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Insider Mailing: Mid-Camp Edition

Austin Smith-1

“Does the injury to Marcus Jackson change the number of games you guys think Tennessee wins this season?” – Collin Linville

Daniel: I don’t think so. I’m still leaning towards eight in the regular season, which was my original prediction. Some of the things I saw early in camp, such as the return of Von Pearson, the move of Jauan Jennings to WR and some of the other physical improvements perhaps had me leaning to the positive side of that. But Jackson’s injury and the continued questions on the offensive line have me feeling better about the eight-win pick for now. So, overall it does affect how I feel about the team, but I’m not moving my pre-camp win total yet.

Houston: It doesn’t for me, but it’s still a big concern. They’ve got some time to get a few other players up to speed now, so if the injury had to happen, it was good that it happened earlier in camp. I’m still curious to see how they settle in at a couple positions, but I think they’ll be ok as long as there are no more significant injuries there.

Reed: By itself? No. But this injury makes Tennessee’s offensive line just one injury away from a tough spot. If someone like Jashon Robertson were to miss significant time this season now that Jackson is out – with the number of tossup games on UT’s schedule – I’d have to adjust my win total. But Tennessee isn’t there yet.

Kevin: If Marcus Jackson and Marquez North were both out, that’d probably be worth one game to Tennessee this year, but since North is fine, I don’t think it changes my overall outlook. Jackson is a problem because that offensive line is simply not talented enough to replace him. I’ll stick with eight games as my prediction for now.

“If a tree falls on @Daniel_LewisRTI in the woods and no one is around to hear him, does he make a noise?” – Jeff Archer

Kevin: If a tree fell on Daniel Lewis and I was within ten feet I’m not sure I’d hear anything. Daniel has a quiet power about him.

Daniel: Not sure, but there are a ton of awful “If a tree falls…” memes I just found out:

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John: DL, don’t even think about trying to file workers’ comp on that, my friend.

“About that other sport (basketball)… It’s too early to expect commits but are we in top 3 with any good players. Any buzz?” – Pete Hastings

Reed: Tennessee is in excellent shape with 3-star (and underrated) point guard Jordan Bone from Nashville. He recently visited Tennessee and was spotted viewing a Vol football practice from the sideline with his older brother (and former Vol) Josh Bone and Tennessee’s lead recruiter Rob Lanier. He’ll visit again in October. The Vols definitely lead for his services.

The Vols are in the top-4 for several of their top targets, but none are believed to be close to making a decision. Expect things to start solidifying on the recruiting front once visitors start coming in for football games. October will be a big month for hoops recruiting.

Rick Barnes has six scholarships to work with, so this is a key class in his quest to get Tennessee basketball back to a perennial top-25 program.

“Will there be any kind of weekly segments of RTItv like on a Sunday or Monday recapping the last game?” – Blake Richmond

John: Two things on the RTI TV front.

First, coming this week, we’ll be dropping the initial video of a three-part series we’re calling The 4-1-1 on Team 119 (which Margaritaville Island Hotel was good enough to sponsor). In it, Reed Carringer teams up with Erik Ainge to break down quarterbacks, running backs and the offensive line. Will Overstreet will join Reed the following week to discuss the front seven and Jayson Swain the week after that to run down the wide receivers, DBs and special teams. So be sure to keep your eyes open for those.

Also, moving forward, yes, we do plan on doing a weekly recap. However, we’ve been so focused on the 4-1-1 that we haven’t quite finalized plans on that yes, but we will soon and once we do, we’ll most definitely be announcing it.

Thanks for asking, Blake.

“After watching the new guys for several days, does it look like any of them were underrated in recruiting? – Tim Moretta

Daniel: It’s still very early, but Austin Smith is the guy who jumps out to me. I remember being surprised that he was a consensus three-star coming out of Buford, and I called it “groupthink” from the recruiting services. He just looked better than that to me on film, and I’ve seen that on the practice field too. He’s big, fast and very versatile. He’s going to help this team in some capacity this year and is a potential future starter as well. Chance Hall is the other one. Most of the services had him as a three-star, and I think, if he can get healthy, he’s a dark horse to watch in the race at right tackle.

Houston: Daniel nailed it. I said throughout the recruiting process that Austin Smith was a 4-star talent or better, and he’s making me look very smart early in camp. He has a great frame, good speed, and really just understands the game of football. The problem for Smith was that he played for a Buford team that steamrolled everybody, so he didn’t get to play as much as some other players in the class.

I understand why Chance Hall was a 3-star OL (having only played on the offensive line for one season in high school0, but he’ll do good things here. He has the perfect demeanor for an offensive lineman and a great frame to get stronger, add weight, and keep his athleticism.

“Over or under 40,000 fans for the open practice?” – Chris McFarland

Daniel: That’s what they estimated the crowd at last year and the hype is bigger this year, so I have to take the over, weather pending.

Reed: The weather will play a big role but right now it looks decent so I’m going over.

Houston: The hype for the team is real, but this open practice has flown in under the radar. I’ll take the under and hope I’m wrong.

Kevin: UT has been know to release some attendance numbers that are questionable, I believe it will be announced at 46k-50k but there will be around 40,000 again.

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