Good Day, My Friends,
It is time to get ready for the Vol 2019-2020 Football Season. It has been a busy Summer of the Hill for both the Coaching Staff and the Players. Lots of recruiting and prep work for the start of practice this week. There are several factors that are different this year that we need to consider. First, the coaches could meet with players during the Summer planning, teaching, watching film. Second, this is the first time in four years the kids have had the same strength and conditioning staff for two years in a row. Third, I think that this is the best S&C Staff we have had since Phil left. Fourth, we did not have any “New” Position Coaches that had not participated in Spring Practice on the staff. Fifth, the defensive staff and as much the defensive concepts remained the same for two years. Sixth, while there were new Offensive Coaches the driving system, concepts, and philosophy did not change because Jeremy’s Goals are still there.
The next month will be driven primarily by the need for both individual and unit preparation for the coming season. How things go in practice will drive a lot of decisions about who will play and where they will play in those first three or four games. In my opinion, the coaching staff and Jeremy have a plan and an idea about how each player will be used. In the camp the player will either earn their way into those spots or other players will bump them. On that, our first three games in the regular season will answer a lot of questions, because of the new “Red-Shirt Rule”, a lot of the players will have an opportunity to play and show what they can do. WE SHOULD REALLY WATCH THE BYU GAME!! That team is “Experienced and Mature”. They are all men at 23 -24-25 years old, especially on the OL and DL. It will be a physical test for the Vol “Young Players”.
Let’s get right to the “Nuts and Bolts”. How is this team different from last year’s team? In my mind there are several ways that this team is different. Here they are:
First, I will say in his last couple of years Butch had signed some “Talented Kids” who had the “Stars” that designated “Talent and Potential”, but they were not big enough, strong enough, nor mature enough as True Freshmen nor as Red-Shirt Freshmen to play four quarters as “Starters” in the SEC. Because of Butch’s failure to retain and evaluate Coaches in both position coaching and in S&C, kids did not get better each year. They did not develop and improve. Injuries and failures to perform at expected levels of excellence were the result. Poor play at key positions was the rule on both sides of the ball. To me it seems that Butch replaced good coaches with “Better” recruiters. It did not work. How are the new coaches that Jeremy different? That is an easy answer. SEC/TN Guys, All Share the “Same Values and Concepts”. In my mind one of the most important factors in player and UNIT Improvement is continuity to bring consistency. On Offense, we have a “New OC” but he has the same “Concepts and Philosophy” as Jeremy to the Vols so there is no change.
Second, we have a lot of returning “Skill” position starting players and depth at every one of those positions. WR and RB are in really good shape. We not only have returning players but have added Freshmen with as much talent and… MORE SPEED at both WR and RB. We added Muscle, Size, and Strength at TE. I will give you that our backup QBs are not proven but they have all the things in talent and athleticism you want and a Spring Practice to boot as well as the Fall Practices. At RB we are more than “Good” and at WR our backups scare people with their speed…. on that the incoming Freshmen appear to be more talented and may be better! Fall practice and the early games will tell us if that is true.
Third, to me this is the thing that this maybe is most important about this team improving. The OL has great in-coming talent with the recruiting and early entries but this also trues for the DL. On both the OL and DL these kids that are SEC ready. This is a real change from Butch. If a high school kid can be “SEC Ready”. They are big…. 300 plus pounds. Butch’s kids had talent but not SEC size and strength from day one, these kids came to the VOLS prepared to push for a “Starting Job”.
A point on the last paragraph, not all the kid’s Jeremy has signed were “SEC READY”. That was more of a priority in the OL and DL where we were short staffed. He did sign several kids with talent to develop. We must recognize that Jeremy and his staff are only recruiting kids that have the size, talent, and speed to compete for a SEC starting job from day one. In most cases Think about this… the kid, a DT, from Nashville Pearl Cohn is reported as stronger than any other player on the Vol Team today. This is reported from a Senior Captain of the Vol team. All reports that I have seen say that Jeremy recruited the right kind of kids in his second class and that not only the early entries, but also, the Summer entries hit campus planning and ready to compete for playing time if not starting jobs.
Sum it up:
- Better Coaches with continuity of concept and philosophy.
- Better talent especially in speed
- Better player development at every position
- Better strength
- More playing experience at the SEC Level.
That is my “2-Cents Worth” on the Vol’s Pre-Season Report.
I am ready to go. I believe that the Vols do “Surprise” some folks this season and I will really, really enjoy those games!