John Adams: The next recruiting class for Butch Jones is crucial, and the clock is ticking

John Adams
Tennessee football head coach Butch Jones addresses the media regarding new recruits in the Stokely Family Media Center at Neyland Stadium Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2013. (ADAM BRIMER/NEWS SENTINEL)

Photo by Adam Brimer

Tennessee football head coach Butch Jones addresses the media regarding new recruits in the Stokely Family Media Center at Neyland Stadium Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2013. (ADAM BRIMER/NEWS SENTINEL)

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Former Tennessee coach Derek Dooley referred to his first season as "Year Zero."

Although his assessment didn't catch on with the general populace, it had merit. Dooley wasn't hired until January, and the program was reeling from the sudden departure of the previous coach, Lane Kiffin.

But the clock started just the same. Coaches no longer have time to recruit a roster full of their own players. Five- and four-year rebuilding jobs are a thing of the past. And Dooley had only three years to turn around a struggling program.

The same fast clock is already ticking for new coach Butch Jones.

Last week, he and his staff maneuvered as best they could to finish the recruiting class that Dooley's staff started, just as Dooley's staff did three years earlier when Kiffin vamoosed in a blaze of cardinal and gold.

Jones changed the minds of a few recruits, brought in a few of his own and came close on several other prominent prospects while eventually reeling in a class that was ranked as high as 20th by recruiting services. That was all done on the fly. There was little time for building relationships or making in-depth evaluations.

Nonetheless, the class is now Jones' for better or worse. You only have to revisit Dooley's three years on the job to realize how much the hurriedly assembled first class matters.

The next class will matter even more.

Dooley's first class was a rush job, recruited mainly by the previous staff. His third class was too little, too late for a coach on the hot seat. And his second class wasn't good enough quick enough.

Given that background, you can appreciate how crucial Jones' next recruiting class will be. The depth chart provides confirmation.

The Vols will lose the majority of starters on their offensive and defensive lines after next season. So what they lack in experience, they will have to make up for in talent when they take on a daunting 2014 schedule, which includes the usual SEC luminaries as well as a road trip to Norman, Okla.

They also will need a top-notch back in the next recruiting class. You always need a top-notch running back in the SEC. And better to have more than one, as the recent success of Alabama and LSU would attest.

Another apparent need is at defensive end, where the Vols could use a disruptive pass rusher. Actually, they could use someone who would at least make an opposing quarterback occasionally relocate in the pocket.

Tennessee's secondary was a popular target when accounting for the flagrant shortcomings in pass defense. But a pass rush that produced the fewest sacks in the SEC was a noteworthy accomplice.

If you're wondering how much difference a premier running back and pass rusher could make, consider what running back Marcus Lattimore and defensive end Jadeveon Clowney have done for South Carolina.

Not all of UT's needs are position specific. There's a general need for speed on defense, as all those unfulfilled chase scenes from 2012 demonstrated.

In a conference famous for defensive speed, Tennessee once was a frontrunner. It now has one of the slowest defenses in the SEC.

Get faster on defense. Add big-time running backs and pass rushers. Recruit depth for both lines.

The to-do list is long. And time is short.

John Adams is a senior columnist. He may be reached at 865-342-6284 or adamsj@knoxnews.com. Follow him at http://twitter.com/johnadamskns.

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Comments » 76

pcorange writes:

in response to notfunanymore:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Replying to your own article, John?

wazzya69vol writes:

Would someone please explain to me what's the difference between a "walk on" and "preferred walk on". Thank you & GBO

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

Next season UT has a chance for a top 5 class..The Berry twins, Bates, Kelly and Cremer all possibilities with 2 solid commits already. IMO the offensive line is the big need next year after UT graduates the last of the 2010 class..GBO!!

vol98champ writes:

in response to notfunanymore:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Get a life or maybe take a vacation and forget where you live.

rdstephens writes:

Jones must narrow the gap between UT and the rest of the SEC. Last week, the gap widened. AL, LSU, GA, FL, USC, TAM, VU, Ole Miss, Auburn - all have considerably more talent on hand than the Vols. Jones must close the talent gap immediately or he is doomed to fail. The competition is not stagnant. All the aforementioned schools are upping the game now - every year. Jones must leapfrog several SEC schools for multiple successive years in recruiting for the Vols to compete for an SEC championship - not an easy task. Let's give him support, he will need it.

