The Monday Mailbag

Welcome to the second edition of InsideTennessee's Monday Mailbag. You ask the questions, we answer them, you smile and nod your head.

This is the weekly edition of InsideTennessee’s Monday Mailbag, the forum where we answer your questions on all things Vols and otherwise.

What player had the best spring? — Raymond Greene

This is a totally subjective question open to argument and debate, so naturally we love it. There are plenty of candidates out there who wildly improved themselves this spring, from freshman defensive lineman Shy Tuttle to rising sophomore kicker Aaron Medley. But the player Butch Jones has raved about at length this spring is Kendal Vickers, and he gets my nod based on the lavish praise heaped upon him by nearly every coach who mentioned him this spring. Vickers put on 60 pounds without sacrificing much speed and vastly improved his strength. Tennessee has one of the most talented defensive lines in the country, but Vickers is making sure he isn’t left out of the mix when Danny O’Brien returns and Kahlil McKenzie joins the team. Plus, as we mentioned last week, Vickers can squat 710 pounds. I’ll say whatever he wants me to say.

What do we know about the offseason strength and conditioning program for the team? What is required? What is expected? — Mulley

The summer months for any program are really defined by its intrinsic player leadership, and Tennessee is no different. There’s a reason Butch Jones stays glued inside Josh Dobbs’ head about being a “CEO quarterback” who facilitates responsibilities and doesn't punch out on the clock when he leaves the practice field. Dobbs will no doubt organize 7-on-7s, workouts and throwing sessions with receivers to go along with limited coach’s meetings peppered in-between. The players are no doubt given a regimen to follow and, while we don't know specifically what it entails, it's their job to work out and follow it. Personal responsibility and self-development are the name of the game in the summer for Division I football players, who aren’t able to sleep until noon and play Super Smash Bros. on Nintendo 64 for eight hours a day like a normal college summer.

Scout showed Chidi Okonya with offers from big time schools like Georgia, LSU, Florida and Notre Dame. Were those schools willing to take him and were they still actively pursuing him? — Lfvol2

It’s impossible to say, really. We’ll never know if those offers were sustainable or if he would be one of those sad stories of a guy who gets dropped the day before signing day — unless you can get in the mind of a guy like Les Miles and sift past all the grass daydreams. What we do know is Okonya’s final list of schools was whittled down to Tennessee, Clemson, Duke, Stanford and Ole Miss. He decided against going to any of the four programs you listed above, and the reasoning behind that is his and his alone. At the time of his commitment, all four still kept their offers on the table so it wouldn’t be a total stretch to say they were still actively pursuing him, but we’ll never truly know.

If you could change one thing about college football, what would it be? — Jon Reed, host of 4 Quarters on 1180AM from 10-11 a.m.

This was totally just a chance to plug your show, wasn’t it, Jon? There is so much I would change in college football, and the tempting answer here is to make all celebrations of any kind legal. Can you imagine how crazy Vols fans would go if Pig Howard scored a touchdown and whipped out a string of bacon from under the goal post to wave around his head? But I’m a man of the people, Jon, and I know the people want one thing and one thing only: less commercials. Which is why, as my official answer, I will eliminate the commercial between the extra point and the kickoff. Is anything more pointless than going from a touchdown to the point after, then immediately to a commercial before breaking yet again after the ensuing kickoff? Fans couldn’t hate the guy in the red hat who stands on the field for commercials more if his stupid red hat had one of those twirly things on top. That break is the longest and most pointless one in the world, and I’m eliminating it for all of us. It is now illegal to go to a commercial break after the extra point and again right after the kickoff. All stations that break this rule will be subject to air reruns of Doogie Howser in their primetime slot as punishment. You’re welcome, America.

Thanks to everyone who sent a question in. If you have something you’d like to ask, post it on the InsideTennessee message boards, email cory.a.gunkel@gmail.com or tweet @CoryGunkel.


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