I'll start off today's Orange & White Game Friday with a word of encouragement for you. Don't let Butch Jones bring you down. If it's nice when you get up tomorrow, go out and support those kids and take in the Orange & White Game.
Programming Note: We will have a SmartWay/Garza Law Firm Fifth Quarter Fan Reaction Call In Show exclusively on your Tony Basilio App.
Random musings and short shots as we continue to send peace and love north to Tony, his wonderful dad and family:
WE'RE CALLING ON A.D. CURRIE TO USE TOMORROW'S STAGE TO PROP BUTCH UP and give this recruiting year some oomph. Our energetic new athletics director should come out with a strong statement of support for our head football coach today or tomorrow, and do his best to remove Jones from the media hot seat. (Please note that we're not saying Butch shouldn't be dismissed if he has a bad year and the 2017 team doesn't give solid evidence of hope for the future). We believe such a solid display of support would change the national narrative from hot seat to how promising Jones' retooled staff seems to be. This is needed to get a slow-starting recruiting campaign going. There are some very good prospects in state that are leaning to the Vols but need a little shove.
WE'RE WONDERING WHAT KIND OF VIBE THERE WILL BE ON CAMPUS TOMORROW. The weather might be iffy and might be a convenient excuse if the crowd is down. Let's face it. Big Orange Nation is restless, still butt hurt over that disastrous Vandy game and a reservation on Bourbon Street cancelled. Butch on the hot seat. Experts aren't picking the Vols very high next season. Maybe Aunt Edna Davenport will liven things up, although we're hearing there's no truth to the rumor that Beverly D and Raja Jubran will participate in a UT football trivia contest tomorrow at halftime.
IF THINGS DO SEEM A LITTLE LESS ENERGETIC TOMORROW, remember folks, these kind of situations are where we usually overachieve. We're going to be giving you regular doses of hopeium over the coming weeks.
LET'S PLAY TWO: Actually, every QB on the roster will get some action tomorrow in the Orange & White event (we won't call Butch's stableford scoring system a "game"), but for sure fans will get to see and micro-analyze every movement of Quentin Dormady and Jarrett Guarantano. We're got 19 or so weeks to debate it, but we're going to talk in the coming days about the best solution to solving UT's starting QB might be to take the first two games of the season to determine it. Alabama did that and made it to the national championship game last year. (Of course, Saban had the luxury of a defense loaded with NFL draft picks).
IS FLORIDA OFF THE HOOK ON HERNANDEZ? Former Gator and convicted murderer Aaron Hernandez took his own life in a prison cell this week. One report we read yesterday referred to Hernandez getting in trouble for marijuana and a bar fight while at Florida. We've heard whispers that there was much more to the Hernandez dossier while he played for Urban Meyer at Gainesville. Now that Hernandez has silenced himself, will witnesses come out now and tell their stories of other crimes?
ANOTHER VFL GREAT heads to "The Hill" in the sky. Former Vol and Green Bay Packer receiver Bill Anderson passed on this week. Anderson went on to become John Ward's sidekick on the Vol Network for 30 years and his easy-going style was a perfect complement to Ward's high-energy, dramatic approach. If your Vol love dates back 30 or 40 years before games were routinely televised, you spent many an afternoon listening to those two paint the pictures for you.
Throaty.....Love the subtle dig at Raja's level of sports knowledge. I understand that his family reads the blog. I want them to know that we're just having fun here. That's more a shot at the Haslam's than him.
Your comments about Hernandez are interesting. I wonder if Urban Meyer is nervous that skeletons (nice pun) might come out of the closet.
Stableford scoring for tomorrow's UT Spring Game???? Great line...
A family in the Halls community recently suffered a total loss from a house fire, and they have 2 kids in high school and one in elementary. If you would like to help, here are the details: They are in need of gift cards for gas, groceries and clothing. Donations can be dropped off at the high school or mailed to Halls High School, Attn: Cheri Duncan, 4321 Emory Road, Knoxville TN 37938
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'X' has a report on your Orange & White Game visitors.
