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2008 Tennessee Volunteers Season
Tennessee RB Arian Foster
Tennessee RB Arian Foster
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Feb 4, 2009


2008 Tennessee Volunteers Season, Game Recaps, Scores and Reviews

2008 Tennessee Volunteers

Nov. 29
Tennessee 28 … Kentucky 10
Phil Fulmer’s going away party ended on a high note as Jonathan Crompton ran for a one-yard score and connected with Denarius Moore for a 63-yard score for a 14-3 lead going into the fourth quarter. The running game put things away with short touchdown runs from Lennon Creer and Gerald Jones before UK finally got into the end zone on a one-yard Alfonso Smith run with just under four minutes to play. In the rain and blustery conditions, UK managed just 193 yards of offense. Tennessee gained 311 with 210 on the ground.
Player of the game: Tennessee QB Jonathan Crompton completed 6-of-8 passes for 101 yards and a touchdown, and he ran eight times for 17 yards and a score
Stat Leaders: Kentucky - Passing: Mike Hartline, 5-7, 74 yds
Rushing: Tony Dixon, 15-48. Receiving: Alfonso Smith, 2-21
Tennessee - Passing: Jonathan Crompton, 6-8, 101 yds, 1 TD
Rushing: Gerald Jones, 5-67, 1 TD. Receiving: Gerald Jones, 3-15
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... Out with the Fulmer era and in with Lane Kiffin. The Tennessee defense remained strong throughout the season, but Kiffin’s first job will be to generate more offense again. Tennessee was able to bang out rushing yards for the first time in a while, helped by a banged up UK defensive front, while the passing game came up with one big pass play, and that was it. It’s time for a bit of an overhaul, but for all the negative things this year, finishing with a 5-7 record and winning two straight to close out showed some heart.

- 2008 Tenn. Preview
- 2007 Tenn. Season

2008 Schedule
CFN Prediction: 9-3
2008 Record:
5-7

Sept. 1 at UCLA L 27-24 OT
Sept. 6 OPEN DATE 
Sept. 13 UAB W 35-3
Sept. 20 Florida L 30-6
Sept. 27 at Auburn L 14-12
Oct. 4 Northern Illinois W 13-9
Oct. 11 at Georgia L 26-14
Oct. 18 Mississippi State W 34-3
Oct. 25 Alabama L 29-9
Nov. 1 at South Carolina L 27-6
Nov. 8 Wyoming L 13-7
Nov. 15 OPEN DATE 
Nov. 22 at Vanderbilt W 20-10
Nov. 29 Kentucky W 28-10

2007 Schedule
CFN Prediction: 9-3
2007 Record: 10-
4

Sept. 1 at California L 45-31
Sept. 8
So Miss W 39-19
Sept. 15 at Florida L 59-20
Sept. 22
Arkansas St W 48-27
Oct. 6 Georgia W 35-14
Oct. 13 at Mississippi St W 33-21
Oct. 20 at Alabama L 41-17
Oct. 27 So Carolina W 27-24 OT
Nov. 3 UL Lafayette W 59-7
Nov. 10 Arkansas W 34-13
Nov. 17 Vanderbilt W 25-24
Nov. 24 at Kent. W 52-50 4 OT
SEC Championship
Dec. 1 LSU L 21-14
Outback Bowl
Jan. 1 Wisconsin W 21-17

