We answer your questions about Tennessee athletics and anything else in our weekly mailbag, Insider Mailing.
“What is with Tennessee QBs leaving and then just suddenly unlocking their full potentials? Seems like it happens every single time.” – Nick
Daniel: It’s pretty crazy. Nathan Peterman, Riley Ferguson, B.J. Coleman and even Nash Nance and Nick Stephens all seemed to flourish once they left Tennessee. Glass half full: Tennessee recruits a lot of NFL-quality quarterbacks. Half empty: Tennessee doesn’t utilize a lot of that talent.
Will: Not to mention the guys who were committed at one point and changed their minds. Tajh Boyd, Bryce Petty and now Clemson’s Hunter Johnson. I’m interested to see how the current QB competition plays out this time next year. Because if Quinten Dormady isn’t the starter at the end of the season, I could see him joining this list and tearing it up in a pro style offense.
Nathanael: At least it’s usually only contained to quarterbacks? Yeah, that’s not much of a silver lining. But very few other positions have seen that kind of success outside of quarterback for the Vols. But that’s the most important position on the field, so that still hurts.
“Any word or updates on AJ Johnson? Any chance he could ever make an NFL roster?” – Robert
Daniel: There was a pretty big update in the last couple of weeks when an appellate court ruled that the defense will be able to pursue the social media history of the accusers in the trial. That’s a pretty big win for the defendants. With that big decision out of the way, it’s up to the court to set a trial date and that’s what we’re waiting on now. It’ll be awhile until this is all over.
In terms of the NFL, I’d be pretty surprised if Johnson ever made a roster. Maybe if he were completely cleared, and assuming he’s stayed in decent shape, he could work his way into a tryout of some kind, but my guess is that there wouldn’t be much of a market for him.
“What do you think is more likely, a two quarterback system or Guarantano being named starter over Dormady?” – Tyler
Daniel: I’ll say two-quarterback system. I think Dormady is the leader in the clubhouse right now, but I also don’t foresee Butch Jones putting Guarantano on the bench for two years and just hoping he sticks around. He’ll at least have a package of plays for Guarantano if, indeed, Dormady were to go on and win the job.
Will: I think a two quarterback system is the most likely probability to start the season. At least for the first game against Georgia Tech. I don’t think there will be a definitive starter until the Florida game, and at that point I’d give the edge to Guarantano.
Nathanael: At this point, I’m convinced Tennessee will have a two-quarterback system to start the season. And I don’t think it’s a bad thing either. The old saying that “if you have two quarterbacks, you have zero quarterbacks” doesn’t really apply to college football in my opinion. That’s more of an NFL mantra. Look at Steve Spurrier and Urban Meyer in the past. They’ve used a two quarterback system. Even Fulmer did at Tennessee in 2004. And Butch Jones has too while at Cincinnati. It can absolutely work, and I expect that to be what they try in the fall.
“On a scale of 1 to Beverly Davenport’s Twitter, how disappointing was the OW game?” – @UmbrAndrew
Daniel: Big picture, it wasn’t the event it was the past few years, but my expectations were pretty low coming in, so I didn’t really view it as a disappointment. The quarterback challenge with the Hail Marry reenactment was a decent touch and it was fun to watch a true quarterback battle for the first time in a few years. The second half was going to be a walk-on-fest anyhow, so not a huge loss for the fans there.
Will: It’s all about expectations. Whatever we saw wasn’t football in my mind, but it’s nearly impossible to play an exciting spring game in a spread offense without live quarterbacks.
Side note: I don’t understand the hatred of Davenport. I doubt she even sends all of those tweets herself. I’d guarantee she has an intern to handle her social media.
Nathanael: It’s not as bad as those tweets, but man it really was disappointing in my opinion. Even with lowered expectations, I felt bad for those people who, for some reason, showed up at like 7 AM at the gate, stood in the rain, sat in the rain, and then watched that one half of somewhat entertaining football. Or for the people who traveled a few hours or more to come and that’s what they got treated to.
“What happens first? Preds win the Stanley Cup or Vols win the SEC?” – Bryan
Daniel: Now we’re talking. I’m going to say Preds win the Stanley Cup. There’s at least some possibility that it could happen this year, but even if it doesn’t, the Predators have enough young talent to be competitive for the next few years. I can’t say Tennessee is that close to winning the entire SEC until either the Vols win the East and/or Nick Saban is gone. Since I don’t know when or if those things will happen, I’m going with the Preds.
Will: Predators, no question. Nashville has already knocked down the perennial power in Chicago. This past year’s Third Saturday in October shows us that UT isn’t close to doing the same in the SEC against the Crimson Tide. Plus, Preds GM David Poile is one of the better front office guys in pro sports. He’s widely respected around the league and was the GM of US Hockey during the last Olympics.
Nathanael: This isn’t even difficult. The Preds, easily. I don’t think it happens this year or even next. But if it happens within the next 5-8 years, that’s probably sooner than the Vols winning the whole SEC. Nick Saban will still be at Alabama for at least the next five years most likely. I don’t see the Vols winning the whole thing while Saban is still at Bama. And with the trajectory the Preds are on, I think it’s much more likely they reach that goal before the Vols reach theirs.
“Is it coincidence that the words Heisman, Manning, Montana and Dormady all contain seven letters? Discuss.” – @neylandmafia
Daniel: You also can’t spell Guarantano without the letters GOAT, so take that for data.
Will: There are also seven letters in Russell, and I don’t think Vol fans want to see Dormady to have a pro career like Jamarcus.
Nathanael: Jeez, Will. Way to be a downer. Although I think Vol fans would take the college career of Jamarcus Russell. Just not his pro career.
“Being a big Vols and Browns fan, am I silly in thinking the Browns should take Myles Garrett at 1 and Derek Barnett at 12? Imagine the rush, 3/4 or 4/3.” – Shawn
Daniel: That’d be a great duo, no question. But with all the holes on the roster – especially at quarterback – I’m not sure that the Brown can double up on one position with their two first-rounders at this point.
Will: I agree. There are so many places that need help on that roster rather than just the D-line. But you should definitely be cheering for the Browns to pick Josh Dobbs if you want to see a Vol succeed in Cleveland.
Nathanael: While I get the appeal of that, your Browns have so many more needs that drafting two players from the same position with their first two picks wouldn’t be the smartest move. They do need pass rushers in a bad way, however, so maybe taking two within their first four picks is a good idea. But not so much two in the first round.
“Did you expect this big movement in recruiting following the O&W game?” – Clay
Daniel: They had a little bit better of a turnout of recruits than I initially expected and they picked up a few nice pieces, so I’d say it exceeded my expectations a bit.
Will: It surprised me that there were so many commits in a short period of time. I’d definitely expect things to die down a bit though until school starts back next fall.