Insider Mailing: Team from the East Edition

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    Butch Jones-1-2

    Is it wrong that I don’t look forward to turkey at Thanksgiving? I’m good with it on sandwiches for leftovers, but give me some fried chicken and let’s call it a day. -Brett Botta

    Daniel: I’m with you to an extent. I think looking forward to the Thanksgiving turkey is as much cultural as it an actual food craving. I’m a turkey fan, but if the holiday traditionally called for fried chicken or filet mignon, I don’t think I’d miss the turkey per se. Not complaining about a good turkey though – especially some tender dark meat or a fried version.

    Houston: I, too, am a huge proponent of fried chicken – breasts, to be specific. However, I also love a nice, moist, flavorful turkey bird on Thanksgiving. Which is why I would like to recommend to you having a fried Turkey on your table this year. Now, it won’t have the extra crispy breading that fried chicken does (although I guess it could if you dipped it in some beforehand), but it will be one of the juiciest turkeys you’ve ever had. But please, PLEASE, make sure you watch some videos online about how to and how NOT to deep fry a turkey…otherwise there is a good chance that your holiday season could get off to a terrible, terrible start.
    Like this guy:

    Reed: This may be un-American, but I eat turkey only out of some cultural obligation, not because I love it. If you have to smother something in gravy to make it taste great, then you’re doing it wrong. Too often, turkey is overcooked and dry. That’s not to say I haven’t had some good turkey, I have, but even that doesn’t hold a candle to a nice piece of ham, or better yet, steak. So I’m with you, Brett.

    What does the list of Early Enrollees look like it’s going to be? At one point Cecil Cherry and Preston Williams were both on the list, but I’ve heard Williams is going to have to be a summer enrollee and clearly Cecil won’t be enrolling at Tennessee at any point in time. -Evan P.

    Houston: 

    Here’s the list of early enrollees for Tennessee’s 2015 class as of today:

    Andrew Butcher
    Quinten Dormady
    Jack Jones
    Alvin Kamara
    Stephen Griffin
    Chance Hall
    Shy Tuttle

    Preston Williams said that he elected against enrolling early so that he could play soccer for Lovejoy in the spring semester. I’m not sure if that is the real reason, but that’s what I’ve heard. There are also some uncommitted prospects that Tennessee is still in with that would enroll early like Kyle Phillips and Ugo Amadi. Tennessee has said they could take as many as 11 or 12 early enrollees, but it doesn’t look like there will be enough players graduating early for them to hit that mark, barring some late additions to the recruiting board.

    I read that the SEC is going to be in charge of assigning its teams to bowl games this year instead of allowing the schools to negotiate which bowl they will be attending. Is that correct? If so, assuming we have to wait until at least December 9 for the final Playoff Rankings to come out (and assuming UT gets its 6th win this Saturday), what is a reasonable/likely time frame until we would know in what bowl we will be playing? -Evan P.

    Daniel: You’re right, the bowl system is a little bit different for the SEC this year. The Citrus Bowl gets first choice of SEC teams (obviously any teams that make the playoffs are off the table). After that, there’s a pod of six bowl games – the Texas, Belk, Music City, Liberty, Taxslayer and Outback – that will have SEC teams assigned to them by the league office. The teams themselves and the bowls can state their preferences to the SEC, but it ultimately falls on the league’s shoulders. If multiple schools want to go to say, the Outback Bowl, and the Outback Bowl would be happy with either, the league office has stated that it would look at things like record and head-to-head matchups to help make those determinations. After that group of six bowls, the Birmingham Bowl can select any remaining team and then the Independence can do the same after that. There will be more bowl eligible teams than affiliated SEC bowls, so we’re not exactly sure what that will look like. The SEC has expressed optimism that they can work those teams into other bowls, but we’re not exactly sure what that process will look like. We think Tennessee, due to location and fan support, would be placed in one of those six bowls mentioned, but can’t make any promises.

