I always love the anonymous comments from other coaches in the conference. You get a free shot at a rival team without your name being tied to the comment. That’s when you get away from the coach-speak and get to how you really feel.
That’s what Athlon Sports was able to do here. They received tons of nameless comments from around the SEC. Tennessee’s went just about as you would expect.
“That’s an interesting deal. I don’t think anybody outside of the building can speak to what’s going on inside, but there’s obviously some turmoil."
I’m not sure I’d call it turmoil, but you could say that there was some unrest over the offseason after a sour finish to the season.
"That’s a talented team that should win more games than it does."
This is an ugly truth. Tennessee probably should have won 11 games in 2015. They should have won 11 last year — heck, they had a realistic shot at winning 12. Coming up just short against A&M and then the disasters that were South Carolina and Vanderbilt doomed Tennessee’s 2016. There’s definitely been some meat left on the bone.
All of the comments weren’t negative though.
"They lose Cam Sutton, who is a really good player, but the safety Nigel Warrior is going to get a lot of buzz and it’s well deserved."
This sounds like a coach that lost a recruiting battle. Just as the coach said, Warrior has gotten plenty of buzz this offseason and may end up starting a year earlier than we had all expected. Even if he doesn’t, he’s going to be a key piece.
"They’ll be salty up front if they can find somebody to replace Derek Barnett’s production.”
This is one that I’m not so sure about. There’s so much unknown up front that it’s hard to have confidence in the group. They aren’t lacking talent, but that talent has yet to really show out yet. I don’t think you’ll see a single player replace Barnett’s production, but between Jonathan Kongbo, Kyle Phillips, DeAndre Johnson and Darrell Taylor, maybe you’ll see a more balanced attack.
Read all of the comments on Tennessee (there are quite a few), along with the rest of the conference to see how coaches around the league really feel about their opponents.