Tag Archives: Joshua Dobbs

Butch Jones is Winning the Championship of Life

When Butch Jones was hired in 2013 to be the head coach of the University of Tennesse football team, he brought with him all of the hopes and dreams that accompany all new coaches. Jones was going to restore the greatness of the Volunteer football program that hadn’t been seen since Phil Fulmer was leading the program to conference and national championship games.

But hopes and dreams don’t always turn out as planned.

Since arriving in Knoxville, Jones has collected an impressive array of talent. There have been high-profile recruits all over the field for Jones. Nevermind that much of that talent didn’t stick around Knoxville. Even with this level of attrition, there was still enough talent left that fans and the media began expecting and anticipating championship caliber years.

The fact-of-the-matter is that none of the championship expectations ever materialized. Since taking over the Volunteer program, Jones has lost the SEC East to Missouri and Florida. Both Missouri and Florida have each won the East twice. It’s far easier for Volunteer fans to accept losing the division to Florida as opposed to Missouri. Missouri is the team that Tennessee fans like to beat up on. But Missouri has had far more recent success than Tennessee. That has to be tough to swallow.

So what does Jones have to hang his hat on during his tenure on the Tennessee sideline? Life. In his recent press conference, Jones said that his team may not have ever won the SEC East, but in his mind, his team has won the championship of life.

This sounds ridiculous. Jones attempted to detract from his team’s on-field performance by talking about how mature his players are.  No, coach Jones, the perceived maturity of your players doesn’t balance the scales when weighed against the lack of high-level success.

Jones talked about this year’s senior class bringing Tennessee back. But Tennessee really isn’t back. The Vols haven’t won a divisional SEC East championship since 2007 and haven’t won the SEC championship since 1998. Tennessee isn’t back.

The graduation rate was also referenced by Jones. Yes, a high percentage of his players have and will graduate. We all know about the academic prowess of Joshua Dobbs. But the graduation rate of his players isn’t going to pacify the fans. As the years tick by, Tennessee fans won’t accept Missouri winning divisional titles even with the high graduation rate of Jones’ program.

Speaking of Dobbs, he had his coach’s back and defended the championship of life comment.

Dobbs should be commended for sticking up for his coach, but it doesn’t make Jones’ comment any less absurd. And in defending Jones the way that Dobbs did, Dobbs came off sounding just as ignorant as Jones. When Dobbs and his teammates look back on their time in Knoxville, wins and losses will matter. Dobbs’ record is what will define his Tennessee legacy. Not the relationships that he built or how he affected the people he came in contact with. And what will matter least in defining his legacy will be how much he enjoyed his experience at Tennessee. Dobbs will leave Tennessee with a warm and fuzzy feeling. Great. The fact remains that Tennessee never won as much as a divisional championship with Dobbs as the full-time starting quarterback.

Jones has to be savvier than this. He has to know that he can’t minimize the lack of championships being won in Knoxville. Especially this year. Tennessee should have run away with the East. The Vols had talent and depth and Jones should have been considered the gold standard of coaches in the East. Remember, Barry Odom and Kirby Smart have never been head coaches before this year and Will Muschamp is in his first year at South Carolina. Jim McElwain is a fine enough coach, but his Florida team doesn’t have an offense that anyone trusts. This is what Jones and Tennessee lost the division too. Jones continues to be unable to win a division that is often times referred to as “hot garbage.”

Jones seems content to take a We Are The World attitude as his team wins championships of life. He needs to acknowledge the reality of the situation. His teams haven’t been good enough to beat “hot garbage.”

E-mail Seth at seth.merenbloom@campuspressbox.com or follow him on Twitter @SethMerenbloom.

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Is There Anything Worth Watching This Weekend?

After scouring Twitter and Google throughout the off-season for something to satiate my college football appetite, last weekend finally arrived. If the anticipation you went into that weekend with was anything like mine, it didn’t happen a moment too soon. And, like me, I’m sure you woke up Tuesday morning mesmerized by what you had witnessed all weekend long.

The season began with an overtime thriller between Appalachian State and Tennessee. Joshua Dobbs? Never stop being you.

We had the chance to watch Wisconsin turn Les Miles’ and LSU’s world upside down. Can Leonard Fournette save Miles’ job?

There was that beat down that Alabama put on USC. Hey, look. Kiffin just dialed up another 4th down touchdown and Saban just hired another former head coach.

Texas may or may not be back on top of the college football world after beating a highly-ranked Notre Dame team. Was that Bobby Boucher quarterbacking the Longhorns? Ah, it was Bouchele.

And to top it all off, Florida State staged a furious comeback as the Seminoles beat Ole Miss behind a halftime pep talk from Jameis Winston that will rank right up there with that Gipper speech.

What. An. Opening. Weekend.

And now we come to Week 2. I’m sorry, but after that epic first weekend, I really thought my college football life would be different. Surely we’d find a few games that we’d not only circle but also plan our Saturday around.

You know what I’m talking about. Hit Home Depot and Bed, Bath and Beyond, but only if there was time to squeeze it into our college football viewing schedule.

Week 2? You suck.

There isn’t a single game being played between two ranked teams. At least in the Week 1 matchups of ranked vs. unranked teams we had what I would describe as solid matchups. You know, games like LSU vs. Wisconsin or UCLA vs. Texas A&M.

Week 2 is setting up to be a big pile of disappointment.

Week 2 gives us the battle of the A&Ms as Texas A&M takes on Prairie View A&M. Sorry, but do the alumni of these two schools even care about this one? I didn’t think so.

There is some excitement behind the Virginia Tech vs Tennessee game, but it’s really a game based on fabricated fluff. All that can really be said about this game is that it’s being played at Bristol Motor Speedway. Terrific! A made for TV game.

I don’t watch college basketball games on aircraft carriers and I don’t care if I ever see another football game played in Yankee Stadium. So having a football game at a race track just doesn’t do it for me.

Here’s what you can expect my Saturday to look like. I’ll wake up, have my coffee and get my oil changed. I may even hit Home Depot and Bed, Bath and Beyond. Who really knows? If there’s time, I’ll tune in to that Virginia Tech vs. Tennessee game. Why that game? Easy. Because I want to see the statistical masterpiece that Dobbs will create as his encore to his performance against Appalachian State.