Nov. 22
Tennessee 20 … Vanderbilt 10
Tennessee got all the points it needed in the second quarter as Montario Hardesty ran for an eight-yard touchdown and Eric Berry took a Chris Nickson pass 45 yards for a touchdown. Daniel Lincoln came through with field goals from 25 and 25 yards out. Mackenzi Adams stepped in to take over in the second half for the Commodores, but he only came up with three points on a 31-yard Bryant Hahnfeldt field goal. The defense came through with the other Vandy points on a 42-yard interception return for a score from Reshard Langford. Neither offense did much combining for 456 total yards.
Player of the game: Tennessee LB Rico McCoy made 11 tackles and broke up a pass
Stat Leaders: Vanderbilt - Passing: Mackenzi Adams, 18-38, 192 yds, 1 INT
Rushing: Jeff Jennings, 7-19. Receiving: George Smith, 5-46
Tennessee - Passing: B.J. Coleman, 4-8, 21 yds, 1 INT
Rushing: Lennon Creer, 13-80. Receiving: Gerald Jones & Austin Rogers, 1-7
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... 25 yards passing? Tennessee? Yeah, the team played one of its better games in a while as the defense dominated Vanderbilt and the running game finally, finally got rolling, but B.J. Coleman and Jonathan Crompton combined to complete 4-of-9 passes for 21 yards and two touchdowns. At the very least, the team has still decided to give an effort to close things out. Give credit to the players for not quitting on a dead season or a lame-duck coach.

Nov. 8
Wyoming 13 … Tennessee 7
Wyoming embarrassed a punchless Tennessee with a pick leading to a four-yard Greg Genho touchdown catch three minutes into the game, and a 24-yard interception return for a touchdown from Ward Dobbs providing all the points needed. Tennessee managed a mere 219 yards of total offense with 64 of them coming on the one scoring drive. Gerald Jones caught an eight-yard touchdown pass for the only Vol points.
Player of the game: Wyoming LB Ward Dobbs made 13 tackles, an interception return for a touchdown, four tackles for loss with a sack.
Stat Leaders: Tennessee - Passing: Jonathan Crompton, 11-27, 91 yds, 1 TD
Rushing: Lennon Creer, 16-92. Receiving: Gerald Jones, 5-37, 1 TD
Wyoming - Passing: Chris Stutzriem, 8-16, 95 yds, 1 TD
Rushing: Devin Moore, 32-98. Receiving: Devin Moore, 2-9
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... You think Tennessee was a weeee bit distracted this week? The team certainly played like it as the offense was worse than ever against Wyoming, and while the defense did its job, it didn’t matter. There’s nothing coming from the running game that was without Arian Foster and Montario Hardesty, while Nick Stephens took a huge step back in his progression with an awful game before getting yanked for Jonathan Crompton. The coach is gone, there isn’t going to be a bowl game, and the pressure is completely off at this point. Now there’s a week off to sit and stew before the trip to Vanderbilt.

Nov. 1
South Carolina 27 … Tennessee 6
South Carolina took a 24-0 lead late into the third quarter on two Stephen Garcia touchdown passes and a 68-yard Stoney Woodson interception return for a score. Tennessee struggled throughout with only an Arian Foster scoring a one-yard touchdown. The passing game didn’t move the ball and the offensive line was under siege all game long. Garcia was strong until he hurt his knee. Ryan Succop added two 31-yard field goals in the second half.
Player of the game: South Carolina LB/DE Eric Norwood made six tackles and two sacks.
Stat Leaders: Tennessee - Passing: Nick Stephens, 10-24, 134 yds, 1 TD
Rushing: Arian Foster, 14-56, 1 TD. Receiving: Austin Rogers, 3-72
South Carolina - Passing: Stephen Garcia, 9-19, 139 yds, 2 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Mike Davis, 26-58. Receiving: Kenny McKinley 4-50, 1 TD
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... Tennessee has gone from bad to worse. The South Carolina defense is good enough to slow down anyone, but the Vol attack didn’t help the cause with little from the passing game and a mere 1.2 yards per run because of the constant attacks from the Gamecock defensive front. How hot is the seat under Phil Fulmer? Something positive needs to happen in a real hurry, and if the Vols don’t blast a bad Wyoming team next week, the era might be over. As bad as things have been, the last three games (Wyoming, Vanderbilt and Kentucky) are all winnable.


