- Morning gang. The big news for the weekend is Saturday's scrimmage, as we'll get to in a bit, but first we should probably note Tuesday's curiously quiet placing-on-administrative-leave of Tennessee director of football operations Chris Spognardi. Spognardi has been Butch Jones' right-hand man during the entire Butch Tennessee tenure, was Jones' first Tennessee hire, and has been part of the Jones apparatus since his '08 graduation from Central Michigan.
We genuinely have no idea what's going on here, as no criminal charges appear to have been filed and the NCAA hasn't announced anything. That said, the Tennessean article intimates the suspension occurred following an internal University financial audit. Prurient minds might want to keep an ear to the ground this evening, as late Friday is the the traditional window for large organizations to release the tawdry embarrassing stuff.
- Turning to (sorta!) actual sports, Butch Jones and Bob Shoop are both emphasizing the significance of tomorrow's closed scrimmage, in which both the starting offensive line and backup quarterback positions will hopefully be established. Shoop described the scrimmage as "kind of like a preseason NFL game," presumably indicating he'll nod off in the third quarter, only to wake up and switch over to the badminton semis on CNBC. Per that same report, Jalen Reeves-Maybin, Jonathan Kongbo, Jauan Jennings, Micah Abernathy, Austin Smith, and DJ Henderson are all expected to be limited this weekend.
- Pre-Scrimmage Roster Things
In super-duper-fantastic news, Shy Tuttle participated in limited individual drills on Wednesday.
Freshmen S Nigel Warrior and CB Baylen Buchanan, both of Peachtree Ridge HS in Atlanta, were the first two members of the '16 class to lose their helmet stripe this week. Well done, kiddos.
Sophomore DB Darrell Miller, who appeared in five games last season, will be leaving the program, though it sounds on good terms. Best of luck to Darrell, wherever he lands.
SO RB John Kelly, who showed some promise in very limited playtime behind Jalen Hurd and Alvin Kamara last season, has been seeing some more of the field with the special teams unit in the offseason, as if that bunch wasn't already terrifying enough.
Let's Have a Toast / That'll Never Take Work Off
Knoxville's own A.J. Liebling, John Adams, posted an article Thursday titled "Georgia game could be most important for Vols," ending with a fascinatingly unique insight:
The emotional build-up from all the losses to Florida and Alabama might make those games more meaningful to Tennessee fans. But Georgia vs. Tennessee could mean more in the standings.In turn we at the LINKS are delighted to see such mutual agreement, goodwill, and synchronicity of feeling amongst Vols fans as evidenced by last Friday's article "The Case for Georgia being the Vols’ Most Critical Game of the 2016 Season" from Joel, which ended:
A loss to the Gators the week before would be seriously detrimental to my mental health, but if the prize is a trip to Atlanta, the team can recover from that easier than it can from a loss to the Bulldogs just due to the two opponents’ respective schedules the rest of the way.
It's Not Just You
According to SeatGeek, Tennessee now has the fourth-most expensive game tickets in all of college football, at an average resale price of $212, behind only Notre Dame, Ohio State, and Texas. While Bristol is (bafflingly!) inflating this, does that not sound completely nuts to anybody else? How are FSU, Clemson, Oregon, etc. (teams with much smaller stadia-stadiums-stadipii-whatever) not all beating us on this list? Neyland is HUUUUGE. (Actually, come to think of it, can anybody explain to us why Bristol is so expensive? It's 150,000 seats! Also, who in the world is paying money to watch Texas right now? What a time to be alive.)
- Never Change, Bobby P.