CFN sees better days for Grid Vols

The folks at College Football News aren't predicting Tennessee's 2003 record just yet, but they suggests the Vols will be better than they were in 2002.

After recalling that UT was a disappointing 8-5 last fall -- losing to Miami, Florida, Alabama and Maryland by a combined score of 120-33 -- CFN notes: ''The silver lining in the cloudy season was all the valuable experience several young players were able to get. Now, the depth is there at several spots and the future is bright for the once dominant program. Can Tennessee challenge for the SEC title this season? If it can avoid injuries, yes.''

The authors go on to rate QB Casey Clausen UT's top offensive player and safety Rashad Baker the top defensive player. Surprisingly, they list wideout Tony Brown as the ''key to a successful season,'' adding that: ''Brown became the team's top wide receiver in a down year for the Tennessee receiving corps. Now he has to become a weapon to take the heat off the running game.''

After noting that the Vols are ''a step or two behind Georgia in talent at the moment,'' the article points out that they ''should still have a shot at the (SEC East) title with the Dawgs coming to Knoxville.''

CFN lists the Sept. 20 shootout at Florida as Tennessee's 'key game,' noting: ''Since Tennessee gets South Carolina and Georgia at home, the Florida game is the main road obstacle in the quest for an SEC East title. If Tennessee loses this game, it won't be able to make another mistake.''

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