Oct. 25
Alabama 29 … Tennessee 9
After trading field goals with Tennessee, Alabama got three-yard touchdown run from Glen Coffee on 4th-and-one, coupled with a Vol missed field goal late in the first half to get all the momentum with a 13-3 lead. A 26-point run with long drives leading to short rushing scores from John Parker Wilson and Roy Upchurch helped put the game away, while the defense didn’t let Tennessee move the ball until a late Josh Briscoe touchdown catch. Tennessee only finished with 173 yards of total offense.
Player of the game: Alabama QB John Parker Wilson completed 17-of-24 passes for 188 yards and ran for a score.
Stat Leaders: Tennessee - Passing: Nick Stephens, 16-28, 137 yds, 1 TD
Rushing: Arian Foster, 6-21. Receiving: Josh Briscoe, 4-46, 1 TD
Alabama - Passing: John Parker Wilson, 17-24, 188 yds
Rushing: Roy Upchurch, 14-86, 1 TD. Receiving: Julio Jones, 6-103
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... Tennessee’s Achilles heel so far has been the woeful passing game, but against Alabama, the running game failed to get anything going with just 36 yards and the longest run a 12-yard Nick Stephens scramble. Arian Foster and Montario Hardesty are NFL caliber backs that can’t get any work, and while Stephens spread the ball around, there was little pop to the passing game. With Vanderbilt, Wyoming and Kentucky left to play, a bowl game is still very possible, but even if the Vols win all three games and win at South Carolina next week, the team’s woes might be too much for Phil Fulmer. Something drastic has to happen to turn down the hot seat.

Oct. 18
Tennessee 34 … Mississippi State 3
The two sputtering offenses traded field goals in the first half with Tennessee holding a 6-3 lead into the locker room, and then the defense took over. The Vols went on a 53-yard drive finishing with a one-yard Montario Hardesty run in the third quarter, and then in a span of less than two minutes, Eric Berry returned an interception 72 yards for a touchdown and Demetrice Morley took a pick 32 yards for a score. Tennessee outgained MSU 275 yards to 189.
Player of the game: Tennessee DB Eric Berry made 10 tackles, a sack, two broken up passes and took an interception 72 yards for a score
Stat Leaders: Mississippi State - Passing: Tyson Lee, 12-23, 114 yds, 3 INT
Rushing: Anthony Dixon, 15-46. Receiving: Anthony Dixon, 3-27
Tennessee - Passing: Nick Stephens, 10-20, 136 yds
Rushing: Lennon Creer, 17-68, 1 TD. Receiving: Austin Rogers & Lucas Taylor, 2-23
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... The offense still stinks, but at least it went on a few good scoring drives against Mississippi State. Lost in the down year has been the play of the defense, and the tremendous tandem of Eric Berry and Demetrice Morley changed the MSU game around with big plays. But the blowout win shouldn’t gloss over the struggling play of the running game that gained just 139 yards. Nick Stephens still hasn’t shown much, completing just half of his passes.

Oct. 11
Georgia 26 … Tennessee 14
Matthew Stafford threw for a career-high 310 yards with a nine-yard touchdown pass to Mohamed Massaquoi, and Blair Walsh hit four field goals as Georgia had to battle its way to the win. Tennessee stuck around on two Nick Stephens touchdown passes, including a 12-yarder to Lucas Taylor to pull within six in the second half, but the Bulldog defense held tough in the fourth quarter. Tennessee finished with just one net yard rushing as Georgia held on to the ball for 42:04..
Player of the game: Georgia QB Matthew Stafford completed 25-of 36 passes for 210 yards and a touchdown with two interceptions.
Stat Leaders: Tennessee - Passing: Nick Stephens, 13-30, 208 yds, 2 TD
Rushing: Montario Hardesty, 6-20. Receiving: Gerald Jones, 4-68, 1 TD
Georgia - Passing: Matthew Stafford, 25-36, 310 yds, 1 TD, 2 INT
Rushing: Knowshon Moreno, 27-101. Receiving: A.J. Green, 7-53
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... 17:56 of possession time. One rushing yard. 10 penalties. Tennessee didn’t exactly get a good game out of its offensive line in the loss to Georgia, and although the D gave up passing yards, it held firm as much as possible. Ellix Wilson had a huge day making 16 tackles, but the lack of offensive production, again, was a killer. The Vol O line Is too good to be struggling so much to find room for Arian Foster and Montario Hardesty to move, while Nick Stephens isn’t doing nearly enough to get the offense moving.

