Insider Mailing: Not So Mean Green Edition

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    Jalen Hurd-1-3

    What benefits Vol fans more: GA firing Richt, we snatch all recruits, or them keeping him for a year? – @r_reed5

    Reed: Turmoil always benefits opponents in the short term and Richt is undeniably struggling to gain control of his team, but it’s easy to forget they finished ranked in the top-10 last season. Georgia is 10-5 against Tennessee with Richt at the helm…the odds of them replacing him with a coach who struggles are high. It’s simply tough to find good college football coaches and you have to be near the top of your profession to have any kind of success in the SEC. Thus, I’m saying it’s better for Tennessee all around if Richt gets fired. And yes, I know that’s probably not a popular opinion. Remember, they have the No. 5 class in the nation in 2016 (per 247Sports). He’s still recruiting very well.

    Daniel: That is a great question. I could make an argument either way. I think I agree with Reed overall, though. Yes, Richt certainly has a tendency to underachieve at times and his team doesn’t look great this year. He also wins a ton of football games and is a very worthy adversary on the recruiting trail. I think the odds are higher that Georgia downgrades than upgrades – there’s simply further to go down than there is up based on the total level of success he’s had there. Sure, Georgia could hire the next Nick Saban or Urban Meyer and make life miserable on the Vols, but I think Tennessee fans should be willing to take their chances.

    Bob:  This won’t be a popular response, but I’m saying it anyway.  I like Mark Richt as a coach.   Watch how quickly he lands on his feet with a big job if he does get fired, or chooses to resign (that is if he chooses to continue coaching).  The guy has some head-scratcher moments to be sure, but he’s a solid coach that wins, and is also a supreme recruiter.  I’d be thrilled to see him leave the SEC, and let UGA roll the dice on their next hire.  Remember, they did have Jim Donnan as their head coach at one time!

    If you had to guess, who starts at QB in ’17 and does a QB currently on the roster transfer? – @VoltimatWarrior

    Reed: As for the last part of your question, quarterbacks transfer all the time so those odds are high. I’m going Quinten Dormady in 2017 until I see someone outperform him in practice. He has an absolute rocket arm and is a heady player.

    Daniel: Last spring I would’ve said almost 100% chance that one of the QBs transfers, but credit the coaching staff for making the right move with Jauan Jennings and then, it appears, that it’ll be able to separate Sheriron Jones and Quinten Dormady by a class by way of redshirting Jones if all plays out as expected. That certainly helps their chances of keeping them both, but I’d still say maybe a 50-50 shot that somebody leaves.

    In terms of who starts in 2017 – that’s difficult to say. I’d agree that Dormady is probably the safest pick at this point, but I really like a lot about Jarrett Guarantano and Jones too. The Vols could have an embarrassment of riches at that spot in 2017 and maybe beyond.

    If 8-4 meant Outback Bowl vs Michigan and 7-5 meant Music City Bowl vs Penn State, would you sacrifice a regular season win for the chance to whip James Franklin’s ass? – Bobby Brown

    Reed: I don’t think they come worse than James Franklin. He’s from the Urban Meyer “holier than thou” school of coaching when he’s truly nothing more than a classless self promoter with no ethical standards. I’d love to see Tennessee whoop him. That said, I don’t think losing to Missouri, Vandy or North Texas down the stretch is worth getting a shot at him. Gimme 8-4, the Outback Bowl and Jim Harbaugh.

    Bob: A matchup in the Outback against Michigan smacks of “the good old days”.  Playing on New Years Day against an opponent that’s regaining its pedigree…it feels right, and it certainly trumps any sort of matchup against James Franklin and his one man fan club comprised of….James Franklin.  8-4 for me please!

    Level of concern for Kyle Phillips long term availability ? – @ghill62

    Reed: I don’t expect this injury to linger, though shoulders are tricky. Better to get it addressed now than wait until the offseason.

    Daniel: I have no information that should concern you about his long-term availability per se, but I believe this is at least his second procedure on his shoulder, so that’s of some level of concern for sure. If nothing else, something to keep an eye on and something that could stunt his development – he’s already missed a ton of practice and game time.

    Do you think teams with soft schedules should be punished by the playoff committee? – @TripleOGJamie

    Reed: Absolutely. But wins matter much more than schedule quality. Only one of the current CFB Playoff top-4 teams (Alabama) has a schedule ranked in the top-10 (No. 5 per Sagarin). Ohio State (No. 68) has the worst schedule. Clemson’s slate ranks 27th and Notre Dame’s 16th. You’ve gotta win for schedule to matter and when you win schedule doesn’t always matter.

    Bob:  Initially, I’d say yes, without a doubt, but then I vacillate on the prospect of those potentially magical stories like Memphis (up until last week), and now Houston, who’s still undefeated.  Those kind of teams make a compelling argument to expand the playoff to 8 teams; that way, the strength of schedule becomes less of a point of contention.

    Where has Dillion bates been and is he healthy? – @jesselong17

    Reed: He’s healthy and playing on special teams.

    Not that I like talking about florida, but is this a fluke year for Jimmy Mac or is he the real deal? Hate them so much ugh.  @CallMeCastleMan 

    Reed: I’ve been amazed at what he’s done with Florida’s offense this year. I know they looked miserable against Vanderbilt, but they have a patchwork offensive line and almost no skill players. And they’ve somehow been good enough to win the East. I expect them to put up a fight in the SEC Championship Game as well. He’ll have to prove he can win with his players; after all, even Muschamp managed 11 wins at Florida in his first season…but I’m going to lean toward McElwain being the real deal.

    Daniel: All you can go on is what you’ve seen, so at this point he does look like the real deal. I thought Florida was a .500-ish team and he’s taken advantage of the talent he’s inherited on defense and molded that offense – creating pretty much the best-case scenario for the Gators and a nightmare for everybody else. I think you’ll know by Year 2. He should lose Antonio Morrison, Jon Bullard and Vernon Hargreaves III – much of the core of the defense he inherited. If he can keep winning without those guys and picks up his recruiting just a bit, he will win for a long time in Gainesville. But there’s always a little bit of the possibility of the Malzahn/Muschamp syndrome, so stay tuned.

    Bob: He’s had some good fortune this season, but all of those wins aren’t simply due to luck.  Those guys have bought in and believe they can win every game they’re in.  I’m buying McElwain as a legitimately good coach…that looks a lot like Stevie from Eastbound and Down.


    What is the estimated cost to replace the turf in Neyland 1- new sod & 2- artificial? – @Philnjax

    Reed: Tennessee has an athletic department budget well over $100 million and somehow can’t manage to fund a workable playing surface. We had this exact same discussion last November. The field is laughably bad – dangerous, even. If my memory is correct, they replaced the sod in the offseason. It looked great early in the year but simply hasn’t held up. As for artificial turf, cost shouldn’t be an issue there. Those fields are costly, yes, but the Vols are rolling in SEC Network money. You can bet that’s something Butch Jones will discuss in the offseason. You can read a fairly detailed cost breakdown right here from one of the nation’s leading turf installers.

    If you’re an adult+say “My name is 1950” to college kid trying to take pic do you need professional help? – Mark Nagi

    Reed: Undeniably, yes. The Missouri debacle has been a spectacle for sure. It doesn’t get much lower than a professor blocking free speech when said professor is supposedly rallying for freedom and equality. The best thing I’ve read on the topic is right here.


    Bob:  Count me in DL!  He’s given dumpster fires a such a bad name on social media…I say ban Nagi from Insider Mailing right now!!!