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We answer your best questions about Tennessee athletics and anything else in our weekly mailbag, Insider Mailing.
“Why is the administration letting Butch continue to coach when it is wrecking our recruiting class? Another top recruit decommitted.” – Dave
Nathanael: I wish I had a better answer for you, Dave. I think the move should’ve been made a couple weeks ago because this, the Antone Davis situation, and the Brett Kendrick situation would never have happened if the move was made. But at this point, I think they’re retaining him till the end of the season. But I don’t think he’s back for 2018 at all.
Will: In their eyes, waiting until the end of the season helps recruiting the early signing period. Having an interim coach for as little time as possible helps bridge the gap and keep as many players as you can. But I’m not sure that’s sound logic. If prospects see that change is happening during a coaching change, I’m not sure it matters that an interim coach is there for a few extra weeks.
“What’s the relationship between Kevin Mays and Antone Davis? They overlap at UT? Does this speak to the internal dynamics in the football office?” – Donny
Nathanael: Well the two didn’t play on any of the same UT teams (Davis was at UT from 1987-90 while Mays was there from 1991-94), but it’s highly likely the two still know each other. Most former Vols know other former Vols, so it wouldn’t surprise me if there was some sort of dialogue between Davis and Mays.
“What is the benefit to keeping Jones this long? And with the new early signing period, does that hurt or help our chances with Mays?” – Brent
Nathanael: I think the Vols can win Mays back. I think all the drama and bad news needs to die down, but I think they can. I think a move is made before the early signing period, and that includes the hire too. And I think at that point they can get Mays back. It won’t be easy, though.
Will: UT is still very much in play with Cade Mays. And a home run hire would bring him back, in my opinion. You’re creating more problems at this point by keeping Butch. It’s time to put his era out of its misery and move on to someone immediately after the Vanderbilt game.
“Simple Q: how do you keep your sanity knowing Butch Jones is still the HC of the UTK football program?” – @QuintonSpainBro
Nathanael: I know a lot of people’s favorite way is to resort to some light-to-heavy drinking
Will: Trust the process.
“I’m past football at this point, so, what is the ceiling for the BasketVols this year? I believe they are going to be exciting to watch.” – Ryan
Nathanael: I truly think they’ll be pretty good, Ryan. I’m predicting a 20 win season for them and a berth in the NCAA Tournament. I think Ken Pomeroy’s and ESPN’s projections are much more accurate than what the folks at SEC Media Day said. ESPN and KenPom have the Vols ranked somewhere in the 40s and around 6th or 7th in the SEC as opposed to 13th in the SEC like the SEC Media Day people.
Will: I’ve been singing Rick Barnes’ praises since this time last year. They are a tournament team. And with so much depth at guard, they will be tough to stop on the perimeter. This team’s ceiling is a good bit higher than last season, but its floor is probably about the same. If they stay healthy and get consistent play from its point guards, this team can be pretty good.