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Good Day, My Friends,                                                                                                  

I wanted to take a few weeks after the O&W Game to let the dust settle and digest what we learned from the Spring.  In looking at the Spring we need to remember that the primary focus is first on development of individual players, second focus is on unit growth, and the third area is preparation for the coming season.  The Vols worked on all of these this Spring.  One point to remember, while several “REGULAR/STARTERS” were out due to injuries almost all of them would have been available to play if this was a regular season game.  Another major point is that the Vols had the largest change in position coaches since Butch and these players have arrived in Knoxville.   The Spring was about coaches teaching and installing values and their expectations to their players.  It was also an opportunity for the coaches to get to know their players and their individual capabilities both strengths and weaknesses.  The training was primarily individual drills and skills with lots of reps.  The scrimmages were “tests” to see how well the players applied the skills gained in game-like situations.   Reps for two, three, and fourth year starting and depth chart level players other than QB’s were not as important as those for the one, two, and three year players with limited playing experience. 

Another area that saw a lot of work were looks at position changes for players.  It will be the Fall before we see the finals on those things.

Things I think I saw. The presence of “Coach Rock” will be felt this Fall on the entire team.   The OL will be there this Fall.  The top two QB’s have talent and can be really. really good.  There is speed on the field on both sides of the ball and new players on both sides of the ball made improvements to move into consideration for Fall playing time.   The Early Entries all made positive impressions during the Spring and look like players with a future as VOL Players.  Areas where incoming Freshmen have the best opportunity to play early are RB and both DE and DT.  Areas where things are being developed for starters, depth, and packages are the LB’s and the Secondary.   Talent is there but game execution is the question.  DL has questions on depth and replacing departed starters both at DE and DT.

You could see the impact of each new coach on their units.   With the new meeting/ training rules I think these guys will have the players ready for the Fall practices.   These will be especially important for the new players coming into school this Summer.  I think that we are already seeing the impact of the new coaches in recruiting.

Two new players coming to campus soon are expected to have immediate impacts on their teams.  In football Wiggens an All ACC Star DB Grad transfer from Louisville and in basketball Darrington a JUCO AA guard should both be on campus this Summer.   I think if these players had been Vols the past year both teams would have had better seasons.  They are both playmakers.

A few points about basketball for the coming year.  Last year the Vols were picked 13th in the SEC Pre-season rankings and came out 6th or 7th playing every Final 4 team and beat the top teams in the SEC.  Because of injuries, depth, and experience they fell in the second half of the season to teams they had beaten earlier in the year.  They were not consistent at either Guard in the last half of the season either scoring or on defense.  Darrington will be an immediate impact player in my opinion.   They have talented new comers that are in the positions this team needs for depth with size and length at Center and Forward.  One thing that I think will really help them this Fall will be their overseas Summer trip.  It can be a real team building experience to prepare for early season games. 

The baseball team appears to be making a season end run.  There is a lot of pressure on them and their coach.  Winning the last two weekend series should keep them in the Sec Tourney and with some wins a shot at the NCAA Playoffs.  This is not a bad team. Young and green with a lot of close losses.  It hurts to lose games in the last innings.  Relief pitching has not been much of a relief.  Too many players left on base has been a problem for much of the year.

Time to go.  See you in the Fall.

Go Vols!

TnBill

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