The Monday Mailbag

You ask the questions. We answer them. Everyone goes home happy.

After this past weekend, do you feel we really have a shot with any of these guys and if so, who tops your chart of possibilities? — clrlyric

Tennessee hosted a junior day this past weekend with a host of in-state targets on hand to speak with coaches and see what Butch Jones' program has to offer. After interviewing many of those on hand, a major theme of the weekend seemed to hinge on keeping the in-state players home to continue building the Vols up from the inside. WIth that in mind, I think one player Tennessee has a great shot at landing is Scout four-star offensive tackle Trey Smith. The Jackson, Tennessee, native spoke highly of his visit and seemed really impressed by the in-state sales pitch. The rising senior has offers from elite programs across the country, but told IT he wants to wait and see which programs he's interested in have success in 2016 before making a decision. The Vols are poised to make a serious run at the SEC crown next season, so coupled with being Smith's in-state SEC school, the Vols look to be in a really good place with the No. 1 offensive tackle in the Volunteer State moving forward.

Regarding the allegations in the Title IX lawsuit, do you think there's any reason to think it will be a distraction moving forward for the team? — OldVol74

I'll let Butch Jones take this one, since he answered a very similar question Saturday in his quick interview inside Thompson-Boling Arena. The fourth-year Tennessee head coach was asked how he'll approach spring practice and attempt to get the players focused amidst the lawsuit and other incidents like the suspension of junior college defensive lineman Alexis Johnson on charges of aggravated assault and false imprisonment. 

"We’ve had a very good offseason," Jones said. "Our players have worked exceptionally hard, and we’ve talked about working towards those 25 points. (In the) last 18 games, we’re 13-5 in our program and those five losses have come by 25 points, so we’re working for those 25 points in everything we do. In the classroom, in academics, you know, in our strength and conditioning program. That’s kind of been the rallying cry."

How in the world did we beat LSU without Kevin Punter and what's his status? — Gary R.

Tennessee's MVP was Armani Moore and LSU coach Johnny Jones in that one. Moore did a little of everything, notching a double-double and flirting to become just the second player in history who's recorded a triple-double in the history of Tennessee basketball. It also helped that Jones refused to run the offense through Simmons for much of the game and the Vols did a good job of stopping his ability to distribute the ball while crashing the offensive boards to hustle for extra possessions. The freshmen stepped up huge, specifically Shembari Phillips filling in for the missing leading scorer, and a concotion of solid defense and evenly-distributed offensive production led the Vols to the big win at home. Punter is "day-to-day" with a stress fracture in his foot per Rick Barnes. 

When is the spring game? — Martha W. 

Hey, this one is easy! Thanks for the email, Martha. I like when I have to exert as little energy as possible. The 2016 Orange and White Game is scheduled for April 16 at 2 p.m. ET inside Neyland Stadium. Get there early, because Tennessee fans are crazy and will be lined up outside an hour before the opening kick.


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