Tennessee Is Youthful, But Hungry
By Dan Harralson
There's no doubt the Tennessee football program is at an all-time low, but the Vols' program is also aiming to return to competing at a high-level under second-year head coach Butch Jones.
Jones made his second SEC Media Days appearance in Hoover, Alabama. Tuesday and addressed the media.
"SEC Media Days is a spectacle," Jones said. "There is nothing like pulling up in the lobby and being greeted by Tennessee Volunteer fans, its very special."
For the upcoming 2014 season, the Volunteers have young skill position players in place. But lack of experience is present, especially on the offensive side of the ball.
"We are extremely inexperienced, but very talented," Jones said. "We have had a productive offseason. But, it’s like we are an expansion team. We will be the youngest football team in all of college football."
The strong recruiting continues to help build Tennessee back to the top, and Jones has reached out to former players to help restore winning ways in Knoxville.
"We have had great resources to help us this offseason - Peyton Manning, Jon Gruden and Jason Witten have been by recently," he said.
In order for Tennessee to have success this season, the quarterback position will have to be productive and get the youthful talent the ball. Senior Justin Worley, sophomore Josh Dobbs and redshirt sophomore Nathan Peterman all started at least one game last season and are each competing for the starting spot.
"I am excited about all three quarterbacks," Jones said. "They have all made progress. We have increased team speed which will help all three."
The offensive line will also be a factor in order for the Tennessee offense to flourish, regardless of starting the starting quarterback.
"We are the only team in America that has to replace its entire offensive line and defensive line," said Jones.
Even if the Tennessee offense does not come full circle this season, 2014 is still a building block for the future.
"Everything is about getting back to a bowl game," Jones continued. "But it starts with the power of one.
"The expectations never change. The standard and culture at Tennessee will never change. We are focused on the power of one. Coming together as one. I like coaching a team of unknowns. They are eager and hungry. They want to learn more – I like coaching a team like this."
2014 Tennessee Schedule Prediction
Wins: Utah State, Arkansas State, Florida, Chattanooga, Kentucky, Vanderbilt
Losses: Oklahoma, Alabama, South Carolina
Toss-ups: Georgia, Ole Miss, Missouri