This Week’s Roundtable is hosted by:
In the interest of full disclosure, HSH sent me his responses to this week’s questions earlier in the week. In theory, I was then supposed assemble a post including my answers along with his. In theory, this sounds simple … in theory. Reality is quite a different matter. I have been woefully unreliable in terms of my posting of late due to my “real life,” and more specifically, my “real job.”
Thus, as a result of me being completely backed-up in preparation for an upcoming trial (a/k/a “evidence manipulation conference”) I am yet again forced to punt—at least for the moment. This is particularly annoying considering how great the questions are this week. Thus, for now the only answers I have to offer are those from HSH—which is probably a good thing considering that he actually knows what he’s talking about. I will try to add in my responses later, if possible. Until then, however, here are HSH’s thoughts for the week:
1) Which newcomer do you expect to play the most total snaps for the Vols this fall?
HSH: Well, by the looks of things, we know for sure it won’t be Bryce Brown, though he may be the best talent of the freshmen.
Though I have trouble remembering him actually being a freshman, it almost has to be Montori Hughes at defensive tackle, simply because of the lack of depth at defensive tackle and the sore, wobbly knees of senior end-turned-tackle Wes Brown. With Brown’s knees, its almost more a question of when as opposed to if they’re going to take him out of action. I have to take this moment to say his never-quit attitude and what he’s been saying about his situation has him rapidly climbing up my favorite 2009 Vols.
Back to Hughes, I said he doesn’t seem like a freshman because of three things: first, he’s obviously from the 2008 class out of Siegel High School in middle Tennessee, but didn’t qualify. Secondly, he enrolled in January, so he was in for the spring, so it’s like he’s been at UT for longer than the other freshman. Finally, it’s because he’s a very large man. Either way, it’s clear he’s moved up to the third tackle spot, behind Williams and Brown and ahead of Victor Thomas, Rae Sykes and Marlon Walls.
But given the situation at defensive tackle behind Big Dan Williams, Hughes has to be the freshman who will see the most action.
As for the “true” freshman with the most impact, I’ll say receiver Marsalis Teague. I went to last Thursday’s practice and last Saturday’s scrimmage, and Teague had some impressive plays. I think Gerald Jones and Brandon Warren will be the top 2 wideouts, but Teague is my third (and Quintin Hancock fourth), given the injury to Denarius Moore. Also, Teague seems like more a pure receiver than Nu’Keese Richardson in my opinion.
Lawvol: (Long thoughtful pause followed by a longer, yet less thoughtful, sucking sound…)
2) Assuming we all believe Gerald Jones is going to lead the team in receptions again this season, who will finish second?
HSH: I somewhat addressed Tennessee’s receivers in the previous question, and I’ll go with who I said was the second receiver there: Brandon Warren. As I said, from last Thursday and last Saturday, my reaction to see #1 running routes and catching passes was one of amazement. In other words, I was surprised how he was a “tight end” last year and how he caught maybe 10 passes last year. He easily passes the eye test as a wide receiver.
One final thought: Jones led UT with 30 catches last year and Lucas Taylor led the Vols in yards. Taylor caught 26 passes. Who was third? Arian Foster with 19. Josh Briscoe and Austin Rogers were the next wide receivers, with both catching 14. All that is to say again how ineffective the quarterbacks were last year. Hopefully the second and third leading receivers this year have more catches—which you think has to happen, right?
Lawvol: Objection! Leading, calls for speculation, and assumes facts not in evidence… (sorry, it’s just a habit)
3) If Tim Tebow and Eric Berry are the two best players in the SEC, who’s third?
HSH: Give me Brandon Spikes, Florida’s middle linebacker, who turned down a boatload of money from an NFL team to stay and try to win another national championship (vomit).
I’ve seen Terrance Cody and Rolando McClain, but I’ll take Spikes, the leader and best player on the league’s top defense. Oh, and also this amusing celebration of a pick-six against LSU last year, and his best Eric Berry impression.
