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Insider Mailing: Much Needed Bye Week Edition


There is no way Oklahoma’s stadium gets near as loud as Neyland, right? – Tanner

Reed: I’m glad you asked this, Tanner. First up, Norman was a beautiful place and the people there were extremely welcoming. Oklahoma Memorial Stadium was a fantastic place to watch a game…but it wasn’t very loud. Not at kickoff. Not when the game was close. Not when Tennessee was driving to put the outcome in doubt late. In fact, every SEC stadium I’ve been to (with the exception of Vanderbilt’s HS stadium and Lexington’s typically half-full bowl of freezing hell), was significantly louder – including Mississippi State. Oregon was louder last year, but not SEC loud. Heck even several Tennessee games in the Georgia Dome have been louder.

Where does Neyland rank? I’ve never been to a stadium which puts out more noise when the fans are into the game.

Could there be a conspiracy on all the holding in the OU game? How does that happen for an entire game and not get called? Will anything be done about it? – Chad Young

Daniel: I think they just missed them. There were several that were blatant – not the type that happen all the time – but full takedowns or trying to pull the jersey off types that were missed. Doesn’t make any sense why an SEC crew would be out to get Tennessee in a non-conference game, though. In terms of anything happening, I’m sure Tennessee will file some sort of complaint to the league office to try to raise awareness of it going forward and I would imagine the officials didn’t score too well overall in the game. But ultimately, human error is part of the game and though UT would’ve benefitted from a few more calls, it likely wasn’t a determining factor in who won the game. Be sure to check out our Best of #Oklaholding piece if you haven’t, by the way.

Houston: I don’t think it was a conspiracy, but I do think it was horrible officiating. I understand that in the game of football a ref could probably call holding on every single play if he wanted to, but some of those in the OU game were the most blatant and obvious holds I have ever seen. I would imagine that Butch Jones and this staff sent some video clips to the SEC office to show them the holds they missed (and I bet it was a long video), and I also think that the staff has to talk to players about relaying the message to the sideline faster. Most of the blatant holds took place in the first half, BEFORE Butch was able to talk to the officials. After Butch spoke to the refs heading into halftime it didn’t seem like it was as much of a problem in the second half. The players have to go to the ref or the coach immediately if they feel like they are being held to draw attention to it.

John: I don’t know what Daniel and Houston are talking about. Because yes. Experts are virtually certain that it was, indeed, a conspiracy. It was carried out because people were intentionally slighting and belittling the University of Tennessee along with its football program and every single one of its fans. Oklahoma’s victory will soon be overturned. Wednesday is what we’re hearing. When the dust settles, the Vols will be 3-0.

What’s the WR depth chart going to look like for UGA game in order? – Keith

Do you think Wharton has significant playing time vs Georgia due to WR injuries? Maybe on special teams? – Brock Landers

Daniel: Nothing official has been announced, but I’m assuming Josh Smith and Von Pearson will be out at this point based on what I’ve seen. Obviously Marquez North and Pig Howard will start. I think Josh Malone is putting himself in position to possibly be the third starting receiver. He took some steps at OU and Zach Azzanni said he’s getting better and better. Jason Croom and Johnathon Johnson could be in the starting conversation as well. Here’s my best guess on the depth chart for UGA at this point for the 3-wide look:

First team: North, Howard, Malone
Second team: Croom, Johnson, Wharton
Third team: Carter, Jenkins, Bowles

In terms of Wharton, I’m not sure about “significant” playing time at UGA, but especially if Smith and Pearson don’t go, I think he gets his first real meaningful snaps at receiver.

Houston: Daniel nailed it. All that I will add is that I think there is a chance that Josh Malone really shines between the hedges. He is a guy who just plays at another level when the spotlight is on him, and I think that getting the start could prove to be a huge motivator and could really elevate his level of play.

Will you please name this dance? – @HippieH8er

John: The Jimmy Shimmy.

Houston: “The Hyams Hop” or maybe, “Sports Walk.”

Reed: The Jimmy Jump. Or, since his arms never extend, the T-Rex Twister.

Do you think Bowles may get some shots where Croom would have after last weeks game? Bowles seemed to get a lot of praise in camp. – Michael Edwards

Daniel: Honestly, probably not. I like Drae Bowles a lot and do think he’s gotten better, but he doesn’t seem to be in their plans at receiver right now. He’s still wearing a scout team jersey this week even with all the injuries at the position. And yes, Croom had a rough game, but he brings a lot more upside to the position and they’re not going to give up on him. He’s also made some really good plays and he’s only a redshirt sophomore – he’ll continue to make progress.

Is it socially acceptable to be from the South and not like sweet tea? – Blake Hatfield

Reed: Unless you’re diabetic or morbidly obese, heck no. Nothing, and I mean NOTHING, ticks me off more than going to to dinner in the South, ordering sweet tea and being told, “Is unsweet okay?” Of course it’s not! And adding sugar AFTERWARDS never gets the desired taste. I’m for a Constitutional Amendment mandating sweet tea be served everywhere below the Mason–Dixon line. Vol fans are great at petitions, so y’all get one going.

John: Here’s the deal. I was born and raised here but lived in Seattle back in the day and every time I ordered tea, I get some fancy little porcelain number with a string hanging out of it. Enough to make a man wonder if crumpets were on their way. Only I don’t know what crumpets are. But they sound like they suck, so whatever. Apparently, they mistook me for a green-toothed Brit. So I’d politely explain that I wasn’t an Earl Grey guy, instead, more of an Earl and them kinda feller, and they’d come back with iced tea. That sucked. Because it wasn’t sweetened.

So one thing I can tell you for sure — it’s certainly socially acceptable to be from the Northwest and not like sweet tea. Here in the South, however? I wouldn’t go so far as to say socially unacceptable, but I would say unusual. Because most folks I run with do, indeed, enjoy their sweet tea. Plus, you pour a little Vodka in that stuff, and BOOM, that shit tastes good, dog. Don’t ever underestimate the power of an Ice Pick.

The OL was atrocious last Saturday.Was it more talent or was it more scheme and inexperience? – @SirDrakeWilson

Houston: I believe that Tennessee simply ran into an imperfect storm in Norman. They had an overall inexperienced line – including two true freshmen – making their first start on the road in a lineup that hadn’t played together all season. Couple that with the fact that they were playing against, arguably, the best defensive front seven in the entire country and you had an absolutely abysmal performance that no Vol fan, player or coach will ever want to talk about again. I think that this line has some talent on it and I think that they actually have a chance to be pretty good in the second half of the season if they can stay healthy moving forward.

The scheme isn’t the problem. I actually think you saw how well the scheme can work in the second half as they guys settled in and protected Worley better and opened up some holes for the running backs to run through. As the linemen and tight ends gain experience and reps I think you’ll see them start taking huge steps forward the rest of the way.

Daniel: I actually spoke to Don Mahoney about this directly on Tuesday and his response was “a little bit of everything.” In his mind, I think inexperience probably was the biggest factor. He said they “panicked” a little bit because of a few unfamiliar looks they saw and he added that they just don’t know the nuances of the position yet.

I generally agree with him, but I also think talent plays a pretty big role in it too. Quite frankly, UT probably only has two offensive linemen right now – Marcus Jackson and Kyler Kerbyson – who would start at a lot of other major programs at this point in their career. And Kerbyson would probably play guard in a better situation. So that, combined with the inexperience on the right side and the fact that sometimes the help at tight end and running back is coming from freshmen as well, all play into it from my perspective.

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