Basketball season is over for the Vols, but Tennessee football is still chugging along in spring practice. Caleb Calhoun and Dave Hooker preview the Vols’ defensive linemen this spring for Off The Hook’s Tuesday, March 28 podcast and also discuss whether or not UT is taking back the Wide Receiver U title. The stability of the athletic program, basketball and NIL and a debate over jersey retirements also took center stage.
Florida Gators give out Tim Tebow’s number: Fair or foul?
Wisconsin Badgers transfer quarterback Graham Mertz has been given Tim Tebow’s jersey number, No. 15, by Billy Napier and the Florida Gators. UF doesn’t retire jerseys, but is this still a bit too disrespectful? After all, Tebow won the Heisman and two national championships, one as a starter. Should schools give out jersey numbers if it’ll help them lure elite talent?
Is the title of Wide Receiver U returning to Tennessee football?
Due to the decade of dysfunction, the Clemson Tigers took the title of Wide Receiver U away from Tennessee football. However, Clemson struggled to find a go-to receiver last year, and the Vols had the Biletnikoff Award winner in Jalin Hyatt. Have they taken the title back under Josh Heupel? If not, are they in the process of doing so?
Why hasn’t Tennessee basketball embraced NIL?
The Miami Hurricanes made the Final Four this year thanks to two key transfers who both appear to have gone there due to NIL money. Why haven’t the Vols embraced NIL more under Rick Barnes in basketball the way they have in football? Would a standout playmaker work in Barnes’ system given how much more important development is?
Tennessee football spring defensive line preview
Despite losing Byron Young at edge rusher and LaTrell Bumphus at defensive tackle, Tennessee football returns a lot of talent on the defensive line. With more depth and more experience, will the Vols be better up front than they were last year, even with the departure of Young? Can Baron replace him? Who else is key at that position?
Stability of UT athletics
After a catastrophic two-year period from 2010 to 2012, the Vols athletic department seems to be on stable ground. Tennessee football has found its head coach, and Tennessee basketball, women’s basketball and baseball are all doing fine. Is this the most stable the Vols have been as a program in history? How does it compare to the late 1990s?