Will Tennessee's junior college signees be as good as advertised?
It is hard to imagine a more heralded and anticipated junior college signing class in the country like that of Tennessee's in 2012. Three junior college studs have expectations souring heading into fall camp at the end of this week.
All eyes will be focused on the former Two-time NJCAA All-American when the Vols open camp Friday as he tries to work his way into a wide receiving corps that features two preseason All-SEC receivers in Da'Rick Rogers (first team) and Justin Hunter (second team).
In addition to Patterson, two defensive linemen help fill an extreme need in the trenches for the Vols. Man-child Daniel McCullers is an SEC defensive coordinators dream physically coming to Rocky Top at 6-foot-6, 377 pounds, but can the former Georgia Military Academy standout compete with the SEC's best offensive linemen?
And don't forget former Alabama signee Darrington Sentimore who played in 11 games for the 2010 National Championship Crimson Tide. Sentimore spent 2011 racking up 39 tackles, five tackles for loss and seven sacks for Gulf Coast Community College. His 6-foot-2, 288-pound frame should fit in perfectly at 3-4 defensive end.
Who will step up and knock it through the pipes in 2012?
Palardy, who finished his sophomore campaign 9-of-14 from field goal range with a long of 52 yards was inconsistent at best. Going forward Palardy will undoubtably be pushed by walk-on placekicker Derrick Brodus, who was called of the couch to kick the MTSU contest in 2011, hitting from 21 yards.
And all the while the dark horse in the contest is Knoxville, Tenn., native and true freshman George Bullock. As a senior, Bullock made 7-of-10 field goals, including a long of 51 and was 47-of-50 extra points.
Who will emerge and tote the rock for the Vols come Aug. 31 in Atlanta?
All spring long it was one of the most talked about topics of off-season camp, who will emerge as the No. 1 tailback for the Vols? Unforunately, no true answer was reached by the conclusion of the Orange & White game April 21.
Lane, a 5-foot-11, 205-pounder is coming of a freshman season that saw him rack up 280 yards rushing in addition to 17 catches for 161 yards in 12 games as a reserve tailback. Neal, who was moved to wide receiver for his sophomore season, had 13 catches for 269 yards and carried 27 times for 134 yards with three touchdowns.
Behind Lane and Neal is a stable of backs that have a variety of talents and experience. Look for Devrin Young, Tom Smith, Alden Hill and Davante Bourque to attempt to carve varying out roles in the Vols offensive.
What will the Vol secondary, littered with depth, look like in 2012?
Waggner, who is far more suited at corner, would like for someone to step up to play opposite Randolph, but who will that be? Old timer Rod Wilks, big man Brent Brewer or maybe one of the newcomers in Deion Bonner or LaDarrell McNeil?
And if Waggner is able to play his natural position at corner, who will be his opposite when the Vols face an offensive juggernaut? Will it be sophomore Justin Coleman, who is coming off a seesaw freshman campaign? Or will it be Eric Gordon, Marsalis Teague or JUCO sensation Byron Moore?
Will Derek Dooley's revamped coaching staff mesh in time to save a sinking ship?
With seven new assistant coaches, including new defensive coordinator Sal Sunseri, it will be vital for the staff to mesh and correct coaching errors that have smashed dreams of dramatic victories during Dooley's first two seasons.
Stay tuned as InsideTennessee brings you all the latest from Tennessee fall camps, which opens Friday at 2:15 p.m.