Friday Top 10: What Needs to be Evaluated This Offseason

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    10. Defensive coordinator 

    Photo Credit: Mason Burgin/RTI

    Photo Credit: Mason Burgin/RTI

    Reports have come out saying that Jones doesn’t intend to make a change at defensive coordinator after hiring Bob Shoop last offseason in a much-celebrated move. That might be the case, and perhaps that’s the right call, but Jones has to at least evaluate this spot.

    Shoop had a flawless résumé and seemed to be the ideal fit to help Tennessee’s defense take the next step forward. The opposite happened. The Vols went backwards – falling from seventh to 11th in total defense in the SEC, and they went the wrong direction in virtually every other significant defensive category as well. Injuries, obviously, played a huge role in that decline. But the defense still looked unorganized and sloppy at times, while backup players struggled to step in and keep the defense afloat. It was at its worst down the stretch, giving up record-breaking performances to Kentucky, Missouri and Vanderbilt in the final three weeks.

    What can be done to help the defense? If Jones intends to stick with Shoop, the two must be on the same page about the philosophy of the defense, the staff and personnel. Regardless, UT needs to develop more depth and better fundamentals across the board to avoid a repeat in 2017.

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