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Monitoring Tennessee Football's improvement, then and now

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Where and how much better was Butch Jones' first team compared to Derek Dooley's last? And where and how much improvement can we expect in 2014?

Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

As many of you know, we've been tracking Tennessee's movement in all of the statistics that the NCAA officially keeps. When we started doing it back in 2010, we called it simply "Monitoring Tennessee's Improvement." In 2011, we re-branded it #OPPORTUNITYISNOWHERE, but the appeal of that phrase has gone the way of the orange pants. So last year, we just called it "Statistical Rankings." Whatever. It's a record of the Vols' movement in each of the official NCAA stats. Perhaps we'll update it all at some point to track some of the more advanced stats that are all the rage with the kids these days, but for now, we go with the book we've been recording for going on four years now.

To kick off the season, we're only looking at the rankings at the end of the 2011, 2012, and 2013 seasons, and then we've sorted the results by the change from Dooley's last year to Butch's first year. I've compiled the numbers below, and I'll leave most of the commentary to y'all, but I'll preempt you on this: Comparisons between 2012 and 2013 must be made with the understanding that the 2012 defense was historically bad. Improvement has as much to do with how bad you were as it does how good you are now. Before you get too excited about the last column, have a look at the second-to-last column. Conversely, the 2012 offense was a pretty high-powered, pass-happy beast often either playing from behind or fast to stay ahead of the expected defensive breakdowns. So there you are.

And here are the numbers. What jumps out at you?

And in what categories do you think the team will improve the most in 2014?

Category 2011 2012 2013 Change from '12-'13
Red Zone Defense 47 115 11 104
Passing Yards Allowed 12 111 27 84
Fumbles Recovered 71 113 29 84
Fewest Penalties Per Game 56 92 26 66
Turnovers Gained 91 95 35 60
Kickoff Returns 41 80 20 60
Fewest Penalty Yards Per Game 51 67 21 46
First Downs Defense 18 86 45 41
Scoring Defense 36 104 78 26
Turnover Margin 59 88 54 34
Time of Possession 37 116 91 25
Net Punting 104 52 28 24
Total Defense 28 107 83 24
Team Passing Efficiency 69 31 11 20
Rushing Offense 116 61 44 17
Passes Intercepted 86 56 40 16
Fumbles Lost 6 28 24 4
4th Down Conversion Pct 91 80 76 4
Team Pass Sacks 100 98 99 -1
3rd Down Conversion Pct 56 81 92 -11
Rushing Defense 69 85 100 -15
Pass Sacks Allowed 40 5 21 -16
Passes Had Intercepted 63 83 107 -24
Punt Return Defense 85 67 92 -25
Tackles for Loss Allowed 38 9 37 -28
Turnovers Lost 20 58 87 -29
Punt Returns 61 22 51 -29
4th Down Conversion Pct Defense 48 86 117 -31
3rd Down Conversion Pct Defense 57 50 91 -41
Team Tackles for Loss 67 48 90 -42
Kickoff Return Defense 7 47 118 -71
Red Zone Offense 58 29 100 -71
Scoring Offense 106 22 94 -72
First Downs Offense 98 20 101 -81
Total Offense 104 18 102 -84
Passing Offense 50 15 109 -94
Passing Yards per Completion 115 n/a
Team Passing Efficiency Defense 58 n/a