That's also head coach Phillip Fulmer's goal – making the 2007 front seven tougher and more physical against the run. The Vols allowed 1,907 rushing yards last fall. That was more than double the 2005 total of 906 yards and the most a UT defense has allowed since Larry Lacewell's 1990 defense surrendered 2,054 rushing yards.
"We weren't nearly as good in the defensive front as we have been," Fulmer said recently. "We led the league in interceptions but, sack-wise we were down, and versus the run we were down. It won't be a quick fix. It will be a long, hard process for those guys.
"Probably the biggest concern for me right now is our defensive front and becoming the kind of defensive front we are accustomed to being. Replacing Justin Harrell – although we didn't have him a great period of time – and Turk McBride will be a big-time challenge for us."
When asked how Tennessee can become more physical, defensive coordinator John Chavis bristled.
"I think we've been pretty damned physical around here for a long time," he said. "We struggled a little bit last year from time to time but if you go back and look at the numbers I think the numbers speak for themselves."
Here are the numbers under Chavis:
1995: UT allowed 1243 rushing yards
1996: UT allowed 1168 rushing yards
1997: UT allowed 1119 rushing yards
1998: UT allowed 1127 rushing yards
1999: UT allowed 986 rushing yards
2000: UT allowed 817 rushing yards (school record)
2001: UT allowed 1024 rushing yards
2002: UT allowed 1672 rushing yards
2003: UT allowed 1798 rushing yards
2004: UT allowed 1560 rushing yards
2005: UT allowed 906 rushing yards
2006: UT allowed 1907 rushing yards