Charting UT's youth movement and other matters

While all the current preseason polls tell us this is a very talented Tennessee team, the Vols own depth chart reveals its also very young.

Among the 44 players listed on Tennessee1s two-deep position chart, 10 are freshmen (three are true freshmen), 10 are sophomores, 14 are juniors and 11 are seniors. Seven of the seniors are in the defensive front seven. The three true freshmen to earn a spot on the depth chart are offensive linemen Cody Douglas and Rob Smith and defensive end J.T. Mapu, who will back up Karlton Neal at defensive end.

There is only one senior (Leonard Scott) listed among 17 skill players which includes six wide receivers, three quarterbacks, three fullbacks, three tailbacks and two tight ends. Six of these 17 skill players are freshman and six are sophomores.

Two surprises on the two-deep roster are the presence of Victor McClure, 6-4, 300, as Tennessee1s second tight end behind Jason Witten and the absence of true freshman Aaron Kirkland, who came in rated the No. 3 tight end prospect in the nation. Obviously the Vols are needing McClure to do the blue collar blocking, freeing Jason Witten to play in the H-back role. McClure has played almost exclusively on the interior line before this fall. The redshirt sophomore will wear No. 89 and figures to see plenty of playing time when Tennessee goes to its two-tight end power sets.

Speaking of position changes, redshirt freshman Sudan Ellington, 6-3, 245, who came to Tennessee as an offensive line prospect, and moved to tight end last spring, is now listed as the Vols No. 3 fullback. Redshirt freshman Will Revill is No. 2 at fullback behind Troy Fleming.

True freshman kicking specialist James Wilhoit is listed No. 2 at both punter and placement kicker. Tennessee coaches have publicly stated they would prefer to redshirt him this season. Alex Walls will handle kickoffs backed by junior transfer Phillip Newman. As long as sophomore Dustin Colquitt can maintain the level of consistency in games he has had in practice he will continue to hold the job.

Something to keep an eye on is Tennessee1s deep snaps as both players listed for that critical, and under appreciated, role are freshmen Scott Newsome and Adam Miles.

Six of the Vols 22 starters hail from the Volunteer State. That includes Will Ofenheusle, Scott Wells, Jason Witten and Troy Fleming on offense and linebacker Eddie Moore and cornerback Jabari Greer on defense. UT1s No. 1 punter, Colquitt, is also from Tennessee. Two of the Vols three captains Ofenheusle and Moore are from Tennessee.

The Cowboys have a total of five starters from home state Wyoming. Four Wyoming starters are from Colorado, three from Texas and two are from Florida. According to UT1s media guide, no player from Wyoming has ever lettered at Tennessee.

How many Vol fans recall that Tennessee trailed Wyoming 10-7 at the end of the first quarter during their first-ever meeting in 1999? The Vols responded with 28 points in the second quarter and the 42-17 route was all but complete.

Tennessee head coach Phillip Fulmer needs five wins to reach 100. If the Vols open 5-0 this season he would reach the century mark in 120 games, the same number of games needed by General Robert R. Neyland to reach 100 wins. Fulmer and Neyland are No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, on the SEC1s list for all-time best winning percentage in conference games.

Half of Tennessee1s 20 losses under Fulmer took place in September. He is 23-10 in September and a combined 72-10 in August, October, November, December and January. The Vols are 62-5 against unranked teams under Fulmer and 11-10 against teams ranked in the top 10.

The Vols haven1t lost a game in Nashville since 1982 when Vanderbilt scored a 28-21 win during a driving rain. That was also the last time UT fell to the Commodores. Tennessee is 1-0 in the Coliseum formerly known as Adelphia.

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