Insider Mailing: Bama Week Edition

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     Photo By Andrew Bruckse/Tennessee Athletics

    Photo By Andrew Bruckse/Tennessee Athletics

    We answer your questions 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.

    “Will the Vols stop Bama’s streak of scoring a non-offensive TD?” – @techvol1

    Daniel: Hard to have a ton of confidence after last week in terms of ball security, but I’ll guess yes. Tennessee’s had plenty of turnovers, but teams haven’t turned them into big plays regularly this year

    Nathanael: Given the fact that Tennessee is as turnover prone as they have been, it’s hard to answer “no” on this one. The Vols haven’t given up a non-offensive score yet this season despite that, however, so I’m actually going to side with that on this one. Alabama has been really good at scoring on defense, but I think the Vols end that streak.

    “Is a 13 point line too much?” – Zachary Childs

    Daniel: I think so. I’m surprised it’s gone up that high. I get that Alabama is loaded and UT is beat up, but how you would bet against this UT team to at least make it competitive at the end after the last few weeks is beyond me.

    Nathanael: I don’t agree with that line, no. Especially not with how the Vols have played this entire season. All three of their SEC games have been decided by 10 points or less. I do get that Alabama is a whole different animal, but the Vols only lost by 5 last year. This Tennessee team, even with injuries, is better than last year’s team. I’d be surprised if the Tide won by that much or more.

    “Does Butch run tighter ship than Nick when it comes to discipline? Tim Williams arrest vs. Danny O #notapplestoapples I know” – Benjamin Bannister 

    Daniel: Like you imply, apples to oranges in that situation since we don’t have all the details of the O’Brien situation. I do think it’s fair to say that Butch Jones has been more likely to suspend players for various offenses than Saban has.

    Nathanael: I’d say based on the little information we know about both coaches suspending players and whatnot, I would tend to agree with you, Benjamin. I think Butch Jones does run a bit of a tighter ship. Like Daniel said, we don’t know everything on either side. But I tend to think he does.

    “In light of the Danny O news, how close do y’all think Alexis Johnson is to seeing the field?” – Caleb Castleman 

    Daniel: I’m not sure, we just don’t have enough information on him to really know. They like to play at least four guys at defensive tackle, but I’ve seen then stick with three primarily as well. Johnson, Quay Picou, Jonathan Kongbo and Dimarya Mixon are some names to watch in terms of who could play inside, depending on the situation.

    Nathanael: I’m going to say pretty close. He was on the field in mop up duty against Virginia Tech and hasn’t been back on the field since then. But I think they’re going to have to work him in, even if he’s the sixth man at this point.

    “What’s the deal with Kongbo? Rarely see him on the field – is he not living up to his hype?” Jessica Cavett 

    Daniel: The fact that he isn’t dominating shouldn’t be concerning based on his limited football history, but it does look like Dimarya Mixon has overtaken him as the primary rushing interior defensive lineman on passing situations. That’s surprised me a bit. I do think it’s fair to say he hasn’t lived up to expectations to this point, but way too early to make any kind of long-term prognosis. I’ve always viewed him as somewhat of a bonus piece this year – next year is when we’ll truly find out if he can live up to the hype or not.

    Nathanael: I had a bad feeling this was going to happen even after me being high on him all offseason. I thought there was a chance of this happening, and it looks like it has. It doesn’t speak to his talent or ceiling, because I think he’s still a phenomenal athlete and could still be extremely good. But they had to move him inside last minute, and for a guy with limited experience before even getting to college, the transition probably isn’t as easy as it would be for someone else who’s played for years. He’ll be fine moving forward, but I think we all put too high of expectations on him. I know I did.

    “Chances 11-2 SEC champ Tennessee has at the playoffs?” – @MaxTE34

    Daniel: A two-loss team has never made the playoffs, but there’s obviously a limited sample size to this point. I think there would certainly be a chance, but there are a ton of outside factors that would weigh in. How many other undefeated/one-loss teams are there? How do teams like Virginia Tech, Georgia, Florida, etc. finish the season? If I had to put money on it, I would say no, but I also wouldn’t say it’s impossible.

    Nathanael: It’s not impossible, but I think it’s highly, highly unlikely. You’d need another Power 5 conference to have a two-loss or worse winner for there to be a legitimate shot in my opinion.

    “Will the streak end this weekend?” – Miles Hall

    Daniel: I can’t get used to people referring to this as “the streak” since that was used to reference Florida so frequently. We’ll have our predictions up Saturday morning, but I will say it takes a lot of courage to pick anybody to beat Alabama at this point.

    Nathanael: Goodness, I’m actually feeling decently optimistic about this game. Which is weird for me because I almost never feel good about this game over the last eight years or so. I’m not willing to predict it to end just yet, but I actually feel like it could happen.

    “Is Kirkland Jr going be starting this weekend in your opinion?” – Nick Watts

    Daniel: Jones called him a game-time decision on Wednesday, and I do think this is more of an actual “questionable” situation. I’ve predicted for awhile that they would wait until after the bye week, so I’ll stick with that, but it wouldn’t stun me to see them work him in on Saturday.

    Nathanael: Starting? No. But will he play? I think so, yes. I’m with Daniel on when he’ll return to the starting lineup. I think it will be against South Carolina in a couple weeks.

    “When players are out due to injury do they still lift weights/train so they are in game shape upon their return?” – @SolidVolFan

    Daniel: Yes. Each player has an individualized plan based on what the injury is, their prognosis, etc. There’s no way to truly prepare for game-like conditions in the weight room, but they do the best they can.