Insider Mailing: Camp Is Here Edition

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    Bristol game copy

    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 BenMillerLoans.com.

    “Percent chance we see a “crazy” uniform for Bristol?” – Blake Richmond 

    Daniel: I have no idea, but our friend Chad Fields did some alternate uniforms for us earlier this year, and this was his Bristol idea, which I like (pictured above).

    Erik: Really, really high chance that we do something crazy and I’m good with it. The crazier the better.

    “Worst case scenario record wise that UT still makes the playoff?” – @VOLSALLTHEWAY

    Daniel: Since there have only been two years of the CFB Playoffs, we don’t have a ton of data, but we do know that only undefeated and one-loss teams have made it in so far. I think 12-1 (with an SEC title) is the realistic minimum, but there conceivably could be a scenario where UT drops two early, gets on a roll, wins the East and then beats Alabama or LSU in the SEC title game and sneaks in. Not likely, though.

    Erik: PLAYOFFS? (Jim Mora voice)

    Ben Miller Loans

    “There’s talk amongst some groups that the Vols are overrated heading into ’16.  However, could they possibly be underrated?” – Tennessee Williams 

    Daniel: I think Tennessee is appropriately ranked and hyped for the 2016 season. I view UT as the best team in the SEC East, a borderline top-10 national team and about a 10-win regular season team. That’s about where most polls, rankings and predictions have the Vols. That’s a fair expectation, in my opinion. I think anything more than those things would exceed reasonable expectations. Anything below that would fall short.

    Erik: 100% we could be underrated. We’re going to beat everybody’s ass. #10-2

    “Considering Kentucky’s “recent” national championship, how many would UT claim using the same metrics as other schools?” – Dan Depaw

    Daniel: How embarrassing is it that it took college football so long to figure out how to figure out who the champion is? That’s very Big XII-like. UT could probably claim seven titles if it stretched a bit.

    “Should we be worried about not having Shy Tuttle? How much of an impact will his absence make?” – Aaron Crawford 

    Erik: Kahlil McKenzie is going to step up and be an all-conference football player this year, which will fill the void if we don’t have Tuttle. If Tuttle is healthy, WATCH OUT.

    Daniel: If I had to bet at this point, I’d say he’ll be back for the opener in some capacity, but hopefully we’ll know more once camp starts. But if he can’t go for whatever reason, that would be tough for that position to only have three guys (McKenzie, Vickers, O’Brien) that they know they can rely on at this point. Bob Shoop would have to either have some guys step up or get creative.

    “What are some realistic ways you`d like to see the playbook opened up? An example I have in mind is — would it be helpful to see more toss sweeps like we got a taste of in last year’s bowl game?” – Charlie Perkins

    Erik: Hurd and Kamara on the field at the same time. We’re talking about that on RTI Radio with me next Monday (4-6 pm ET). Download the app and listen in!

    Daniel: A lot worked last year, so no need for an overhaul. But a couple tweaks I think would be effective:

    • Utilize Ethan Wolf more – move him around to fullback, H-back and let him stretch the field more as a tight end

    • Put Kamara in motion into the backfield, read the defensive end, hand it to Hurd if the DE stays wide, run the option with Dobbs and Kamara if the end crashes

    “Will Dillon Bates ever be the elite LB we were hoping for?” – @SolidVolFan

    Erik: The competition is really good at linebacker. We’re recruiting at a high level, if you can’t stay healthy, you can’t play. You can’t make the club in the tub.

    Daniel: Agree with Erik on the health issues. He’s only a redshirt sophomore, though, so if he can be stay healthy and be a solid role player this year, I wouldn’t write off his ability to have a breakout year in 2017, but I understand the skepticism.