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Monday Musings: Vols set up for a happy start to 2024

Syndication: The Knoxville News-Sentinel Hannah Mattix/News Sentinel / USA TODAY NETWORK

IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIITTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTT’SSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS MONDAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And that means it’s time to strap on the hard hat, hop in the bulldozer, and start digging out the orange and white sands of thought clumped up in my mind.

1) I talked about it yesterday, but I’ll say it again: the Citrus Bowl is the PERFECT situation for Tennessee. I don’t care what anyone says. The Iowa Hawkeyes are not a good football team, and they line up perfectly for a team like Tennessee. What WOULD have worried me was an opponent that can match Tennessee score for score and can beat the Vols on a day where the offense goes through a typical cold stretch.

I do not have that same concern about the Iowa Hawkeyes. They simply cannot throw the ball. They are in the bottom quarter of the country running the ball. They don’t have playmakers on offense.

But but but their defense. Yes, but they still managed to allow Penn State to hit 31 points, and Michigan hit 26. Not huge numbers, but I still think the Vols can at least break into the 20s and still effectively clinch a comfortable win in the process.

I’m honestly not sure I’ve ever been more confident about a bowl game going in, strangely enough. And yes, I know that’s setting up for failure, but man......I just don’t see how.

2) Justin Joly is coming to visit the Vols this weekend. The man gave the Vols a handful on November 4 with 8 catches for 89 yards. No tight end has reached 270 receiving yards in Josh Heupel’s offense the last three years. Joly more than doubled that this year at UConn with 578 receiving yards. Bring him in, and get him involved. Stud.

3) Dalton Knecht had such a ridiculous showing at the Dean Dome last week, speaking of studs. 37 points tied the facility record for a UNC opponent. 8 of 9 from the field in the second half, 3 of 4 from three. For years the Vols have needed a player that can take their game to another level and carry a team against good opponents, just like the top programs in the country have and do. Perhaps Tennessee found that guy in Knecht. Hopefully he’s able to recover from that ankle injury in time for the Illinois game, but if he’s not ready, then let him rest and recover until he is.

Go Vols!