Oct. 4
Tennessee 13 … Northern Illinois 9
Nick Stephens got the starting quarterback call for Tennessee and he came up with a 52-yard touchdown pass to Denarius Moore in the third quarter. That was the highlight. Tennessee’s offense sputtered, gaining a mere 225 yards, but the defense came through holding NIU to just 194 yards of offense and three Mike Salerno field goals. Daniel Lincoln connected from 36 and 34 yards out for the Vols.
Player of the game: Tennessee LB Rico McCoy made eight tackles and a sack
Stat Leaders: Tennessee - Passing: Nick Stephens, 10-17, 156 yds, 1 TD
Rushing:
Arian Foster, 18-75. Receiving: Denarius Moore, 3-65, 1 TD
Northern Illinois
- Passing: Dan Nicholson, 10-15, 79 yds
Rushing:
DeMarcus Grady, 14-41. Receiving: Nathan Palmer, 4-26
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ...
Yeeeeeeesh. Jonathan Crompton might not be Peyton Manning, but he wasn’t that bad. Nick Stephens didn’t get the offense moving against Northern Illinois. Take away the 52-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter, and the offense gained a mere 173 yards. Arian Foster ran relatively well and the defense wasn’t going to let the Vols lose, but dropped passes, penalties and two turnovers showed just how much trouble the team is in at the moment. Nine first downs aren’t going to cut it at Georgia next week.

Sept. 27
Auburn 14 ... Tennessee 12
In an ugly game with just 437 yards of combined total offense, Robert Dunn caught an 18-yard touchdown pass from Chris Todd in the first quarter and Jake Ricks recovered a fumble for a score in the second for a 14-6 Auburn lead. Tennessee got two Daniel Lincoln field goals in the second quarter, and finally got into the end zone early on the fourth on a two-yard Montario Hardesty run. Choosing to go for two, the pass was completed short of the goal line. The Auburn defense held the rest of the way. Tennessee finished with just nine first downs, Auburn came up with 15.
Player of the game:
Auburn LB Josh Bynes made 11 tackles and a quarterback hurry
Stat Leaders: Auburn
- Passing: Chris Todd, 14-23, 93 yds, 1 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Ben Tate, 19-70. Receiving: Robert Dunn, 6-54, 1 TD
Tennessee - Passing: Jonathan Crompton, 8-23, 67 yds
Rushing: Montario Hardesty, 10-35, 1 TD. Receiving: Gerald Jones & Austin Rogers, 1-14
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ...
Let's start with what's working. The defense is playing well, especially against the run, and it did everything possible to keep the team in the game against Auburn when the offense was dying. Offensively, the running game struggled to get anything established, but the Auburn defensive front is going to stuff just about everyone. Jonathan Crompton isn't making plays on third downs, and while he's spreading the ball around well, he's not getting a No. 1 target who's making anyone pay. And then there are the fumbles. Had there not been the drops over the last few weeks, the final scores would've looked far different. It's not just that Tennessee is turning the ball over; it's that the fumbles have been killers.