    I believe the official announcement is coming on Dec. 7 this year, though I’m sure news could leak before then on where it’s looking like UT will end up.

    You can pick as many coaches as you like over for thanksgiving & they all accept. Question: what coaches do you invite and why? Also what dish do they bring? I pick Butch Jones cause Vols. And he brings the gravy which is praised for it’s stellar “Consistency, bite by bite.” Also Rob Ryan cause he is likely to show with a tray of peppered bacon and 2 handles of bourbon. I don’t invite Les Miles cause he drinks grass smoothies and I don’t eat hippie whole foods beatnik stuff. Happy Thanksgiving guys! Merica! -@hippieH8er

    Daniel: I’m inviting Steve Spurrier, John Jancek, Derek Dooley, Les Miles, Mike Leach and Jim Chaney. Why? I want stories and I want entertainment. You know Dooley would bring a perfectly trimmed turkey – he might get lost on the way or something – but he’d be great for some stories once he gets there. Chaney’s bringing the dessert, Spurrier will provide the drinks and most of the entertainment, Miles will give the most confusing yet profound Thanksgiving speech/blessing you’ve ever heard, Leach will bring some weird sides and Jancek, of course, will kindly help us all clean up.

    Houston: Butch, obviously. Spurrier, because of the type of character he is. Plus, I could see him being pretty liberal with the booze around the holidays. I would like Bielema to come as well. He just interests me and I’m sure that he has some great stories to tell.

    And I’m appalled by you leaving off Les Miles. He would get the nod as well because of his love for Thanksgiving.

    Reed: Bret Bielema would definitely get an invite from me. Anyone who meets their wife at a blackjack table has to be a blast to dine with. I imagine he”d provide both the adult beverages and the “razorback” we’d be eating instead of turkey. Spurrier is obviously on the list. There’s no better story teller than the OBC – he’d definitely provide the laughs. I’m also betting his wife Jerri, with all her time spent in the South, makes a mean pumpkin pie.

    Butch Jones would also get an invite because he’s a genuinely fun guy to talk to when you get him outside of formal media situations. He’d bring the broccoli casserole. Why? Like Jones, it’s a bit cheesy and, at times, overshadowed by its more established peers –but it’s absolutely “critical” to a successful gathering.

    What in the hell is Derek Mason thinking with the team from the east crap?  – @ThomasDuggins

    Daniel: I’ve never understood/liked this tactic and Tennessee fans can’t make fun of it too much because Butch did something very similar to Alabama last year. And I think, in general, just staying away from any tactic Derek Mason employs at this point is probably a good call.

    Houston: It isn’t a very smart move. Much like when Butch Jones did it to Alabama last year by calling them the red team all week in practice. I don’t like the idea of giving the better team any added motivation to lay the smackdown, and it appears that Derek Mason has done just that. The coaches and players all talked yesterday about how it didn’t impact them, but Butch Jones did mention it over the microphone in practice – so you can bet that they are well aware of it.

    Reed: He wasn’t thinking. That was really an out of character move for Mason and should motivate the Vols this weekend. It’s one thing to run your mouth when you can back it up, but Mason can’t back it up. His Commodores, with a double digit loss this weekend, will be the first team in the history of the SEC to lose all eight of their conference games by double digits. I guess when you’re arguably the worst team in the history of the conference, you have to do something to get attention.

    I’ve heard that the Vandy game is sold out. When was the last time Vandy had a sold out home game that wasn’t against UT?  -@just_ryan5

    Houston: Believe it or not, they actually sold out two games last season. The opener to Ole Miss and and their October 19th matchup against Georgia. They lost to Ole Miss 39-35 and beat Georgia 31-27. However, that was when Vanderbilt was halfway decent. I would expect the crowd this weekend at Dudley Field to be somewhere in the vicinity of 65-75-percent Vol.

    I think you can expect a very rough Saturday night/offseason for Derek Mason and the Commodores.