Joel Klatt is paid to be brutally honest about everything across the spectrum of the sport, and he didn’t hold back on what he thinks of Tennessee now and what he thinks the Volunteers can still become this season.

On his podcast, “The Joel Klatt Show,” Klatt talked about the plight of Vols star quarterback Hendon Hooker and the challenges he’ll face this Saturday when 2nd-ranked Tennessee visits top-ranked Georgia.

“I still believe Tennessee is flawed. There is an Achilles’ heel,” Klatt said. “There are flaws for Tennessee, and they are mainly on the defensive side. They’re now 83rd in the country in total defense. I’m not telling you that they’re the worst defense out there. I still have my questions about whether they are national championship-caliber. Based on these numbers, they’re not.”

Klatt said a few things have to happen for Tennessee to ascend to the very top of college football, and one is Hooker “going full Joe Burrow.”

While Hooker is having a lights-out season for the Volunteers with 2,338 yards passing, 21 touchdowns and just 1 interception, Klatt still doesn’t think the Hooker of 2022 is on the same level as Burrow of 2019.

But Klatt also said that perspective can change if Hooker leads the Vols to a victory over the Bulldogs in Athens, like Burrow did in his No. 1 vs. No. 2 showdown 3 years ago against Alabama.

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Tennessee sportsbooks are live in the Volunteer state since November 1, 2020. Tennessee was the first SEC state to legalize sports betting.