Sept. 20
Florida 30 ... Tennessee 6
Neither offense did much, but Florida got the big plays when needed as Brandon James returned the opening kickoff 55 yards to lead to a two-yard Tim Tebow touchdown pass to Aaron Hernandez. The Gators turned a Tennessee fumble into a field goal, and then James ended the show with a 78-yard punt return for a touchdown for a 17-0 first quarter. Thanks to a 15-yard Percy Harvin touchdown catch, the Gators got up 27-0 going into the fourth quarter before Tennessee finally got things moving with a long drive leading to a one-yard Jonathan Crompton touchdown run. That was it for a Tennessee offense that finished with 258 yards, but the defense did a decent job holding Florida to 243 yards.
Player of the game: Florida returner Brandon James took two punts for 92 yards and a touchdown, and took a kickoff 52 yards. .
Stat Leaders: Tennessee - Passing: Jonathan Crompton, 18-28, 162 yds, 1 INT
Rushing: Arian Foster, 14-37. Receiving: Gerald Jones, 5-40
Florida - Passing: Tim Tebow, 8-15, 96 yds, 2 TD
Rushing: Emmanuel Moody, 9-55. Receiving: Percy Harvin, 2-49, 1 TD
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... Tennessee needs to go more smashmouth. The passing game isn't quite humming, and it struggled mightily against Florida to make anything happen, but the offensive line has to be able to line up and start hitting a little more. Yes, the Gator defense dominated the Vol running game, but with nothing else happening, trying to wear down the defensive front, and to shorten the game, might have worked a big better. More than anything else, Tennessee kept killing itself with poor special teams, bad penalties, and errors on both sides of the ball. And now comes a trip to Auburn ... uh oh.

Sept. 13
Tennessee 35 ... UAB 3
Tennessee was never threatened taking a 14-0 lead on two Gerald Jones touchdown catches from 20 and 14 yards out. UAB came up with a 47-yard Swayze Waters field goal in the third quarter, but that was it. The Volunteer running game took over from there with Montario Hardesty running for a six-yard score and Lennon Creer scoring from 45 and three yards out. The Vols outgained the Blazers 266 yards to 108 on the ground.
Player of the game: Tennessee S Eric Berry made seven tackles and an interception
Stat Leaders: Tennessee - Passing: Jonathan Crompton, 19-31, 240 yds, 2 TD, 2 INT
Rushing: Arian Foster, 12-100. Receiving: Lucas Taylor, 9-132
UAB - Passing: Joe Webb, 19-34, 167 yds, 3 INT
Rushing: Joe Webb, 14-78. Receiving: Frantrell Forrest, 8-83
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... It wasn't a perfect performance against UAB, but it was dominant. C
onsidering this was a tune-up for Florida next week, it wasn't a bad overall game. The Vol offensive line did a terrific job of opening things up for the running game, while the offense had a near perfect balance with 266 yards rushing and 276 passing. Jonathan Crompton was fine, but he got a lot of help from his receivers. He'll need to be more accurate next week against the Gators.

Sept. 1
UCLA 27 ... Tennessee 24 OT
A wild finish ended when Tennessee PK Daniel Lincoln missed a 34-yard field goal in overtime after UCLA's Kai Forbath nailed a 42-yards on the Bruins' possession. Both offenses struggled through most of the game with UCLA getting its first touchdown on a blocked punt for a touchdown from Sean Westgate, while Tennessee picked off Kevin Craft four times with Nevin McKenzie returning a pick 61 yards for a touchdown with 23 seconds left in the first half. And then the quarterbacks got hot in the final eight minutes with UCLA marching 70 yards in nine plays with Ryan Moya catching a three-yard touchdown pass for a three-point UCLA lead with 27 seconds to play. But Tennessee would come back with Daniel Lincoln nailing a 47-yard field goal to force overtime.
Player of the game: UCLA QB Kevin Craft completed 25 of 43 passes for 269 yards and a touchdown with four interceptions
Stat Leaders: Tennessee - Passing: Jonathan Crompton, 19-41, 189 yds, 1 INT
Rushing: Arian Foster, 13-96. Receiving: Gerald Jones, 4-40
UCLA - Passing: Kevin Craft, 25-43, 269 yds, 1 TD, 4 INT
Rushing: Raymond Carter, 15-14, 1 TD. Receiving: Ryan Moya, 7-6,5, 1 TD
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... The defense picked the wrong time to start struggling. After dominating UCLA for roughly 53 minutes, the pass rush was a half-step too slow to get to Kevin Craft, and the coaching of Bruin offensive coordinator Norm Chow beat the Tennessee coaching staff. The game could've gone either way and there's no reason to get hung up on the loss. If anything, the play of QB Jonathan Crompton to get the team in a position to force overtime at the end was a major breakthrough. The running game will be tremendous all season long if Arian Foster and Montario Hardesty run like they did against the Bruins.

