Insider Mailing: Panic Edition

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    Smokey-1

    When we finish paying all these buyouts, will our coaching staff salaries increase to be more competitive? – @SamuelChaffin 

    Daniel: I think that could play into it. February is the last month the Vols owe Sal Sunseri anything, though Derek Dooley remains on the books until Dec. 2016, I believe. Then UT gets about $160k back from Bajakian, so there’s a little more money coming in, in addition to SEC Network money, Nike money and other revenue streams. I think some of that played into Dave Hart’s decision to give Butch Jones a raise and to raise the assistant salary pool as well.

    But there’s been a lot of infrastructure built and it’s not completely done yet. And other expenses could be coming, such as the new “full cost of attendance” proposal that just passed that will allow college to pay student-athletes money to cover things such as transportation and other miscellaneous expenses, in addition to their scholarship money. Who knows how the whole O’Bannon case will play out as well. That could cost schools even more. All that to say, yes, the end of buyouts will help the Vols, but there’s a lot that plays into UT’s financial picture.

    You’re stranded on a deserted island-you get one food, one celebrity, and one personal item. What would they be and why? – @chaz9908 

    Houston: Does “Mexican” count as a food? Or does it have to be one single item? If Mexican is acceptable then I’m choosing that for food…if it has to be a single item then I guess I’d go with peanut butter due to it’s nutritional value – for survival purposes. For a celebrity, I’d probably have to go with Kate Mara so that I could build a shelter out of coconut trees and sand and make her fall in love with me. And for a personal item – outside of a phone to call for help, or a knife or fishing gear or something – I guess I’d go with my drum set. Sanity is important, and playing drums keeps me sane.

    John: Pistachios because they are seriously delicious and I go on these weird pistachio benders where I’m as enthralled by the taste as I am the process of cracking them. And while Houston plays house with Kate, I’m gonna bring Bear Grylls because he’d go all Billy Badass on the situation and figure out a way back to civilization. Till he figures it out, though, I’d rely upon my iPad so I could track RTI, RTI Radio and the soon-to-come RTI TV. Well that, and so I could play Crossy Road. I crush it with Poopy Pigeon.

    Reed: I’m going Cliff Bars for food. They’re packed with protein and other nutrients – basically a less crappy MRE – and don’t take up much space. One personal item? Does a machete count? If so, definitely a machete. I’d need one to spark a fire, construct a shelter and kill the snakes that would inevitably infest the island. As for my celebrity, I’m going Ted Nugent. He’s crazy enough to provide some fun and resourceful enough to keep us alive. As a bonus, he’s bound to have multiple guns on him.

    What’s up with Vic Wharton? Is he really transferring? – @RockyTop10EC 

    Reed: His future hasn’t been finalized, but, as we’ve written multiple times, the rumors of him leaving are more than just message board fodder. They have legs. We’ll keep you posted if anything becomes official. I do want to clear one thing up – Wharton doesn’t hate Butch Jones as some have suggested. There’s a lot going on with Wharton personally and, I don’t want to get into any of the details, none of it is salacious. People need to remember that college freshmen, not just freshmen athletes, have a high turnover rate. It’s a trying time for young men that are going through a ton of transition. Wharton is a good kid who, at Tennessee or otherwise, will land on his feet.

    Does Preston Williams give us a true threat like Amari Cooper from Bama next year? – @jmccann02

    Houston: Simply put. No. Amari Cooper is one of the best receivers to ever play the college game, in my opinion. He had one of the best seasons in SEC history while battling a knee injury that really limited a lot of his ability. Preston Williams will be coming off of a major injury himself, and while I do think he has the potential to be a great receiver at Tennessee, to expect that much from him during his freshman season is unfair. I’d also add that they play the game very differently. Preston is very smooth and understands the game well, but I don’t think he has the top-end speed that Cooper possesses. Preston has a more acrobatic style of play than Cooper, and should be able to make more plays in traffic as he gets comfortable with the college game.

    How many commits do you think we will end up with? When do you think they will decide who the new OC is? – @DP401Ptain

    Daniel: The commitment number thing has been a mystery to me. UT isn’t exactly transparent with how it comes to its final number, so we have to play the guessing game a little bit. They’re at 29 right now. I don’t have any inside info on who it would be, but just playing the odds, there’s always the chance of losing at least one right around Signing Day. I’m about 75% confident they add at least one offensive lineman regardless. So about 28 or 29 makes sense – give or take one or two.

