Although Vol defenders clearly benefited from the youth and inexperience of UT's offensive line, it certainly appears that the Big Orange could be making life miserable for a lot of opposing quarterbacks this fall.
"Oh, yeah," Williams said, flashing an evil grin. "We know once we stop the run and get to a pass down, that's something we're going to be dominant at. The sack/fumble is the best play in football, and that's what we live by here in the defensive line. We come from a traditional D-line school, and we want to keep the legacy going."
Few teams in college football are more loaded at defensive end than Tennessee. Walker (6-3, 241), Williams (6-3, 245) and Ben Martin (6-3, 251) are seniors with considerable talent and experience. Sophomore Willie Bohannon (6-3, 230) showed potential last fall. Mid-term freshmen Miller (6-3, 243) and Jacques Smith (6-2, 243) made a splash this spring as mere rookies.
Bohannon, Miller and Smith could be standouts in time. For now, though, the Vols will rely heavily on the senior trio of Walker, Williams and Martin.
"We've all got our different ways and different roles we play," Williams said, "but we can all be dominant each time we're on the field. It don't matter who's on the field; we're comfortable having three senior defensive ends. It's a blessing."
In addition to dynamic ends, Tennessee's pass rush benefits from the tutelage of Chuck Smith. The junior college transfer was one of the Vols' premier pass rushers of his era, registering 4.5 sacks as a junior in 1990 and 9 as a senior in 1991. He went on to register 58.5 sacks during a distinguished nine-year NFL career. Clearly, he knows a lot about pressuring opposing passers. That makes it easy for his troops to take his advice.
"Very easy," Williams said. "He's been there and done it. He's a Tennessee Vol, and you can't get any better than that - as a mentor and as a coach."