Monthly Archives: January 2015

Report: Canada signs extension at North Carolina State, out of UT search

FootballScoop.com and Coachingsearch.com are reporting that North Carolina State offensive coordinator Matt Canada has received a three-year extension at N.C. State, which would take him out of the running to be Tennessee’s new offensive coordinator. 

Jimmy Hyams reported earlier today that the coaches still involved were Canada, Mike DeBord, Clay Helton of Southern California, UT wide receivers coach Zach Azzanni, Noel Mazzone of UCLA and Kurt Roper, former offensive coordinator at Florida.

Report: Azzanni to interview for Central Michigan head coaching job

Tennessee wide receivers coach Zach Azzanni would appear to be the leading internal candidate for Tennessee’s offensive coordinator job left open by Mike Bajakian. However, there is a apparently a chance the Vols will have to replace him too.

Steven Godfrey of SB Nation reported Friday morning that Azzanni will interview for the head coaching position at Central Michigan, which Bajakian also reportedly considered before taking the quarterback coach job with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Unconfirmed things that have been written about Mike Bajakian today

As of the moment this blog is being published, no one seems sure of where Tennessee offensive coordinator Mike Bajakian will be coaching next season, though it appears more than likely it will not be at Tennessee. Before we go back through what we’ve learned so far, here’s a reminder that there has been no official confirmation from Tennessee that Bajakian is leaving. Calls and texts sent to Tennessee spokesman Jimmy Stanton and coach Butch Jones have not been returned and neither I nor anyone I’ve been in contact with today has a phone number for Bajakian himself.

Anyway, this all started with a tweet from Bruce Feldman of FoxSports.com who first reported that Bajakian was leaving Tennessee for outside coaching opportunities.

Sports Illustrated’s Thayer Evans followed that up by reporting that Bajakian had taken the quarterback coach position with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, which would put him in Lovie Smith’s staff again. Bajakian worked for Smith from 2004-06 as an offensive quality control coach. The Bears went to Super Bowl XLI in Bajakian’s final year on staff where they lost to Peyton Manning’s Indianapolis Colts.

ESPN.com then reported that Bajakian was leaving, Continue reading

Tennessee to have 11 baseball games televised on SEC Network

The SEC released its televised baseball schedule on Tuesday.  It included games on both television and web broadcast. Tennessee’s schedule follows.

TV:

March 25: Cincinnati at Tennessee, 7 p.m., SEC Network

March 28: Tennessee at Vanderbilt, 5 p.m. SEC Network

March 29: Tennessee at Vanderbilt, 3:30 p.m., SEC Network

April 9: Missouri at Tennessee, 7 p.m. SEC Network

April 10: Missouri at Tennessee, 7 p.m. SEC Network Continue reading

Tennessee baseball No. 25 in D1Baseball.com Preseason rankings

We’re going to have some baseball on this blog and a good bit of it. Practice actually starts this week, so the preseason rankings are starting to come out. According to this one from D1Baseball.com, a start-up that is the brainchild of highly regarded national college baseball writers Aaron Fitt of Baseball America and Kendall Rogers of Perfect game, the Vols are the nation’s No. 25 team heading into the season.

The Vols finished 31-23 a year ago. They are one of eight top 25 teams in the SEC, including No. 1 Vanderbilt, No. 2 Florida, No. 5 South Carolina, No. 9 LSU, No. 17 Texas A&M, No. 18 Ole Miss and No. 20 Alabama.

NCAA votes to allow but not require cost of attendance scholarships

This isn’t necessarily Tennessee football news, but its news that concerns everyone in college sports. At the NCAA convention Saturday, schools from the power five conferences voted by a margin of 79-1 to allow but not require schools to provide full “cost-of-attendance” scholarships to athletes, meaning the scholarships would go beyond tuition, room, board, books and mandatory fees as scholarships do now to pay for such things as travel to and from home and other expenses. The NCAA had avoided allowing these because smaller schools said they would have a difficult time coming up with the funds for such scholarships, but schools from the power five conferences were recently granted more autonomy.

They power five representatives also voted to allow student athletes to borrow against future earnings to purchase loss-of-value insurance and to prevent schools from deciding not to renew an athlete’s scholarship for athletic reasons. Until now, scholarships were renewable every year and schools could cut players loose for simply for not performing well enough.

Tennessee has already connected its rise in season-ticket prices to the possibility that student athlete compensation is likely to rise and could look in other directions to find revenue.

