The French fries have a plan
Morning folks. As Jason noted on Friday, the Vols came in at #9 in the official preseason AP rankings, and most major publications seem to roughly agree: CBS has Tennessee at #12, Phile Steele and Athlon both come in at #7, and Campus Insiders at #5(!). To be honest LINKS is sick and sorta messed up on cold medicine right now, so this all seems cool and totally normal.
Nobody is sad about Dave Hart
Reactions and talky-talk continues to filter in following athletic director Dave Hart’s announcement of his early retirement last week. Grant Ramey revealed Friday that according to the terms of a contract amendment obtained by the Knoxville News Sentinel, Hart will be owed 75% of his remaining salary, around $650,000; elsewhere Gridiron Now breaks down 7 potential replacements for Hart. Meanwhiles KNS’s own Frank Deford, John Adams, thinks hiring a replacement quickly is essential to keeping Butch Jones employed at Tennessee (Jones has a contract running through 2020 and a $4m buyout) , and also calls Hart ‘Alabama Dave.’
Rosters Don’t Cry
Last week it was announced presumed starting right tackle Chance Hall is expected to miss four to six weeks following a knee injury requiring arthroscopic surgery. In the interim coaches are experimenting with a number of options including starting Drew Richmond and moving current starting center Coleman Thomas to RT.
Jalen Reeves-Maybin has been in a non-contact green jersey throughout camp following shoulder surgery, and yesterday indicated in an interview that while he isn’t concerned, he may not be 100% (though he does come off very eager to give it a go). Behind JRM and Darrin Kirkland in the depth chart, JR Colton Jumper has been the Vols’ "most consistent performer," according to Bob Shoop.
Construction or dirtmoving or whatever you want to call it has begun at the Bristol Motor Speedway in preparation for the Sept. 10 game:
If you’ve got literally nothing but time and/or really really like dump trucks, you can watch a live cam of the work here ("Experience the Full Screen Player!". Mind, though: "Note: Camera Operates on a Delay." We at LINKS want you to have all the facts).
Sunday, Dave Hart’s disembodied-voice-from-beyond-the-grave announced Tennessee will not be wearing any special getup at Bristol, explaining:
[...] in my conversations with Butch, I told them 'I felt very, very strongly we would wear and traditional orange and white, our home uniform.' My logic goes if all goes as we expect and set an all-time attendance record, it will be replayed for decades. [...] In this instance, I felt strongly that tradition needed to prevail. I'm only speaking for us. The University of Tennessee will wear our traditional orange and white uniforms in that game.
Which, yknow, seems reasonable, we suppose. Virginia Tech, conversely, will be wearing what appear to be uniforms made of reconstituted newspaper/historical maps of Paris/wall textures from Wolfenstein:
If it’s Tuesday, it’s POSSUMNEWS
The report out of California accompanying this video says this:
SAN RAFAEL, Calif. (KGO) --
Seven young opossums need your help after they were discovered stuffed in a bucket and abandoned near the trash collecting area of an apartment complex.
It remains unclear how they got there.
Which... seems like an understatement? If you want to help, you can donate here; a longtime donor is matching all donations up to $10,000 (which seems like it should be enough to buy a lot of possumthings, for seven possums).
BONUS: Blind Item Poll Time
Lastly, in ESPNU’s SEC College Football Preview, an "anonymous Power 5 coach" is quoted saying the following about Josh Dobbs:
"(He) can’t throw the ball down the field. That’s not his bag. His bag is for them to motion the back out of the backfield, throw it to him out in space, and then the guy makes defenders miss and goes 25 yards. That’s a guy you want to make throw the ball and make play quarterback."