“Predict the starting secondary in game one,” – Jake Tidwell
Daniel: I feel pretty good about Cam Sutton (CB1), Justin Martin (CB2) and Todd Kelly (S). I think the other safety spot and nickelback are the two spots up for grabs. Rashaan Gaulden is a key name in both of those conversations. I think UT’s best look has Gaulden at nickel and then the best man between Evan Berry, Nigel Warrior, Micah Abernathy and Stephen Griffin taking the other safety spots. But Gaulden could also be that second safety, sliding Malik Foreman, who played well down the stretch in 2015, into nickel. My best guess at this point is Gaulden at nickel and Berry at safety, but I’ll have to re-visit that in August when Berry is healthy and Warrior is on campus.
Erik: Cam Sutton, Justin Martin, Todd Kelly Jr., Rashaan Gaulden and Nigel Warrior.
Stephen: Remember spring practice last year when the coaches absolutely raved over Evan Berry and him making huge play after huge play? It took him a while to really get the scheme down, but he makes plays. I’m taking him and TK at the safeties with Sutton and Martin at the corners with Gaulden in the nickel.
“Still haven’t had time to cook on my Big Green Egg… What needs to be on the menu for the first BBQ of Spring?” – Jake Tidwell
John: That’s a tough one, but the first thing that jumps to mind is your use of the term BBQ, which makes me think you’re looking to smoke a pork butt. Or maybe ribs. Or a brisket or something. The truth is, you can’t go wrong. Anything you pull off the egg has the potential to be great. HOWEVER, the one thing I would say is that early returns on the BGE tend to vary. As in, it’s hard to come right out of the gates with virtuoso performances. Harder, still, if you’re trying to slow cook, as half the battle with the BGE is temperature control. More than half, really.
Which is why I cut my BGE teeth on chicken and steak before I moved over to three-plus hour cooks. But if it were me? I’d throw a brisket on that bad boy, block out the next 8 hours and see what happens.
“Do we have any respect for people who turn in multiple brackets in the NCAA pool?” – @BTTMGBAND
Daniel: Depends on the circumstances. If you’re entering one purely to pursue prizes, then go ahead and max out your options and diversify as much as you’d like. If you’re entering one with friends for bragging right, then, no, you can’t fill out multiple brackets in that one and then retain those rights. By the way, I decided not to fill out any brackets this year and am exercising my American right to be just as annoying about my decision to not do one as anybody who brags about how great their bracket is.
John: Immense respect. FACT: my kids and I are teaming up to enter six — SIX — different brackets in one guy’s pool. One for each child and one for me. We have a deal, however. If any of the six wins, we’re splitting the profit. So, by entering multiple brackets in my friends winner-take-all pool, I’m not only teaching my kids all about gambling. But all about collusion as well. #RaiseEmRight
Stephen: Most definitely. Just like gambling any other time, you never put all your eggs in one basket. (At least I don’t anyways.) I have my initial “gut feeling” bracket, which I consider my true bracket. However it’s not anything other than smart to fill out others that you think could hypothetically still happen.
“What’s the ceiling for Dobbs? Will he be able to change games with his arm, or has he reached his potential as a passer?” – Grant Williamson
Erik: Ceiling for Dobbs is first-team all-conference, winning every game he plays. He absolutely can change games with his arm, he isn’t even close to reaching his potential as a passer.
Stephen: I think Dobbs has not reached his ceiling as a passer OR a runner. And his ceiling for both is still very high. Practice and coaching can develop accurate passing. He already has the intelligence. I think EA is right. Dobbs has First-team All SEC potential and the ability to change the outcome of a game with his legs AND his arm…Now if he could just get a receiver or two to step up as alpha males for him throw to, they’d really be in business.
“Thoughts on Warrior starting over EB? Possible move to slot?” – Dylan Parker
Daniel: Very tough to say at this point since Evan Berry is out this spring and Warrior won’t be on campus until the summer. I do think it’s fair to say that Berry is not a lock to start at that spot. The competition runs deeper than that too with Micah Abernathy looking good this spring and the option to use Rashaan Gaulden at safety as well. I, personally, like the idea of using Berry on offense, but I haven’t seen any evidence of that yet.
Erik: Possible, but I think there are so many other options at receiver, that in that scenario I’d rather have Berry as a viable backup on defense and as a return man.
Stephen: In my opinion, Evan Berry starts at safety alongside TK jr. That being said, if someone beats him for that safety spot, he is too good a playmaker with the ball in his hands to not do something with on offense. Maybe not a slot receiver running deep routes, but he would be more than capable of swing passes in the flats or jet sweeps.
Honestly even if he does win the starting safety job I might still do what USC does with Adoree Jackson and play him both ways at times. He is just that good of an athlete.
“Of the seniors and North who is the most likely to get drafted? Would Pig count towards Vols getting drafted if he does?” – @yaboydoc
Daniel: My guess is Marquez North at this point because I thought he had a very good combine performance. I think he has a decent shot to slide into one of the later rounds because of his upside, though there are still plenty of questions about him. Good question on Pig – I’m honestly not sure. I would consider him a Vol that got drafted since he played for UT during his senior season and never played anywhere else, but not sure if there’s an official stance on that.
Erik: Marquez North. The NFL is obsessed with hand size and speed and forgets about the college film sometimes. That’ll help him.
John: I know it didn’t work out for Pig his senior year, but after his junior campaign where oftentimes he was all UT had — the UGA game comes to mind — that guy will always be a Vol in my book. Even if some technicality technically means he wouldn’t be counted as a Volunteer getting drafted.
Stephen: I’m with John here. Pig is all Vol and a VFL in my opinion. And I think if he were ever a starting receiver and had to record an introductory bio video for TV, he would say “Pig Howard, Tennessee.”
As far as the draft goes, it’s North all the way. He had a good combine and will likely slide into the 5th or 6th round just based on his size, speed, and hands alone.