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Good Morning, Everyone,

I guess the dust has settled from the New Year’s games and it is time to start on 2019. The SEC did well in their bowl games, not as well as I had hoped but they were in a lot of them. The long and the short of the championship game was that Clemson’s DB’s played a better game than Bama’s DB’s. Do you think Bama missed Jeremy this past year? I do, especially in the Bowl Game.

On to this year in Knoxville, first a look at basketball. The Vols are solid at # 3 in the National Rankings and in shouting distance of the # 1 Ranking. It was interesting last week that one of the Nashville radio stations looked at the National Rankings and two of the “Media Expert” Pollsters that cover Mich State and the Big 10 did not list the Vols on their Top 25 ballot at all. Amazing isn’t it? At least the national Guys are giving the Vols some attention and respect. On the Lady Vols, with their two losses some Folks are howling. A closer look and you can see the contributions of the young players. They are developing but still turn the ball over too much. The two losses are really tied to MISSED FREE THROWS by the guards and post players. They have missed the front end of one and ones and in a couple of cases both shots on shooting fouls. The Stanford game should not have gone to overtime and they should have had a lead playing Mizzou. The team’s free throw shooting was 16 of 23 vs. Stanford and 16 of 24 vs. Mizzou. It was not possible to make up for those misses. Both games in the second half reminded me of the LSU “Shaq” Days, “Foul him! He can’t hit the free throws.” This is really a player issue that is only resolved with individual effort and work each week and in the off season.

On to Football. Early Signing Day. Good reviews for the class. They met needs. At this point there are 10 early entries enrolling this week. It is almost without notice but there has not been any “Academic Drama” in this year’s class. Not a single “Will he make it?” due to grades. Smart kids are good news for the future. Now we move on to the Feb Signing Day that is less than a month away. There is drama around for that date on two fronts: (1) Who do they get? (2) How many can they get? A short review is simple. You have 85 Scholarship slots. If you sign 25 each year for 4 years that is 100 kids if no one leaves… OOPS!! Where did the 15 go? With the NCAA graduation rules, you had better graduate guys or you lose scholarships, so you just cannot run kids off or cut them.

At this point, some kids are transferring, some quit, and a lot of the kids are graduating early and going grad transfers. It is expected that there will be several added to that list at the end of the Spring Term. Watch Spring Practice and we should get an idea about who will be leaving. We should note that Jeremy and his staff help those kids find homes if they want to continue playing.

The “Big News” is the return of Jim Chaney to Tennessee from the Dawgs with Jeremy hiring him this week as the Vol Offensive Coordinator. The reaction across the board was. “WOW!”. I know a lot more about him now then I did while he was at Tennessee under Kiffen and Dooley. His resume looks a lot like Cutcliff’s. He has coached at every level, He has coached every offensive position. His kids have been successful and at every position gone on to the NFL. At Purdue he really made his national rep as a QB Coach and Off Coord with Drew Brees as his QB. One thing that really impressed me about this hire, the number of his former players at all his schools that endorsed him and phrased his contribution to their careers as a coach and person. With the QB’s on the Vol roster this Spring and the Top 100 QB already committed for next year, it is clear to me that he has the talent on campus to work with for the coming year and down the road.

On the Feb Signing date, one thing I will be looking for are kids not committed that do not sign and the kids that are visiting Knoxville in the next month. One thing that is clear, this staff does not just “give away” visits to kids as some staffs have done in the past. I agree with that, having kids on campus that you have no interest in signing or that really have no interest in your program does not make a positive environment for a visit weekend. Watch these dates Jan 19th the Vols play Bama at home and on Jan 26th the Vols play West Virginia at home. Those are good events for a visit weekend.

Time to go, Go Vols! Go Lady Vols!
TnBill

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