Published August 25, 2010 - 1:52pm
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The Tennessee Volunteers open the 2010 season against Ohio Valley Conference team Tennessee-Martin. “New” is the storyline for the Vols coming into the season opener. Here are five things you need to know about Tennessee vs. Tennessee-Martin:
1. Derek Dooley enters his first year, first game coaching the Tennessee program. Dooley played wide receiver at Virginia and later became the head coach at Louisiana Tech where he had a career record of 17 – 20. Dooley will have to re-energize the fan base and the students to get excited about football in Tennessee. He will get that opportunity in game one against Tennessee-Martin.
2. This marks the first game without Jonathan Crompton at the quarterback position this year for the Vols. JUCO transfer Matt Simms and freshman early enrollee Tyler Bray will continue battle it out for the starting job. Simms will likely start, barring injury, and Bray will get to see some action in the second half when this one gets out of control. It will be fun to see Bray develop into what I believe to be a quality SEC quarterback.
3. I am particularly anxious to see the wide receiving core for Tennessee. This is a position for Tennessee that actually has some depth. Getting those wide receivers the football will be key though. Seniors Gerald Jones and Denarius Moore lead the veteran wide receivers, while freshmen Justin Hunter and Da’Rick Rogers will make for an exciting duo for Bray to work with.
4. Chuck Smith was Dooley’s final hire to complete the coaching staff. Smith is a former UT and pro defensive star and went to high school with Dooley. He has built a reputation on being a defensive line specialist with a couple of his former pupils playing professional football right now – Albert Haynesworth, Robert Ayers, and Shaun Ellis to name a few. Smith will have his hands full with a depleted defensive line to due to injury and the NFL. Chris Walker is the lone standout on the defensive line for the Vols and figures to have a big game against the smaller offensive line of Tennessee-Martin.
5. Tennessee-Martin’s rushing defensive last year was ranked 37th in Football Championship Subdivision. This should open the gates for junior running back Tauren Poole. Poole has sat behind Arian Foster and the Kiffin-promised starter Bryce Brown for the last two seasons. Poole has continually shown flashes of potential every time he touches the ball in practice and in the games. Tauren Poole looks to have a big season and it starts with the opener against Tennessee-Martin.