#55 Tennessee Football 2013 Preview

Tennessee Volunteers

Overall Rank: #55
# 11 SEC

Tennessee Team Page#55 Tennessee Football 2013 PreviewBuy Tennessee Football Tickets

The Tennessee Volunteers will count on first year head coach Butch Jones to begin the process of returning the Volunteers to one of the nation’s elite in college football. A veteran returning offensive line may just provide the foundation for Jones who had very successful stops at Central Michigan and Cincinnati. The question will be finding answers for a defense that struggled throughout all of the 2012 season.

2012 Record: (5-7, 1-7)
2012 Bowl: None
Coach: Butch Jones (0-0 at Tennessee, 50-27 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Mike Bajakian
Defensive Coordinator: John Jancek

Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Rajon Neal, RB, 708 yards
Passing: Justin Worley, QB, 134 yards
Receiving: Marlin Lane, WR, 228 yards
Tackles: A.J. Johnson, LB, 138
Sacks: Curt Maggitt, LB, 2; Jacques Smith, DE, 2; Jordan Williams, , 2
Interceptions: Byron Moore, S, 5

Other Key Returnees: LT Antonio Richardson, C James Stone, RG Zach Fulton, RT Ja’Waun James, DT Daniel Hood, DT Daniel McCullers, CB Justin Coleman, S Brian Rudolph, OL Ja’Wuan James, OL Antonio Richardson

Key Losses: WR Cordarelle Patterson, QB Tyler Bray, WR Justin Hunter, TE Mychal Rivera, LB Herman Lathers

The offensive line is the core of this team, along with a senior class buying into the overall philosophy of Coach Jones and his staff. There are four returning offensive lineman led by left tackle Antonio Richardson, who will be vital in protecting new starting quarterback Justin Worley. The Volunteers return experience in the running game with senior Rajon Neal who had 708 yards last season. If Neal can make a run closer towards 1,000 yards, and Marlin Lane can have a big season, the running game will go a long way in accelerating the growth of this Tennessee team. The Volunteers have to find a way to control the football on the ground to keep their defense off the field and keep the ball away from some very explosive offenses that litter their schedule in 2013.

Tennessee brings back a lot of personnel from a defense that was one of the worst statistically in program history. The Volunteers gave up nearly 500 yards per game. At times they looked like they were not able to play at full speed as the scheme was very complex and not suited to the personnel on hand. New defensive coordinator, John Jancek, has come in and simplified things in a new 4-3 scheme that should be able to improve the defense right off the bat. It is way too difficult to play defense in college football, even with the sophistication of the offenses, so this simplified approach by the new staff is very important for the team to move forward. The key to the defense will be getting increased production out of Daniel McCullers and Maurice Couch up front. These guys need to help generate pressure to free up A.J. Johnson to make plays at linebacker. Johnson had 138 tackles in 2012 and will need to be huge again this season against a brutal schedule.

The Bottom Line:
The mission in year one of the Butch Jones regime is simple…find a way to grind out bowl eligibility, get those extra practices, and accelerate the rebuilding process. With a road schedule that includes trips to Oregon, Florida, and Alabama, this will not be an easy task.  The home schedule is tough with Georgia and South Carolina on back to back weekends. The key will be finding a way to steal one of those two games and getting to November with about 4-5 wins. November sets up well for the Volunteers to make a run and get to six wins and a bowl game. The Volunteer fan base will need to be patient as this coaching carousel needs to stop so the players can have stability in their program and get back to competing for conference championships.

Projected Bowl:  Independence Bowl

2012 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 160.3(61st in nation, 8th in conference)
Passing Offense: 315.6 (15, 2)
Total Offense: 475.9 (18, 2)
Scoring Offense: 36.2 (22, 4)
Rushing Defense: 188.8 (85, 13)
Pass Defense: 282.5 (111, 13)
Total Defense: 471.3 (107, 14)
Scoring Defense: 35.7 (104, 14)
Turnover Margin: -0.42 (88, 12)
Sacks: 1.42 (98, 13)
Sacks Allowed: .67(5, 1)

Madness 2014 NFL Draft Rankings:
#22 Antonio Richardson
#37 A.J. Johnson
#48 Daniel McCullers
#76 Ja'Wuan James

Madness 2013 Recruit Rankings:
#86 Jason Carr
#135 Joshua Dobbs
#176 MarQuez North
#217 Jalen Reeves-Maybin


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