#26 Tennessee Football 2015 Preview

Tennessee Volunteers

Overall Rank: #26
#8 SEC

Tennessee Team Page#26 Tennessee Football 2015 PreviewBuy Tennessee Football Tickets

Hopes are sky high amongst Tennessee fans heading into the 2015 season as the youthful Volunteers finished the 2014 season strong with a sound thrashing of Iowa in the TaxSlayer Bowl. Head Coach Butch Jones and his staff have done a tremendous job of recruiting and developing young talent and are a chic pick nationally to push Georgia to the limit this season for the 2015 SEC Eastern Division Championship.

2014 Record: 7-6, 3-5
2014 Bowl: TaxSlayer Bowl vs. Iowa (W 45-28)
Coach: Butch Jones 12-13 at Tennessee, 62-40 overall
Offensive Coordinator: Mike DeBord
Defensive Coordinator: John Jancek

Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Jalen Hurd, RB, 899 yards
Passing: Joshua Dobbs, QB, 1,206 yards
Receiving: Pig Howard, WR, 548 yards
Tackles: Jalen Reeves-Maybin, LB, 101
Sacks: Curt Maggitt, DE, 11.0
Interceptions: Cameron Sutton, CB, 3

Other Key Returnees: WR Marquez North, DE Derek Barnett, WR Von Pearson, TE Ethan Wolf, WR Josh Smith, WR Josh Malone, K Aaron Medley, SS Brian Randolph, FS LaDarrell McNeil  

Key Losses: LB A.J. Johnson, DT Jordan Williams, CB Justin Coleman, P Matt Darr

Joshua Dobbs is going to provide plenty of leadership at quarterback which will be a huge plus for the Volunteers offensively. Dobbs just continued to grow and evolve as a quarterback last season with his signature performance taking place at South Carolina where Tennessee rallied for a dramatic 45-42 victory over the Gamecocks. Jalen Hurd and Pig Howard at running back and wide receiver will create a nice triple threat offensively as both Hurd and Howard should make a run at 1,000 yard seasons running and catching the football. Alvin Kamara showed flashes of brilliance as well at running back in the spring and could provide a great 1-2 punch for offensive coordinator Mike DeBord in the backfield. Defensively, Curt Maggitt will be back to terrorize opposing quarterbacks in 2015 and will be looking to surpass his 11.0 sacks from last season. Cameron Sutton will lead an experienced secondary that returns three starters and should be able to take advantage of some inexperienced quarterbacks all throughout conference play.

Protecting the quarterback last season was a big problem for the Volunteers as they allowed nearly 3.5 sacks per game to opposing defenses. The good thing is that all five starters are returning, but the bad thing is these are the same five starters responsible for the running game struggling and the quarterbacks constantly running for their lives last season. The loss of A.J. Johnson, the number two all-time leading tackler in program history, is going to be another key storyline to watch for the Volunteers. Johnson, defensive tackle Jordan Williams and nickel back Justin Coleman all provided invaluable leadership and production for a young defense last season that got better as the season went along. It is going to be up to linebacker Jalen Reeves-Maybin to have another 100 plus tackle season in order for the Tennessee defense to grow as a unit.

The Bottom Line:
Everyone under the sun in the land of Rocky Top has their sights set on the rematch against Oklahoma in Neyland Stadium on September 12th. This will be the ultimate revenge matchup for the Volunteers as they were blown out in Norman 34-10 last season. However, Tennessee better not sleep on their first opponent Bowling Green at LP Field in Nashville on September 5th. The Falcons are very explosive offensively and have the potential to cause a ton of problems for the Volunteers defensively if they are not careful. The trip to Florida on September 26th will be another litmus test to see how far this Tennessee program has come as they missed a golden opportunity at home a year ago to beat the Gators in a 10-9 loss. If Tennessee can have a 4-1 or 5-0 record by October 10th when Georgia comes to Knoxville, you can rest assured it will be the biggest game at Neyland Stadium in several years. The Volunteers have given the Bulldogs fits in recent years and the time is fast approaching for Tennessee to kick the door down and beat the Georgia. Overall, if Joshua Dobbs makes it through the entire football season healthy, the Volunteers will have at nine wins in 2015.

Projected Bowl: Belk Bowl

2014 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 146.4 (89th in nation, 13th in conference)
Passing Offense: 224.2 (70, 8)
Total Offense: 370.5 (90, 11)
Scoring Offense: 28.9 (62, 10)
Rushing Defense: 168.4 (65, 9)
Pass Defense: 196.2 (22, 4)
Total Defense: 364.6 (36, 8)
Scoring Defense: 24.2 (35, 9)
Turnover Margin: 0.15 (53, 9)
Sacks: 2.69 (29, 4)
Sacks Allowed: 3.31 (117, 14)

Madness 2016 NFL Draft Rankings:
#44 Marquez North
#62 Cam Sutton
#86 Curt Maggitt

Madness 2015 Recruit Rankings:
#6 Kahlil McKenzie
#40 Kyle Phillips
#51 Drew Richmond
#56 Shy Tuttle
#57 Preston Williams
#122 Jack Jones
#178 Darrin Kirkland Jr.
#190 Andrew Butcher


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