2008 Recruiting Class

Star of the Class

E.J. Abrams-Ward WR 6-5 210 Thomasville, N.C. (Thomasville HS)
Named Associated Press All-State as a senior in 2007 and sophomore in 2005 ... 2007 All-Southern team ... Named to the Atlanta-Journal-Constitution Super Southern 100 team ... North Carolina Offensive Player of the Year for Class 1A as a senior ... Three-time All-Conference and All-County selection as a senior, junior and sophomore ... Two-time All-Region selection as a senior and junior. ... As a senior in 2007, rushed for more than 1,200 yards and totaled better than 800 yards receiving ... As a junior in 2006, threw for 596 yards and six touchdowns.... Four-year letterman and three-year starter in football, starting at linebacker as a sophomore and junior as well as three-year starter on offense ... Also a standout basketball player, scoring topping 1,000 points in his career as a three-year starter ... Earned All-State, All-Conference and All-County honors in basketball as a junior ... A standout baseball player, earned All-Conference honors as a sophomore and junior as a pitcher and centerfielder ... Senior team captain for football and basketball.


Potential Instant Impact Players

Herman Lathers LB 6-0 210 Baton Rouge, La. (Scotlandville HS)
As a senior in 2007, tallied 114 tackles with 18 tackles-for-loss and five sacks ... Also had two interceptions ... As a junior at Istrouma had 96 tackles and 14 sacks. Played two years at Istrouma high school in Baton Rouge.

Stephaun Raines DB 6-0 180 Dalton, Ga. (Dalton HS/Coffeyville C.C.)
Class 4A All-State as senior ... Two-time All-Area and All-TriState ... Chattanooga Times Free Press 2005 All-North Georgia. ... As a senior in 2005, accounted for more than 1,700 all-purpose yards and 15 touchdowns ... Caught 41 passes for 704 yards and seven touchdowns to go with 947 rushing yards and eight touchdowns ... As a junior, caught 49 passes for 912 yards and eight touchdowns ... Also in 2004, carried the ball 12 times for 187 yards. ... Originally signed with Tennessee in 2006 and has four years to play four years ... Three-year high school starter at wide receiver ... Offensive captain and offensive MVP senior season ... Also started at defensive back as sophomore in 2003 ... Three-year letterwinner in track and field ... Events included 100M, 200M, 4x100M and 4x400M ... Top time in 100M was 10.5 seconds ... Redshirted 2007 season at Coffeyville Community College


Rest of the Class


Carson Anderson OL 6-3 275 Florence, Ala. (Florence HS)
Preston Bailey OL 6-5 320 Nashville (Montgomery Bell Academy)
Ben Bartholomew FB 6-3 235 Nashville (Montgomery Bell Academy)
Wille Bohannon DL 6-3 230 Mobile, Ala. (Blount HS)
Aaron Douglas OL/TE 6-6 245 Maryville (Maryville HS)
Steven Fowlkes WR 6-5 213 College Park, Ga. (Banneker HS)
Montori Hughes DL 6-5 275 Murfreesboro (Siegel HS)
Austin Johnson LB 6-3 235 Hickory, N.C. (Hickory HS)
Casey Kelly QB 6-4 195 Sarasota, Fla (Sarasota HS)
Tauren Poole RB 5-10 194 Toccoa, Ga. (Stephens County HS)
Dallas Thomas OL 6-6 260 Baton Rouge, La. (Scotlandville HS)
Prentiss Waggner DB 6-2 180 Clinton, La. (Clinton HS)
Marlon Walls LB 6-4 230 Olive Branch, Miss. (Olive Branch HS)
Rodriquez Wilks WR 6-2 205 Smyrna, Tenn. (Smyrna HS)
Gerald Williams LB 6-4 240 Lauderdale Lakes, Fla. (City College of San Francisco)

