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Insider Mailing: #CheckerNeyland Edition

via Spencer Barnett (@CleVOLander)
via Spencer Barnett (@CleVOLander)

Since we will have Dormady at QB, will (Jauan) Jennings ultimately play another position?” – Blake Richmond

Houston: He may, but with the year he is having and all of the improvements he has made to his game he will certainly get an honest look at quarterback before they even think about moving him somewhere else. He has worked on his mechanics and his understanding of the position a great deal over the last year and has truly gone from an “athlete” playing quarterback to a true dual threat quarterback with some serious potential at the position.

The best thing about Jennings right now is that he is a fierce competitor and a natural leader – something Tennessee is somewhat short on at the moment. Personally, these are the traits that I want in my starting quarterback if I’m a coach or a fan, so I think the staff will give him every possible opportunity to earn a spot at quarterback. Regardless of where he ultimately ends up, however, I would expect Jennings to be a guy who makes a serious impact on the field in his time at Tennessee.

  “After we beat UF on Saturday, who’s the first person you call to rub it in? And why?” – Samuel Chaffin

Houston: This one is so easy. Since middle school I’ve been friends with a guy named Ryan King; a pretty good friend outside of the fact that he’s a Gator. He lives in Gainesville and attended UF, so every time I’ve been to a game in the Swamp I’ve stayed with him and tailgated with him and his dad. Anyway, every year around this time we get back in touch to talk (trash) about the upcoming game. It has been an incredibly tough nine years for me in that regard because every year I have to put up with him talking about ‘the streak’ and how the Vols may truly never beat the Gators again in my lifetime…blah blah blah.

So, if the Vols get it done this year he’s going to be the first guy on my list. He actually text me the other day to tell me he’s terrified of this year’s game and that he thinks that this is the year it ends, so hopefully he’s right. #GoGata

John: Hmm. That’s a good question. I literally can’t think of a single Florida fan that I know personally. That blew me away, so I ran down the list of all the other SEC schools and, as I expected, I knew a fan of each one. But no fans for Florida. Well, except for Kenny Chesney.

HOWEVER, thanks to the Butch Jones Song, I’ve forged an interesting friendship with former Gator linebacker James Bates who was co-captain of that 96 Florida National Championship Team. And he’s coming on RTI Radio tomorrow to discuss, among other things, the wager RTI has with James. The best part? What he’s putting up is WAY better than what we’re putting up. So if UT wins (you can use when, but I’m gonna stick with if), I’ll probably send Bates a text to let him know about it. Not sure about rubbing it in, though. Dude’s still pretty big.

“Think Driskel has nightmares from what Tennessee did to him last year? How fast do you think Muschamp blows up Saturday?” – Ryan Hickson

Daniel: To play a little devil’s advocate, I will remind you that the last time Driskel was in Neyland Stadium he pretty well sliced up the Vols to the tune of 300 yards of total offense, a couple touchdowns and no interceptions. Yes, he got injured last year against Tennessee, but I’m not sure that’ll necessarily be in his mind. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think Driskel’s a great player – I call him the Jake Locker of the SEC – the guy with a ton of physical tools, but has a hard time putting it altogether. I just wonder if the success he’s had in Neyland will cancel out any lingering doubts about getting injured against UT last year.

For Muschamp…it could be a pretty epic meltdown if things go poorly. Every SEC coach has a tremendous amount of pressure on him every time he steps on the field, but this is a different level. It’s very close to a must-win for his job’s sake and Florida history will not remember him kindly if he is the one who loses the streak against UT. He may not have a chance to start another one if this one ends.

Houston: I actually do think that Driskel will be a little nervous in this one. The crowd will be crazy and the defense will be geared up to make some plays, so the likelihood of him being under pressure for most of the game is entirely possible. He has never handled pressure very well anyway, but now that he is paying the team that snapped his ankle last year, I could see him enter into a panic if things don’t go well for him early (let’s hope that’s the case).

As far as Muschamp, he’s the type of guy who would body slam a waitress for not topping off his soft drink after two sips, so I think it’s safe to say we see a blowup or seven on Saturday. I wouldn’t be surprised if it happens a time or two in the first quarter on some false starts, delay of games or if they have to burn some timeouts due to lack of communication. A lack of communication between a quarterback and the rest of the team usually results in interceptions as well…and NOTHING makes Muschamp blow his gasket quite like a well-timed turnover. I say it’s early and often for him this weekend as far as meltdowns are concerned.

John: I don’t think Driskel is having nightmares from last year. He’s too busy living a nightmare from this year. Let’s face it, not to pile on the guy, but his play has been enough of a nightmare, don’t you think? Especially considering how highly touted he was coming out of high school.

And Muschamp’s like Dooley. As long as everything’s going Florida’s way, it’s all high fives and butt slaps. But as soon as danger rears its ugly head, that guy — that team — folds up like a notebook. So, in my opinion, that question is better asked by “What kind of start will UT get off to?”

If the answer is the same as in Georgia? Muschamp and the Gators could well be in for a long, frustrating afternoon.

Reed: A less athletic Vol defense gave Driskel fits last year so I don’t expect him to come out and play every well. He’s the lowest rated passer in the SEC. He should be scared of a very improved Vol defense. As for Muschamp, if the Vols jump out to a 10-point lead like they did at UGA, I expect the Gators to roll over and for Boomer to blow a fuse.