E-mail Seth at seth.merenbloom@campuspressbox.com or follow him on Twitter @SethMerenbloom

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College Football Playoff Rankings: Week 1

After an amazing opening weekend of college football, it is really interesting to see how the current top contenders stand in terms of the College Football Playoff. Below, I have ranked my current top 10 teams, which is loosely based off the preseason AP poll (this weeks AP poll is nuts, check it out). This is a feature that I will release every week this season on Tuesday, so be sure to be on the lookout for next week’s rankings.

  1. Alabama Crimson Tide

The Crimson Tide had probably the most impressive start among the week 1 top ten teams. It’s deconstruction of the ranked USC squad (to the degree where ‘Bama straight up added another former USC head coach to its staff) tells the whole story. Going into this season, Alabama’s one major question was the quarterback position. To say that the question was answered Saturday night would be an understatement. Jalen Hurts, and to a lesser degree Blake Barnett, removed Bama’s only weakness, and now, especially with the struggles of Tennessee and LSU, the Crimson Tide seem poised to take the West, win the SEC Championship, and make it to the College Football Playoff.

  1. Florida State Seminoles

Florida State’s matchup with Ole Miss on Monday was, as we have become used to with Jimbo Fisher football (who is now 6-1 since 2013 when trailing by 7 or more at the half), a tale of two halves. As long as Francois keeps up his play and the Seminoles find a way to play multiples halves of football in a single game, the Seminoles will be an obvious CFP contenders, pending a huge throw down with Clemson at home, which could very well decide which ACC school makes it to the Playoff.

  1. Clemson Tigers

Speaking of the Tigers, the team that I picked to win the College Football title this year struggled more with a mediocre Auburn squad than most of us thought it would. For that reason, it is much less of a sure thing in my mind that the Tigers beat FSU in Tallahassee. However, this is only week one, and with Heisman hopeful Deshaun Watson at the helm, Clemson should still be expected to be a top tier team with obvious CFP hopes.

  1. Ohio State Buckeyes

Speaking of Heisman, my pick for the award this year, Mr. J.T. Barrett, had himself a day. He had seven total touchdowns, with six through the air. We won’t get to see what the Buckeyes really look like until it squares off against Oklahoma, but when your QB has seven scores, it tends to be a good sign. The Buckeyes have a lot on its plate the rest of the year, but if Ohio State play like it did on Saturday, it is definitely a CFP frontrunner.

  1. Michigan Wolverines

The Big Ten pretty much let its top teams hammer some cupcake squads in week one, and that was very apparent in Michigan’s matchup against the Rainbow Warriors of Hawaii. Much like Ohio State, Michigan just swept the floor with its opponent. An impressive win, yes, but much like the Buckeyes, we won’t see the Wolverines’ true abilities until it faces off against a squad more its speed. However, its now 100 percent true that the Wolverines are officially back.

  1. Houston Cougars

The shocker of the weekend for most (for some odd reason, considering how good the Cougars were last year) was Houston’s win over the Oklahoma Sooners. This, in my rankings, rocket propelled UH up nine spots, as not only did Houston win, it beat Oklahoma into the ground. All of a sudden, Houston looks like a possible Group of Five CFP team, as the rest of its schedule is fairly mild. As long as the Cougars can hold off Louisville, and avoid other major upsets, Houston could very well end the season undefeated and crash the party of Power Five teams in the CFP.

  1. Stanford Cardinal

In a victory that was fairly mild, the Stanford Cardinal beat K-State by 13. The rest of the season is fairly simple, as the Pac-12 isn’t what it was a few years ago. Two of Stanford’s toughest opponents, UCLA and Notre Dame, both dropped their Week 1 matchups. The toughest game left for Christian McCaffrey (a clear Heisman candidate) and the Cardinal is the matchup at Washington. The game, which will most likely decide the fate of the Pac-12 North, will be Stanford’s make or break matchup in terms of College Football Playoff hopes.

  1. TCU Horned Frogs

TCU, much like many other teams on this list, played a team well below its own caliber in Week 1. The Horned Frogs, however, struggled heavily, especially on the defensive side, against South Dakota State. Giving up 41 points to a non-FBS school is never a great motivator, and while TCU’s College Football Playoff hopes may be small, the Horned Frogs certainly have a great chance to win the Big 12 with what seems like an Oklahoma team that could struggle throughout the year. TCU will need to watch out for Baylor and Texas as well, but for now, Texas Christian seems like the Big 12 frontrunner.

  1. Tennessee Volunteers

The Volunteers almost blew its opening matchup to Appalachian State. The team looked horrendous for a large part of the game, with particular struggles coming from the Tennessee O-Line. Josh Dobbs struggled mightily as well, and Tennessee needs him to play better if it is to have any hopes of beating Florida, Georgia, Texas A&M and Alabama in four consecutive weeks. To me, at this point, unless Mighty Mouse becomes as good on the field as he is at blocking twitter accounts, it seems like Tennessee making the College Football Playoff is a long shot.

  1. Michigan State Spartans

The third Big Ten team on this list also had a cupcake matchup in Week 1. However, unlike the Wolverines and Buckeyes, MSU struggled with Furman, a FCS squad. Honestly, the only reason the Spartans make this list after it’s week one struggle is due to all the teams in front of it that lost. MSU has a lot of work to do if it wants to prove that it deserves to make the CFP. Heck, with a crowded Big Ten East division, the Spartans have a lot of work to do to make it to the conference championship.

Honorable Mentions: Washington, Georgia, Iowa, and Wisconsin

E-mail Cooper at cooper [dot] goetz [at] campuspressbox [dot] com or follow him on Twitter @uf_goetz.
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It’s Time to Make the SEC Great Again

Any follower of my writing here at Campus Pressbox knows that I am a fervent supporter of the so-called “Make the MAC Great Again” movement. If fact, I am its only supporter.

Like a proud mother, I lovingly birthed the “Make the MAC Great Again” movement just a matter of months ago, feeding it, burping it, cradling it in my arms. And while my love for all things #MACtion will never subside, I must momentarily abandon my precious child. It seems there is an orphan in need, and that orphan is the SEC.

That’s right. It’s time to Make the SEC Great Again.

While the Mid-American Conference was but a shy, forgotten child simply searching for its wings, the poor Southeastern Conference faces far greater psychological damage. Raised by two abusive, over-ambitious parents getting regularly ejected from their kid’s tee-ball games, the SEC was raised its whole life to pursue expectations it couldn’t possibly attain. Everybody pushed the SEC to be the star of its high school basketball team. But really, all the SEC wants is a callback for the school musical.