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

in response to wazzya69vol:

Would someone please explain to me what's the difference between a "walk on" and "preferred walk on". Thank you & GBO

Apparently a preferred walk-on is recruited much like a scholarship athlete. They also will be offered a scholarship before any other walk-on's can be offered. The odd part about these preferred walk-on's are they rated 3* athletes and UT could have bumped up their 3* recruit total just by offering them scholarships. This leads me to believe UT has at least 3 better options left on the table, possibly 6.

snowpeapod#263184 writes:

in response to notfunanymore:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Maybe you should change your name from "notfunanymore" to "alwaysanidiot"

golfman1975 writes:

in response to notfunanymore:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Your name says it all...where does it say coaches can't have fun?

Just because you are mired in misery doesn't everyone else has to be.

Classof72 writes:

"Former Tennessee coach Derek Dooley referred to his first season as "Year Zero.""

Every one of Coach Dooley's seasons was "Year Zero." That's no reflection on Coach Dooley. He was made an offer he couldn't refuse to take a job for which he was not qualified. His performance could have been predicted from his resume.

Coach Jones' resume is better. Let's all hope he does very well, and soon.

rb4346 writes:

in response to notfunanymore:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

To bad you were not hired as coach, I am sure you would have loaded up on 4 and 5 star players in 31 days. Give things a rest and start believing in your coaching staff and players if you are a true Vols fan, which I don't think you are at all. These coaches deserve a break for working as hard as they have. No matter what you think it will take 2 or 3 recruiting classes for CBJ to get the players he needs to fit his system. GBO!

MooseandSquirrelVol writes:

in response to wazzya69vol:

Would someone please explain to me what's the difference between a "walk on" and "preferred walk on". Thank you & GBO

The way I understand it, a walk on has to try out for the team while a preferred walk on has a guaranteed spot on the roster, as well as a better shot at a scholly if there is one available.
The NCAA allows only 85 schollies, but a 105 man roster.

rb4346 writes:

in response to notfunanymore:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I thought for a long time about who you are and it finally came to me, you were in the movie, "The Wizard Of Oz", you were the one who walked around always saying you wished you had a brain. Well I hope your wish comes true one of these days, good luck to you.

cloudodust writes:

notfunanymore cannot see the forest through the trees. He/She is hung up in The Land That Time Forgot but to his/her credit, he/she speaks from the heart of one that's been jilted somewhere along the line. Optimism is a character trait of the ones called fans and to sit back comparing apples to Sabans (or whatever) is like diminishing fact from fiction. The Berry twins are amongst the ones lurking in the future and the future is an unknown quality/quanity, unless you have the brain of one notfunanymore...GBO

cloudodust writes:

Be that as it may, good insight and accurate analysis from JA. Going forward, tomorrow is another day...

vut5686#1405392 writes:

Two things: Adams seems to set the mandate for the class of 2014, as if the current staff could not figure out their needs. Fact is, the class of 2013 is not finished, and the coaches will be working on that. First things first.

Then, there is the constant adage that "....we will never be able to recruit until we win...." If that is true, Jones has as good a chance as would Saban, Meyer or Lombardi. A known and respected writer opined the other day that, "...no coach has ever been able to turn around a down program unless he can find a way to win with what he can recruit." This it the answer to what comes first: win or recruit. We must win with whatever we get, and that can never be preordained. We must let it play out; there is no other choice.

Theo writes:

in response to notfunanymore:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Yea, cause that's what is attractive to recruits. An entire group of humorlous coaches who don't care about their families. I'm sure a staff full of guys who act like they ate glass for breakfast all the time would work just great.

GoVols_16 writes:

One major difference--Butch Jones can flat-out coach. I think when players see that then next year will be a different story recruiting wise.

allvol8 writes:

in response to BIVOLAR_BEARE:

Next season UT has a chance for a top 5 class..The Berry twins, Bates, Kelly and Cremer all possibilities with 2 solid commits already. IMO the offensive line is the big need next year after UT graduates the last of the 2010 class..GBO!!

