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We answer your best questions about Tennessee athletics and anything else in our weekly mailbag, Insider Mailing.
“What newcomers have the best chance to start down the line in the season that aren’t projected to start at the beginning of the season?” – Cole
Nathanael: That’s a very good question. It takes guys like Dominick Wood-Anderson off the table because he’s expected to start at the start of the season. I think Jordan Allen could fit into this category, though. I don’t think he’ll start at the beginning of the year, but I could be wrong. But he could eventually work his way into a starting spot as an outside linebacker. A little bit of a riskier pick would be to say Alontae Taylor at cornerback.
Charley: I want to say Jordan Allen, but I feel like he will already see significant playing time right off the bat. I could see Bryce Thompson potentially starting later in the season because the Vols aren’t very deep in the secondary. My pick is going to be Jerome Carvin. He is mature as a football player beyond his years and has received positive reviews so far. He has already shed 27 pounds and is looking like a really good lineman. The offensive line has a lot of question marks and is bound to have at least one injury. I could easily see him starting a game later in the season.
“Is there any reason to be concerned with quarterback play this season? With the questions about Chryst and Guarantano turning the ball over and the others being new to the college game?” – Benny
Nathanael: I’ve not heard anyone say that turnovers are something to worry about with Chryst and JG. In fact, I would advise anyone who’s worried about that not to be. Chryst only threw six interceptions in 289 pass attempts at Stanford while Guarantano only had two interceptions in 139 attempts. That’s not my biggest concern with either of those two. But I do think there’s reason to have concern about the QB play this season, but I would be more worried about the offensive line. I think whoever wins the starting quarterback job will be fine as long as they get decent blocking. That’s the biggest concern for me about the offense this year.
Charley: I wouldn’t necessarily be concerned about the quarterback situation, but I wouldn’t be overly encouraged at this point either. Both guys have been average to above average quarterbacks in their limited amount of playing time respectively. I wouldn’t be surprised if either ends up having a really good season. Turnovers, for me, aren’t a huge worry. Both guys have a good track record of being smart with the football, and I don’t think either will be asked to do more than what they’re capable of in Tyson Helton’s offense.
“Are Vols a high scoring team or do they control the clock?” – @18Toroj
Nathanael: They’re definitely not a high scoring team this season, in my opinion. I think the offense will try and control the clock for sure. The offense this year might look a little bit more like an LSU-style of offense where it’s kind of ugly, but it can get the job down (usually). I think the offense will be better than the defense to start out, but I think eventually the defense will get better than the offense this season.
Charley: Right now, the pieces aren’t really in place for the Vols to be a high octane offense, and I don’t necessarily think that’s what the coaching staff wants them to be. I think we’ll see them try and control the clock and physically wear teams out. It won’t really be all that pretty, but it can win games. There is, however, big play potential there with arguably the best WR duo in the SEC with Marquez Callaway and Jauan Jennings.
“Why did TN not hire Fulmer the first time around instead of hiring Currie?” – Jerry
Nathanael: Ego. That’s what it came down to in my opinion. Too many egos got involved, and people high up in UT’s administration didn’t value Fulmer enough or didn’t want him in a position of power. They wanted someone more “polished” and with a track record at Power Five schools. I know even Beverly Davenport herself wanted that initially, though she eventually chose Fulmer to replace Currrie in December.
Charley: There were really just so many different factors at play in what was ultimately a messy situation. At the time, I’m not sure if I would have hired Fulmer, but I know I wouldn’t have hired Currie. Fulmer’s lack of experience was defiantly a factor as well as the internal politics of things. Just be thankful now that things have worked out the way they have and there appears to finally be some stability with the position as well as the football program.
“Which recruits have confirmed that they are coming to the picnic?” – Clark
Nathanael: I have that list for you right here. This weekend should be interesting and full of good news for the Vols.
“JJ Peterson?” – Andrew
Nathanael: Still not on campus. But Pruitt and the staff are confident he’ll get in to start fall camp.
Charley: It appears as if he will be there soon. Hopefully his absence hasn’t slowed his development too much. I don’t know if he will have as much of an early impact now as most initially expected.