“Love the site, incredible work. Do you guys know what CBJ was so heated about following the on-side kick? He appeared to be going off on a member of the coaching staff in a way that suggested something was done wrong.” – Andrew Fisher

Daniel: We obviously weren’t on the sideline to hear exactly what he said, but there were a couple things he might’ve been upset about. One, which he mentioned in his press conference this week, was that the officials required UT to use a holder on the onside kick attempt. That took one player out of the play and made it tougher for the kicker to run at the ball at the angle he need to for this particular type of kick. Jones didn’t go into detail on why that was, but the ball had blown off the tee for Georgia earlier in the game, so that probably played into it. There was no complete explanation on that. Also, he might’ve been upset that it wasn’t a great kick, honestly. It didn’t have a ton of bounce or make it 10 yards. The design was good on the play – UT had the numbers advantage to the short side of the field – so, more than anything, he might’ve just been upset it didn’t work due to a combination of all of those factors.

“Who is the player no one is talking about most likely to step up on Saturday that can lead to a Vols win? Thanks and love the podcasts.” – Sean Walsh

Daniel: Good question and thanks for listening to Reed and Houston. They’re doing a fantastic job. I’m going to single out Kyler Kerbyson at left tackle because he’ll likely draw Florida star defensive end Dante Fowler Jr. – a future NFL player who shredded UT’s veteran offensive line last year. I have been underwhelmed with Florida’s defensive front this season overall, but Fowler has to be blocked if UT is going to win this game. It’ll be a team effort. Fowler will move around some and the backs and tight ends will have to help out, but Kerbyson, who didn’t have a great game last week in some regards, needs to step up if UT is going to get the W.

Reed: Thanks so much for listening, Sean. As for your question, I’m going with Derek Barnett. He has the strength and athleticism to really pressure Driskel and make it tough sledding for the Gator offense. He’ll also be big against a decent Gator rushing attack. On offense, I think Pig Howard could be in for a very big game. Florida’s secondary isn’t very good and Pig was effective against Georgia in the slot. Don’t be surprised if he gets close to 100 yards of total offense in this one.

“Based on what you’ve seen out of the team on the field and in practice do you think the Florida curse is out of their heads?” – Chad Young

Reed: We talked about it a bit on the show today, but Fulmer was always intimidated by Florida and his players took on that mentality. Kiffin, for all his flaws, wasn’t scared of the Gators and the Vols went into Gainesville and battled them to a closer game than they had in years. His team took on his attitude. Dooley, on the other hand, was scared of his own shadow and I don’t think he ever believed his team could beat Florida. The coaching staff isn’t intimidated by Florida, I can tell you that. Nothing about their scheme scares this staff and the Vols have a decided coaching advantage.

The Vols are young, and that’s probably a good thing. Many of Tennessee’s impact players aren’t used to the stigma that Gator helmet brings. I haven’t seen anything to suggest that they’re tight headed into Saturday. I’m not big on feeling, but this week has a different feel to me than most games in this series. I can’t remember a time when the Vols headed into this game clearly playing better than Florida. That has to be a positive, right?

Daniel: I don’t know if it’ll disappear completely until the Vols actually win in this series. That being said, a vast majority of UT’s key players on this roster haven’t played a huge role in other recent losses, so I’m not sure how much personal history they have working against them. Perhaps most importantly, I don’t think Butch Jones is intimidated by Florida – something that’s probably not true about both Derek Dooley and Phillip Fulmer at times. I think that’ll rub off on the team.

“My first ever VOLS game will be the UT/Bama game this year. So my question, if you could pick the time for that game to start, when would it be?” – TJ Williams

Houston: Give me a night game. That usually leads to the most raucous crowds and I think that the Vols will need all hands on deck if they are to have any shot at upsetting the Tide this year. A 7:00 or 7:30 kickoff would be my choice for this one. Plus, it will be easier for people in the crowd to hide after throwing rotten fruit at Lane Kiffin all night.

Reed: Call me a traditionalist, but I’m all about the 3:30 pm CBS kick. Campus is always rocking for afternoon kicks and if* Tennessee pulled the upset, it’d give Knoxville much more time to carry the goalposts down Neyland.

“Are we allowed to kick out fans who wear the 09 black jerseys to #CheckerNeyland?”  – Doug Brooks

Houston: 100%, without question, YES! There is no need for any color outside of orange or white this weekend. If you see someone in black, throw em out. If you see someone in gray, throw em out. If you see someone in blue, kick em in the jorts and then throw em out.

John: It’s America, right? Which means you have the constitutional right to kick any asswipe out of Neyland you want. (Fuzzy contention, but stay with me here…) And if you’re rocking a Kiffin-themed jersey, then you put the ass in asswipe. Possibly the wipe as well. What? You lose your Derek Dooley mask or something. So, yeah, kick that asswipe out of there, Doug. And send along my regards as you do so.

Reed: Of course, Doug. But think about it this way – the last time the Vols organized a coordinated T-shirt campaign in Neyland was in October of 2009. The Vols knocked off a ranked South Carolina team that day in convincing fashion. So, book it, the Vols are beating Florida and it won’t be close.

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