Don't forget Shaun Ellis's 1st born( I forgot his name sorry) and Alvin Harper's son AJ

VolMoment writes:

in response to rdstephens:

Jones must narrow the gap between UT and the rest of the SEC. Last week, the gap widened. AL, LSU, GA, FL, USC, TAM, VU, Ole Miss, Auburn - all have considerably more talent on hand than the Vols. Jones must close the talent gap immediately or he is doomed to fail. The competition is not stagnant. All the aforementioned schools are upping the game now - every year. Jones must leapfrog several SEC schools for multiple successive years in recruiting for the Vols to compete for an SEC championship - not an easy task. Let's give him support, he will need it.

When you sign 21 vs 27 or 28 then your class will not be ranked but your 21 might be better than theirs. Who are you to say the schools you mention are widening the gap. Do you remember the number one running back in the nation and another one ranked right below him. Well it was Bryce Brown and Aku. Oh yeal there was the number one linebacker in the nation, Chris Donnel who couldn't make it at Ut or UTC. Brown wound up 3rd team at Kansas State, Aku at Arkansaw State. Well you better believe Ala, Fla and others will have the same results. But all we have on here is "experts" and fortune tellers.

jt45 writes:

in response to BIVOLAR_BEARE:

Apparently a preferred walk-on is recruited much like a scholarship athlete. They also will be offered a scholarship before any other walk-on's can be offered. The odd part about these preferred walk-on's are they rated 3* athletes and UT could have bumped up their 3* recruit total just by offering them scholarships. This leads me to believe UT has at least 3 better options left on the table, possibly 6.

Thats a very good possibility, and Ive sort of been expecting some late surprises in this class. It may not happen but CBJ left those openings for some reason, at least I hope this is the case.

budd#207344 writes:

Sorry to disagree John but the most important thing CBJ and co. can do is coach up the team they have. If they win they will get better recruits if they don't they will not. It is their coaching ability that will determine their success.

wazzya69vol writes:

Thank you both above to help me understand the difference, ref: walk on's.

TommyJack writes:

in response to notfunanymore:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

This guy has that old familiar smell of a KNS plant.

VolzsFan writes:

in response to grimpmeister:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I told everyone this program's success was over when the "brain trust" fired Phillip. I was right. I told you we can only get a guy that needs a job since no name guys would go to a place that treats a Hall of Famer the way we did. We became a laughingstock with Lane. I told you we are down to someone that needs a break and it is over. That is when we got Dooley. I told you again, no one with a name wants this job. Leadership sucks. Expectations are fantasyland. No recruiting base. You have many in place that treated the most successful guy in school history bad. Face it, UT will be one of those programs with a big stadium and a 16 year era of big time football but they fell off the map never to return again. It is over. Have a tailgate, Vol walk and a smile. That is all that is left.

VolzsFan writes:

in response to GoVols_16:

One major difference--Butch Jones can flat-out coach. I think when players see that then next year will be a different story recruiting wise.

Butch can flat out coach???? WOW! How do you know? Because he took over programs that where in place and had no expectations? OK. There is no evidence yet to suggest that he can coach much less flat out coach. You where probably saying "fire the Hall of Famer that made us relevant". "Hire the great recruiter from USC". "Get the country boy with the some what famous Dad". "Now Butch can flat out coach". I love the kool aid drinking lock step of optimism but dude, it will be decades and several other coaches before UT is relevant again. Lightening only happens at a place like UT once in a half century. It happened for 16 years this past century already. It might bounce back when they have complete turn over in every position of leadership and the coaching fraternity has retired and they start forgetting what UT did to a legend and one of their own. In the mean time "rock the 500 results". Thats all you got.

claiborneh writes:

My impression of Jones is like your favorite fun buddy. Not your friend who you confide with, and seek wise advice, but your buddy who is fun to party with but you halfway listen to because he is full of $hit.
"The best coaching staff in America" ( who could not land a single 5 star-this is recruiting not horseshoes)

"I pray everyday I'm going to be here forever" (dear God, I'll be in Knoxville until the day I die, and not the NFL or any other higher profile job)

Yep, I'm thinking this fellow is full of propaganda talking points, and I don't have a lot of respect for this type of personality.

manniesghost1903 writes:

2014 with Vol legacies abundant! Coach Jones will have more time to pursue the Berry twins and the sons of Todd Kelly, Bill Bates and Andre Creamer. A winning season and a bowl game will probably be needed to aid in recruiting. I think the above 5 sons of former Vols would make a solid base for the recruiting class of 2014. I hope everything falls into place.