The SEC bottled up those insecurities for years, even decades. But once the 2016 season began, the SEC could no longer bear it. Last weekend, the SEC appeared unusually shattered and broken, meaning it’s time to pick up the pieces in a step-by-step diagnosis of a meltdown that was the SEC’s Week 1.

It all began Thursday night in Knoxville, Tennessee, where Joshua Dobbs proved his worth as an early-season Heisman contender. Sure, Appalachian State may have joined the FBS only two seasons ago, but that didn’t stop the Sun Belt heavyweights from taking the ninth-ranked team in the nation to overtime. Tennessee’s offensive line volunteered for a shellacking at the hands of a gritty Mountaineers unit.  Even though they escaped with a narrow victory, the implication of an SEC offense only managing 1.4 yards per carry against a Sun Belt squad can’t be ignored.

Then, before SEC Nation could even recover, this happened.

Mississippi State blew a 17-0 lead, and they blew it against another Sun Belt team. Safe to say the #FunBelt wasn’t so fun for Dan Mullen on Saturday, as he should probably be out of a job this morning. South Alabama possessed the ball for 36 minutes and threw for 285 yards, nearly doubling Mississippi State’s meager 143 yards of production. They also incurred eight penalties and missed both of their field goal attempts, but the Bulldogs still could not prevail.

Shortly thereafter, the fifth-ranked team in the country forgot how to play offense. Even with Wisconsin gifting LSU three turnovers, the Tigers’ attack never kicked into gear. One offensive touchdown wasn’t enough to outduel the Badgers in an ugly, defensive showdown. LSU and Leonard Fournette couldn’t overcome their first-half struggles, resulting in a 16-14 loss at Lambeau Field.

Tennesee suffered a gashing on the offensive line. Mississippi State got out-passed by a mid-major. LSU got out-slugged by a Big 10 school. Aren’t all those elements supposedly hallmarks of the SEC?

The bleeding certainly didn’t stop there. Missouri predictably faltered against West Virginia. Arkansas needed a late, go-ahead touchdown to survive Louisiana Tech. Kentucky blanked the entire second half in a loss to Southern Mississippi. Florida entered the fourth quarter locked in a 10-7 battle against UMass- another FBS newbie. Auburn botched every single chance it had at beating Clemson. And as the icing on the SEC’s intervention cake, Ole Miss spoiled a 22-point lead against Florida State in primetime, Monday night.

While Georgia, Texas A&M, and Alabama all registered impressive victories, these were clear exceptions to a dismal rule. Excluding the intra-conference matchup between South Carolina and Vanderbilt (not that anybody cares about Vanderbilt anyway), the SEC went 6-6 in a Week 1 full of both high expectations and terrible competition.

The SEC was favored in nine of those contests. It fared an abysmal 4-8 against the spread. It appears the conference hit rock bottom.

For whatever reason, we keep expecting the SEC to be supreme on the college football landscape. It’s time to measure those expectations. A good conference, yes, but the SEC is just that: a good conference. Its quarterbacks are no better, its schedules are no tougher, and it should be no more guaranteed a playoff spot than any other conference.

Five or ten years ago, in the heyday of the BCS, it might be fair to claim that the SEC cornered the market on skill and talent. Today, when coaches like Urban Meyer inhabit the Big 10, when teams like TCU near triple digits on the scoreboard, and when players like Ed Oliver choose to enroll at Group of 5 programs, that’s no longer a fair claim.

SEC schools should be judged based on the merit of their play, not based on some media-driven pseudo-merit of the conference that they play in.

Those truths might be hard. But only through those hard truths can we begin the conference’s healing process. Only through those hard truths can we remind a bruised and battered SEC that it’s okay to be human. So this college football season, when you find yourself suffering through yet another three-hour dose of Verne Lundquist, take a moment to reflect on a movement for college football fans, coaches, and players across all conferences. We’re all in this together.

Being a great conference doesn’t require yelling and screaming about being great, it requires proving it on the field. It’s time to let the SEC know, because only then can we truly Make the SEC Great Again.

I only hope the MAC can lead by example.

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

Email Cole at cole.hankins@campuspressbox.com or follow him on Twitter @Cole_Hankins.

Predicted: New Year’s Six and the College Football Playoff National Championship

This is the third and final part of my 2016 College Football Preview. The picks in this article directly reflect my first and second article, so check those out before reading this one.

Orange Bowl (ACC vs. Big Ten/SEC/ND) 12/31/16

Miami (9-4) vs. LSU (10-2)

The Matchup: Miami will get the automatic ACC bid, as the Hurricanes are the best ACC team not in the CFP. LSU squeezes its way into the New Year’s Six over the likes of Notre Dame, the second team in line who just misses the New Year’s Six due to their indecisiveness at the QB position early in the season, which cost a few games. Other teams who are in the hunt for the Tigers’ Orange Bowl spot are Michigan State, Ole Miss and Arkansas, but none of them finish over 9-3.

The Game: This is Leonard Fournette’s final game in an LSU jersey. He will eat up the Miami defense, which will have to deal with a bit of Les Miles madness. LSU will come out passing early and often, as the Miami defense gets weaker the further away from the line of scrimmage you go. Once the Tigers expose Miami’s pass defense, LSU will catch the Hurricanes on their heels by simply letting Fournette run over the competition. Fournette’s early season injury may keep him out of the Heisman Race, but he will sure look like a Heisman winner after this game is all said and done. LSU will simply put up too many points for the Hurricanes to keep up with.

Final Score: LSU Tigers 38 – Miami Hurricanes 20

Cotton Bowl (At-Large vs. At-Large) 1/2/17

Michigan (11-1) vs. UH (12-1)

The Matchup: Michigan is not happy to be here. The Wolverines believe that it belongs in the CFP. However, it ends up playing in Dallas facing off against a Houston Cougars squad whose excitement to be in this spotlight inversely mirrors the Wolverines.

The Game: The team’s respective enthusiasm for this particular game reflects into the matchup’s first half to a large degree. Michigan comes out uninterested and sluggish, which a Greg Ward, AAC player of the Year, powered Cougar offense heavily exploits. The First Half ends with the Cougars up 14-10. The Wolverines swing back in the second half, and take a three-point lead over UH with just over a minute left in the game. Greg Ward leads a final charge down the field into the red zone with time winding down. However, after two incomplete passes, Jabrill Peppers fools Ward, after Peppers fakes a blitz before dropping back into coverage. The strong Wolverine defensive line forces Ward to rush a decision, and he overlooks Peppers before throwing a pass which Peppers intercepts.

