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Rocky Top Talk Aug 22, 2015

Rashaan Gaulden Injury Adds Additional Question Mark To Depth Chart

Another starter last for the year leaves the Vols with another hole to plug in their starting lineup. Butch Jones today confirmed earlier reports of a foot injury to Tennessee sophomore defensive back Rashaan Gaulden, and the official take revealed the news was worse than originally feared: JONES: Very unfortunate, Rashaan Gaulden fractured his foot. He will be out for the entire season. — Tennessee Football (@Vol_Football) August 22, 2015 The Vols are now down three players in this fall camp, including a pair of projected starters in Gaulden and offensive guard Marcus Jackson.  As...
Rocky Top Talk Aug 21, 2015

10 Questions for 2015 #1: Progress & Potential

How big will Tennessee's next step be? Two weeks and a wake up. This is the part where it gets completely off the rails. (I wrote this before Rashaan Gaulden's injury was reported, which will rightfully dampen the mood temporarily...but not permanently.)  It's been that way here all week, as glass-half-full becomes glass-all-full and we start thinking about what it might actually be like to get what we asked for on Christmas morning. Tennessee is going to take a step this fall.  Failure to do so would be failure in general; barring a catastrophic injury situation if the Vols are 6-6...
Rocky Top Talk Aug 20, 2015

Vols football practice notes 8/20

The Vols continued fall camp on Thursday, and it was the first time the team took the field since classes started on Wednesday for the university. For the first time since classes started, the Tennessee Volunteers football team stepped onto the practice field on Thursday in what was one of the last practices of fall camp before the official beginning of preseason practices and game week prep. Rain clouds loomed overhead as the team took the field, but no rain ever fell and practice went on like normal. There was a lot of wide receiver/quarterback work done during today's practice, as all...
Rocky Top Talk Aug 19, 2015

2015-16 Tennessee Basketball Schedule

Featuring mid-major goliaths and the return of Kentucky as an annual rival. The SEC has a habit of releasing its basketball schedule around this time each year, which means you'll stop caring about football for around 30 seconds.  The Vols and new coach Rick Barnes unveiled their SEC slate to go alongside 13 non-conference tests.  Barnes has previously stressed having a tournament-ready schedule, and though that bar might be a little too high for the Vols to clear in his first year, I love that Tennessee for the most part went smart in RPI anyway (which also tends to be a major factor in...
Rocky Top Talk Aug 19, 2015

Tennessee Volunteers Football, now with 75% more goosebumps

We Vols fans always look forward to football season. But there's something special about this year. I have this vivid memory from many years ago of sitting in the south end zone in Neyland Stadium and watching John Henderson make a quarterback disappear. The opponent (I forget who it was) was backed up too close to their own end zone on the other side of the field, and the raucous crowd was working at peak volume, smelling blood. The ball was snapped, and just like that Henderson broke through the offensive line and opened his arms wide. And then the quarterback was just gone. He wasn't...
Rocky Top Talk Aug 18, 2015

What can hold the Vols back in 2015?

The Vols finally have the starting talent on offense and defense to compete in the SEC, but two factors could still prevent Tennessee from reaching their potential in 2015. The Tennessee Volunteers are entering the 2015 season with some of the highest expectations the program has received in well over half a decade. Many analysts are predicting the Vols to win the SEC East or at least challenge the Georgia Bulldogs for the division crown, and those who aren't predicting those kinds of results are at least saying the Vols should win 8 or 9 games. The Vols certainly have the talent to achieve...
Rocky Top Talk Aug 17, 2015

The Idiot Optimist's Guide to the 2015 Season

Your annual serious preview for the serious fan. Seriously. No, see, it's Kool-Aid Light.  Can't taste the difference, can you? Yeah, my wife wants me to slim down.  She says I'm a public embarrassment, which is an assessment the Knoxville Police Department agreed with when they arrested me on July 1.  My point is this:  I want everyone to know I was really the first fan in line outside of Neyland Stadium for that new Nike gear.  I was there at midnight, ready to spend my hard earned dollars.  But apparently KPD frowned upon me being there while naked, as the good Lord made me....
Rocky Top Talk Aug 13, 2015

