Insider Mailing: Back To Spring Practice Edition

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    Derek Barnett-1-6

    Could the Florida game actually be a blowout this year as the Vols snap an 11-game losing streak (i.e 17+ pt deficit)?” – @jon_wims

    Daniel: I’m not falling for the trap. Gators by a point on some ridiculous call or play until I see otherwise (but yes, on paper, I see no reason that the Vols shouldn’t win that game, possibly by multiple scores).

    Erik: I think the Florida-Tennessee game has only been a blowout the last couple times in the past couple decades. But I do think we will win.

    Nathanael: Negative. Call me a cynic if you want, but I’m still not sure the Vols win this game. On paper, they should definitely beat the Gators. But they should’ve beaten them on paper the last two years too, and they obviously haven’t. I appreciate the question, but there’s no way I’m taking the Vols in a blowout.

    Bob:  I’ve said this a few times already and I’m standing by it, so mark it down:  Tennessee runs Florida out of the stadium this coming season.  Won’t even be close.  Let the healing begin!

    “My wedding is approximately 25 days away. Albeit the same day as the Orange and White game… Y’all coming?” – Blake Richmond

    Daniel: Congrats! But those riveting Orange and White Game recaps don’t write themselves. Actually, true story, I do have a wedding to be at that day, but I’m going to meet up at the reception about two hours after the O&W Game. Just in time for the cake.

    Nathanael: First of all, congratulations on the wedding! Secondly, you get more of a pass on this than you would in the fall because the spring game is never a set date and we don’t typically know it till like two months till it’s time for it. So you couldn’t have really planned around it as much as you could’ve a home football game. That being said, Daniel and I will both be busy covering the game that day, so we cannot go. Sadly.

    “Who would win in a fist fight, Phillip Fulmer (in his prime) or Johnny Majors (in his prime)?” – @dobbseyebrow

    Erik: Maybe Fulmer, but I’m reserving judgement for fear of life from both.

    Nathanael: I’m taking Majors in this one to “attack, attack, attack” Fulmer and play dirty to win.

    Bob:  Depends on the format. In a traditional fist-fight, I’d go Fulmer, based on his size advantage alone.  But if this somehow became more of an MMA deal, I’d have to roll with Johnny, who I’ve heard will mess you up in The Octagon!

    “Does Tennessee field THE best defense in SEC this year, or Top 3?” – @jon_wims

    Daniel: Statistically speaking, it’s tough to predict that the Vols will jump all the way to the top. That would probably require an improvement of giving up almost 100 yards less than last year. Top three is realistic though – that would require shaving about 50 yards per game off. More important than the stats, though, is if this team can get the big third and fourth down stops it needs in close games. That’s probably going to be more important than any total defense stat in 2016.

    Bob: Top 3 would be tough, because that also means you must be shorting Vanderbilt in this equation, an no one should underestimate Vanderbilt!  OK, yes, I’ve been drinking…a little.  Seriously, I could see Tennessee cracking the top 3 behind Alabama, and either LSU or Florida.

    Erik: Top 5 in the conference for sure, top 25-30 nationally. I need to see a little more schematically to see how that will play out. And obviously staying healthy will help.

    Nathanael: I still think Alabama will field the best defense of the SEC schools. They almost always do, and until they stop hauling in a plethora of four and five-star defensive players, they will likely remain there. But I do think the Vols will be top 5 in the conference and could sneak into the top 3 barring injuries. The only thing that would scare me away from saying top 3 is injuries, but if they can stay relatively healthy, there’s no reason why they shouldn’t get there.

    “Which player has the best shot at winning a major national award this fall?” – @techvol1

    Daniel: I’ll say Cam Sutton for the Paul Hornung Award (most versatile player) is the most realistic pick I could make. If you mean major as in Heisman, I’m still convinced it’s Joshua Dobbs. I know a running back won last year, but being the quarterback on a national title contender is still the best way to get to New York, according to recent history.

    Erik: Derek Barnett (SEC Defensive Player of the Year)

    Nathanael: Does the Ray Guy Award count? Because if so, I think Trevor Daniel could win that one. But if not, then I say Barnett to win some sort of DOY or defensive lineman award. Jalen Reeves-Maybin could even be a candidate considering how talented he is at linebacker.

    Bob:  I’m with DL on the prospect of Dobbs being a Heisman candidate (or at least for the Davey O’Brien Award), and I don’t believe it’s that far-fetched.  The backstory on Josh Dobbs the student-athlete is just too attractive for the voters to leave him out of the conversation if he’s backing it all up with productivity on the field.  But it would need to be supreme productivity, and Tennessee would need to be in the national title hunt.