It’s not often that a team can have a poor season with a 5-7 record and still boast that three of their offensive players are predicted to be picked in the first two rounds of the NFL Draft. That’s exactly what happened to the Tennessee Volunteers. Starting quarterback Tyler Bray, as well as explosive receivers Justin Hunter and Cordarrelle Patterson, all left the university one year early and declared for the draft. The loss of these offensive weapons could really hinder the Volunteers’ 2013 season.
Tennessee had one of the most explosive passing offenses in the country last season and one of the poorest defenses. With the loss of Bray, Hunter and Patterson, the Volunteers are going to have the opposite problem. Tennessee’s defense is older and more experienced, but the offense is young and inexperienced. In the SEC where it’s all about strong defense, an inexperienced offense can get dominated by even the lowest teams in the league.
With such an inexperienced offense, the Volunteers are not going to have a pretty season. Not only do they have to compete in a defensively sound SEC East, but they also get the high speed Oregon Ducks in Eugene for the third game of the season. Luckily, the rebuilding Auburn Tigers are the lone team (besides the Alabama Crimson Tide) that the Vols face from the western SEC; a team that the Volunteers are capable of beating. If Tennessee can pull off one unexpected win, they have an opportunity to make a bowl game even with such a depleted offense.