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Insider Mailing: Fall Camp Edition

Devaun Swafford-1-3

Excluding Josh Sweat, which recruit with a UT offer do the Vols need to land the most?” – Patrick Schmidt

Houston: On defense, Kyle Phillips and Shy Tuttle would truly give Tennessee an elite defensive line class. In seeing the impact that guys like Derek Barnett and Dewayne Hendrix are already having, it’s clear that this is an area that needs to continue to improve. Tim Settle isn’t a need, but adding him and Tuttle to go along with Kahlil McKenzie would give the Vols the best DT class in recent history (perhaps all of history) and send shockwaves across the college football landscape. I think they also need to add another linebacker as well. I thought Quarte Sapp would be the guy, but he seems like maybe he’s been put on hold for some reason…Maybe a bigger name is interested – no idea.

On offense, they don’t need much. Ideally, on offense they’d close out with Drew Richmond and Van Jefferson and then maybe hold a spot for a last minute big fish on signing day if they could get in with someone, probably another big time offensive lineman.

I think the key down the stretch will be keeping the state locked down. Jefferson, Phillips and Richmond are all in-state guys, so I think if they could close with that group then everything else would just be gravy.

“How many calories did Moseley eat per day to gain that 33 pounds?” – Larry Carter

Daniel: Fantastic question. I’ll try to ask him directly next time he’s available for interviews. Has to be 5,000+ a day or so, right? I’m assuming a younger male burns in the neighborhood of 2,000+ calories per day just with standard activity. And think of all the workouts, sprints and practices he went through over the spring and summer. Could easily see him burning 3,000-4,000 a day, thus needing more than that to build up bulk. If we have any nutritionists or body-builders reading this, weigh in on the forum for us.

Reed: It takes about 3,000 calories over what you burn in a week to gain a pound if you’re an 18 year old athlete. He gained about 33 pounds in around 10 weeks per my estimate, so that’s 3.3 pounds per week. That means he needed to eat 10,000 calories a week over what he burned, which probably puts his calorie intake right where Daniel estimated.

Houston: How many calories are in a triple-decker peanut butter sandwich?

“I know it’s waaaay early but how many freshman do you think get redshirted this year?” – @blevinsheath

Daniel: Charles Mosley will obviously be one. This is heavy speculation, but I’m going to throw out a few more that I think are possibilities: Joe Henderson, Ray Raulerson, Treyvon Paulk and Jakob Johnson. It would be a luxury to redshirt guys like Cortez McDowell or Neiko Creamer as well, but I wonder if those guys are needed on special teams to the point where that won’t be possible. I’d say 5-6 is my best guess.

Houston: Barring any crazy injuries, I’d probably set the over/under at 5 and take the under. I think this is one of the toughest questions to answer because so many different things can happen. At this point, however, I don’t even feel comfortable speculating on who those guys would be. Still a lot of time left for people to push for playing time.

“If Florida loses to Alabama and then to Tennessee, does Muschamp return to Gainesville with his job?” – @JBCVol

Houston: Return? Maybe…he might return as the coach, but it would just be a matter of time. I could see a remix of the Lane Kiffin situation at USC. Foley may step on the team bus at the airport and relieve him on the spot. BOOM!

Reed: Honestly, I’m surprised he weathered that Georgia Southern loss. He’s 22-16  (13-11 in the SEC)…even Ron Zook (23-14, 16-8 in the SEC) did better than that at Florida. There’s no way he loses to Bama and Tennessee and makes it back to Gainesville with a job.

“What’s a good TV show (not Breaking Bad or True Detective) you can recommend to get me out of Season 2 of American Horror Story?” – Jonathan Reed

Bob: Ahh Jonathan, you and I need to talk!  I’m the resident scripted TV junkie around here, so I think I can help.

It depends on what you’re in the mood for.  If you’re currently watching American Horror Story, and want to keep riding the scary/creepy wave, might I suggest FX’s new show ‘The Strain’.  Awesome storyline (it’s vampire based, but not the sexy, glamorous vamps…this is Grade A monster stuff!), and the cringe factor is sky high!

If you want to get a little more real world, how about ‘House of Cards’ on Netflix?  Kick-ass show with amazing performances from Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright.

Last, ‘The Bridge’ on FX (FX has it goin’ on right now!  ‘Fargo’, which just wrapped up on FX, is another must-watch!), is in it’s second season, and it’s fantastic!  Again, kind of a dark storyline, but smartly written, and some really unique characters (Lyle Lovett’s in it, and he’s good!).

