“Is the Hurd migrating or what?” – Marlon Vickers
Daniel: I really would be surprised if he migrated anywhere other than to the NFL following the 2016 season. I just don’t get why he would. I don’t pretend to know the personal level of satisfaction of all the players within the program, but I think logic here says that, regardless of how happy he is, it’s in his best interest to stay in an offense that clearly is utilizing him well, and then think about going pro after 2016.
Nathanael: I would be absolutely shocked if Hurd transferred or did something other than come back to the Vols for the 2016 season. He has a chance to be Tennessee all-time leading rusher next season and make a great case for the NFL. I’ve not heard anything that would lead me to believe he would transfer.
“With special teams coach gone, will the kicking game get even worse?” – @nposey23
Daniel: Kicking is such a weird position to coach. Yes, ultimately, Mark Elder, in title, was over the kicking game, but I’m not sure how much he actually worked with the kickers on the technical aspects of the position. Most teams simply don’t have a full-time coach that has extensive experience in that area – it’s usually a GA, quality control guy or somebody like that who kicked in college. Kickers also work with private coaches more than any other position. All that to say, I’d be surprised if Elder’s departure has a noticeable impact on that area. And plus, while I get the concern after the shaky start Aaron Medley had, he was pretty good down the stretch – hitting 11 out of his final 12 field goals in the regular season.
Nathanael: Nope. I doubt it. As Daniel pointed out, Medley improved down the stretch. He simply had a sophomore slump to start the season. I always had faith he’d turn it around after his rough start, and he has. Next year should be a great year for him.
“If casting a SpongeBob play with the Vols, who is Patrick?” – David Maxedon
Nathanael: If this isn’t pertaining to the current Vols roster and staff, I’d have to go with Dooley just because of his overall lack of awareness during his time at Tennessee. He certainly made enough bone-headed decisions to be like Patrick Star. If you’re looking around the SEC, I’d have to say Will Muschamp or Derek Mason are prime candidates for the casting of Patrick.
“What Seniors are drafted this year? Kerbyson, Randolph, McNeil?” – Wes Whitener
Daniel: I’m taking Kyler Kerbyson if he’s still around in the later rounds if I’m an NFL team. He’s played at an elite level at times this year and gives you position versatility, which is so important in the NFL when you only have about eight offensive linemen active for a given game. I think he’s an interior offensive lineman ultimately at the next level, but certainly has shown he can play tackle at a high level. Can’t guarantee it for him, but think he’d be a great value in the later portion of the draft.
I think Owen Williams is another interesting name to keep an eye on. You don’t see him on a ton of draft rankings right now, but he’s going to test really well and was very effective this year. We’ll see what happens with Curt Maggitt and, in my opinion, Brian Randolph, LaDarrell McNeil, Marcus Jackson and Von Pearson are all probably undrafted free-agent types, but I can’t rule one or two of them being picked up late.
Nathanael: I’m worried that the 2016 NFL Draft will be the second-straight draft that sees the Vols go without a player being taken. I think Kerbyson has a shot at being drafted, and I honestly wouldn’t be surprised to see Brian Randolph taken late either. Randolph has had his injuries, yes, but he has plenty of talent and could at least start out on special teams for some team and move his way into the secondary on a more permanent basis. All of this is assuming, of course, that Cam Sutton doesn’t declare early this year.
With that being said, I think Tennessee’s best chance at having high draft picks again will be in 2016 with the likes of Jalen Hurd and Derek Barnett likely declaring early and Jalen Reeves-Maybin and Justin Martin graduating.
“Any updates on Jancek and Martinez? – Colin Linville
Daniel: Nothing formal, but I think those names will continue to float out there until Mark Richt hires a defensive coordinator at Miami (maybe even fills out his entire defensive staff, Martinez could make the more lateral move to DBs coach there). From all account I’ve heard, Richt had a good working relationship with both those guys when they were at Georgia, it just didn’t work out on the field, but Richt likely knows both of them have grown as coaches recently and have put up some decent results in Knoxville.
“Would Tee Martin be a good fit on this staff to replace Elder? Question #2 If not, then who should Butch target?” – Caleb Castleman
Daniel: Martin was retained by new full-time USC head coach Clay Helton recently, but that doesn’t completely mean he’s out of the conversation. I always got the sense from that first time that Martin visited Knoxville shortly after Butch Jones was hired, that maybe it just wasn’t a great fit from a chemistry standpoint. But that’s speculation on my part.
If no other coaches leave, UT would have to shift some things around, but I think that’s entirely possible, especially if Mike DeBord coaches tight ends and then a full-time quarterbacks coach comes in. Martin does check a lot of the boxes you’d be looking for – UT guy, has experience with quarterbacks and the passing game, an experienced recruiter and you get the added bonus of likely landing his son, Amari Rodgers, in recruiting as well.
I still think Nick Sheridan, the current GA who has been a full-time assistant in the past, coming on as quarterbacks coach is a very real possibility. Former North Texas interim head coach Mike Canales is another name I’ve seen floating around out there. Jones did have an interesting quote in his press conference this week about there being some good coaches out there that coach at losing programs, so maybe that could be in relation to Canales.