Insider Mailing: Mid-August Edition

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    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

    “Biggest surprise, one positive one negative, from camp so far,” – @JTRock21

    Erik: Positive would be the overall how fast we are as a team, and how good our backup quarterback situation is. Negative would be we’re still looking for those starters at a couple crucial positions.

    Daniel: After covering the team through the late Dooley era, the early Jones era and coming off a spring practice where they had so many guys, it’s a little surprising just to see how deep this team is at so many spots. It looks more like an SEC contender than I’ve ever seen it. In many cases there are returning starters/All-SEC candidates at starter, guys that been around the program for a year or two some experience as backup and then impressive-looking freshmen on the third team. That’s how an SEC roster is supposed to look. In terms of negative, I agree with Erik in terms of just not seeing anybody really step up and claim jobs at tackle, safety, nickleback and a few other spots.

    “Do you think that @UTCoachJones has learned anything from HIS mistakes last year & will be more aggressive this season?” – Kenny Martin 

    Daniel: No. I don’t think Butch Jones saw many of the things that happened late in those big games last season as mistakes on his part. He’s taken general responsibility, but at no point has he acknowledged that he should’ve gone for two at Florida, gone for the TD against Oklahoma or just been more aggressive in general in some of those late-game circumstances. I think his view is that he stuck with his system and his chart and, due to a variety of circumstances, they fell just short – that’s why he’s emphasized finding those 25 points this offseason.

    I think he would say that if they execute just a little better this year, those games will fall their way in 2016. I’m sure he’s reviewed everything and made some tweaks (the Bob Shoop hire being the biggest one), but I’m not expecting him to handle situations much differently this year. We’ll see if it works out.

    Erik: I think he already has by hiring Bob Shoop.

    “How did (punter Tommy) Townsend end up at FL with his bro? Is Butch that nice of a guy and you think that might be bad (insider secrets)?” – @yaboydoc

    Daniel: I wouldn’t bee too worried about the insider secrets element. Say Butch had blocked the transfer to Florida – Townsend just as easily could’ve written everything down he knows about UT to give to his brother to give to the Florida coaches (not saying he would’ve, but just hypothetically). I think at the end of the day, if Butch was concerned about Tommy Townsend being a factor that got the Vols beat in 2016 or 2017 in that matchup, he wouldn’t have signed off on it.

    Erik: I didn’t know that situation existed until this mailbag

    Ben Miller Loans

    “Based on your practice observations. Percentage chance that JG overtakes Dormady for the number 2 QB spot?” – Caleb Castleman 

    Daniel: I still think Dormady is the safe play for backup quarterback in name for the Appalachian State game. I’d give that a 70% chance. I might go more 60/40 Dormady or maybe even closer to 50/50 in terms of who would be the next guy in if Dobbs were to go down and miss an extended period of time, however. Guarantano is the real deal. UT fans should be excited about this race.

    Erik: 50/50

    “Can the Titans win 8 games, with 4 Rb’s and 25 OL?” – Alan Baird 

    Daniel: Ha, it wouldn’t stun me if the final roster looked something like that. I think the Titans will be better this year, but I have them in the 5-to-7 win range for now. They’ll do a much better job running and protecting Mariota. However, I have major concerns about the receivers, the defense and the coaching. I’m hoping for two top-10 picks next year and playoff discussions in 2017.

    Erik: Is one of those offensive lineman named Hurricane Ditka? Then no. They’ll never be Jeff Fisher.

    “Did the @Titans miss out on drafting Mariota’s perfect backup by passing on Dak Prescott in the 3rd round? Byard mid-5th?” – Kenny Martin

    Daniel: Yes. I love Dak Prescott and think he embodies everything the Titans are trying to build right now in terms of toughness and mentality. He would be an ideal backup, and I agree, while I like Kevin Byard, he would’ve been available later. Matt Cassel is a good mentor and decent option for a series here or a game or two there, but he will not give the Titans a chance to be a successful overall if Mariota goes down.