Entering the 2016 season, Tennessee found itself sitting at No. 9 in the AP preseason rankings. That was the highest the Vols had been ranked since 2005.
No question that Team 120 was about to embark in a season saturated in high expectations.
While the Vols have managed to pull off monumental accomplishments such as a halt to the 11-year rut versus the Gators and closing out on Georgia with a Hail Mary to win in the final seconds of the game, there have certainly been some heartbreakers and upsets marking the year thus far.
However, as the Orange & White head into some pivotal matchups that could make or break their opportunity to make it to Atlanta for the Southeastern Conference championship, they have managed to step back and rethink their approach to their games in a way that eases the pressures of the game.
Because it is, after all, a game.
"It doesn't make sense for us to always be uptight," defensive tackle Kendal Vickers said. "You're playing a game you've been playing your whole life, so why not have fun with it while you're doing it. There's a time and place for everything. When it's time to be serious, it's time to be serious—but we're just trying to bring some energy."
In last weekend's homecoming game versus Tennessee Tech, Team 120's overall demeanor was noticably energetic and positive, and they aim to continue that mentality in the remaining face-offs.
"It was great for the team to go out and have fun," quarterback Joshua Dobbs said. "To enjoy the game that we grew up loving and playing as kids."
Watch the video above to hear more.