'Orange & White Game Visitors:
Tennessee will have a good group of visitors this weekend. The group will not be as large as previous Orange & White game turnouts but don't be concerned. Throughout the spring, Tennessee has hosted a large number of unofficial visitors, many to watch the Saturday scrimmages. Too, Tennessee competing with other spring games this weekend and various high school events like track meets and baseball.... and the weather is not going to cooperate. With that said, a good group of key targets plan to be in attendance.
The weekend visitors are a quarterback-centric group. Arguably Tennessee’s top 4 quarterback targets are scheduled to be on campus including Cammon Cooper , Michael Penix, Jalen Mayden, and Adrian Martinez. Another top QB target, Brevin White, was on campus the early part of the week. If Tennessee had their way, 4 quarterback prospects would not be on campus at the same time. However, in the spring schedules are what they are, and Tennessee will make the best of it. Mayden and Martinez have both seen their recruitments explode over the past two weeks. Martinez and Mayden are at the top of Tennessee’s group I believe.
The running back visitors are a little murky though two of Tennessee’s top targets will be here. North Carolina prospect Jamal Currie-Elliott and Alabama prospect Tae Provens will be here. Both PROSPECTS have Tennessee in their top groups. Tennessee recently has picked up some momentum with Provens. With Currie-Elliott it looks like Tennessee, Oregon or Virginia Tech. It is unclear whether top running back target Master Teague from the midstate will be here Saturday.
Wide receivers targets Tyree Oggs-Kellogg from Alcoa and and Georgia prospect Jatavious Harris (as well as committed prospect Alontae Taylor) will be on campus. Tennessee is thought to be the leader for both Kellogg and Harris.
Tennessee 2018 committed offensive lineman Cade Mays and Ollie Lane will be on campus. In-state targets Jerome Carvin from Cordova and Tanner Antonutti from Antioch as well as IMG Academy prospect Reuben Unjie are scheduled to attend. Carvin and Unjie are both 4 star prospects and being recruited by most every program in the Southeast. Tennessee probably has spots for two more offensive linemen in this class to go with Lane and Mays . Carvin and Unjie sit at the top of Tennessee's offensive lineman board.
Interior D Line:
Tennessee will go heavy on defensive ends and tackles in 2018. PJ Mustipher and Alim McNeil, two of the their top defensive tackle targets, have been on campus in recent days but will not make it back this weekend. However, Tennessee is expecting two other top defensive tackle targets in midstaters in DeAndre Litaker and Brent Lawless. Getting Lawless and Litaker back to campus for the Orange & White game is key.
Defensive end is another story. Still recruiting work to be done here. In-state athlete/defensive end prospect Cam Jones will make the trip in from west Tennessee. Jones plays both receiver and defensive end for St. Benedict High. Tennessee is recruiting Jones as a defensive end/linebacker. Also, Marietta, Georgia, defensive end Azzeez Ojulari and family plan to be on campus. This is a big visit for Tennessee. Ojulari is a top 150 type prospect nationally and a top 10 defense end. Ojulari is a national prospect and already has offers from Georgia, Auburn, Oklahoma, Clemson and others including Tennessee.
The most intriguing prospect of the group is Jacquez Jones a linebacker from Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Physically, Jones is exactly what you want in a linebacker. Jones is 6’1” 225 lbs. Linebacker in 2018 is an area of need for Tennessee. Jones has emerged as the top target at linebacker on Tennessee’s board. Jones is a sideline to sideline linebacker with excellent closing speed. Jones has a nice connection with a number of Tennessee’s 2017 signees and 2018 commitments. If signing day were Wednesday, Tennessee would be my favorite to land Jones.
One For The Thumb:
Tennessee commitment Shatar McClay from Clarkesville, Tennessee, will visit. McClay is a dynamic athlete. He looks like a more aggressive version of 2017 Tennessee commitment Theo Jackson. McClay is a tall, rangy athlete with good ball skills and is a big hitter. If McClay has everything in order in the classroom he is a big pick up. Additionally, safety prospect Quindarious Monday and mid-state cornerback Jaylon King both holding Tennessee offers are “maybes” for the weekend.
