'Taking the challenge'

In 2006 it was "Fired up, focused and prepared." In 2007 it was "Total commitment." If the Tennessee Vols want a motto for 2008, they need look no further than a recent comment by their starting right tackle.

"Taking the challenge."

That quote from senior offensive lineman Ramon Foster came in response to a question about the key to an improved ground game for 2008, yet those three words could be applied just as accurately to the season as a whole. "Taking the challenge" would make a great slogan for several reasons:

It's catchy. It's profound. It's easy to remember and it's concise enough to fit on a T-shirt.

Certainly, the 2008 Vols face all sorts of challenges. For instance:

- The challenge of adjusting to a new offensive scheme and four new offensive aides.

- The challenge of rallying around a new quarterback after four years of Erik Ainge.

- The challenge of upgrading a ground game that has been inconsistent the past few years.

- The challenge of managing a schedule that includes tests at UCLA (Sept. 1), vs. Florida (Sept. 20), at Auburn (Sept. 27) and at Georgia (Oct. 11) – all in the first six games.

- The challenge of shoring up a stop unit that ranked ninth among the 12 SEC teams last year in rushing defense, 10th in scoring defense, 11th in pass defense, 11th in total defense and 11th in red-zone defense.

- The challenge of winning the program's first SEC title in 10 years. (The last one was in 1998.)

Clearly, the Vols face plenty of potential obstacles in the season ahead.

"Taking the challenge" could be a key to overcoming them.

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