We answer your questions about Tennessee athletics and more in our weekly mailbag, Insider Mailing.
“Most likely visitors to commit?” – Landon
Daniel: I’d watch out for the running backs – Jamal Elliott and Tae Provens. Both have had some really good things to say about Tennessee and there could be some really good opportunities for running backs coming up at Tennessee in the next couple years. There’s very little proven depth behind John Kelly.
“If the Preds sweep the Blackhawks, what are the chances of Daniel Lewis and Will Boling going streaking on the strip?” – Ben
Daniel: Of all that needs to happen in this scenario – the Preds winning Game 4, me being on the strip and me streaking – me being on the strip might be the least likely of the three.
Will: If I can make it through all the traffic in under an hour, then all bets are off. #PredsInFour
“Are spring games as we know them about to become a thing of the past? Have heard rumblings that may be the case.” – Bobby
Daniel: Haven’t heard a ton about that. My question would be what are spring games as we know them? We’ve seen them become a little more practice-like over the past few years with more schools (Tennessee included) adding some drills and one-on-one competitions to supplement the more traditional scrimmage element. Personally, I’d rather see a scrimmage or joint practice against another program at the end of spring, but not sure that’s coming anytime soon.
Will: I think spring scoring systems are going to steer away from the traditional format around the country. It allows coaches to evaluate their teams on a more specific scale. It doesn’t make much sense to score a game traditionally when so many players are injured. I do think coaches will look more closely at entertaining drills and non-contact portions of games to keep players healthy.
“Who all is injured for the Orange and White Game?” – Kevin
Daniel: I might mysteriously vanish if I break too many of Butch Jones’ injury-reporting rules, so I can’t go into full detail. But there are a lot of guys out or questionable. Wide receiver Brandon Johnson, offensive lineman Brett Kendrick, defensive back Rashaan Gaulden, defensive end Kyle Phillips, receiver Josh Smith, defensive tackle Shy Tuttle, defensive tackle Kendal Vickers and safety Micah Abernathy were the guys Jones confirmed out for the spring. He’s also mentioned injury issues for cornerback Emmanuel Moseley and offensive lineman Coleman Thomas. Jones essentially declared John Kelly questionable earlier in the week. There are plenty of others I have doubts about as well.
Will: Thankfully, the injuries aren’t as concentrated this season. Last year so many of the guys out were wide receivers and defensive linemen. While there are a lot of guys banged up, they aren’t all in the same position group like it seemed last season.
“Derek Barnett to the Titans or nah?” – Sam
Daniel: Right guy, wrong time for the Titans. I think he’s the exact type of prospect that GM Jon Robinson is looking for – tough, productive, great attitude, etc. The fact that he went to Brentwood Academy and has expressed a desire to play for the Titans also doesn’t hurt his cause for ending up in Nashville. But I think needs – particularly in the secondary and at receiver – will ultimately keep Barnett away from the Titans. The Titans are getting a little older at edge rusher, but Derrick Morgan and Brian Orakpo are both under contract through 2018 and they also invested a second-round pick in Kevin Dodd last season.
I wouldn’t be absolutely stunned if the Titans ended up with him because of how he fits the profile, but I can’t predict that it will happen.
Will: I think he would be scary good fit on the defensive line on the opposite side of Brian Orakpo, especially given Derrick Morgan’s injury concerns. But I don’t think it’s the biggest need in the first round. The Titans absolutely must draft the best available corner and wide receiver in the first round, and then maybe go best available in the rest of the draft from there. I would love to see it happen, and it very well could, but I don’t think it’s the biggest hole Jon Robinson needs to fill at this point.