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TENNESSEE VOLUNTEERS 2013 COLLEGE FOOTBALL PREVIEW

Tennessee Volunteers 2012: 5-7 (1-7)

Knoxville, TN (Neyland Stadium)

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Tennessee Volunteers 2013 Season Preview

Overview: The 5-7 (1-7) Tennessee Volunteers are looking to make it back to a bowl game this season. The Volunteers have missed the postseason the past two seasons, and Tennessee is hoping that new head coach Butch Jones will be able to turn the team around. This season, the Volunteers non-conference schedule is not as easy as last season’s. In the 2013 season, the Vols have to face the Oregon Ducks (Pac-12), the highest ranked non-conference opponent Tennessee has faced since 2010. Along with Oregon, Tennessee will play Austin Peay (FCS), Western Kentucky (Sun Belt), and South Alabama (Sun Belt).

Offense: Tennessee will miss their starting quarterback from last season, Tyler Bray, who left a year early for the NFL. Bray threw for 3612 yards and 34 TDs, and his replacement for this season has not been determined yet. There is a competition between junior Justin Worley (favorite) and redshirt freshman Nathan Peterman for the quarterback position.  The University of Tennessee has always produced top-notch, NFL-caliber receivers, and last season was probably one of the best receiving corps in Tennessee history, with Justin Hunter and Cordarrelle Patterson.  It will be hard to replace a group of that stature, but this season the Vols have three extremely talented receivers to fill the void, two freshmen (one redshirt) and one sophomore. Both of the Vols’ running backs are returning, however, Raijon Neal and Marlin Lane are switching roles. Marlin Lane is most likely going to take the majority of snaps at RB, but Neal will definitely play a good amount of snaps this season. In terms of the offensive line, Coach Butch Jones will be inheriting one of the best O-line’s in the country.

TENNESSEE VOLUNTEERS 2013 COLLEGE FOOTBALL PREVIEW

Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

Defense: The Volunteers are hoping to make some big upgrades on defense. Last year, the Tennessee defense gave up the most points per game (35.7) in the past seven years.  The Vols are returning 8 starters on defense, and the key player that was missed last year, FS sophomore Brian Randolph, is back from an ACL tear.  Tennessee’s linebackers have big expectations this season, with only one loss at the weak side linebacker. The defensive line will be returning all but one starter, and they expect to lower the running yards allowed per game from last year (189 yds).  This season, the Tennessee Volunteer defense is going to step up its performance for the new head coach. I do expect the Volunteer defense to make big improvements from last season.

Special Teams: Senior Michael Palardy will be in charge of placekicking, and also some punting. Most of the punting duties, however, will be placed on junior Matt Darr. Unfortunately, Tennessee will lose an extremely explosive returner this year in Cordarrelle Patterson. Patterson ran back a kickoff 98 yards for a touchdown last season, and this season, the return game will definitely see a drop in big plays with Patterson gone.

Outlook: The fans in Knoxville have high expectations for this season, and with Butch Jones as the new head coach, Tennessee definitely has a chance to get a bowl bid this season.  The Volunteers must perform big in their big conference games this season in order to reach the postseason. There is no doubt that this Tennessee Volunteer football team has plenty of talent, but the talent must play as a team this season to get the job done. 

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