2004 Tennessee Volunteers Football Season Preview

<b>Head Coach:</b> Phillip Fulmer (113-28) <br><br> <b>Last Season's Record:</b> 10-3 (6-2 SEC, Eastern Division Co-Champion, No. 15 AP, No. 16 ESPN/USA Today) <br><br> <b>Last Bowl Appearance:</b> 2003 Peach Bowl (27-14 loss to <!--Default NodeId For Clemson is 353,2004--><A HREF=http://clemson.TheInsiders.com>Clemson</A>) <br><br> <b>Key matchup(s):</b> Sept. 18 <A HREF=http://florida.TheInsiders.com>Florida</A>, Oct. 9 @<A HREF=http://georgia.TheInsiders.com>Georgia</A>.

Star Power: P Dustin Colquitt, LB Kevin Burnett, LB Kevin Simon, DE Parys Haralson, DB Jason Allen, OT Michael Munoz, G Cody Douglas, RB Cedric Houston, WR James Banks.

Notable Additions: OT Albert Toeaina (juco transfer), DT Jesse Mahelona (juco transfer) DE Antonio Reynolds (prep school), CB Jonathan Hefney (prep school), QB Brent Schaeffer (incoming frosh) and QB Erik Ainge (incoming frosh).

Notable Subtractions: QB Casey Clausen, C Scott Wells, WR Mark Jones, FB Troy Fleming, S Gibril Wilson, S Rashad Baker (out of eligibility), CB Antwan Stewart (torn ACL)

Notable Returnees: C Jason Respert, WR Tony Brown, WR Chris Hannon, RB Jabari Davis, TE Victor McClure, DE Karlton Neal, LB Jason Mitchell, PK James Wilhoit.

09/25/04Louisiana Tech
10/30/04@South Carolina
11/06/04Notre Dame
Offensive Overview: The loss of four-year starting QB Casey Clausen leaves a huge void. Sixth-year senior C.J. Leak gets first shot at the opening but will be pressed by LSU transfer Rick Clausen (Casey's brother) and incoming freshmen Brent Schaeffer and Erik Ainge. If a quarterback can be found, the offense should be good because of proven players at all of the other positions.

Defensive Overview: All-star linebackers Kevin Burnett and Kevin Simon spearhead a unit that could be excellent. Juco transfer Jesse Mahelona will start immediately at tackle and prep school grad Antonio Reynolds adds speed off the edge as a rush end. Replacing departed safeties Gibril Wilson and Rashad Baker is a concern.

Special Teams Overview: Few teams can match Tennessee's tandem of All-America punter Dustin Colquitt and Freshman All-American kicker James Wilhoit. Mark Jones' skills as a return man will be missed but James Banks (who is suspended for the first three games) could solve that problem. Another option is incoming prep school grad Jonathan Hefney.

If the QB play is good enough to beat visiting Florida in Game 2... the Vols likely will be favored in every outing the rest of the year except Game 5 at Georgia. The defense and kicking game should be sound, so the season probably hinges on the development of a capable quarterback.

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