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Tennessee Volunteers 2016 College Football Preview, Schedule, Prediction, Depth Chart, Outlook

Tennessee Volunteers 2016 Preview

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The Tennessee Volunteers finished last season with a record of 9-4 and beat Northwestern in the Outback Bowl by a score of 45-6.

Overview: Butch Jones and the Tennessee Volunteers come into 2016 with high expectations. Tennessee is favored to win the SEC East and possibly make the playoffs this season. The Vols return a bunch of talent and have the experience to win just about any game. How does Tennessee look in all three phases of the game?

Tennessee Volunteers 2016 College Football Preview, Schedule, Prediction, Depth Chart, Outlook

USA TODAY Sports

Offense: Mike DeBord and the Tennessee offense will look to build off of their last 2 games in 2015, where they scored 53 points against Vanderbilt and 45 points against Northwestern. The Tennessee offense averaged 35.2 points per game with 223.7 rushing yards and 198.6 passing yards per game last season. Joshua Dobbs returns as the Tennessee quarterback, after passing for 2,291 yards and 15 touchdowns. Dobbs also rushed for 671 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2015. Tennessee also returns their leading rusher from last season, Jalen Hurd. Hurd rushed for 1,288 yards and 12 touchdowns in 2015. Alvin Kamara was the second leading rusher for Tennessee last season and will also be back this year. Kamara also plays a big part in the passing game, as he caught 34 passes for 291 yards and 3 touchdowns last year. Josh Smith and Josh Malone, who combined for over 700 yards and 4 touchdowns, will lead the Tennessee receivers. The Tennessee offensive line only lost 1 starter from last season.

Defense: Bob Shoop and the Tennessee defense looks to be one of the best defenses in the SEC. Last season, Tennessee gave up 20 points per game with 151.6 rushing yards and 210.4 passing yards per game. Tennessee is very deep and experienced on defense, forming one of the better defensive units in the country. The defense is led by 2015 leading tackler, Jalen Reeves-Maybin, who had 105 tackles and 6 sacks from the linebacker position. Derek Barnett anchors the defensive line, after totaling 69 tackles, 12.5 tackles for loss, and 10 sacks last season. In the secondary, Todd Kelly Jr. returns after leading the team in interceptions last season.

Special Teams: Aaron Medley will be the place kicker, after going 21-31 last season. Trevor Daniel will be back as punter, after averaging 45.7 yards last season for Tennessee. Evan Berry is expected to be the kick returner again this season for the Volunteers, after scoring three touchdowns last year.

Outlook: Tennessee looks poised for a breakout year and will settle for nothing less than the SEC East Championship. In past years, Tennessee has always found ways to lose key games, but will have to avoid that in 2016. With the depth and talent that the Vols have, I expect double-digit wins from them this season.

Schedule:

Sep. 1 Appalachian State

Sep. 10 Virginia Tech (Bristol Motor Speedway)

Sep. 17 Ohio

Sep. 24 Florida

Oct. 1 at Georgia

Oct. 8 at Texas A&M

Oct. 15 Alabama

Oct. 29 at South Carolina

Nov. 5 Tennessee Tech

Nov. 12 Kentucky

Nov. 19 Missouri

Nov. 26 at Vanderbilt

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