We answer your best questions about Tennessee athletics and anything else in our weekly mailbag, Insider Mailing.
“Why would you not take Todd Kelly Jr. to media days?” – Chris
Nathanael: That honestly surprised me too. I mean no disrespect to Emmanuel Moseley at all when I say this, but I don’t see why Butch Jones chose him over TK Jr. for SEC Media Days. But as I said in my opinion piece yesterday, we only have an outsider’s perspective on this. Maybe Moseley is a better leader with the team than we’ve seen. Or maybe Jones trusted him better in front of the media (I doubt that considering how well spoken and on message TK Jr. always is). Whatever it is, I don’t think it was supposed to be disrespectful towards TK.
Will: That’s a great question. Kelly isn’t just a good player, but he’s also an excellent representative of the program who’s going to say all the right things. I can’t think of a reason not to take him. Moseley had a solid spring under first year secondary coach Charlton Warren. So maybe Warren went to bat for his senior corner. Under a new position coach, a player’s personality and work ethic can completely change for better or worse. Sounds like Moseley has been good strides to put himself in this position.
“Are we gonna get any useful soundbites from media days this year or will it be more coach speak from both Butch and the players?” – Martin
Nathanael: Don’t count on it. That’s definitely Butch’s MO, and I doubt the players will stray from that either. Especially not the ones coming to media days.
Will: SEC Media Days are like the spring game. There are maybe one or two headline worthy highlights, but other than that it’s just a way to pass the time until it’s time to play football. Hoover is a much darker place without Steve Spurrier there. Maybe Bret Bielema will give us something, but don’t count on anything newsworthy from the Tennessee contingent. One thing is for sure, no matter what Butch says, most of the fan base is going to complain. So let’s just all keep our wits about us this year.
“Who’s been the best QB to play for the Vols since Peyton Manning?” – Tyler
Nathanael: Oh, that’s a tough one. You have a QB who’s won a championship in Tee Martin, but I don’t know that he’s the “best” to play at UT since Peyton. Dobbs may be a popular answer if you were to put this to a poll, but I think that would be a bit of a “prisoner of the moment” deal in my opinion. If I had to choose, it would be Casey Clausen. He wasn’t the most athletic or talented, but boy, could he win ball games. And yes, he had a great supporting cast on both offense and defense, but that 14-1 record on the road as a starter speaks for itself. He did something no Vol QB has done since the SEC split into divisions in 1992: win two games in The Swamp. Erik Ainge and Dobbs certainly deserve consideration, as does Tee Martin. But for me, the Iceman is my answer.
Will: Tyler, thanks for bringing it this week. I appreciate this. The clear choice here is Tee Martin. He won a championship, which is the most important qualification here. Clausen is the only QB within the pass fifteen years who could throw the ball remotely well in Gainesville. But I don’t think he was as good as Martin. Tee was an electric playmaker with great downfield throwing ability. Ainge, Clausen and Dobbs were all excellent, but none of them had the chance to play for a National Title.
“If UT could add one sport, what would you want?” – Daniel
Nathanael: Gymnastics. There’s no reason why UT shouldn’t have a gymnastics team. They have club stuff, but I mean a legitimate, NCAA gymnastics team. The SEC is one of the premier conferences in gymnastics, and the Vols would be right up there with them if they had a team.
Will: MEN’S SOCCER!
Seriously, it would be fantastic. Soccer is growing rapidly in the southeast with Atlanta’s new MLS team leading the league in attendance. Plus, the women’s soccer games are already super fun. The “Regal Rowdies” student section is one of the coolest student organizations at UT right now. It would be amazing to have a fun atmosphere like that year round with men’s soccer games as well.
“WHEN ARE THE PREDS GETTING DUCHENE” – Colton
Nathanael: If I had to guess: never. I think Colorado is asking far too much for him, and I don’t think the Preds want to give up what they’re asking. I don’t blame them either. Nashville can afford to be a little picky this offseason after the success they had last season. They don’t need to be over-the-top buyers this offseason. They can add more price-effective pieces than giving up a monumental amount for Matt Duchene.
Will: He’s not going to be in Colorado much longer, that’s for sure. The Avs are rigidly demanding a top four defenseman for Duchene, and the Predators simply aren’t going to let that happen. But Duchene wants to be in Nashville. This could be an example of a player who is on the trade block for so long that the organization finally relents and accepts a cheaper price after months of negotiation.