Good Day, My Friends,
It has been a while! A busy Spring with a lot going on in all areas. I figured that it is a good time to look at things that are coming up. Softball and Baseball Playoffs with both teams ranked and looking good. Basketball Draft and it appears a push for possible transfers. From all looks that the Vols will have more length on the floor next Fall. But players from last year’s squad appear to be stepping up to compete for playing time next Fall. We need to remember the amount of change that a kid / young man’s body can make in 12 months with a good strength program. I think that the UT teams have better than “Good” Strength coaches in all Sports. We knew we had good coaches in Softball and it is clear that we have an exceptional coach in Baseball as well. He is getting commitments from good TN kids that Vandy wants. The basketball Staff is more than solid. It tells you something when you look at how fast Coach Barnes was able to replace his assistant that left for a Head Coaching job with a quality replacement. A note on the transfer 7’1″ form AZ State, He played in a Chattanooga Prep School and the staff saw him there repeatedly. There was not a spot for him at TN when he graduated from high school.
Football, everyone is looking at the UT Football Camps. All the coaches are on board and were involved in Spring Practice. That is a good thing. At this point some fans are crying because we do not have 25 kids committed. I think that we are in better shape than last year. The number committed is at the same level. We have had a really good turnout for the O&W Game and visit weekends, I have been surprised and pleased with the number of kids that have made repeated “Unofficial Visits” at their own expense. There are several “Official Visits” projected over the next two months. We need to remember with the Early Fall signing period, most of the kids that are going to sign early are making their “Official Visits” this Summer. That is the group we want to watch. We need to keep an eye out for kids that camp, get an offer and then make their “Official Visit”.
On offers and evaluations. “Looks like Tarzan, plays like Jane!” We have heard this. The thing I see with Jeremy is that he looks at kids’ physical skill, but he really watches how they play for effort, drive, and passion. How do they push themselves to get better? Every year in the NFL Draft there are guys taken early that were not as good as other kids. As high schoolers were driven and pushed themselves to get better as players. That is one reason he wants them in camps. He also knows what he needs and wants for physical skills, speed, and size. I do not think that he will offer a 6’4″ /210 Pound DE as a DL for his defense unless there appears to his “eyeball” that there is something “Special” there. Camp counts a huge amount for “eyeball time” in my opinion. I remember all those Memphis kids from years back that never camped were supposed to be All Americans and when they got on campus were slower, weaker, and smaller than the number their coach had given staff’s. In one group Cedrick Wilson was supposed to be the least talented of the lot and he was the only one that contributed at UT.
On to the Fall Camps for the Vols. August will be interesting. There are not a lot of Seniors on the squad. I think 12. There are a lot of three- and four-year players with some starts but not a lot of starts. They have playing time in the SEC. This is their third year with the S&C Coach’s program. You have a very smart, athletically talented, and “SIZE WISE BIG” incoming class in all positions. I think that Jeremy has made it clear to the returning layers, work and get better, or the Freshmen will play. Opportunity is there, seize it.
I think that this is the best schedule that we have had in years, when you look at the opportunities to get the team on track before heading into the SEC East. There are two factors, getting our kids ready and having current film on the SEC teams we will be playing.
On that, it is time to leave. Have a great Memorial Day weekend and remember and honor all those who have served our country.