The Tennessee Volunteers did not have a great season in 2013, posting a 5-7 record overall, including just a 2-6 mark in the Southeastern Conference. That was not how Butch Jones hoped his experience in Knoxville would start.
However, as the Vols prepare for year two of the Jones Era, attitudes surrounding the team are much better than they were under the Derek Dooley administration. Jones has brought renewed hope to the Big Orange Nation, and that positive attitude has carried over onto the recruiting trail.
Currently, Tennessee has 34 commitments for the 2014 recruiting class. That’s a big number, but there are plenty of holes to fill on the team. Namely, Tennessee does not have any starters returning on either the offensive or defensive lines. If the Vols are to improve and contend in the Southeastern Conference, those spots must be addressed.
Tennessee does have quarterback Josh Dobbs returning. After earning the starting job late last season, Dobbs played fairly well. He completed 59.5 percent of his passes for 695 yards, with two touchdowns. However, the big thing Dobbs must improve on were his six interceptions. Dobbs also rushed for 189 yards and a score last season.
The Vols must find more playmakers on offense. After averaging 23.8 points per game last season, Tennessee must find a way to put more points on the board. It won’t be easy working behind an inexperienced offensive line and facing a brutal schedule that includes games against the Oklahoma Sooners, the Alabama Crimson Tide, the Georgia Bulldogs, the Missouri Tigers and the South Carolina Gamecocks.
While Tennessee might show great improvement in Jones’ second season, the record might not reflect it.
Tim Letcher is a contributing writer for RantSports.com and a member of the Football Writers Association of America. Follow him on Twitter @TimLetcher , on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.