While they’re not exactly predicting that they’ll win the SEC East this fall, BleacherReport.com did give us fans some reason to hope with a Top 10 yesterday lauding some of Tennessee’s strong points as it heads into the second year of the Derek Dooley era. (new orange basketball kicks (above) not included, but desired if anyone has a spare size 10 and a half)
1. Tyler Bray – the proverbial fulcrum from which all things Vol football hinge in 2011
2. Experienced Offensive Line – Fulton, James, Stone, Thomas, and Schofield. Throw in “Tiny” Richardson and a sprinkle of Marcus Jackson for good measure and that’s a Golden Corral manager’s nightmare.
3. Balanced Rushing Attack – Bit premature on this one. Poole we know, kinda iffy beyond that.
4. Speed and Athleticism at Wide Receiver – Speed, check. Athleticism, Justin Hunter and his national collegiate long jump championships say hello. So, check.
5. Energized Coaching Staff – Derek Dooley hired a former human performance coordinator for the United States Army Special Forces (Ron McKeefrey) to head up the Vol’s strength and conditioning program. I’d say that’s the epitome of being fired up.
6. Strong Secondary – Results pending. Call me when Janzen Jackson is reinstated and we’ll vote again.
7. Defensive Line Will Be Much Better – This was a group that Derek Dooley referred to largely as a “sack of potatoes”, sans Malik Jackson, last year. Not much for rising sophomores Jacques Smith, Corey Miller, incoming JUCO Maurice Couch, and Jackson, to live up to.
8. Eight Home Games – Nothing says improvement like home cookin’. I’m gonna go ahead count 8 wins. You heard me right Georgia, LSU, and South Carolina.
9. Not Much Competition In The SEC East – OH SNAP! That means you Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina!
10. The Cyclical Nature Of College Football – I agree that Tennessee has been down for waaaaaay too long, and if this year’s recruiting class is anything like last year’s, this team’s time could come much sooner than anticipated.