Final Score: Michigan Wolverines 41 – Houston Cougars 38

Rose Bowl (Big Ten vs. Pac-12) 1/2/17

Iowa (9-4) vs. Stanford (11-2)

The Matchup: Iowa, who lost the Big Ten championship to Ohio State, gets the automatic Rose Bowl bid. Stanford, meanwhile, wins the Pac-12 and because no Pac-12 team gets into the CFP, are the other automatic bid, which makes the 2017 Rose Bowl an identical matchup to the 2016 game.

The Game:  This game will have a similar outcome as the matchup the previous year. Stanford will let Christian McCaffrey run free, and he will single-handedly slaughter Iowa. Iowa, in all honesty, does not belong in the Rose Bowl, and once again, the game’s result shows that. This one is not even close.

Final Score: Stanford Cardinal 31 – Iowa Hawkeyes 6

Sugar Bowl (Big 12 vs. SEC) 1/2/17

TCU (10-2) vs. Tennessee (10-3)

The Matchup: I’m going to be honest. Even though I picked them to be here, I would be surprised if Tennessee can win the SEC East and get the automatic bowl berth. The Volunteers’ inconsistency over the last several years makes I hard to believe that it can string together a solid season and take the East over Georgia and Florida. But, that’s what my mind believed when I wrote last week’s prediction article, so here we are. If the Volunteers manage to make it to the Sugar Bowl, it will face off against TCU, winners of the lackluster Big 12.

The Game: Despite the fact that I don’t think it will make it to this game, I think the SEC will prove too much for TCU. Tennessee, behind powerhouse running back Jalen Hurd and a Joshua Dobbs who develops into a great passer throughout the season, are able to out muster the Horned Frogs offensively. Tennessee’ defense, which nine starters, will shut down the Horned Frogs’ offense. This will be a defensive battle between these two teams, but the Volunteers prevail.

Final Score: Tennessee Volunteers 24 – TCU Horned Frogs 17

Peach Bowl (College Football Playoff Semifinal)  12/31/16

#1 Ohio State (13-0) vs. #4 FSU (11-1)

The Matchup: Ohio State, still riding off “The Game of the Century” Part 2, in which the Buckeyes beat #2 ranked Michigan, gets the #1 overall seed for the third annual College Football Playoff. FSU, meanwhile, campaigns hard for its spot, which the Seminoles fight Michigan, Stanford, TCU and Houston for. However, dominating wins late in the season after a close defeat to Clemson allow FSU to squeeze into its second College Football Playoff appearance.

The Game: Lead by recently crowned Heisman Trophy winner, J.T. Barrett, the Buckeyes get off to a quick start, scoring quickly on a pass over the middle against the weakest part of the Seminole defense. However, the Buckeyes’ inexperienced defense will struggle to do anything to stop the Dalvin Cook Seminole offense, and FSU goes up by 10 heading into halftime. Coming out of the half, Dontre Wilson brings the kickoff all the way back for a touchdown, making the Buckeyes deficit only three. Both defenses then hunker down, with the likes of Raekwon McMillan and DeMarcus Walker dominating for the Buckeyes and Seminoles respectively. Late in the 4th, J.T. Barrett leads Ohio State down the field, but Urban Meyer has to settle for a field goal. However, with two minutes to work with, Dalvin Cook is able to take his time and rush the Seminoles into Field Goal position with only a few ticks left. Ricky Aguayo gets a perfect hold ad knocks home a 52-yard field goal as time expires to allow the Seminoles to win.

Final Score: Florida State Seminoles 23 – Ohio State Buckeyes 20

Fiesta Bowl (College Football Playoff Semifinal) 12/31/16

#2 Clemson (13-0) vs. #3 Alabama (12-1)

The Matchup: Winners of the ACC and SEC respectively, Clemson and Alabama both come off monster season to qualify as the middle seeds for the College Football Playoff. Heisman runner-up Deshaun Watson, Clemson finished undefeated, while Alabama’s only loss came to Ole Miss early in the season.

The Game: This game will ultimately come down to Clemson’s offense vs. Alabama’s defense. The Alabama offense will struggle with Cooper Bateman at the helm, but Clemson’s defense will not be nearly as dominant as years past, allowing the Crimson Tide to find holes to score both on the ground and in the air. However, the issue for Alabama is that Clemson’s offense simply has too many pieces, as if the passing game to wide outs Mike Williams and Artavis Scott struggles, Deshaun Watson and Wayne Gallman, both of whom were 1000 yard rushers in 2015, can simply push Alabama back behind the Tigers’ O-Line. Though Alabama remains in the game in the first half, Clemson comes out firing in the second and breaks the game wide open. Alabama, though talented, won’t have an answer for Clemson, and the Tigers win the game by a fairly wide margin. The Crimson Tide’s shot at returning to the College Football National Championship is cut one game short.

Final Score: Clemson Tigers 45 – Alabama Crimson Tide 24

 College Football Playoff National Championship 1/9/16 (Tampa, FL)

#2 Clemson Tigers (14-0) vs. #4 Florida State Seminoles (12-1)

The Game: This game is going to be a rematch of possibly the best offensive matchup of the 2016 season. Earlier, Clemson beat out FSU in Tallahassee, and that is why the Tigers remained undefeated the entire year. The National Championship, featuring two teams less located less than 600 miles from the game’s location, Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida, will be an offensive bout the likes of which we haven’t seen in man years. While both teams have competent defenses, Clemson and FSU will look to win the National Championship with offensive firepower. This game will actually not be as much of a nail-biter as their first matchup, as Deshaun Watson, in his second straight title game, will come out firing on all cylinders. FSU will stay in the game, but the Clemson offense will prove to be too much, and keep a constant lead over the Seminoles the entire game. The Clemson Tigers will have its first National Title since 1981.

Final Score: Clemson Tigers 48 – Florida State 35

E-mail Cooper at cooper.goetz@campuspressbox.com or follow him on Twitter @uf_goetz.

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Joshua Dobbs is the Reason that Tennessee Should not be Expected to Win Close Games

Something happened recently that caught even me by surprise. And it happened not once, but twice. I agreed with Gary Danielson.

Shocker, I know.

Danielson and I are in agreement when it comes to not only Tennessee being the favorites to win the SEC East but also in that they are not ready to win tight games. It’s my opinion that this is a make or break year for Butch Jones and his Volunteers. Both Missouri, South Carolina and Georgia have first year head coaches, Florida will have to prove they have a legitimate quarterback and Kentucky and Vanderbilt are, well, Kentucky and Vanderbilt.

