Tennessee defensive coordinator Bob Shoop has one of the most talented defenses in the SEC for 2016, and he’s confident in his unit, too.

Shoop said Monday night that “nobody will run the football on Tennessee” this season, via Jimmy Hyams, a host on The Sports Animal in Knoxville.

Those are bold claims by Shoop, who was hired from Penn State this offseason.

Tennessee ranked ninth in the SEC in run defense in 2015, giving up over 151 rushing yards per game, including 13 rushing touchdowns.

During Shoop’s first year at Penn State in 2014, the Nittany Lions finished second in the Big Ten in run defense, and his unit finished eighth overall in 2015. Before Penn State, Shoop coached at Vanderbilt, and his defensive units were a staple of the James Franklin era.

But he didn’t have as much talent nor depth as he does this season.

The Vols are virtually loaded at every level on defense. Derek Barnett, Kahlil McKenzie, Kendal Vickers, Corey Vereen, Shy Tuttle, Kyle Phillips and LaTroy Lewis, among others, make up a strong defensive front. That unit screams depth and talent. The Vols return their best defensive player in Jalen Reeves-Maybin at linebacker, too, along with Darrin Kirkland.

Will Tennessee be the SEC’s best run defense in 2016? It’s certainly possible, but Alabama, Georgia and Florida will have something to say about it.

Here are some other nuggets from Shoop via Jimmy Hyams:


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Tennessee online sports betting officially launched on November 1, 2020, and many of the largest sportsbooks are live and operating in the volunteer state. Tennessee is only one of a handful of SEC football states with legalized sports betting.