Early Enrollees meet with media, Day 1

Five of Tennessee’s 10-man group of early enrollees for the spring semester met with the media for the first time Tuesday with the rest of the group scheduled for a media session on Wednesday. Junior college running back Alvin Kamara, Texas quarterback Quinten Dormady, Murfreesboro quarterback Jauan Jennings, Murfreesboro offensive lineman Jack Jones and Virginia offensive lineman Chance Hall were the first five. Full coverage later, but first, some updates

— Kamara said Tennessee represents a new start after a problematic freshman season at Alabama pushed him to transfer to Hutchinson (Kan.) Community College. Kamara had been suspended for the Sugar Bowl at the end of the 2013 season and was arrested in February for driving with a suspended license and other traffic charges before leaving the Crimson Tide.
“It’s definitely a breath of fresh air,” Kamara said. “It feels good to be able to start over. Just having that experience going to ‘Bama first, just knowing how to play the game and doing what I have to do to be successful.” Continue reading

Tennessee rated No. 23 in ESPN’s Way-Too-Early Top 25

Prognostications for the 2015 season officially began Tuesday after Ohio State’s 42-20 win over Oregon in the College Football Playoff National Championship Game on Monday night. Mark Schlabach of ESPN rated Tennessee No. 23 in his “Way-Too-Early” Top 25 for 2015 citing sophomore quarterback Joshua Dobbs, freshman tailback Jalen Hurd and the return of four offensive line starters as key reasons Tennessee could make the leap.

The Vols are one of seven SEC teams in the rankings along with No. 8 Georgia, No. 10 Alabama, No. 11 Ole Miss, No. 14 Auburn, No. 17 LSU and No. 21 Arkansas. Georgia is the only SEC East team ranked ahead of them.

Links to things we found interesting today/this week

The blog has been largely neglected in recent weeks with much more focus put into stories that went into the main site. But we’re ending (at least briefly) that neglect with a few links here to stuff we found interesting today that might not make the cut for the paper.

Tennessee senior offensive tackle Jacob Gilliam was named to the Associated Press All-Bowl team for his performance in the TaxSlayer Bowl. Gilliam was playing in the game with a torn left ACL and a busted left hand, but of course, the Vols rolled Iowa 45-28 and scored touchdowns on their first possessions to get the route rolling quickly.

Josh Smith, who suffered a high ankle sprain at Oklahoma on Sept. 13 and never returned to the field posted on his Twitter account that his recovery is beginning.

Smith had a strong performance in that Oklahoma game, catching five passes for 58 yards and a touchdown. The receiving corps got hit hard by injuries all year, but if Smith and fellows sophomores Marquez North and Jason Croom return healthy for 2015, the group can be very deep.

Our partners at 247Sports.com had a couple of scoops today. It wasn’t a huge surprise, but linebacker/defensive end Curt Maggitt is returning for his fifth year. Maggitt had 11 sacks this season, finishing among the SEC’s leaders in the category and earning second-team All-SEC honors in the process. Maggitt was essentially Tennessee’s defensive captain after A.J. Johnson was suspended and he’ll spend the whole season in that role next year. He’ll also have a year under his belt as a true hybrid player and won’t need the adjustment period he needed to the defensive end spot last year.

Also, as you saw, the Vols added Sheriron Jones, a four-star quarterback from California and a former Florida commit, to the 2015 signing class. This gives the Vols three quarterbacks in the 2015 with Quinten Dormady and Jauan Jennings having already enrolled for the spring semester. It’s a move that has a chance to be fascinating going forward. Jennings played safety in high school and he could certainly be moved, but considering how much better the offense became this season when senior Justin Worley’s season-ending injury forced them to replace a pocket passer with a dual-threat quarterback, it would seem short-sighted to remove a player with Jennings’ athleticism from the quarterback discussion. So all three will probably get a shot, though most likely, someone will end up displeased with the long-term result.

There will also be an effect on backup Nathan Peterman who, remarkably, graduated in December just 2 1/2 years after his high school class graduated. Peterman’s name was not found in the student directory on Wednesday when classes began, sparking rumors that he had offered to take the graduate student exemption and transfer, but he is taking grad school classes at UT according to an athletic department spokesman. He could change his mind about Tennessee between now and the summer and could transfer without the penalty of sitting out a year, or he could also stick around to be Joshua Dobbs’s backup and mentor the younger players. He could be beaten out by the freshmen, but he will be the only quarterback other than Dobbs with playing experience at Tennessee and could at least hold on to the backup role.

Also as you’ve seen, Jordan Williams, Justin Coleman and Marlin Lane all have spots in all-star games in the next two weeks. It’s unlikely that any of them will be drafted, but all could find free agent contracts and training camp opportunities.