“Is Swafford a legit contender for the 2nd safety spot? Does he have the kind of speed that we need?” – Thomas Dembowczyk

Houston: At this point, not only is he a contender, but I think it’s his spot to lose. You don’t have to be a blazer to play strong safety, you just have to be fearless and instinctive. I think that of all the spots in the secondary, strong safety actually suits Devaun’s skill set the best. He has a knack for the football and isn’t afraid to go flying in to make a tackle. He’s no Troy Polamalu, but I think he’s an upgrade over LaDarrell McNeil.

All that being said, Todd Kelly Jr and Cortez McDowell are going to give him all he wants to try and take his spot. We will see how it plays out, but I do think that the staff is comfortable with Swafford back there.

Daniel: 100% with Houston here. Think it’s Swafford’s spot to lose. He has legit 4.5-type speed – definitely an upgrade over McNeil there – and he’s bulked up this offseason and should be a better tackler, an area he struggled last year. I think if anybody’s going to come get it from him, it would be a freshman like a Kelly Jr., Evan Berry or McDowell.

“What’s gonna be the position group that surprises Volnation the most this season?” – @KrussVFL

Daniel: I think fans will be really pleased, and probably surprised (especially if they haven’t been reading RTI throughout camp), with the strides that the tight end position will make. Remember, this is a group that accounted for a total of less than 100 yards receiving last season and was often a liability in blocking. Ethan Wolf, in particular, brings a whole new element to this group in both of those areas. Add in Daniel Helm and a flock of returning veterans who are healthier, and this could be an extremely productive unit this season.

Houston: I think the secondary will actually be pretty solid. Late in certain games last year teams realized that they could complete slants all day against our nickel package regardless of who was in there. Now slide Justin Coleman into the nickel spot with Emmanuel Moseley and Cam Sutton on the outside – that’s a much more balanced and talented group. And regardless of who ends up at the strong safety spot, having Brian Randolph back there as the leader will elevate everyone’s play. I think they are poised for a much better season than last year.

Reed: The secondary is greatly improved so far. Last season, they had a revolving door at nickel, subpar play at McNeil’s safety spot and the corner position opposite Cam Sutton. Barring injuries they’ll have much more stability out there this year. Reserves like Elliott Berry, Evan Berry, Todd Kelly Jr., Rashaan Gaulden and Cortez McDowell bring more athleticism to the field than any reserve last season and they should grow as the season progresses.

“Who is the starting quarterback in October?” – @starspangledvol

Daniel: I just think this is Justin Worley’s ship to steer unless it starts to really go under. The Florida game (Oct. 4) could be a really big one for the quarterback position. If UT loses that one, falls to 2-3 (or worse) and the QB isn’t producing, that would be a natural time to try a change with UTC coming to town the following week

Houston: Justin Worley…This is the most boring answer in the world, but at this point I have no reason to think it won’t be him. Peterman is having a strong camp, but I have to see it in a game before I give him the nod.

Reed: Looks like we’re all thinking Worley makes it through at least the Florida game. He hasn’t had a great camp and is being outplayed by Peterman right now, but he’s always been the default starter for Butch Jones and Co. even though he got benched once last season and would have been benched again had Riley Ferguson not been in some off-the-field trouble the week of the South Alabama game. They keep going back to him even when he lets them down.

Worley can be serviceable, as we saw at times last year, especially with this receiving corps. But consistency is still an issue with him and if he turns the ball over early in the season, he could get a quick hook. I still think they’ll ride him through at least the Florida game unless something changes soon. He’s getting the vast majority of first team reps and has been receiving pretty consistent praise from the coaches.

“Do you think youll be able to defend your media bracket championship next year? And who do you see as your biggest threat?” – Zach Ragan

Houston: Sadly, I do not think I will be able to repeat. It’s been a great year to carry the banner but I think that I kind of snuck around and won last year. Now that everyone else has seen all of the benefits and perks I’ve received around town for my victory, they will certainly work doubly hard this time around to win the title for themselves.

If I must lose, I’d prefer Reed or Daniel win it this year for simple and selfish reasons. It would certainly be a bold feather protruding from the RTI to claim two winners of the bracket challenge consecutive years.

Reed: I’m coming for the crown this year, Houston…

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