Gameday Today jumps off a cliff with old friends, fans the flames of team chemistry, and marvels at Spencer Hall’s facial hair. This and more in today’s Vols link roundup.
Sports writing meta
I just got back to East Tennessee from five days in San Francisco and the accursed Pacific Time Zone. It was the second time this year I’ve been to the PST, and I’m telling you, there is something quite unnatural about concluding your work day at the same time everyone back home is going to sleep.
Anyway, because I was without my favorite trusty computer and workspace and instead using a laptop and an unreliable personal hotspot, I missed a proper re-introduction of Will Shelton to the new digs a few days ago. So let me say it now — I could not be happier to be writing once again with both Will and Brad, and I am so incredibly grateful for their trust as we once more unto the breach together.
You might call it providential timing, too, as FoxSports just relieved most of its sportswriting staff of their jobs in order to feed a “growing appetite for video.” There’s a lot to digest on the topic of online sports writing, and you should start with Clay Travis’ take, which is dead on and articulates well much of the reason we recently made the jump to Gameday on Rocky Top after over a decade at SB Nation’s Rocky Top Talk. There’s much more to it than economics, though, and having the freedom to choose which appetites to nourish is one of the things that drives us here at GRT. And as I already said, I could not be happier to be working alongside Will and Brad again, pressing toward the same objectives.
Will’s already off to the start you’d expect from Will, using Bane and Batman to conjure new insights about this season and last, as well as hitching his wagon to a FiveThirtyEight scheduling system that uses “power-pairing” to create something that looks to me like a conference playoff. I might like that even better than my own idea of keeping everything the same but using only division results to determine division champions.
- Two public messages to another old friend, Spencer Hall: (1) YOUR CHEST HAIR IS ATTACKING YOUR FACE, and (2) STOP LAUGHING AT US WITH PAUL FINEBAUM. (Spencer thinks that Tennessee having to play Georgia Tech’s triple option in the first game of the season is hilarious:)
- Saturday Down South is drawing team chemistry comparisons between 1998 and 2017. Let’s hope.
- Offensive coordinator Larry Scott is putting an emphasis on the o-line being more physical this fall.
- All For Tennessee is getting into the What If game, asking what might have happened if Phillip Fulmer had never been fired. Their conclusion? Different quarterbacks in 2009 and a return to national prominence in 2010. No crunk, no orange pants, no crater.
- Wide receiver Jacquez Jones, who arrived late to campus due to an academic snag, is not worried about getting a slow start, as he’s been keeping in touch and his nose in the playbook.
- GoVols247 is ranking Tennessee’s entire roster according to 247Sports Composite Ranking. Part 1, 2, 3, and 4 are out. And this is behind the paywall, but if you guess the answer to the question of who has the advantage between Tennessee and Alabama, I don’t think I’m giving anything away to tell you that you’re right. Was that cryptic enough?
- Keeping the enthusiasm embers burning:
- 5-star offensive lineman Cade Mays will miss Nike’s The Opening due to recent surgery to remove a bone spur. Other Tennessee players attending the camp will need to make sure they leave their cleats, helmets, and gloves at the camp due to a stupid TSSAA rule.
- GVX’s John Adams dials the snark to 11 in pointing out that Tennessee is currently ahead of Alabama in the recruiting rankings.
Forward Grant Williams will be venturing out onto the perimeter more this season in an attempt to improve his versatility, which will in turn improve the versatility of the team.
Reggie Wayne says that Peyton Manning used to change the play at the line of scrimmage “85 to 90 percent of the time.” I looked this up for us non-math majors, and “85 to 90 percent” means “a lot.”
Other Vols news
- The Lady Vols SEC schedule has been set for the upcoming season. The team will face Vanderbilt, South Carolina, and Texas A&M in home-and-home series this season. The SEC schedule also includes home games against Alabama, Auburn, Georgia, Ole Miss, and Mississippi State, and road games at Arkansas, Florida, Kentucky, LSU, and Missouri.
- UTSports.com has a beautiful behind-the-scenes feature with track phenom Christian Coleman.
- Tennessee is mourning the loss of Dr. Earl C. Hudson, who recently passed away at the age of 91. He and his wife, Martha, have owned and trained UT’s Smokeys since 1994. Condolences to the family.