Simply stated, 2016 is a make or break year for Jones and Tennessee.

Danielson didn’t elaborate as to why he believed that Tennessee was ill-equipped to win close games, but I’ll gladly insert my two cents as to the reason why and that reason is Joshua Dobbs.

[Merenbloom: When Will the Rubber Meet the Road for Butch Jones and the Tennessee Volunteers?]

No, I wasn’t a fan of Dobbs a year ago and I’m not a fan of Dobbs today. His career has been constructed purely on hype and not on consistent results.

If Danielson had the fortitude to truly criticize an SEC team that is considered a conference blue blood, he would have said the name of he who should not be named – Josh Dobbs.

Dobbs failed miserably in 2015 against Oklahoma as he threw the overtime pass that resulted in a game-ending interception and he failed even harder against Florida in 2015.

Sure he made history against Florida as he led his team in passing, rushing and receiving but this only ignores how he wilted in crunch time. The defense certainly played a part in surrendering a 20-7 lead, but Dobbs contributed to the evaporation of that 13-point lead.

With 7:01 left in the 3rd quarter and leading 20-7, Dobbs gave the Florida offense additional life as he fumbled the ball. His fumble gave Will Grier and the Florida offense a short field to work with and the Gators capitalized with a 29 yard scoring drive that closed the 13-point deficit to a slim 20-14 lead.

On the next possession for the Volunteers, Dobbs proceeded to throw an incomplete pass, rush for a measly one-yard gain and finally finished the drive off as he was sacked for minus 4 yards.

This was not indicative of a quarterback who can lead his team in close games. If only Danielson had the courage to call Dobbs out. Meh, I do.

It appeared as if the luck of the Volunteers had turned in the fourth quarter as Jones decided to hand the offense over to legs of Jalen Hurd as the star running back rushed for 37 yards and found his way into the end zone.

Florida once again closed the gap as they made the score 27-20. A seven-point lead in the fourth quarter with 4:06 on the game clock is the definition of tight game. And what happened? Hurd had the offense moving in the right direction and then Dobbs killed the drive with another rush attempt for a loss of four yards. Nail, meet coffin.

Grier would eventually hit Antonio Callaway for a 63-yard game-winning touchdown pass. In true Grier family style, I’m sure there is a Vine that was made to commemorate the event.

On their final possession, Dobbs did have the offense positioned for a game-winning field goal that kicker Aaron Medley missed (twice), but the damage that Dobbs had inflicted on the offense could not be undone.

If Danielson wants a reason as to why Tennessee shouldn’t be expected to win close games, look no further than Dobbs.

E-mail Seth at seth.merenbloom@campuspressbox.com or follow him on Twitter @SethMerenbloom

Photo: arctic_whirlwind/Flickr

2016 is the Year of Butch Jones and the Vols

It’s been 3 years since Tennessee bought out Butch Jones’ contract with Cincinnati. Three years of top 15 recruiting classes, three years of improving records from 5-7, to 7-6, to 9-4. Three years of preseason hype followed by losses that make fans’ hopes rise, but hearts break. There was that Pig Howard fumble at the goal line for a 31-34 loss to Georgia in overtime in 2013, those consecutive losses to Florida and Georgia by a combined four points in 2014, and every loss in 2015, which consisted of a double-overtime loss to #19 Oklahoma, a one-point loss to Florida, a four-point loss to Arkansas, and a five-point loss to the eventual national champions, Alabama. After three years of work, he has the recruiting classes, he has the experienced players, he has the Power Five conference football program, and he even has the not-so-formidable schedule to help him out. Only one real question remains about Butch Jones as a head coach, and it is now set to be answered this year. How far can Butch Jones take the Tennessee football program?

Can Butch Jones end the 9-year losing streak against Tennessee’s arch-rival Alabama?

That game will be played at Neyland Stadium, in front of their passionate fan base. Barring injury, they’ll have the senior quarterback, Joshua Dobbs with 24 starts under his belt, against a quarterback yet to be determined by Nick Saban and the staff who will have a total of six options. Tennessee’s defensive line of juniors and seniors will be playing against Alabama’s offensive line of sophomores and freshmen. Again, barring injury, almost every player that starts for Tennessee will have played in that five-point loss to Alabama last year. Alabama still has its vaunted defense, running back Bo Scarborough, and some of the best coaching in the nation, but if everything holds through the first six games, there has been no better opportunity for Tennessee to defeat Alabama in the nine years since it last did so.

Can he win an SEC Championship and make the CFB Playoffs?

If he can defeat Alabama, the road to the SEC Championship is one of the least formidable in the SEC. Non-conference home games against Appalachian State and Ohio, as well as a neutral site game at Bristol Motor Speedway against Virginia Tech, give them a manageable 3-0 record out of the gate.  The only real threat to that will be Virginia Tech, who’s coming off a 7-6 season and still trying to find a starting quarterback.

The next four games will determine the path of their season, at home against Florida, at Georgia, at Texas A&M, and at home against Alabama. Florida will be a difficult game against a tough defense, but they’re also looking for a quarterback (none of their quarterbacks have ever thrown a pass for Florida), and the game will be played at Neyland. Georgia will be their first difficult road game, but they will be facing a new head coach, Kirby Smart. Georgia is also young on offense but very talented and has a quarterback that won ten games last year in Greyson Lambert. Georgia is very experienced in the secondary on defense, and Smart is a defensive coach. This game will be a grind and a test for Tennessee.  the road game against Texas A&M will be their “trap game,” with a quarterback in Trevor Knight who went 11-4 last year at Oklahoma, and a coach fighting to keep his job in the midst of off-the-field drama in Kevin Sumlin. Alabama has already been discussed above.

All four of those will be tough games, but after them, Tennessee has the easiest four game schedule a team could compile in the SEC, and an FCS school they will soundly defeat. Ending the year at South Carolina, at home against Tennessee Tech, at home against Kentucky, at home against Missouri, and finishing off at Vanderbilt is a schedule that even Cincinnati, the program he left, could reasonably go undefeated against. Mark my words, if Tennessee is 7-0 on October 16, 2016, they will go undefeated through the regular season. Those middle four games will be tough, and I expect them to at least be 3-1 in the Florida, Georgia, A&M, Alabama matchups, but could there be an easier route to the SEC Championship? If he gets there and wins, it’s a virtual guarantee Tennessee will be in the CFB Playoffs… How far can they go? Every piece is in place for Butch Jones to answer the question every Tennessee fan is asking, “How far can Butch Jones take this program?”

