Previewing Wyoming’s Opponents: Tennessee Volunteers

The Volunteers ended up with a 10-4 record and winning the SEC East, before falling to LSU in the SEC Championship and then rebounding nicely to defeat Wisconsin in their bowl game.  This is one of those late season non conference games in November, and if all goes well for Tennessee they could realistically have a 6-3 or maybe a 7-2 record and be ranked in the top 20.  This game should be a blow out by Tennessee, for a fre reason first off Wyoming does not play well on the road and also the Cowboys have struggled late in the year.  This game should be a welcomed break from the tough SEC schedule that Tennessee goes through each year.

Offense: A lot of this could change by early November, but a good effort will be given here.  The quarterback situation will feature a new player in Jonathan Crompton who gets his long-awaited chance to run the team, after spending two years behind Erik Ainge.  The Volunteer fans could not be happier with a new quarterback, because of the inconsistent play that Ainge had.  Cromptons claim to fame so far in Knoxville is when he came off the bench in 2006 and nearly executed and upset of LSU, and besides that the fourth year junior has not had too much playing experience.

The running game is shored up very nicely with Arian Foster who comes back for another season and is within 684 yards of passing Travis Henry as the teams all time leading rusher.  Foster ran for 1,193 yards so getting to 684 should come by mid season and before this game against Wyoming.  The back up situation is a bit murky with Montario Hardesty who has shown explosive ability when healthy, but tore his ACL in 2005 and used a medical redshirt plus he had an ankle injury for a lot of last season.

Then there is Sophomore Lennon Creer was one of the pleasant surprises of the 2007 recruiting class, who rushed for over 200 yards and saw time on the return teams.  Then there is true freshman  Tauren Poole who enrolled early and has impressed the coaches and should see some time this year.

Lucas Taylor was probably one of the best wide out in the league people did not know about as he racked up 1,000 yards and 5 touchdowns.   The Volunteers are very deep at wide out and should have rotation of five or six deep and all who will be able to contribute.

Defense: Defense was where the team struggled as they gave up 28 per game last season.  The Vols allowed 164.6 yards on the ground per game last season, after surrendering an average of 146.7 in the prior campaign.  Their running game historically under Phillip Fulmer has been stellar and as you can tell from the earlier stat.  Against Wyoming this could pose a threat with their depth of running backs the Cowboys have.

Consistency was a problem with the running game, and with all four starters back on the line that should improve, but depth is a major concern behind the front four.  The Vols always seem to have an abundance of quality linebackers, and this season looks to be no different, and the leader of the backers is Rico McCoy.  The linebackers are the strength of the defense and this area is very good with depth mixed in with experience.

Last year the secondary was hit and miss and frustrating coaches having to play young players.  in 2008 all of that should pay off as the defensive backs could be the best part of this defense.  The only real question for the defensive backs is corner, because five different players started at that position and all five are back.  That just means on nickel and dime packages the Vols will not see a drop off, or if there happens to be any injuries the Vols will be all right.

Early Prediction: Expect a blowout in this game Tennesse should roll by three touchdowns.

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