From The Desk Of Tony Basilio Show Producer Brian Hartman:
'"It sure would be nice to see a straight up scrimmage with a normal scoring system this year, but with all of the injuries this team has endured this spring, I'm afraid it will be more of the same from Coach Butch Jones and company. We'll get some game like situations on the field, but this thing is chocked full of drills, drills and even more drills. I don't think anyone will leave the stadium knowing a heck of a lot more about the 2017 Volunteers than they did before the game started. The reality is, this is more of a celebration than it is any meaningful football game. My biggest concern coming out of spring ball is the injury situation. It blows my mind the amount of injuries this team continues to pile up. While it's true that most guys have only nagging injuries and some are out as a precautionary measure, the frequency to which this team sustains injuries is quite alarming. You just can't chalk it up to "every team has injuries this time of year." It seems to happen too often here. The scary part for me is nobody can seem to put a finger on it as to the main source or cause of these frequent injuries."
These are not my words. They are from @thevolcolonel , frequent Tony Basilio show contributor who has forgotten more about the inner workings of UT athletics than I'll ever know. Those are his words, but they make my argument. Do away with the Orange and White game. It has run its course. With so many injuries, why risk even more? The prior scrimmages before the Orange and White showcase are usually far more telling anyways.
Instead of a glorified practice 5 months before the season in front of a few thousand fans, why not make it a family friendly celebration of Tennessee football? They allow young children to mingle with the players before the scrimmage starts anyway. That is neat and a good way to make an early impression in a child's life, not to mention good PR. Let the players give autographs, sign footballs or whatever else they can sign. They can make it like a carnival atmosphere with food, games and all. Maybe introduce the players and coaching staff to the crowd that has gathered. Coach Butch Jones can say a few words. (I realize that can be cringe worthy). Make it last around 2 hrs and in case of rain move it from Neyland Stadium into Thompson Boling Arena. The event would be free but fans would have to pay for food and other concessions of course.
If anyone likes or hates this idea, feedback is appreciated!
Give me a listen on tomorrow's SmartWay/Garza Law Firm Fifth Quarter Fan Reaction as soon as the Orange & White Game concludes.
One of my favorite weekends of the year in Downtown Knoxville has arrived. I heartily encourage everyone to attend Rossini Festival.
1. Gregg Marshall made yet another shrewd move in hiring Donnie Jones to replace Chris Jans. That's the kind of move that keeps the Shockers moving forward as they head to the AAC.
2. Markel Crawford is a really nice addition for Ole Miss. Andy Kennedy consistently mines the transfer market for quality players.
3. Memphis appears to be circling the drain. Every day seems to bring some other take of woe for Tubby Smith.
4. Fenerbache has positioned themselves to pull off a first round Euroleague upset against Panathinaikos. The Istanbul side always seems to play their best basketball in the biggest events.
5. Cleveland probably detonated this version of the Pacers with their comeback last night. No way Larry Bird can stand pat.
6. Milwaukee is coming into their own before the eyes of the basketball world. They, not Boston, are the most imminent threat to LeBron's dominance of the East.
7. It was great to see Memphis have a moment in this series. They aren't going to win, but they have certainly earned the right to a night like they had Thursday.
8. Boston stares down their season's mortality tonight in Chicago. A loss would pretty much ensure that Danny Ainge can spend may scouting prospects for all of those accumulated draft picks.
9. Oklahoma City squandered a golden opportunity in Houston on Wednesday night. They now must win at home tonight to make this a series.
Sapphire is Knoxville's premier nightspot. Make sure to stop by and enjoy a signature cocktail on their patio while you take in Rossini Festival.
Gus's World Famous Fried Chicken is the perfect addition to your spring dining list. Stop by 3101 Sutherland Avenue to see what all the buzz is about.
The Blankenship Field renovation project is steaming consistently towards its ambitious goal. Go to blankenshiplegacy.org to donate.
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Final thought…Reuben Foster flunked a drug test? Didn’t he play at Alabama? When’s the last time Nick Saban lost a player at Bama due to drug issues???? Just sayin’.