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Tennessee Volunteers 2010-2011 Season Preview

2009 Total Offense Rank (yards per game): 60
2009 Total Defense Rank (yards per game): 22

There are many new faces around the Tennessee Volunteers this year, both on and off the field. After the hasty departure of Lane Kiffin, Derek Dooley became the third Volunteer head coach in as many years. He will be taking over a team that lost team leaders all over the field. Quarterback Jonathan Crompton, running back Monterio Hardesty, defensive tackle Dan Williams, safety Eric Berry and others have moved on to the NFL. Can coach Dooley find a way out of this mess?

Starting with the quarterback position, Tennessee finds itself looking for a new leader like so many Southeastern Conference (SEC) teams this year. Junior college transfer Matt Simms (son of former NFL quarterback Phil Simms) will compete with true freshman Tyler Bray. Simms may have the experience, but it looks like Bray has the size (6’6) and arm strength to win the job.

Tennessee Volunteers College Football Cheerleader

No matter the quarterback, he will have a terrific receiving corps to work with. Gerald Jones and Denarius Moore combined for over 1,200 yards receiving last year. Add to them Da’Rick Rogers, a five star recruit with 4.4 speed, and Tennessee has a dangerous group of receivers.

Running back is another position up in the air after Bryce Brown, last year’s number 1 recruit in the nation, left the team and has not decided if he will return. If he doesn’t come back, junior Tauren Poole will likely bring his 10 carries from 2009 into the starting role.

The defense lost two of its best players from last season, but some quality returning players a great recruiting class may soften the blow. Last year’s sack leader and this year’s captain, Chris Walker, will be back along with linebacker Nick Reveiz to teach the young players. Dooley was able to score the 9th best recruiting class in the country according to ESPN recruiting. In this class is Corey Miller, the prized four star defensive end recruit.

All in all, it looks like there might be too much transition this year to allow the Volunteers to compete in the SEC. With some bright young players however, coach Dooley has the team moving in the right direction and should be a top contender very soon.

Tennessee’s odds to win the Southeastern Conference (SEC): +800

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