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Insider Mailing: The “What If” Edition

Butch Jones-1

We answer your question about the Vols or anything else in our weekly mailbag, Insider Mailing. If you have questions about anything in the mortgage process, go to

“With summer coming and golf as really the only sport to watch, what’s your favorite golf movie?” – Blake Richmond

Daniel: I’ll go with Happy Gilmore. “The price is wrong” scene is an all-time classic, and anytime you have a movie that makes everybody want to try a new type of swing, you know you’ve got a winner.

Stephen: Happy Gilmore is pretty great, but one less talked about gem is The Legend of Bagger Vance. Will Smith, Matt Damon, and Charlize Theron. Great movie with a great narrative. Not as comedic, but just an overall good movie.

Nathanael: I have seen zero golf movies, and that include Happy Gilmore. Although I do plan on watching that this summer. It would be the only one I’d even consider choosing, however.

“What happens to Tennessee if Butch badly under performs? If he is let go in 1-2 years what then? Is UT able to get a top tier coach?” – Andrew Fisher

Daniel: It really is impossible to say, but I can assume that UT would be in a better spot to hire a top-tier coach if it were to fire Jones in the next year or two. The roster should be in better shape, the new facilities are impressive, Tennessee, at least as of now, is viewed as a competitive SEC team and not a lower-tier one like it was when the Vols were searching post-Dooley.

The APR and financial situations appear to be better as well. Barring something completely unforeseen, Jones, regardless of the outcomes over the next year or two, would likely leave UT better than he found it.

Stephen: I think if Butch were fired for some crazy reason after this season, every available coach worth considering would throw their name in the box. The roster has a ton of talent and coaches entering the SEC would dream of having a team like the one they’d inherit. But to be honest, I just don’t see that happening.

Nathanael: The Vols still wouldn’t be able to bring in “any coach they wanted” if they fire Butch. Even if it is for underperforming, it would still look bad on Tennessee and would still be the program’s fifth coaching search since 2008. Yes, the roster would be in much better shape overall and the facilities upgraded, but the best hope in this is just that Butch performs and this isn’t even an issue we have to worry about.

“What individual player matchups are you looking forward to most this fall?” – Tyler Wright 

Daniel: Jalen Hurd against Jalen Tabor (Florida), should they meet, Cam Sutton against Calvin Ridley (Alabama), Derek Barnett against Cam Robinson (Alabama, discipline pending) and Jalen Reeves-Maybin against Nick Chubb (Georgia).

Stephen: The Hurd/Tabor match up is fun to think about. I’m also interested in seeing Jonathan Kongbo against some of the SEC linemen. Myles Garrett against whoever is playing left tackle will also be intriguing.

Nathanael: All the talk from Tennessee has been that Barnett is better than Myles Garrett. So I can’t wait to see what those two do on defense when the Vols and A&M meet. I also agree on Hurd and Tabor if the two cross paths on the field.

“What impact does Cam Robinson’s arrest have on Bama this season?” – @mcstally 

Daniel: Ultimately, my guess is not a ton. Saban is usually fairly light on the discipline and heavy on the “second chance” narrative, so my early guess is that he’ll play, possibly with just a short suspension. But Alabama’s schedule is a bit front-loaded with USC and Ole Miss coming in the first three weeks. If he’s out for that game at Ole Miss in Week 3, that could be a big issue against Rebels’ defensive end Marquis Haynes.

Should he be booted off the team or suspended for an extended period, however, it affects how I view Alabama. That would make both OT spots question marks to an extent, and with the loss of center Ryan Kelly, that’d be a bit of a rebuilding job with inexperienced quarterbacks and running backs behind them. And remember, top JUCO tackle Charles Baldwin was just recently booted from the team, so depth is a question. There’s still a boatload of talent on that roster with or without Robinson, but the Tide looks a little less formidable without him.

Stephen: I tend to think that it won’t matter that much. Like him or not, Nick Saban is Nick Saban and his teams are good. He will put talented, developed players on the field. They may not be Cam Robinson, and the overall depth might be a little lacking. But strictly speaking about them possibly losing Robinson, I don’t really flinch that much.

And for what it’s worth, if the felony illegal possession of stolen firearm charges stick, I think he gets kicked off the team. Felonit’s hold a lot more weight than a misdemeanor.

“Who will the Braves hire as their new skipper?” – Treigh Patterson 

Daniel: Eddie Perez makes a fair amount of sense given his reputation of being a great manager of pitchers, but he doesn’t have a ton of experience. Terry Pendleton has a lot of people in his corner around the organization, so I think he’ll get a look. Bud Black screams mediocre, but he has a ton of experience and has a strong pitching background as well. I’m sure the “Chipper for skipper” movement will be loud, but ultimately fruitless.

I do think it’s a desirable job overall, especially if the full-time hire is made after the season. All the pieces should be there to be competitive by 2018.

Stephen: As a Braves fan, I would love to see Chipper as the GM. Heck, and while they’re at it, have Greg Maddux be pitching coach and Andrew Jones be hitting coach. Maybe throw in a little Javy Lopez to work with the catchers too…it could happen!

Nathanael: Stephen is a madman and is talking like someone high on Grumors. None of that is going to happen. I think Terry Pendleton wouldn’t be bad, and I’ve also already heard rumblings of Bud Black as a candidate. So do with that what you will.

“At what point after his hire did you realize that Dooley wasn’t gonna work out?” – @NeylandMafia

Daniel: I had major, major doubts after the Kentucky loss of 2011 where the team appeared to quit and then assistants started bailing like crazy. But that 2012 offense looked so prolific, that I felt like even Dooley would have a shot at the SEC East with that group. By about midseason – just in time for him to coach from a stool – it was obvious it wasn’t going to work. But don’t let too many UT fans play revisionist history on you…there was a lot of optimism about him at several points: His first signing class, the end of the 2010 regular season and early in 2012 after the beatdown of NC State.

Stephen: I honestly lost all faith after the 2012 Florida game. The way Bray and the team just gave up, made me sick. Dooley lost the team and the team didn’t seem to care that their coach was about to lose his job. After seeing them give up against the Gators, I said it was time to start looking around.

Nathanael: I’m just gonna be bluntly honest with you. It took me longer than most because I was just so sick of the coaching turnover the Vols had at that point. So maybe it was more of an aversion to seeing yet another overhaul because of a new coaching search than it was faith in Dooley, but I was still “supporting him” until the Missouri game. When he elected not to drive with a minute and change left in regulation with that offense, I was done. And when they lost in the fourth overtime, I was calling for his head.

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