rbwtn writes:

Hey John:
Good Article and right on target!

nocleats writes:

D TACKLES! For the 6th Yr in a row, Tennessee needs to go load up on D Tackles, lots of em. Those that arent fast enough get moved to O Line, but for Gods sake sign D Tackles.

rdstephens writes:

in response to VolMoment:

When you sign 21 vs 27 or 28 then your class will not be ranked but your 21 might be better than theirs. Who are you to say the schools you mention are widening the gap. Do you remember the number one running back in the nation and another one ranked right below him. Well it was Bryce Brown and Aku. Oh yeal there was the number one linebacker in the nation, Chris Donnel who couldn't make it at Ut or UTC. Brown wound up 3rd team at Kansas State, Aku at Arkansaw State. Well you better believe Ala, Fla and others will have the same results. But all we have on here is "experts" and fortune tellers.

The others schools are developing talent and keeping talent in school. Jones may do it - but at this point he is not a proven SEC commodity. The Vols fell further behind the rest of the league last week. We took the table scraps that AL, FL, GA, etc. did not really want. We should have hired Petrino or Tuberville or Franklin, they are all proven SEC winners. I think Jones is in over his head - just my opinion, I hope he proves me wrong. I KNOW Dave Hart is in over his head.

DC82_Vol writes:

I look at our current roster and we have a lot of players that I think can contribute this year. We have veteran players that I believe can help us win.

I was always puzzled last year when the players on defense would give the exact same reason the defense struggled week after week - that is bad coaching. I don't think these players responded to yelling of the defensive staff. Kids aren't built that way these days.

I hope our kicking game improves. Bullock got hurt and should compete. We have the Gantz kid walking on. Should be interesting. Palardy is another 4 star bust.

I don't care about star gazing at TN. We have never really had much luck with 5 star players in the past 4-5 years. Boise State seems to do alright with their 2-3 star players. Again, great coaching makes all the differnce no matter whether it is Pop Warner, High School, College or Pros.

I guess we will see what we have in 2013. We have been burnt so many times that I am guardedly optomistic. GO VOLS!!

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

in response to allvol8:

Don't forget Shaun Ellis's 1st born( I forgot his name sorry) and Alvin Harper's son AJ

Good point, Ellis & Harper may be the best athletes out of the bunch. If UT could get commits out of all of these guys that would be huge..GBO!

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

in response to VolzsFan:

Butch can flat out coach???? WOW! How do you know? Because he took over programs that where in place and had no expectations? OK. There is no evidence yet to suggest that he can coach much less flat out coach. You where probably saying "fire the Hall of Famer that made us relevant". "Hire the great recruiter from USC". "Get the country boy with the some what famous Dad". "Now Butch can flat out coach". I love the kool aid drinking lock step of optimism but dude, it will be decades and several other coaches before UT is relevant again. Lightening only happens at a place like UT once in a half century. It happened for 16 years this past century already. It might bounce back when they have complete turn over in every position of leadership and the coaching fraternity has retired and they start forgetting what UT did to a legend and one of their own. In the mean time "rock the 500 results". Thats all you got.

Well, we never had proof Fulmer could coach before making him the HC. If you're going by resumes CBJ has one of the most proven backgrounds of anybody out there. He maintained two programs and actually improved their stock in both instances. Who besides yourself can question his coaching ability?? Remember, he hasn't coached one game and people like you are criticizing his ability. Take a pill and chill, and at the end of the season in November perhaps your argument will have merit..Until then, this is not helping and just shows what a miserable lout you are.

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

in response to jt45:

Thats a very good possibility, and Ive sort of been expecting some late surprises in this class. It may not happen but CBJ left those openings for some reason, at least I hope this is the case.

No doubt, if he signed those athletes he would have certainly moved up the rankings to at least 17th nationally, so he's definitely weighing his options and it is for the betterment of UT in the long haul.

hikerdude writes:

in response to rdstephens:

Jones must narrow the gap between UT and the rest of the SEC. Last week, the gap widened. AL, LSU, GA, FL, USC, TAM, VU, Ole Miss, Auburn - all have considerably more talent on hand than the Vols. Jones must close the talent gap immediately or he is doomed to fail. The competition is not stagnant. All the aforementioned schools are upping the game now - every year. Jones must leapfrog several SEC schools for multiple successive years in recruiting for the Vols to compete for an SEC championship - not an easy task. Let's give him support, he will need it.