So Tennessee fans, as you sit at #10 on the recently released Amway College Top 25 Coaches Poll, kick back and enjoy. You’re about to see the full potential of what your athletic director Dave Hart bought out of Cincinnati 3 years ago. Whether Tennessee has the next great coach in the SEC, or just one in the series of coaches trying to bring the “Power T” back to prominence, everything is in now in place.  You will know which of these he is at the end of this year, which is why, for Tennessee fans I would call it, “The Year of Butch Jones.”

Photo courtesy of Jason Yellin.

Why the Tennessee Volunteers Will Win the SEC East

Every time my dad calls me or I call him, we inevitably spend a huge portion of the call talking about college football. Although I was raised as a fan of the Tennessee Volunteers, I went to the dark side and became a Florida Gator fan when I went to college. Naturally, this means my dad and I tend to have differing opinions about SEC football the overwhelming majority of the time. Last year, we were both cautiously optimistic about the Vols and we both thought the Gators would be pretty bad. While the Gators proved us wrong and managed to come out of the season with a surprisingly good record, the Vols showed us exactly why we were so cautious about our optimism.

This year, I am still cautious about all the optimism surrounding the Tennessee football program. My dad, on the other hand, has told me three times now exactly why he thinks the Tennessee Volunteers will win the SEC East. In fact, he offered to hijack half of one of my articles for me. Instead of allowing that dangerous idea to play out, I decided to take it upon myself to be his voice. Maybe I will disappoint him less with this article than I did when I talked about Alabama football a couple weeks ago. Without further ado, here’s his list of reasons the Tennessee Volunteers will win the SEC East, accompanied by my explanations of his points.

Their Returning Players

If you ask my dad, he will tell you that as many as 10 players that are on their roster heading into next season could be picked by teams in the 2017 NFL Draft. While 10 may seem a bit too optimistic considering they have not had a player drafted since 2014, they could have had a player drafted this year had some of their starters not chosen to return for another shot at the elusive title. Among those returning for the Vols on offense this year are: senior quarterback Joshua Dobbs, redshirt junior running back Alvin Kamara, and junior running back Jalen Hurd. Basically, the Vols running game is going to be a very dangerous weapon. I mean, have you seen the video of Hurd running at a speed of 19.5 mph on a treadmill at an incline?

The Vols return a good number of defensive weapons too, including: junior defensive end Derek Barnett, senior cornerback Cameron Sutton, senior outside linebacker Jalen Reeves-Maybin, and junior cornerback Justin Martin. A defense full of players like that has the potential to terrorize even the best of the SEC offenses. Tennessee is also returning a huge asset on special teams in junior Evan Berry. Berry, younger brother of my favorite Vol alumnus Eric Berry, ranked first in the NCAA last season in kickoff return average and was one of only four players in the country who had three kickoff returns for touchdowns in 2015. Berry is listed as a defensive back and is sometimes used as such but he’s clearly most dangerous when he is returning kickoffs and punts.

New Defensive Coordinator, Bob Shoop

Bob Shoop was a great get for the Volunteers. Shoop was the defensive coordinator at Penn State from 2014-2015 and at Vanderbilt from 2011-2013. In each of those past five seasons he coached a top 25 defense. Last year, Penn State ranked 15th in the nation in total defense, holding opponents to an average of 324.3 yards per game. The season before that, Penn State ranked second in the nation in total defense, allowing an average of only 278.7 yards each game. And before that, Shoop saw similar success at Vanderbilt. That experience means he is no stranger to the toughness required to succeed in the SEC.

New Tight Ends Coach, Larry Scott

Larry Scott was also a good get for the Vols. The Miami Hurricanes had a pretty embarrassing season going last year when their head coach Al Golden was fired seven games into the season. The tight ends coach at the time, Larry Scott, was then selected to be the interim head coach. He inherited a team with low morale and an angry fan base but managed to make the best of it, leading the Canes to a 4-2 record while he was in charge. Between USF and Miami he has been an interim head coach, a tight ends coach, a running backs coach, and an offensive line coach. It is safe to say his experience should bring a little something extra to the Volunteers’ offense this season.

The Right Mindset

This last point cannot be stressed enough. One thing I have come to learn is that every sport is a mental challenge almost as much as a physical one. When competing in the best conference in all of college football, the team and its coaches having the right mindset can mean everything. My dad calls the attitude shown by the coaches this spring a “quiet confidence.” Former Vol Al Wilson likened the way this group of players interacts to how the ’98 Championship Vols were. He talked about the leadership shown by those players returning as well as having the attitude of being a team and playing for one another. Head Coach Butch Jones described his team as having “a great inner drive.” And if there is one thing you need to win a championship it is definitely that drive, that relentless determination to do something only one team can do any given season. This Vols team full of seasoned veterans seems to be up to that mental challenge.

Those points I borrowed from my dad are all completely valid reasons to believe that this could finally be Tennessee’s year to win the SEC East. In fact, many other analysts believe that the Vols will at least win the SEC East this season. I actually almost have myself convinced they will finally pull it off this year. But, the biggest question still remaining for the Vols is whether or not their passing game will be improved with junior college transfer Jeff George and sophomore Preston Williams as their leading receivers. If they can get their passing game going, this team could really be something special. Without a somewhat balanced attack on offense, I worry that the Vols may not be able to outlast their tougher opponents like Alabama, Georgia, Texas A&M, and Florida. They certainly were not able to outlast Florida and Alabama last year. Maybe this year will be their year, maybe this year all the optimism will be warranted. And if it is not their year, then Coach Jones will be sitting on a scorching hot seat up there in Rocky Top.

Be sure to follow me on Twitter to see more conversations about football that I have with my dad. Or you can see the conversations I have with myself about football because those can be equally amusing, with the Volunteer in me pitted against the Gator in me.

Legacy Lines – 10/23/15: A Historic Rivalry Relights Its’ Flame

Editors note: Hollis Oliver McLain, III (@HollisOliverIII) will be publishing a series of articles throughout the season on some of college football’s most storied programs. This year, we’ve selected Alabama, Penn State, Tennessee, Texas, UCLA and Virginia Tech. On Tuesday’s you’ll get important links about each program (Legacy Links) and on Friday’s you’ll get important story lines and a game preview of one team (Legacy Lines). Follow each of these stories here , and get your latest news when you need it.