2008 Lookahead
Why to get excited: Considering the league the Vols play in, the schedule isn't all that bad, especially late. Road trips to UCLA, Auburn and Georgia, along with the home date against Florida, makes things nasty early on, but if Phil Fulmer can get through 4-2, things get as good as can be reasonably asked for playing Mississippi State, Alabama, at South Carolina, Wyoming, at Vanderbilt and Kentucky. Ten starters return on offense including the entire offensive line that led the nation in fewest sacks allowed. RB Arian Foster's decision to come back for his senior season was a big plus.
Why to be grouchy: Yeah, most of the key parts are back on offense, but the two biggest parts, offensive coordinator David Cutcliffe and QB Erik Ainge, are gone. The defense was shockingly average, and now it has to replace three starters on the line, heart-and-soul playmakers Jerod Mayo and Jonathan Hefney, and solid tackling LB Ryan Karl.
The number one thing to work on is: Getting into the backfield. Outback Bowl win over Wisconsin aside, the Vols had a nightmare of a time getting to the quarterback and struggled way too much to stop the running game behind the line. With only two starters coming back on the defensive front seven, the coaching staff needs the off-season to figure out how to manufacture more of a pass rush.
Biggest offensive loss: QB Erik Ainge
Biggest defensive loss: LB Jerod Mayo & FS Jonathan Hefney
Best returning offensive player: OG Anthony Parker, Sr.
Best returning defensive player: SS Eric Berry, Soph.

2007 Recap
Recap: The Volunteers won 10 games, the rugged SEC East, and the Outback Bowl over Wisconsin, which wasn’t half bad for a program that was given up for dead at least twice last fall.  After hitting bedrock on Oct. 20 with a 41-17 loss to Alabama, Tennessee rallied for five wins in-a-row, including a couple of wild ones in overtime.  The Vols hung with eventual national champ LSU in the SEC title game, getting rare help from the defense, before bowing on a couple of inexcusable Erik Ainge interceptions late in the game.         

Offensive Player of the Year: QB Erik Ainge

Defensive Player of the Year: LB Jerod Mayo

Biggest Surprise: Winning the SEC East.  After the 24-point loss to ‘Bama, a game that was every bit as lopsided as the score indicated, Tennessee looked incapable of becoming bowl eligible, let alone beating out Florida and Georgia for the division.  With a break here and there and a timely stretch run, the Vols ended up in Atlanta on Dec. 1, ending speculation about Phil Fulmer’s future in Knoxville.       

Biggest Disappointment: When Tennessee lost in the regular season, it never was pretty.  On Sept. 15, for instance, the Vols got dressed down by Florida, 59-20, in one of the worst showings ever in this heated rivalry.  UT helped QB Tim Tebow get his Heisman campaign off the ground, allowing the sophomore to throw for 299 yards and two scores, and rush for 61 yards and two more touchdowns.

Looking Ahead:
Former Richmond head coach Dave Clawson has been hired to replace David Cutcliffe, who is trying to breathe life into Duke.  Cutcliffe’s knack with quarterbacks will be missed since Ainge is out of eligibility, and likely to be replaced by junior Jonathan Crompton.  Defensive coordinator John Chavis will be putting out an APB for pass rushers after his unit finished eighth in the SEC in sacks.

 

  

Related Stories
Vols go heavy for D
 -by InsideTennessee.com  Feb 4, 2009
Vols whiff at QB
 -by InsideTennessee.com  Feb 4, 2009
Vols not done yet
 -by InsideTennessee.com  Feb 4, 2009








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