You nailed it. We lost ground every year Dooley was here. If UT is ever to be relevant again, it has to have several good recruiting years.

Prostar writes:

in response to rdstephens:

The others schools are developing talent and keeping talent in school. Jones may do it - but at this point he is not a proven SEC commodity. The Vols fell further behind the rest of the league last week. We took the table scraps that AL, FL, GA, etc. did not really want. We should have hired Petrino or Tuberville or Franklin, they are all proven SEC winners. I think Jones is in over his head - just my opinion, I hope he proves me wrong. I KNOW Dave Hart is in over his head.

Yeah, we should have hired Petrino, his class is ranked in the 70's somewhere. Maybe we could have stolen Tuberville, his class is full of 2-stars. Oh, I forgot Charlie Strong and even after their showing against Florida his class is ranked in the 60's. Yep, sure is doom and gloom time in Tennessee. These coaches are still living out of suitcases with families still out of town. Give it time to work.

Olddogsrule writes:

So ... given that CBJ signed 21 athletes last week there are several scholarships still available for this year. What is it now 5 or 6? How many unfilled scholarships can be rolled over into next year? That is going to change to something else in 2014? What will that be?

Who is still out there that did not sign a NLI last week that CBJ and staff should be looking at? I know the discussion about various players who are pot heads, etc, and I'm not interested. The possibility of them cleaning up their act is too low. (See Da'Rick). However, there has to be several high character, high skill players who chose not to lock in on signing day so they could look at several team rosters and evaluate themselves against the recruits and depth charts of who will be their future competition for playing time. I bet there's quite a few.

jhayes0926#638474 writes:

in response to BIVOLAR_BEARE:

No doubt, if he signed those athletes he would have certainly moved up the rankings to at least 17th nationally, so he's definitely weighing his options and it is for the betterment of UT in the long haul.

My thinking is (and I could be way off base) he would rather save the schollies for next years abundant class than to give the 5 or 6 schollies to avg. players. He is making a gamble that he can gather better players next year and sign 28-30 better athletes. Does that make sense? Will the SEC allow 28-30 signees in a season? Will the signing of jucos next year count towards this years class if they are EE?

tulelakevol writes:

Go Butch! I hope he turns UT football around. Come November, we will have a better idea of his SEC coaching acumen.

budd#207344 writes:

in response to VolzsFan:

I told everyone this program's success was over when the "brain trust" fired Phillip. I was right. I told you we can only get a guy that needs a job since no name guys would go to a place that treats a Hall of Famer the way we did. We became a laughingstock with Lane. I told you we are down to someone that needs a break and it is over. That is when we got Dooley. I told you again, no one with a name wants this job. Leadership sucks. Expectations are fantasyland. No recruiting base. You have many in place that treated the most successful guy in school history bad. Face it, UT will be one of those programs with a big stadium and a 16 year era of big time football but they fell off the map never to return again. It is over. Have a tailgate, Vol walk and a smile. That is all that is left.

If you think that Fulmer would be successful in this league today you no nothing about football. The landscape has changed dramatically and his lazy ways would have us right where Dooley brought us. Fulmer lost it in 2000 and you could see the future when Saban beat him with a second string QB and second string running back. All Fulmer's talent couldn't beat better coaching. Now you have Miles, Freeze, Muschamp, and Franklin. Please!

Bourbon-please writes:

in response to BIVOLAR_BEARE:

Next season UT has a chance for a top 5 class..The Berry twins, Bates, Kelly and Cremer all possibilities with 2 solid commits already. IMO the offensive line is the big need next year after UT graduates the last of the 2010 class..GBO!!