Honorable mention: Ole Miss QB Jevan Snead, Cody and McClain on the Alabama defense, Georgia LB Rennie Curran (SEC’s leading returner tackler), running back Charles Scott from LSU, the other 11 players on Florida’s defense and a trio of wide receivers: Julio Jones (Alabama), A.J. Green (UGA) and Brandon LaFell (LSU).
Lawvol: (Note the theme song to “the Smurfs” playing in the background…)
4) Generally speaking, which opposing SEC fanbase is your favorite to interact with? And which is your least favorite?
HSH: I’ll start with the least favorite, and that’s Georgia. I went to Athens for the 51-33 beatdown as a college freshman in 2006 and I got treated worse there than I did in trips to more vaunted venues in Gainesville (2007) and Tuscaloosa (2005 and 2007).
I got incessantly and constantly barked at, which is fine but extremely annoying. But even more so, my friends and I got cursed at because we had orange on. They had no respect for me. I had sorority girls looking great in red and black dresses dropping the F-bomb at me completely unprovoked. The typical, expected stuff—”Tennessee sucks,” “Fulmer sucks,” “nothing sucks like a Big Orange,” the Gator Chomp, Roll Tide, War Eagle, Pig Sooie, etc., etc.—doesn’t bother me a bit. But profanity?
I’m not saying I can’t handle it, but c’mon. If I’m doing some chatting too, that’s one thing. I don’t get belligerent at visitors in Knoxville unless they provoke me—and even then, I’m not yelling at them to “eff” their school or “eff” themselves. Some common courtesy would be nice.
Though I have a higher disdain for Florida and Alabama because they’re our biggest rivals, Georgia will always be #3 on that list because of that trip to Athens.
As for the favorite, I would have to say Auburn, because as I’ve said repeatedly I have friends there and I can’t find any reason to really dislike them. I haven’t been to Baton Rouge (or Columbia or Fayetteville – been everywhere else), but I haven’t had any issues with LSU fans when they’ve come to Knoxville and Atlanta.
But overall, I don’t know if I have a “favorite”—it’s more of a feeling of indifference than a preference one way or another.
Lawvol: This one I can actually answer, well, sort of. I have pretty much addressed this in the past on more than one occasion. I was probably clearest in my article “The State of Hate: Football Rivalries at Tennessee,” which continues to be true for me today.
The Rest of the Roundtable:
Having wasted your time on our largely meaningless and insignificant thoughts for this week, go check out what the other roundtablers (who actually know what they are talking about) have to say (in no particular order):
- Rocky Top Talk
- 3rd Saturday in Blogtober
- MoonDog Sports
- Vol Junkies
- Pigskin Pathos
- Bleeding Orange
- Loser With Socks
A.J. Green, Alabama Crimson Tide, Arian Foster, Athens, Atlanta, Austin Rogers, Baton Rouge, Big Orange Roundtable, Brandon LaFell, Brandon Spikes, Brandon Warren, CBS Sports, Championship, Charles Scott, Chomp, College Football, Columbia, Dan Williams, Denarius Moore, Eric Berry, Evidence Manipulation, Excuses, F-Bomb, Fayetteville, Florida Gators, Football, Gainesville, Gate 21, Georgia Bulldogs, Gerald Jones, Jevan Snead, Josh Briscoe, Julio Jones, Knoxville, Lawyers, Links, LSU Tigers, Lucas Taylor, MAC, Marlon Walls, Marsalis Teague, Montori Hughes, NFL, Nu'keese Richardson, Ole Miss Rebels, Phillip Fulmer, Pig Sooie, Profanity, Quintin Hancock, Rae Sykes, Rennie Curran, Rolando McClain, SEC, SEC Football, Sucking, Tennessee Football, Tennessee Football, Tennessee Volunteers, Terrance Cody, Tim Tebow, Tuscaloosa, Victor Thomas, Vols, War Eagle, Wes Brown