    I think Jones wouldn’t mind waiting until after NSD, but will that cost him recruits? That’s the question. If Preston Williams, Sheriron Jones, Kendall Bussey and Drew Richmond all came to him and said, “We’re not signing without knowing who the OC will be,” then I think that might force his hand a bit. But I’m not sure if that’s the case or not. So the timing probably comes down to Jones wanting to take as much time as possible without having a negative effect on recruiting.

    Houston: It looks like the number will be 28 or 29. I’d be stunned if they didn’t finish with at least 28.

    The timetable for the OC hire appears to be anyone’s guess. It seemed like they were hoping to get it done before signing day, but now it looks like Jones is willing to wait until after signing day to avoid rushing the decision. It sure seems like Mike DeBord is the leader in the clubhouse, but I’ll give Jones some credit for looking at other candidates to make sure he gets the right guy. While I don’t think that a Debord hire would send shockwaves across the SEC, I do think there is something to be said about Jones wanting to keep the language and the philosophy the same for his staff and his team heading into year three.

    What are your top three sandwich condiments? I rank 3) Pickles (spicy); 2) Bacon; 1) Mayonnaise. – @Carter_Lawrence

    Daniel: I’m not saying I’d want all these together necessarily, but for me it’s probably bacon, avocado and (good) honey mustard, depending on what else is on the sandwich. I like mayonnaise too and some good pickles can be really clutch as well.

    Houston: I’ll have to agree with you on bacon and mayo. They are absolutely critical for a creamy-crunch combo that any good sandwich has. After that, I’d say a good slice of cheese has to be on the list. Maybe a slab of swiss or provolone…Heck, a bacon and swiss sandwich with a bit of mayo sounds pretty good. I’m not big on pickles, but I would have to put jalapenos and banana peppers on my list as well…Maybe not in the top-3, but they aren’t far off.

    John: What’s up with all the mayonnaise love? First, it’s really hard to spell, but that might be a personal limitation and really has no baring on it as a condiment. But next, it’s a colloid, y’all. And that’s just gross. And it stays “good” for like four years. So I pronounce mayonnaise gross.

    Also, bacon is not a condiment. It’s a meat. That’d be like calling turkey a condiment. Or roast beef. If we’re going to have a serious discussion, we need logical parameters. If it were a condiment, which, again, it’s not, sure, it’d be my number one because who doesn’t like bacon?

    Barbecue sauce would qualify, but that seems to deserve a category all its own. So let’s not go there either.

    I enjoy a good fresh jalapeno (as opposed to pickled). And it seems to me that chutney is underrated. DL killed it with guacamole. It’s so good and I’m told it has the right kind of fat whatever the hell that means. No condiment conversation is complete without at least flirting with horseradish. Pesto’s out there, but it’s also a commitment. Which brings me to pica de gallo. Some might consider that a condiment.

    Ketchup and mustard are givings. Along with mayonnaise, which I’ve ruled out because it’s a gross-ass colloid. And while perhaps not a given, relish is certainly popular. Wonder if Carter’s spicy pickles might fall under that category. If not, regular pickles work just fine, too. I think oil and vinegar deserves a shout out as well. It’d be hard to list them in any kind of order because each of these would go on a different type of sandwich, but these are my three go-tos.

    Honeycup Mustard
    Guacamole
    Horseradish

    Reed: First up, it looks like we’re talking toppings not just condiments. Bacon isn’t a condiment, it’s a topping. So if we’re truly going toppings, that changes things. I’m going with true condiments spicy mustard and horseradish sauce tied at No. 3. They work on nearly every sandwich and are a staple in the Carringer household. Onions come in at No. 2. It doesn’t matter if they’re grilled, sautéed or raw, onions make everything better. At No. 1, of course, is bacon. We eat tons of bacon at my house. It can’t be that flimsy stuff, though. We exclusively go with Benton’s bacon or Wright’s thick cut. A few weeks ago I literally bought over five pounds of bacon during one trip to the store. Pretty much everything we eat has bacon on it or in it – because America.

    Great question, now I’m hungry.

    Houston: 4

    Reed: My answer to every math problem ever? π

    Daniel:  Joshua Dobbs calls that a warm-up problem

    John: 10. No wait, 2. Actually both. 10 and 2, baby.