2016 Tennessee Volunteers Preview


I had a chance to preview the Tennessee Volunteers over at The Student Section. Check it out here.

Here’s an excerpt from the preview…..

Much like Hugh Freeze has done at Ole Miss, Butch Jones has had consistent improvement every year that he’s been at Tennessee. The Vols went 5-7 in 2013, 7-6 in 2014, and 9-4 in 2015.

Butch Jones is now in his fourth year as head coach at Tennessee and a lot of the media expects 2016 to be the breakthrough year for Jones and the Vols. For example, Phil Steelehas them ranked seventh in his power poll, Athlon ranked them seventh, and Sports Illustrated ranks them eighth. Those are some lofty expectations for a team that hasn’t won 10 games since 2007.

There is a lot of reason for excitement this year. Tennessee has the second-most returning starters in the SEC (behind only LSU). The Volunteers have an experienced senior quarterback and one of the best running back duos in the league. The defense has shown improvement every season under Jones and it actually upgraded at coordinator this offseason with the hire of Bob Shoop. UT’s largest margin of defeat in the 2015 season was by seven points and that was an overtime game.

One thing that changes this year is that Tennessee is no longer the underdog. It is no longer the team that is fighting for respect. The Vols have earned their respect. The majority of media prognostications have Tennessee winning the SEC East and finishing in the Top 10. That is realistic, but is it asking too much too soon?

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