- I don't see a very bright immediate future for the Tennessee Volunteers. This might seem an odd conclusion based on the evidence:
- We lose a senior QB in Eric Ainge, two good tight ends, a couple of experienced defensive linemen, possibly a middle linebacker if Jerod Mayo turns pro, and a vastly overrated defensive back in Justin Harrel. Those are the main losses.
- We return the entire receiving corps, the entire running back corps, the freshman defensive player of the year in Eric Berry, and two good kickers. The junior backup QB is serviceable and experienced, and some new QB's will compete for the starting job
There are four coaches to replace, including the offensive coordinator, the receiving coach, the running back coach and the tight ends coach. None of them will be easy, and there are very few good, young, innovative OC's out there to be had.
While every unit should improve next year, I don't see the talent in any of them to improve to the point of being an elite unit. The receivers are all very good 2nd and slot receivers without a real go-to deep threat. The RB's are injury prone and nowhere on the level of Travis Henry/Stephens or James Stewart/Aaron Hayden. The offensive line's strength was pass protection which was a huge plus (only 4 sacks allowed all season) but couldn't run block and the defensive line was way, way too porous. The defensive backs will still be very young even with Berry. Daniel Lincoln faded down the stretch at place kicking, and Britton Colquitt was inconsistent at punting and kickoffs, and played injured most of the season.
The few real brights spots are the linebackers, G-Man Gerald Moore (when used efficiently) and punt returner Dennis Rogan.
Still, after losing Peyton Manning in 97, nobody thought the 98 squad would amount to much with a new starting QB. See what happened there :)
Still again, after winning the BCS championship in 98, the 99 team had huge expectations and underachieved in 99. So there's that, too.
To me, it all hinges on who the new Offensive Coordinator is and how he motivates the offense to over-achieve (or at least achieve its potential)
- Florida Gators? *snicker* So much for the Heisman ;) They won the National Title last year with Chris Leak, right?
- Tennessee Titans? One and done, unfortunately. They remind me of UT a lot in that they do just enough to squeak by, but not nearly enough talent to really win well. A nice trip to San Diego then home for the offseason. Maybe I'll be surprised. Right.
- Indianapolis Colts? How horrible can a knee bruise be to keep Marvin Harrison - one of the top 5 receivers in the NFL - out for 45 weeks???. Ok, it wasn't 45 but since he was on my fantasy team it seemed like 45. Closer to 10, but still. And he's again questionable for next week's game. With a thigh bruise???? Why don't they just call it what it is as a big boo-boo and be done with it?
- New England Patriots? Boring. Brady to Moss. Boring. How dare Brady break Manning and Marino's records?
- TONIGHT'S BIG ORANGE BOWL MATCHUP: Virginia Tech vsss.. Knaasnasssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssatrdaf cawctvuaw
Sorry, feel asleep.