Yes we have to get all those players you listed & that 5 star RB out of mid TN are musts! No excuses if we are going to own TN you can't let one the best RB to come out of this state in several yrs & our biggest position of need go to another school or worse another SEC school!!! Jones can't let that happen & be successful.

smokeygrowl writes:

in response to VolzsFan:

I told everyone this program's success was over when the "brain trust" fired Phillip. I was right. I told you we can only get a guy that needs a job since no name guys would go to a place that treats a Hall of Famer the way we did. We became a laughingstock with Lane. I told you we are down to someone that needs a break and it is over. That is when we got Dooley. I told you again, no one with a name wants this job. Leadership sucks. Expectations are fantasyland. No recruiting base. You have many in place that treated the most successful guy in school history bad. Face it, UT will be one of those programs with a big stadium and a 16 year era of big time football but they fell off the map never to return again. It is over. Have a tailgate, Vol walk and a smile. That is all that is left.

Let it go,man.Let it go. Fulmer is gone.I think the man deserved to finish his season. I would put money on Jones to outcoach Fulmer with equal talent anyday.. Philip was a hell of a recruiter and a great Vol. He is my favorite coach we have had. But as and X and Os coach or a tactician he was not. He had teams that had NFL players at almost every position and some of the 2s were NFL talent dude. He out talented people for years which I was good with. When everyone caught up we started losing. We should have ran off a Saban type streak. We got 1and almost lost that game with a third string QB starting against us. If Florida State had a QB of any type we would have lost. I hate to admit that but its the truth. You saw Spurrier outcoach him time and time again. He needed to go.Firing him is not the reason for the mess. Its the idiot admin. Maybe u should try put in your tapes from the 90s have a good cry and move on.

laraccoon writes:

in response to claiborneh:

My impression of Jones is like your favorite fun buddy. Not your friend who you confide with, and seek wise advice, but your buddy who is fun to party with but you halfway listen to because he is full of $hit.
"The best coaching staff in America" ( who could not land a single 5 star-this is recruiting not horseshoes)

"I pray everyday I'm going to be here forever" (dear God, I'll be in Knoxville until the day I die, and not the NFL or any other higher profile job)

Yep, I'm thinking this fellow is full of propaganda talking points, and I don't have a lot of respect for this type of personality.

judging someone you have never met or talked to makes you ignorant , and all your babbling only confirms it !

VolunteerLifer writes:

I disagree with JA's premise - that Jones only has three years max to put UT in the thick of the SEC race. Given how Fulmer flipped, how Lane left, and how Dooley dithered, we are about as low as an SEC program not named Kentucky can get. I don't think we have bottom of the barrel talent here. I think it is middle of the pack talent. The problem was Dooley couldn't coach them to middle of the pack seasons.

With his recruiting efforts, Jones stopped the downward spiral, averted disaster and steadied the ship, at least for the moment. There is no reason yet to believe we will have a losing season in 13. If Jones shows steady progress for three years, even if he isn't yet contending for the brass ring, he will survive and get the chance he needs to really build a program. He doesn't have to hit recruiting home runs with his first real class. Such thinking is unrealistic.

Given the abundance of legacy talent and Tennessee talent, Jones will have a chance to bring in a terrific class, but even if he doesn't do it quite this year, if he keeps making steady progress, we will be OK.

The most important thing we need in the short run is stability. If recruits and their families think Butch's tenure here is fragile, he will not be able to hit recruiting home runs. Period. What he must do in the short term is to put a better team on the field this season than Dooley's was last season. If he can't manage that this season then we should STILL stay behind him for at least another year or two. Like it or not, that is the time that may be required to turn something like this around, and we MUST give any coach who tries and works hard a reasonable chance, otherwise, the next time we have an opening the name coaches you want to come will be even less inclined to come.

In retrospect, we should have fired Dooley after his 11 team collapsed on him at Arkansas and Kentucky at the end of that season. At the time, I argued against firing him, wanting him to have another year for stability sake. But when I heard that High Schools coaches were dissing him for dissing them and the talented kids, that sealed it for me. (This important fact about his recruiting should have been made public long before the end of his third year. Hello, KNS?)

If this fan base unites and expresses optimism in the future, Butch could pull it off. If our fan base keeps sniping at him because he isn't Fulmer or isn't Gruden, then we will fail him. Give him every chance to succeed, and let him succeed or fail on his own performance, not on our failure to support him as much as we can.

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

in response to jhayes0926#638474:

My thinking is (and I could be way off base) he would rather save the schollies for next years abundant class than to give the 5 or 6 schollies to avg. players. He is making a gamble that he can gather better players next year and sign 28-30 better athletes. Does that make sense? Will the SEC allow 28-30 signees in a season? Will the signing of jucos next year count towards this years class if they are EE?

