Bumped from the FanPosts . . . an excellent synthesis of what ESPN blogger Chris Low has said about the Vols this summer from memphispete.
Reading back through the Chris Low's last bazillion blog entries for his thoughts on the Vols I put together a little Low-down summary on the Vols from ESPN's perspective.
Overall Power Ranking #9 - Just behind Vandy (yes, that Vandy), South Carolina and Arkansas. The only schools we were ahead of? Auburn, Mississippi State and Kentucky. Ouch! In fairness, he did say that we "probably deserve to be higher" based on our new talent, but lack of depth at DT, concerns about pass protection and our QB performance offset the gains from the new energy, new system and new coaches. He's right about one thing: we "deserve to be higher".
Bowl Selection - Liberty Bowl - At least, I won't have to drive more than 10 minutes and tickets won't be a problem. But it implies a 6-6 season. It can't be any better than that if we have a #9 Power Ranking. Chris hasn't had the courage to give us a win-loss projection, unless I missed it. I'd say at least 8-4 & a better bowl (without any more key injuries).
Top 5 Villains - Lane Kiffin rolls in at #4. It's clear Chris Low doesn't like Lane yet.
All-SEC & Other Awards - Eric Berry is our only selection. He's also the Best Defensive Player of the Year and one of the Top 5 Heisman Candidates. They believe in EB.
QB Ranking #10 - "may be more comfortable in the new offense but neither looked like an SEC QB last year". Painful but pretty accurate, although I do think the new system gives an average QB a better chance to avoid being horrible.
RB Ranking #8 - "potential to be outstanding" but the Vols have "a couple of if's". I'm not sure a ranking of #8 equates to "potential to be outstanding". I am also not sure if Chris Low has seen Bryce Brown, Poole, Oku or the new-Hardesty run yet.
WR Ranking #7 - "added weapons" via recruiting. I'm not expecting Julio Jones-type performance from our guys but I'm also not expecting below-average, either.
OL Ranking #8 - "run blocking will be their forte" but "pass protection figures to be the Vols biggest problem" The line will indeed be good at the run and decent enough for a controlled passing game.
DL Ranking #6 - "most underrated in the league" and then he proceeds to rate us sixth??? /SIGH
I did not see a ranking of the defensive secondaries, but the Vols have to be Top 5. Perhaps that is a forthcoming feature.
Overall, the rankings seem a bit harsh.