10 Questions for 2015 #2 - Can Tennessee Stop Teams Who Will Run Right At Them?

Can young defensive tackles and linebackers get off the field when the Vols need the ball back in the fourth quarter? (This was originally question #3 on our countdown, but the season-ending injury to Marcus Jackson bumped the offensive line question to earlier this week.) Last month Nathanael looked at the new challenge facing the 2015 Vol defense.  One year after facing many of the SEC's most productive wide receivers, Tennessee's schedule this fall will bring them a number of the league's best running backs.  Here are the SEC's leading returning running backs: Nick Chubb, Georgia -...
Rocky Top Talk Aug 12, 2015

1 reason the Vols could beat the Tide in 2015

If you're looking for a reason to believe that the Tennessee Volunteers could beat the Alabama Crimson Tide this season, look no further. Over the past few weeks, we've listed 3 reasons the Vols should beat the Gamecocks in 2015, 3 reasons the Vols should beat the Razorbacks, 3 they should beat the Sooners and 3 they should beat the Gators. And we've gone on to list 3 reasons the Vols could beat the Bulldogs and 3 reasons they could beat Missouri. We're not going to go over Bowling Green, Western Carolina, Kentucky, North Texas, or Vandy because hey, all the reasons are we are they...
Rocky Top Talk Aug 11, 2015

10 Questions for 2015 #3 - Offensive Line

Last year's weakest link was already one of this year's biggest questions, and an injury to a projected starter further complicates the situation. (This was actually question number two in our countdown, but we bumped it up given the unfolding events of the week.) Last year Tennessee's offensive line was abysmal.  It was the most specific problem I can remember a Tennessee team having, preventing the Vol offense from doing a number of things well or even at all.  Tennessee was terrible running the ball in short yardage, couldn't hold blocks long enough to be dynamic downfield in the...
Rocky Top Talk Aug 10, 2015

What is the Most Important Game of the Season?

A loaded schedule again presents plenty of contenders. This is the fourth year we've done this exercise in the preseason, the fourth year (and beyond) the Vols have faced a difficult schedule, and the fourth year there's still one obvious choice for the season's most important game. In 2012 we knew the date with Florida would have the loudest and set the tone for the possibly final word on Derek Dooley, and it did just that.  In 2013 we believed Vanderbilt was the most important game in Butch Jones' first season; the date with James Franklin's final team ended up costing Tennessee bowl...
Rocky Top Talk Aug 8, 2015

Vols football practice notes 8/8

No Kahlil McKenzie blowing up the offensive line today, but Von Pearson did make his fall camp debut during Saturday's practice. For the fifth day in a row, the Tennessee Volunteers took the practice field on Saturday as part of the team's fall camp. It was the first time, however, that the team was suited up in full pads. A new face was seen on the practice field as well, as wide receiver Von Pearson made his debut with the team on Saturday after being fully reinstated on Friday. It was a hot and humid day outside, but players weren't allowed to take it easy in the August heat. Wide...
Rocky Top Talk Aug 7, 2015

10 Questions for 2015 #4 - The Zenith of Josh Dobbs

Tennessee's quarterback has a story worth telling in a season that will be worth remembering if he can simply continue to progress. Behold the power of the narrative. Four of the top six passers in the SEC graduated, and one of the remaining two plays for Kentucky.  Four of the five highest ranked SEC teams in the coaches' poll are replacing their quarterback, and the fifth is in the midst of an open competition in Baton Rouge.  In this league right now there's Dak Prescott, and then there's white space. Some are predicting system guys to fill that void, the names we've seen like Kyle...
Rocky Top Talk Aug 5, 2015

10 Questions for 2015 #5 - The Kahlil McKenzie Hype Train

It stops for no man. Fall camp opened on Tuesday, offering the first official glimpse of Team 119 in action since the Orange & White Game.  And this is the full squad, newcomers and all, as the Vols make themselves ready for the season opener in just 31 days. It's still a slow burn:  the Vols won't put pads on for a few days, the open practice is 10 days away, and those tasty and as-reliable-as-your-mind-makes-them fall scrimmage stats will trickle slowly down the pipe.  For now, all we have is the old, "Who looked good out there?"  And we will be especially interested in the new...
Rocky Top Talk Aug 3, 2015

Five questions for the start of Vols fall camp

The Vols start fall camp on Tuesday, and there are several questions facing the team before preseason practices begin. The Tennessee Volunteers officially open up fall camp on Tuesday, August 4th, and there are several questions heading into the practices that need answering. Competitions at a number of positions expect to be heated, and there are a handful of newcomers that will be worth watching all throughout camp. Butch Jones and his coaching staff will look to sort out most of these question marks by the time the season starts on September 5th, and Jones will have a chance to address...

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