Good question..Every JUCO has different circumstances, some are available after 2 seasons, while others are available after one year leaving 3 yrs of eligibility. Since the gray-shirt status has been removed. That would mean all signings are counted for that calender year. There are still circumstances that would warrant waiting to next years class, like hardship transfers for instance. Any NCAA rule can be challenged and taken to a board for review.

VOLSONTHECOMEBACK writes:

Speed. Speed. Speed. It was evident that our corners and safeties couldn't catch a cold in a snow storm. They were 1 to 3 steps slow every play. It's like every time we did man to man, if we didn't get a sack it was a touchdown. That being said, we have got to upgrade our speed. I believe that our linebackers on the 98 national championship team ran faster 40s (at least played faster) than our corners and safeties today. It's not a fast solution cause you can't coach speed. It comes down to recruiting, translating players strengths to position, and playing faster, which is not a fast solution. Maybe the best option is to move some of our safeties to linebackers and our linebackers to defensive ends. If not that, make our safeties lose some weight and gain speed. The TN coaches know better than any of us what the best solution is. I'm just pointing out that it's evident that we have to upgrade our speed. If we don't upgrade our speed on the defensive side of the ball, we will be middle of the pack to bottom of the SEC; I don' care how good our offense is. You have to play defense in this conference to win. Go Vols

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

in response to VOLSONTHECOMEBACK:

Speed. Speed. Speed. It was evident that our corners and safeties couldn't catch a cold in a snow storm. They were 1 to 3 steps slow every play. It's like every time we did man to man, if we didn't get a sack it was a touchdown. That being said, we have got to upgrade our speed. I believe that our linebackers on the 98 national championship team ran faster 40s (at least played faster) than our corners and safeties today. It's not a fast solution cause you can't coach speed. It comes down to recruiting, translating players strengths to position, and playing faster, which is not a fast solution. Maybe the best option is to move some of our safeties to linebackers and our linebackers to defensive ends. If not that, make our safeties lose some weight and gain speed. The TN coaches know better than any of us what the best solution is. I'm just pointing out that it's evident that we have to upgrade our speed. If we don't upgrade our speed on the defensive side of the ball, we will be middle of the pack to bottom of the SEC; I don' care how good our offense is. You have to play defense in this conference to win. Go Vols

Speed is important, but track stars have failed in fb as well. If you aren't a fb player being fast just means you show up first and get run over by a more physical fb player. I do believe UT needs better overall speed, but until they get more fb players(with smash-mouth tude) more physical teams will run roughshod over UT. Also, did you notice Stanford with much less team speed than Oregon completely shut them down? I'm telling you it's got more to do with schematics than speed..Just a thought.

HooRay_Vol writes:

in response to budd#207344:

If you think that Fulmer would be successful in this league today you no nothing about football. The landscape has changed dramatically and his lazy ways would have us right where Dooley brought us. Fulmer lost it in 2000 and you could see the future when Saban beat him with a second string QB and second string running back. All Fulmer's talent couldn't beat better coaching. Now you have Miles, Freeze, Muschamp, and Franklin. Please!

Which just goes to show the importance of getting good OL prospects EVERY year (need to sign 3- 4 each year) Fulmer had a year that he only signed 2 OL- one of which was Kevin Reavis ane he could not make the field. Then Kiffen ran off Preston Bailey,Darius Sawtelle and one other. So that left us in poor shape! Then not one single one signed last year. Does no good having two highly recruited DB's on the bench and no one to block. And like the other guy posted above- need DT each year.

grandtad#1402265 writes:

in response to budd#207344:

Sorry to disagree John but the most important thing CBJ and co. can do is coach up the team they have. If they win they will get better recruits if they don't they will not. It is their coaching ability that will determine their success.

I agree budd and can only hope the injured recruits will get well enough to play. This coaching staff seems to get along and I hope they will work well together. GBO!

jhayes0926#638474 writes:

As far as recruiting is concerned, it is all about how well you can coach. If our staff is better at coaching than Vandy, Ky, SC and Ga. we can beat them even if we get slightly out-recruited.
BTW, our class is rated ahead of Oregon and Texas.

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