2013 Tennessee Spring Football Analysis
Tennessee Volunteers 2013 ...
Head Coach: Butch Jones
Why To Be Excited ... Butch Jones is different than Derek Dooley. He’s a bit more fiery, a bit more pumped up, and he should bring a bit more of an edge. Dooley was a 180-degree turn from the Lane Kiffin problems and he appeared to be the right guy to try doing everything the right way, but his teams were never able to put it all together on both sides of the ball. Jones has a ton of work to do to get the offense in sync, but the defense that finished dead last in the SEC in yards and points allowed welcomes back seven starters including two on the line and three of the top four linebackers. A.J. Johnson is one of the SEC’s best young defenders and a key piece to work around, and the secondary that gets back three starters should be stronger if there’s more of a pass rush up front. The offense might have concerns, but the building blocks are there with four starters returning on the line, including three seniors, from a group that allowed just eight sacks on the year.
| 2013 Schedule|
8/31 Austin Peay
9/14 at Oregon
9/21 at Florida
9/28 South Alabama
10/12 OPEN DATE
10/19 South Carolina
10/26 at Alabama
11/2 at Missouri
11/16 OPEN DATE
11/30 at Kentucky
Why To Be Grouchy ... It could be argued that the team became way too reliant on the passing game, but it was the only thing that worked. Tyler Bray didn’t set the world on fire, but he was an NFL caliber quarterback working with pro receivers in Cordarrelle Patterson and Justin Hunter. They’re all gone, and the running game might not be quite strong enough to pick up the slack if no one respects the new parts to the passing attack. There’s the offseason and two games against Austin Peay and Western Kentucky to get everything in place, but it gets really ugly really fast with trips to Oregon and Florida and dates against Georgia, South Carolina and at Alabama after hosting South Alabama. It could be an ugly start.
What Needs Working On ... You can’t win in the SEC if you can’t play defense. Tennessee couldn’t stop Missouri, Vanderbilt, Mississippi State, or anyone with some semblance of a pulse, making the Opening Day 35-21 win over NC State more shocking as the year went along. The Wolfpack, Georgia State, Akron and Kentucky were the only teams not to hit the 30 point mark on the Vols, and Florida (37) and South Carolina (38) were the only other teams to not get to 40. There wasn’t much of a pass rush from the outside, and while there were plenty of plays made overall in the backfield, there weren’t enough to give the beleaguered secondary a break. Everyone got fat on the UT pass defense, with Georgia State the only offense to not throw for over 200 yards, meaning Jones has to spend a good bulk of his time working on how to keep all the nasty teams on the first half of the slate from bombing away at will.
/>Non-Conference Games: Austin Peay, WKU, at Oregon, South Alabama
Games Against The West: at Alabama, Auburn
Realistic Best Case Record: 8-4
Worst Case Record: 4-8
Likely Finish: 6-6
Pre-Preseason Projected Wins: Austin Peay, WKU, South Alabama, Auburn, Vanderbilt, at Kentucky
Pre-Preseason Projected Losses: at Oregon, at Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, at Alabama, at Missouri
Schedule Analysis: The Vols need to enjoy the first few weeks of the season, because it gets really bad, really fast. They need Austin Peay and Western Kentucky to kick things off and South Alabama to close out September, otherwise the first half of the Butch Jones era would likely take off with a crashing thud.
Try this out for a run of brutality. After hosting WKU, Tennessee goes on the road to play Oregon one week and then goes the 2,928 miles to kick off the SEC season at Florida. After the layup against South Alabama, Georgia comes to town before getting week off to rest up for South Carolina and road trips to Alabama and Missouri. November isn’t too bad with home games against Auburn and Vanderbilt wrapped around a week off. The regular season finale is a must win at Kentucky.
Team Concerns For 2013: It's going to take Butch Jones a few years to get everything going, but there are plenty of decent talents to develop. For this year, Goal One is to improve the SEC's worst defense after allowing a whopping 471 yards and 36 points per game. The biggest problem was a secondary that gave up way too many deep plays, but the pass rush didn't help the cause. With quarterback Tyler Bray and receivers Cordarrelle Patterson and Justin Hunter leaving early for the NFL, the nation's 15th-ranked passing game needs plenty of
The 2013 Class Is Heavy On ... Receivers. It's always asking for too much for true freshman to produce right away, but there are plenty of openings with tough losses at receiver. The opportunities will be there for at least one of the newcomers to see time right away. Marquez North is the best of the bunch with 6-3 size and 4.5 speed, but Paul Harris and Ryan Jenkins are nice options. Linebacker Jalen Reeves-Maybin and end Jason Carr are SEC talents, but with the coaching change and little time for Butch Jones to work, overall this isn't going to be the type of gamechanging class the program needs.
2012 CFN Recruiting Ranking:
40. That Class Was Heavy On ... The defensive front seven. The Volunteers were fine defensively, but not great. The offense needs a boost as soon as possible, but for the long haul the defense needs to beef things up on the line. There are good prospects waiting in the wings, but reinforcements are a must with a few stud defensive tackles a plus. The secondary is fine for the next few years, but players are needed to develop for 2014.
2011 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 10. That Class Was Heavy On ... Offensive linemen. Derek Dooley did a tremendous job with a class that might bring Tennessee back to the level that everyone has been waiting for. JUCO transfer safety Byron Moore will be used right away, JUCO transfer defensive tackle Maurice Couch will step inside instantly, and linebacker A.J. Johnson is a stud, but the key to the class is the bulking up on the offensive line with two Signing Day pickups in Cameron Clear and Antonio Richardson. Clear needs a while to bulk up, but the athleticism is there to be special. 6-5, 290-pound Kyler Kerbyson is ready soon, and guards Marcus Jackson and Alan Posey are promising.
2010 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 11. That Class Was
Heavy On ... The passing game.
The defense was hardly ignored in Derek Dooley's
first class with three excellent linemen in JUCO
transfer DT John Brown and ends Jacques Smith, and
Corey Miller all good enough to see time right away.
JUCO transfer Dave Clark needs to play a big role
this year at one corner, while JaWaun James might be
the SEC's best recruit for the O line. Before
leaving, Lane Kiffin made a big deal out of securing
the quarterbacks, and Dooley kept them around with
Tyler Bray, a very big, very talented passer to go
along with Nash Nance and JUCO transfer Matt Simms.
Simms will be expected to compete for the starting
job this offseason. Four terrific receivers were
signed with Da'Rick Rogers, Justin Hunter, and Matt
Milton all with next level skills.
2009 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 20. That Class Was
Heavy On ... defensive backs. The defensive line got a big boost with Jonathan Hollins and Rae Sykes likely to provide immediate help on the end, and the linebackers are strong with Jerod Askew with all the skills to be special. The secondary got the most help with six defensive backs, and they’re all fantastic. Safety Darren Myles might be the best prospect of the group, while Nyshier Oliver and corners Janzen Jackson, Mike Edwards, Eric Gordon and Marsalis Teague all have the potential to be stars.