Finally, it is Friday again and college football fans from all around get to watch their teams make a push for either the playoff or a bowl game. Even though conference play is just now hitting its’ high point, the nation doesn’t seem to be anxious to watch any game except for the Utah vs. USC game. In the midst of this apparently lackluster schedule, you can still catch some great games this weekend, as well as a couple important rivalries.

As for our Legacy Teams, they are deep within the depths of their conference schedules. If you weren’t able to stay up last night, UCLA ended up blowing out the ranked Cal Golden Bears, which brings the Bruins slightly back into relevancy this year.

Also highlighting the Legacy Program slate this weekend is Texas vs. Kansas State and Duke vs. Virginia Tech. I have this feeling that Texas will come out ready to play and give Kansas State problems early. As for VT, I doubt they win this game, but it would be a quality win against a good Duke team if they did.

While these games are going on, an historical rivalry matchup between two of our Legacy Programs will be raging on in Tuscaloosa, AL on CBS at 3:30, which is our Legacy Line game of the week. The Tennessee vs. Alabama game, otherwise known as the Third Saturday in October, will mark the 97th meeting between these two teams. This game isn’t usually played on the third Saturday anymore though because of some questionable SEC scheduling.

If you know anything about the SEC or southern football in general, then you know that these two teams are southern royalty. With a slew of championships on both sides of this rivalry, the SEC champion, most of the time, was born in the fire that was the Third Saturday in October.

However, Alabama has a streak against the Volunteers that is at 7 games right now. If you are under the age of 25, then you probably think that this game isn’t even a rivalry anymore due to the past several matchups. Well, let me tell you, this rivalry only goes in streaks and to say that it isn’t a rivalry anymore is like saying that the spread offense can’t score quickly.

In order for you to get an idea of the rivalry as a whole, I have picked out a few points of interest that summarizes it. The game has taken place in three cities, Knoxville, Tuscaloosa and Birmingham. Both teams have 12 shutouts in the all-time series, while Alabama has a double-digit lead overall.

While the longest streak in this rivalry is 11 by the Tide (1971-1981), the Vols had a seven game streak from 1995-2001 and also won 9 out of ten until 2004. In between and before the trends I have mentioned, the series would usually alternate Tide or Vols four years at a time. As you can see, one program tends to get hot for a few years and then the other does.

Perhaps the coolest part about this massive rivalry has to do with cigars. Sometime during the 1950s, an Alabama trainer began handing out cigars to each of the Tide players after they beat the Vols. Both of these programs decided to keep this little tobacco secret away from the NCAA so they could play in peace and continue participating.

In 2005, Alabama officially and publicly announced that they would be continuing the long-standing tradition of smoking victory cigars after the game. The Tide had to self-report a violation in order to still practice this tradition, and ever since, the team that wins violates and self-reports the violation to the NCAA. With all of the dumb NCAA rules that surround college football, it is refreshing to see two programs acting on a mutual respect for each other in order to continue a tradition that our grandfathers participated in.

Hopefully you have gained at least a little insight into the SEC’s most historic rivalry and a southern tradition that is unmatched by most other rivalries.

Like we do every week, it is time to break down the actual game being played on Saturday. The Crimson Tide come into this matchup after stomping Texas A&M with the help of three pick sixes. Nick Saban’s team is still hungry for more wins and it should terrify Tennessee. While Butch Jones has the Vols in good shape moving forward, a non-competitive loss would most likely lead to a loss against Kentucky and possibly South Carolina.

So, who is this game more important for? Nick Saban and Alabama, easily. Butch Jones has no pressure to win in Tuscaloosa, as long as he keeps it respectful. But can the Vols stay in the game with the Tide? I think so, but it will take a strong scheme and execution to do it.

This game begins and ends with Joshua Dobbs. If he can stay elusive in the pocket and extend some plays, then he will have success against the Alabama secondary. However, if he is inaccurate early, then the Tide will key in on Jalen Hurd and most likely run away with it. Because Alabama’s front seven is so great, I don’t see a ton of success in the running game, but the Vols will have to at least get Hurd close to 100 yards to have a shot at winning.

When Alabama is on offense, they must keep running the ball. Tennessee has a young defensive team and an injured defensive line. The Tide NEED to run the ball on virtually every down, I’m not kidding. The Tide can beat the Tennessee defense through the running game, but could have trouble in the passing game. If you’re Tennessee’s defense, you have to put 9 guys in the box and make Jacob Coker beat you deep. Even though the Vols’ secondary is slow and weak, Coker could easily lose the game through turnovers and sailing passes. Also, look for special teams to play a part in this game, whether it be turnovers, touchbacks or field position, as Tennessee has a clear edge when it comes to special teams.

In the end, I think Alabama just has too much talent to lose this game, especially since Saban will have them foaming at the mouth to beat the Vols. As much as I want to pick the Vols to win, I don’t see them getting over the hump this year. BUT, let me say for the record, it will be a close game.

31-28 Alabama Crimson Tide

Players to Watch in 2015

We’ve just entered the dead zone for most sports fans. Save for the Super Bowl this Sunday, football is over at both the college and professional levels and it will be six months before pre-season coverage really starts to kick into high gear. I’d consider myself a fairly big NBA fan, and though it’s enough to get me by until the start of baseball and summer, nothing is the same as football weekends. And if you are like me and live in the Midwest or another northern state, you’re dealing with weather that makes you not want to leave the house for weeks at a time AND no football. Sometimes you wonder if it’s worth getting up in the morning (ok, slight exaggeration). Reading absurdly premature 2015 college football articles helps me get my football fix, and here is a list of players that I can’t wait to watch play this coming fall.

Deshaun Watson – QB Clemson (featured image)

It was unknown if Watson would play much in 2014 with Senior QB Cole Stoudt on the roster, but it didn’t take long to tell who was the far superior player. By the third week Watson was getting the majority of the snaps and provided a three game taste of what the future would be like for the Clemson offense. Unfortunately it was mostly a tease since the quarterback’s season was disrupted and ultimately ended by injuries. Still, Watson completed 68% of his passes to go along with 19 total touchdowns and only 2 interceptions.

Joe Yearby – RB Miami (Fl.)

