Baselining the 2008 Tennessee Volunteers

Before we take a look at UCLA, I thought it might be useful to take one last look at Tennessee to establish a sort of baseline against which we can compare our opponents. So . . .

Schedules

2007

2008
9/1
at No. 12
Cal logo
L 45-31   9/1

at
UCLA logo

W

9/8
Southern Miss. logo
W 39-19   9/6 Bye
9/15
at No. 5 
Florida logo
L 59-20   9/13
UAB logo 
W
9/22
Arkansas St. logo
W 48-27   9/20  Florida logo
L
  Bye     9/27
at
 Auburn logo
L
10/6
No. 12
Georgia logo
W 35-14   10/4  Northern Ill. logo
W
10/13
at
Mississippi St. logo
W 33-21   10/11
at
 Georgia logo
?
10/20
at
Alabama logo
L 41-17   10/18
Mississippi St. logo
W
10/27
No. 16
South Carolina logo
W 27-24   10/25  Alabama logo
W
11/3
La.-Lafayette logo
W 59-7   11/1
at
 South Carolina logo
?
11/10
Arkansas logo
W 34-13   11/8  Wyoming logo
W
11/17
Vanderbilt logo
W 25-24   11/15 Bye
11/24
at
Kentucky logo
W 52-50   11/22
at
 Vanderbilt logo
W
12/1
No. 7
LSU logo
L 21-14   11/29  Kentucky logo
W
1/1
No. 18
Wisconsin logo
W 21-17      

Last year, Tennessee went 10-4 with three bad losses, two good wins, and three close wins. This year, my best guess at this time without having seen the Clawfense in action and with all other duly noted caveats and disclaimers, is that we lose to Florida and Auburn and have toss up games against Georgia and Alabama. Call it 9-3 regular season.

Depth Chart (games/starts)

TENNESSEE FOOTBALL DEPTH BY CLASS
TOTALS FOR PROJECTED STARTERS
Unit
Seniors
Juniors
Sophomores
Freshmen
OFFENSE (293/143)
5
5
1
DEFENSE (253/72)
5
4
2
SPECIAL TEAMS
4
OFFENSE
Position
Seniors
Juniors
Sophomores
Freshmen
QB   J. Crompton (14/1) N. Stephens B.J. Coleman
TB A. Foster (36/23) Montario Hardesty (25/5) L. Creer T. Poole
FB D. Holbert (34/1)   K. Cooper (7/0) A. Johnson
WR L. Taylor (35/13)
J. Briscoe
(37/5)
A. Rogers (26/15)
Q. Hancock (19/0)
D. Moore (14/0)
G. Jones (9/0)
T. Campbell
A. Paige
T. Maples
TE   J. Cottam (27/6) L. Stocker (14/0) C. Pope
LT   C. Scott (21/14) R. Johnson (6/0)  
LG A. Parker (32/27)      
C   J. McNeil (26/23)    
RG   J. McClendon (25/7)    
RT R. Foster (32/16)      
OL   V. Richard (16/0)
C. Sullins (3/0)
J. Shaw
D. Myers (2/0)
D. Sawtelle
W. Brimfield
DEFENSE
Position
Seniors
Juniors
Sophomores
Freshmen
LE   W. Brown (27/0)
A. Mathis (12/0)
C. Walker (14/0)  
LT D. Bolden (25/12)
W. Fisher (22/0)
  V. Thomas (2/0)  
RT   D. Williams (20/10)
C. Nelson (7/0)
  D. Langley
RE R. Ayers (36/2)   B. Martin (8/0)  
SLB N. McKenzie (14/0)
A. Myers-White (33/0)
    J. Hawkins
MLB E. Wilson (40/1)   N. Reveiz (14/0) C. Donald
WLB   R. McCoy (26/15) S. Frazier (11/0)
L. Thompson (14/0)
 
LCB D. Willingham (14/8) M. Johnson (15/7)   A. Evans
C.J. Fleming
RCB A. Gaines (26/2)   D. Rogan (13/0)
B. Vinson (14/0)
 
FS   D. Morley (24/10)   D. Vereen
V. Faison
SS D. Willingham   E. Berry (14/14)  
SPECIAL TEAMS
Position
Seniors
Juniors
Sophomores
Freshmen
PR   A. Rogers
D. Morley
D. Rogan
G. Jones
E. Berry
 
KR     D. Rogan
L. Creer
D. Moore
G. Jones
E. Berry
 
P     C. Cunningham (5/1)
B. Colquitt (36/36)
 
PK     D. Lincoln (14/14) D. Mathis
Projected starters in bold. Returning starts in italics. Numbers in parentheses are games/starts. Redshirt "X" is denoted simply as "X."

The experience of this team actually looks pretty good, I think, especially when you consider that those two sophomore starters on the defense are Eric Berry and Dennis Rogan, two of the best players on the team regardless of class.

Potential impact newcomers

  • Brandon Warren. RTT#1 in the class of 2008. Freshman All-American tight end at Florida State in 2006. Already reportedly in Dave Clawson's Circle of Five, meaning one of the key cogs in the offensive machine.
  • Gerald Williams. After a journey from high school to Tennessee that Frodo would term "long, arduous, and harrowing," finally made it to campus this summer and practiced with the team most of the fall. This RTT#2 in the class of 2008 linebacker is not quite out of the bowels of Mordor, however, but if he does get eligible, he's going to shore up well a potential weakness in the defense.
  • Tauren Poole. I only have this guy rated 10th in a subpar Tennessee class, but coaches, players, and the few media privileged to watch scrimmages all rave about him. He's apparently overtaken last year's RTT#5 Lennon Creer for the third string tailback position.

Key stats from last year

SOS
PED
RD
3DO
TD
PEO
OPPG
TO
3DD
12
66
69
56
70
29
29
54
72
SOS (strength of schedule), PED (pass efficiency defense), RD (rush defense), 3DO (3rd down offense), TD (total defense), PEO (pass efficiency offense), OPPG (opponents' points per game), TO (total offense), 3DD (3rd down defense)

Those numbers don't look so good until you account for the 12th ranked strength of schedule. Pass efficiency offense and, surprisingly, opponents points per game aren't bad.

Tomorrow, I hope to take at look at UCLA in these terms and see how they stack up. I'm particularly interested to see their key stats figures from last season and the experience in their depth chart for this one.

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