5 Things to Watch in the 2019 Orange & White Game

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    Improvement Along the Lines of Scrimmage

    Photo by Nathanael Rutherford/RTI

    Tennessee’s biggest problem last season was their offensive line. The Vols’ O-line was arguably the worst in the country, and it was easily the worst in the SEC. The defensive line performed up to par in most games, but Tennessee lost all three starters and another key senior to graduation after last season.

    How do both lines of scrimmage look for the Vols in Year Two of Jeremy Pruitt?

    This Saturday will be the first time fans get a look at how much bigger and stronger the Vols’ offensive line (hopefully) is, and it’ll be a first look at the completely reshuffled defensive line. Both of those lines will be huge for Tennessee’s success this upcoming season.

    On the offensive line, which returning player will show the most improvement from last year? What does true freshman Wanya Morris look like in his first game-like action with the Vols? Will Tennessee still have issues snapping the ball like Pruitt has mentioned a couple times this spring with veteran Brandon Kennedy still sidelined?

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    For the defensive line, it’ll be all about how the depth of the unit performs. Tennessee’s projected starters for the Orange & White Game — Emmit Gooden, Aubrey Solomon, and either Matthew Butler or John Mincey — aren’t a bad lineup. But the second team defensive line is full of inexperience, and those players will have to rotate in this season to spell the starters. They need all the reps they can get, and Saturday will be a first look at what they can really do.

    It’s said often because it’s true: The SEC is a line of scrimmage league. Tennessee’s ineffectiveness on offense was largely because of their lackluster play on the offensive line, and this year’s major concern is what kind of defensive line UT will put together.

    Saturday will either give fans optimism moving into the offseason or will fill them with even more questions and doubts than they already had.

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