Vols due 'huge turnaround'

Collegefootballnews.com's lead story on Wednesday was a largely upbeat preview of the 2006 University of Tennessee football team that Vol fans are going to love.

Although noting that Tennessee was "the nation's most disappointing team last season," the folks at CFN.com note that "there's reason to expect a huge turnaround" in 2006.

In an article entitled "Back to the Rocky Top," writer Pete Fiutak meticulously recaps the difficulties that led to last season's 5-6 embarrassment. Then he turns his attention to the season ahead. What follows is one of his more optimistic comments:

"There are few teams in America that can match the overall speed and athleticism of the 2006 Vols, but all the skills have to translate into better overall play and, of course, wins. The offense can't be any worse, and should be a force with new/old offensive coordinator David Cutcliffe taking back his offensive coordinator job. The running backs can fly, the receivers are even faster, and the line is bigger than more NFL front walls. If quarterback Erik Ainge is merely competent, and the defense can avoid falling off the map after losing six of the starters on the front seven, the Vols should be back in the SEC title hunt."

Although the Vols fell far short of their lofty projections last fall, Fiutak believes the team could turn the mishap of '05 into motivation for ‘06. However, he also raises the possibility that this season could produce another flop. Here's how he put it:

"Maybe last year was a big step back to take a giant leap forward. Maybe the embarrassment the players felt gave them the fire to work harder and not rest on their high school accolades. Or maybe, just maybe, Tennessee football isn't nearly as good as the brand name suggests it should be. One way or another, this will be a watershed season."

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