The Vol Seniors had a draft yesterday to pick the rosters for this Saturday's Orange and White Game. This is so much better than having the ones play the twos. More importantly, though, it shows that coaches, media, and fans aren't the only ones focused on the offensive line. The helpful media analogy of the day comes to us from Inside Tennessee, which compared the o-line to a brick wall missing eight bricks. Close, but not exactly. That thing is missing all of its bricks.
But it's good to know that the players recognize the importance of the line to the season as well. No one disclosed the order of the draft, but it was clear that they were all thinking about the offensive side of the trench. Chris Walker told Matt Simms that he had to pick an offensive tackle before picking Simms because "[i]t doesn't mean anything if I've got a great quarterback back there and nobody to block for him." Nick Reveiz and Gerald Jones both told media they were focusing first on OT Ja-Wuan James.
So yeah, everyone's looking at the o-line, including Dooley, who at least says he's encouraged by the play of junior Cody Pope at center. Pope, who's played all three positions along the line this spring, and Victor Thomas, a converted defensive tackle, will share first team snaps at center for now. The running backs and a de-punked Matt Simms are all watching the development of the o-line as well.
If the o-line and the quarterback can get it together, though, the season holds some promise because it appears that the running backs are fine, and the receiving corps will likely be the strength of the team if they can only get the ball. That unit will be led by veterans Gerald Jones and Denarius Moore, but there is a lot of talent right behind them as well. The hype on 6'5" Matt Milton continues to grow almost daily. He's big, he's fast, and he's a good athlete. He may become a tight end in Dooley's system, which favors the use of multiple tight ends, especially this year in which we have NFL draft-worthy Luke Stocker but not much else. And we haven't even seen Da'Rick Rogers on campus yet, and if he gets the same hype as Milton, we should be in pretty good shape. Provided Simms can pass and the o-line can protect him.
So yeah, let's develop that thing.
Now for the rest of today's Talking Points:
- Bruce Pearl was making the rounds at ESPN yesterday. There's video of Pearl talking with someone I didn't recognize. He also met with Skip Bayless, and mixed it up a bit with the former Vandy grad. They asked Pearl beforehand if he would mind debating the relative merits of Tennessee and Vanderbilt, and Pearl wisely and politely said that he would prefer not to do that. Bayless asked him on air anyway and poked Pearl several times, but Pearl didn't back down and held his own. Good on you, coach.
- Brian Cook responds to Dr. Saturday's list of potential worst hires of the decade and rescinds his earlier casual conclusion that Lane Kiffin heads that notorious class.
- Go wish 3SiB's Ghost of Neyland, who's having a baby boy, a hearty congratulations.