This is somewhat of a homer pick, but it’s not exactly unwarranted. Yearby did a fine job as a freshman rushing for 500+ yards and 5.9 ypc while backing up Duke Johnson. With Duke Johnson now gone there are plenty of carries available in the Hurricane backfield. With Brad Kaaya keeping defenses honest, I’m excited to see what Yearby can do with 200 carries.

DJ Foster – RB Arizona State

Photo by Dominic Velente
Photo by Dominic Velente

It may be because of a lack of consistency, but Foster’s season seemed like somewhat of a disappointment. Then you look up and realize he had 1,700 yards of offense and 12 touchdowns. His four 100-yard rushing games came in the Sun Devils’ three non-conference games and Colorado (who might as well be a non-conference doormat) but only topped 59 yards two other times. On the flip side he was used quite a bit in the passing game, especially with the emergence of fellow RB Demario Richard. That athleticism and versatility is what makes Foster fun to watch and he will be leaned on just as much with the departure of WR Jaelen Strong.

Artavis Scott – WR Clemson

Scott burst onto the scene as a freshman last year and helped ease the minds of Tigers fans mourning the departure of Sammy Watkins, one of the best players in school history. Scott racked up 965 yards and 8 scores and finished the year strong with 7 for 185 and two scores and 8 for 114 and one score in the Tigers final two games. Scott and DeShaun Watson will be lighting up defenses for at least the next two years.

Adoree Jackson – Everywhere USC

Jackson did it all for the Trojans in his 2014 freshman campaign, playing WR, CB, and returning kicks. His full repertoire was on display in USC’s bowl game as Jackson had a 98 yard kickoff return for a touchdown, a 71 yard touchdown catch, and 7 tackles on defense. No matter what position Jackson is playing this fall, he’s the only reason you need to tune into USC games.

Jeremy Johnson – QB Auburn

Though Auburn’s offense was pretty dynamic with Nick Marshall at the helm, many feel it could be even better in 2015 with Jeremy Johnson. Johnson’s size (6’5’’ 230 pounds) will remind you of Cam Newton, but he’s a much better passer than Newton or Marshall and not near the runner as either of them. Johnson has only seen limited action in the last two years, but he’s completed better than 70% of his passes with a 4.5/1 TD/INT ratio and has shown enough to make me think he’s a dark horse Heisman contender for 2015.

Corey Clement – RB Wisconsin

The Badgers have had no shortage of quality running backs in the last decade and a half and the pattern seems to be: RB excels in a backup role, RB puts up ridiculous stats in a full-time role, RB leaves for NFL. Clement will be on the second leg of that cycle after rushing for just under 1,000 yards backing up Melvin Gordon last year. Clement averaged 6.5 ypc and could easily double that as the lead back in 2015.

Dalvin Cook – RB Florida State

Dalvin Cook started the year slow and didn’t really contribute fully until halfway through the season. Once he did, the rest of the country wished Florida State hadn’t taken the reins off him. Cook tore it up, rushing for just over 1,000 yards even though he received more than 15 carries in only three games. Cook saved the Seminoles’ season in multiple games and will be relied upon even more now with Jameis Winston headed to the NFL.

KD Cannon – WR Baylor


Cannon was the 4th highest rated 2014 WR recruit and he didn’t disappoint in his freshman season. He took off from the get-go with star WR Antwan Goodley banged up, before slowing down upon Goodley’s return. He still managed to put up 1,030 yards and 8 touchdowns due to an explosive 17.8 yards per catch. Cannon capped off 2014 with 8 catches for 197 and 2 touchdowns in Baylor’s bowl game and could be one of the nation’s top receivers this fall with Goodley playing on Sundays.

Jamal Adams – S LSU

In the time since the national championship, I’ve read a few articles talking about breakout players for 2015. Every one of them has listed Adams on it, so that’s reason enough for me to get excited about his potential this fall. Adams is 6 feet and over 200 pounds and managed to make a significant impact as a freshman in an LSU secondary already full of NFL talent. Plus I’m a sucker for safeties with size.

Leonard Fournette – RB LSU

Another LSU Tiger, but this one’s just a little bit more known nationally. Fournette came into last season with about as much hype as possible, but started the year slow before taking off in the middle of the year. Fournette’s stat line looks impressive, but he needs to be more consistent going forward, especially in conference play. He did finish the year with back to back 140 yard games, giving Tiger fans reason to believe he will live up to the hype.

Jabrill Peppers – DB Michigan

Peppers was another highly touted recruit coming into the season but unlike Fournette, injuries robbed him of the ability to show off that potential. On the bright side, Peppers was able to get a medical redshirt, saving all of his eligibility while getting a few games of experience at the college level which will help this year. Whether Peppers plays corner or safety, he’s a ball hawk who you’ll want to keep your eye on.

Kenyan Drake – RB Alabama

Even in a crowded backfield Drake was supposed to have a breakout season last year after averaging 7.5 ypc in 2013. He was having that type of season until a gruesome injury ended his season in the Tide’s fifth game. Most of the focus will be on fellow running back Derrick Henry, but a healthy Kenyan Drake could throw his name into the list of best SEC running backs in a league stacked with good ones.

Wayne Gallman – RB Clemson

You should probably just watch any time Clemson is on offense because they have a handful of players who can turn heads. Gallman didn’t receive consistent carries until the Tigers’ 7th game but once he did he took off. The freshman rushed for over 500 yards on just under 5.5 ypc in the team’s last five games and should shoulder a similar load over the whole season in 2015.

Jalen Ramsey – DB Florida State

Jon Durr / Miami Herald Staff
Jon Durr / Miami Herald Staff

I’m not totally sure what to say about Ramsey other than he’s just fun to watch and you won’t regret it. Ramsey has the size to play up close and the athleticism to cover guys in the open field. One of those prototypical guys who always seems to be around the ball.

Joshua Dobbs – QB Tennessee

Dobbs was thrown into a tough situation as a sophomore on a young Vols team but performed admirably. He threw only 9 touchdowns to 6 interceptions in the half year he played but added 469 yards and 8 touchdowns on the ground. His versatility should make Tennessee’s offense interesting to watch in a backfield that already has stud RB Jalen Hurd.

George Campbell – ATH Florida State

Campbell is one of the top recruits in the country and could line up at WR for the Seminoles. It might be a little crazy to put someone on this list who has yet to suit up for his school but if Campbell gets playing time it could be warranted. Campbell has rare size and speed being listed at 6’4’’, 190 pounds, with a 4.35 forty yard dash and 38” vertical to boot. On a team that just lost its top two receiving threats, Campbell could make an immediate impact.