In today’s link roundup, we take a closer look at the four Vols on the preseason Coaches All-SEC Team, pin our hopes on Charlton Warren, hope that Josh Smith is back for Florida, and more.
Vols on the preseason Coaches All-SEC Team
Four Tennessee players were named to the preseason Coaches All-SEC Team yesterday. Kick returner Evan Berry made second team, and offensive lineman Jashon Robertson, wide receiver Jajuan Jennings, and punter Trevor Daniel all made third team. Of course, a preseason All-SEC team is really not much more than a rehash of last year’s All-SEC team for the players who are still around, but it’s still nice to see your guys’ names on the list. What matters more, though, is who’s on that list at the end of the season.
Berry, by the way, shares the credit for his success returning kicks with his blockers:
“If you go back and look at the film, you really will see that I’m just running. But Micah Abernathy, my off-returner, and Tyler Byrd — they both give key blocks, as well as the front line.”
Of course, it doesn’t hurt to have a guy who can fly with the ball in his hands, either.
And somehow, Trevor Daniel’s story is still under-stated. Heading into his senior year, he is already surrounded on all sides by Colquitts in the Tennessee record books. If he does again this season what he’s been doing the past couple of seasons, the former walk-on will finish his career ahead of all of them.
Another reason to believe the defense will improve this season
Public Service Announcement: New defensive backs coach Charlton Warren played a major role in the nation’s best defensive turnaround in 2015 for the North Carolina Tar Heels. The Heels defense allowed 14.5 fewer points that season than they had the year before, and his secondary was the most improved in the nation in pass efficiency and yards-per-pass attempt. Oh, and they led the ACC in interceptions, turnovers gained, and passes defended.
Here’s to hoping he can do something similar for the Vols this fall.
- Good news: wide receiver Josh Smith’s collarbone injury is not, as originally feared, actually broken, and so instead of expecting to be out 4-8 weeks, he hopes to be able to return for the Florida game on September 16.
- Will has posted our staff win probabilities and is asking y’all to contribute as well. So far, we’re all hovering right around eight wins, but percentages on a game-by-game basis are interesting.
- GoVols247 also completed its list of the 17 most important players for the Vols this year, pegging “the quarterback” at the top, regardless of whether it’s Quinten Dormady or Jarrett Guarantano. Can’t really argue with that, I guess, but I am tempted to put linebacker Darrin Kirkland Jr. there myself because him staying healthy is key to the defense’s ability to improve this season.
- Gridiron Now has a post out ranking the toughest and easiest SEC home and road schedules and gives Florida the toughest home schedule and LSU the toughest road schedule. They also give Tennessee the distinction of having the toughest division-crossover schedule, which, of course, we already knew. And yes, I still think that deciding division standings using division-crossover games doesn’t make any sense and is more of an SEC problem than a Tennessee-Alabama problem.
- Meanwhile, the Knoxville News Sentinel is ranking the Vols’ 2017 opponents by degree of difficulty, and it’s about what you’d expect except that, after Alabama and Florida, they have Kentucky ranked ahead of Georgia. Me, I’d go Alabama, Georgia, and Florida to start. The Bulldogs might be flaky and fluky, but they still out-talent even the increasingly-talented Vols.
- 247Sports just updated their database to award several players higher rankings, but Tennessee is still sitting at No. 6 in the team rankings. Jaycee Horn, a 4-star cornerback who plans to announce his decision today, would still likely leave the Vols at No. 6 even if they land his commitment.
- Hoops coach Rick Barnes thinks that his team is going to take the proverbial next step this season, thanks to increased depth and improvement on defense.
- Athletic Director John Currie acknowledges that putting the Lady Vols brand out to pasture caused some hurt feelings, but he doesn’t seem to be in much of a hurry to do anything about it.
- I just gave a dollar to Matt Stillwell for his new country single I’m a Vol for Life, Y’all. A bunch of y’all should go do the same right now.