nothing to shoot at that minute I took the time to take it all in. It is not often you are standing in front of nearly 100,000 people singing in unison. It was an amazing thing to see and be a part of. Shortly after that I had to focus again, but part of the fun of what I do is taking it all in. The crowd sounded amazing for this game. I can only imagine how loud they get when a team like Florida makes an appearance.

Whatever You Do Don’t Trip

The day before I made the joke about not tripping when I went out to photograph the coin toss. It is embarrassing enough to trip in front of a couple of people let alone 100,000. When the time came to photograph the toss I was so into what the team was doing that I didn’t even think about it. That was a good thing as my shoelace had come untied. Thankfully it didn’t do me in, and I was able to get the shoe tied before the kickoff. Next week it will be a smaller crowd for my game, but I still don’t want to trip.

The Tennessee Photo Team

One thing that I knew going into the game was how good the Tennessee photo team is. Through his work with Scott Kelby I found out about Donald Page and then the Vols Photo crew. What I didn’t realize was just how big that crew really is. They had an army of photographers all armed with Canon gear shooting the game. To say that I was jealous was an understatement. It was fun to watch them at work. Above you can see one of the newer members of the crew getting the coaches shot prior to the game.

Making a Few Photos For Yourself

On the day it really did not pay for me to make any photos of anything except the Indiana State side of things. I am always trying to keep the portfolio fresh though so a few shots here and there of the band, cheerleaders, and stadium never hurt anyone. I never made the shots at the expense of my job on the day, but in my free time they were fun to make. It is nice to get out and see some new scenery as well.

Piling It On

Saturday the team I was covering got beat by 35 points. I think it is safe to say that there were more moments to capture for the Volunteers than I had. That may be what makes it so much more rewarding to make a special photo. The one above of the team piling onto the backup Tennessee quarterback was one of those. I love the pursuit to the ball and the sheer number of Sycamores involved in the play. I walked away from the game excited for what the rest of the season holds for Indiana State. They moved the ball on an SEC team fairly well. There were plenty of positives to take from the game, and things to be excited about. I like this defense. I think that they are still coming together, but there are some exciting pieces there to build on.

What Comes Next?

This coming week is another one that ends with some travel. I will head to Virginia to photograph Indiana State taking on Liberty. I am getting to the point where the team is starting to not notice me as much as I have been around a little. I feel less like an outsider and more like I am blending in which is nice. This fall has been more about working for one school instead of many, and with that comes a nice familiarity. That is what I have been working towards for a few years now, and it is a nice feeling.

The Week In Photos

Obviously the focus this week in my collection of favorite photos from the past week is the game in Knoxville. You can see that post here. The week did start off with a fun trip to the zoo with the family to offset the recent sports themes that have started back up again. I will get back to landscapes, but right now football has kind of stepped up and taken center stage. That will continue for the next few weeks.


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