All for Tennessee Mailbag Edition from fans of Rocky Top

NASHVILLE, TN - DECEMBER 30: A fan of the University of Tennessee Volunteers cheers during the first half of a game against of the Nebraska Cornhuskers in the Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl at Nissan Stadium on December 30, 2016 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)
NASHVILLE, TN - DECEMBER 30: A fan of the University of Tennessee Volunteers cheers during the first half of a game against of the Nebraska Cornhuskers in the Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl at Nissan Stadium on December 30, 2016 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images) /

The first home game of the 2018 Tennessee season is on Saturday. We have some mailbag questions to get you through this Friday night before the first home game.

It’s Friday! That in itself is enough to get excited about. Here in Knoxville, however, there is a big game happening on Saturday. It is the first home game for the Tennessee football team in the 2018 season.

Vol fans couldn’t be more excited about getting to fill Neyland Stadium for the first time this season and root on their Volunteers. Enough of the chit-chat, on to the mailbag.

But first, we are running the mailbag every Friday for (you) the fans. You can go ahead and send questions at any point during the week, and I will do my best to feature them in these weekly post. Send your questions to Let’s dive in. P.S. sorry it is so late. I was without internet all day long. Seriously what did people do with the internet?

Greg W writes…The first play of the game was horrible. In fact, it was almost a turnover. That would have been a horrible way to start the season. Does it get any better this week against ETSU?

Yes, but only because it can’t get much worse. As you pointed out it could have been a turnover. However, there is entirely no way the Vols turn the ball over on their first offensive play on Saturday.

The reason why the first play looked so poor against West Virginia is because the offensive line didn’t block. Jarrett Guarantano had time to take the snap, take half a step, read the option, and throw the pass as he was getting blown up.

So, yes, it will get better. I think a simple handoff behind Trey Smith is the way to go.

Andrew H writes…You were big on Jarrett Guarantano and to be honest I don’t know why. His game against West Virginia wasn’t that impressive. Will Grier threw for 257 more yards. Why should we want Guarantano as our quarterback?

First off I think it is silly to compare Guarantano to Will Grier based off that game. Clearly, West Virginia has the better offense and better team.

I will say this; I’m not saying Guarantano is one of the best quarterbacks to play for the Vols. He might not even be one of the 15 best. However, what he does do is take care of the football, and in a close game, he doesn’t lose it for you.

And, I know you’re going to say, “but he doesn’t win the game, either.” However, does Guarantano even have the chance to prove he can go out and win games?

The offensive line is atrocious, and until it gets better, I would rather have a quarterback that will take care of the ball instead of throwing two interceptions a game.

Guarantano was 19-for-25 with 172 yards and a touchdown against the Mountaineers. He was hardly the reason the Vols got destroyed 40-14.

Jordan S writes…I don’t really care about watching the NFL anymore. It got too political like everything else in this country. Plus, the refs are all too happy throwing a flag every single play. Now, I just root for VFL’s and hope they play well. What VFL scores the first touchdown this season?

Did you watch the Eagles and Falcons game last night? Look, I tried and I couldn’t, I had to turn it off. I know I’m getting older, but it was incredibly dull to watch. Too many flags.

Honestly, I would rather watch ETSU and UTEP play each other every Thursday night than to watch the NFL.

Now to your question, if you’re a Tennessee fan, seeing VFL’s do well in the NFL, and other pro leagues is cool to see. Believe it or not, Butch Jones has put a lot of football players in the NFL. My mind is blown.

So, my VFL pick to score the first touchdown will be Chiefs offensive lineman Kahlil McKenzie. Okay, not really but I wanted to give a shout out to my man for switching positions and still making the 53-man roster.

Okay, seriously, I think the easy answer is Alvin Kamara. He turned into one of the leagues best running backs last season. So, I am going to pretend you said I couldn’t pick him and I am going with either John Kelly of Jason Croom. Probably Jason Croom.

Lots of you asking about Nike-Collin Kaepernick deal and how that might affect college teams wearing Nike jerseys.

The simple answer here is it won’t. At the end of the day, I don’t think colleges care what Nike does with their company. As long as the jerseys keep coming and the deal stays feasible, the Vols will be in Nike attire.

John D writes…Is Rick Barnes deserving of a six-year extension?

Yes and No. Am I allowed to play both sides here?

For you all that don’t know, Rick Barnes signed a contract extension through the 2023-2024 season yesterday. The deal makes Barnes him the second-highest paid coach in the SEC, behind John Calipari, and the 10th highest paid coach in the nation.

My first reaction to the news was it is a bit too much money. The 10th highest paid coach in the nation? That puts him up there with the elites like Jay Wright, Tom Izzo, Mike Krzyzewski, Roy Williams, Bill Self, Mark Few, John Beilein, Tony Bennett, Sean Miller, and Mike Brey.

Does any consider Rick Barnes that caliber of a coach? No, I’m not a Barnes basher, but I would have liked to see what this year’s team does before an extension.

Don’t get me wrong, what he has does with Tennessee is more than impressive. However, he has an overall record of 22-23 in the NCAA Tournament and has only made one Final Four.

I love Rick Barnes and what he has done for the Tennessee basketball program. But, 10th nationally seems a bit high.

Eric C writes…Who has more wins in the next five years Will Muschamp or Jeremy Pruitt?

I think this one will end up close. I think both guys end up staying at their current school for the next five years. Maybe Muschamp goes back to Texas?

I see Muschamp taking an early lead the first two seasons. Year three is closer to a tie. By the time years, four and five come around Pruitt and the Vols dominate.