2. The defensive line can be nasty
It’s not just the quality of Tennessee’s defensive line that is impressive. It’s the quantity too. It’s no exaggeration to say that they’ll be able to go four units deep with either veterans or highly-regarded recruits when everybody gets in, if everybody can stay healthy.
DE: 1. Barnett 2. Vereen 3. Lewis 4. Butcher
DT: 1. Williams 2. O’Brien 3. Vickers 4. Picou
DT: 1. McKenzie 2. Tuttle 3. Mosley 4. Saulsberry
DE: 1. Maggitt 2. Phillips 3. Weatherd 4. Mixon
Of course, not every newcomer will be game ready, and injuries will, in all likelihood, limit that to an extent. But the fact that UT will be able to roll in two or three high-quality options at every spot at a given time is a luxury not seen at UT in years. Who will offenses focus on? Double team Derek Barnett? Can’t do it regularly – Curt Maggitt is too good off the other end.
Simply put, Tennessee’s defensive line has a chance to be the type of unit that teams like Florida, Alabama and others have unleashed against the Vols in recent years, leading to wins for the opponents. Perhaps that script will be flipped on some teams in 2015.