Published July 21, 2010 - 2:46pm
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The 2010 Volunteers do not stand out as world beaters on paper, and it’s hard to find a strong position this season. This team has several leaders off the field, but none are game changers, and none can carry this team.
On the offensive side of the field, ball catching will be the strength if someone can get the ball to them. Led by the best pro prospect on this team, tight end Luke Stocker and crafty senior wide out Gerald Jones, this group has a number of young stars in the waiting. Freshman 5* recruit Da’Rick Rogers leads a group of freshman that are trying to reclaim the title ‘Wide Receiver U’ back to Tennessee. This group also includes three 4* WR’s: very athletic Justin Hunter, large and athletic at 6’6” Matt Milton, and speedy Ted Meline. The receiving core will also need significant help from senior Denarius Moore and Sophomore Marsalis Teague.
Junior College transfer and son of Hall of Fame QB Phil Simms, Matt Simms looks to be the leader of the offense going into the fall. Simms struggled in the spring game, but with reports of good performance at the Manning Passing camps this summer, opinions have recently become positive of this quarterback. Tyler Bray is the big name freshman quarterback recruit that will push Simms for his job. Bray comes in at 6’6’’ 175, a little frail to take the licks in the SEC this season.
Taurean Poole has received all kinds of pub this summer as the running back to watch. With the breakout year from Montario Hardesty, and the overhype of freshman Bryce Brown, Poole’s carries were limited last year. Some say Kiffin promised Brown carries in the recruiting process, giving Poole no chance. Poole is strong and explosive and will need to be big for the Vols this year. David Oku, a great receiving back, will provide relief at running back. Another quiet strength for this offense could also be the fullback Kevin Cooper, he is a horse and also can catch some balls out of the backfield.
It is very hard to produce in this league without a great offensive line. The Vols offensive line has little to no experience. Jarrod Shaw will be the leader of this bunch, as the only returning lineman with much experience at all. Several freshmen have proved that they can be relied upon early, but for them to stop Florida, Alabama and Ole Miss defensive fronts will be another story. A couple talented freshmen to look out for will be JerQuari Schofield and JuWuan James. This will be the story to watch early in the season. If the big boys up front come together and play well, the offense might actually score some points.
Daniel Lincoln might have seen his last day as the kicker for Tennessee. He is a sore subject for most Vols fans, as you could place the blame for multiple games on his shoulder pads. The career 65% place kicker has been known for his low kicks, often eaten by an animal with two 9’s on his crimson jersey. Michael Palardy comes in as one of the most talked about kicker recruits in recent memory. The strong footed lefty from Ft. Lauderdale is ready to fight for the place kicker job. Whoever wins the job will need to perform at a high level to help this team score enough point to be competitive.