We answer your questions about Tennessee athletics and anything else on your mind in our weekly mailbag, Insider Mailing.
“With Scott as the new OC, what (minor) changes could we see to the scheme? More TE involvement in passing game maybe?” – Jacob Mathis
Nathanael: I would like to see that, yes. I’d also like to see a little more creativity. I think someone like Hurd being gone will make the staff be a little more creative by default (we saw it some last year), but I’m afraid they may try to fall back on John Kelly and do the same with him there. Ultimately, I just want to see it mixed up a little more and be less predictable. I think (and hope) Scott does that.
Daniel: You used the correct word there – minor. By making these hires, Butch Jones declared that Tennessee is continuing to run his offense. Most of the adjustments you see will be based on Tennessee’s new personnel next year. I don’t think there will be anything recognizably different to the average fan, for better or worse.
“Who will be the Vols QB in 2017?” – Shannon Dempsey
Nathanael: I imagine this won’t be the last time we get this question, but I’m going to go ahead and say Guarantano. Without seeing a single snap of spring practice yet, of course.
Daniel: Yeah, I think we need to just make this a semi-permanent question in the mailbag. I’m still betting on Quinten Dormady to take the opening snap of 2017. Jones, historically, has gone with the safer, more experienced option. Guarantano has the talent to buck that trend, but I’m taking a wait-and-see approach for him.
“Is it against NCAA rules to kidnap recruits and force them to sign with your school at gunpoint? Gotta close strong…” – Corey Snyder
Nathanael: Nah, I think that’s pretty legal actually.
Daniel: That escalated pretty quickly. I think Tennessee will probably get another defensive lineman (Conliffe, Sterling) and maybe one other skill player – hopefully without resorting to that level of criminal activity. It’s important to remember that Tennessee is the only program that doesn’t cheat, by the way. When Tennessee gets a great player, it’s because they are true VFLs. When they lose out on one to a rival, it’s because they paid them stacks of cash.
“After watching 1 practice (talking about practice – AI) at the senior bowl, has Dobbs looked better than expected or right on par?” – @yaboydoc
Nathanael: To me, he’s looked how I expected. He improved as a passer quite a bit this year, and the throws he’s making there are throws he made during the season. He also threw a pick at practice, which he did a lot of this season too. So all in all I’d say it’s a pretty fair assessment so far through just one day.
“How much impact does Jon Gilbert leaving have for the AD search?” – Robert Grissom
Nathanael: Minimal. I don’t think he was ever truly a big option here. That’s just my opinion, though.
Daniel: The fact that multiple high-level administrators have taken other opportunities is pretty telling to me. They know change is coming and they’ve felt that their best opportunity is to go elsewhere as opposed to sticking around and hoping that they get promoted at Tennessee in the future. I think, at the end if the day, Tennessee didn’t hire a search firm and appoint a committee to ultimately promote from within.
“Is it dumb of me to keep eating foods that taste great but wreck my stomach? Gonna keep doing it either way.” – Corey Snyder
Nathanael: I’m probably the worst person to ask on this. I’m a bit of a health nut, so that part of me says absolutely stop doing it. But the “Treat Yo Self” part of me says hey, might as well since we don’t live forever anyway. Might as well go out doing something you love!
Daniel: Everything in moderation. Being healthy and tasking care of yourself is a great thing, but you only get about 100 years max either way.
“I tried to think of a clever question but honestly I just want an AD. *sigh*” – Caleb Castleman
Nathanael: Patience, young grasshopper (you’re probably older than me, I have no idea). It will happen. At this rate, I’d rather them just make the right hire than rush and make a bad one or not get the right people in there to help out. But I understand this frustration 100%. I’ve expressed the same on air multiple times.
Daniel: Yeah, at this point I don’t really know that you gain a ton from hiring one now as opposed to May or whenever it’s official. I’ve said from the beginning that they should’ve had a more immediate transfer of power instead of giving Dave Hart one final lame-duck year, but that’s not what they decided, so you just have to let it play out now.