Published August 19, 2010 - 2:35pm
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Tennessee was 4-4 in the SEC last year, 3-5 the year before, and 7-9 the last two years. Take your orange tinted glasses off and see if you agree with me about 2010.
Reason #1: Schedule
If you look at Tennessee’s schedule on paper, it is very tough. They host Oregon, Florida, Bama, Kentucky and Mississippi this year in Neyland, but let’s face it – I’ve heard a bird’s nest chirp louder than the Vol faithful this decade. Tennessee will be lucky to beat one of those teams. If the students won’t even come to games, you know you’re losing the fan base. On the contrary, Tennessee travels to LSU, Georgia, and South Carolina. LSU will be a night game and we know about night games at LSU. South Carolina always finds a way to underachieve, but it will be tough on the road. Georgia is always fun when they play Tennessee, but Georgia returns a lot of starters and will be interesting with a “Dooley” in the mix. Tennessee is already trying to lessen their schedule strength next year.
Reason #2: Depth
Tennessee has little depth at defensive line and the secondary. Obviously, they lost what I thought was the best college football player last year in Eric Berry to the NFL and this year loose highly touted safety Darren Myles Jr to an arrest earlier in the year. Returning in the secondary, they have Evans, Jackson and, the infamous Rod Wilks (this guy has quite the legacy in Knoxville). At defensive line, they lost Dan Williams to the NFL and are stretched with the injuries to Martin and Hughes in the trenches. Teams will run the football and will wear down the defensive front. Hopefully they are selling help at Wal-Mart in Knoxville.
Reason #3: Quarterback
Highly touted quarterback Tyler Bray will push to make a start for Tennessee at QB. He will be fighting for the job with Matt Simms, the JUCO transfer. Word is Simms will get the nod, but only for the experience factor. Bray is the future and I look for UT to go to Bray soon. At this point, either is a letdown compared to Crompton and I can’t even believe I am saying that!
Derek Dooley enters his first year of coaching a big time program. With that comes pressure. Can the law school graduate turned big time college coach prove he is worthy of the SEC? Vol fans will not judge him in year one so there might not seem to be as much pressure to win early. He will have to prove himself against of Meyer, Richt, Saban, and even Les Miles.
Reason #5: Offensive Line
Have you looked at the Vol’s roster on their OL? They have eleven true freshmen or redshirt freshman. I just see Tennessee getting handled up front with that inexperience. Freshmen Stone and Fulton look to start as true freshmen and the two were the cream of the crop.
I am rooting for Tennessee football this year because the SEC East is better with them and college football is better when they are in contention, not to mention when Rocky Top is playing on CBS. I just don’t see Tennessee finishing above Kentucky in the East.
Orange colored shades aside, what are your thoughts?