For the second straight summer the Tennessee football program enters fall football camp, which begins Aug. 4, with a lot of unknowns.
This is the second straight fall camp that the Vols will report to in Knoxville under a new head coach.
There are several questions surrounding the program and new Head Coach Derek Dooley. We have decided at InsideTennessee.com to attempt to be a little like David Letterman and do our own Top 10 Countdown to the major storylines that are likely to unfold this fall for Volunteer fans and supporters.
We will do this feature for the next 10 days, taking a look at the top storylines that we could see this fall. Please realize this story is the opinion of the author and doesn't reflect the overall feelings of InsideTennessee.com. This is to help stimulate conversation and discussions in the Rocky Top News forum.
Coming in at No. 9: What will be the weakest link on this Tennessee football team this fall?
What will be the strongest strength for this Tennessee football team this fall?
Answer: The answer may surprise some, while others that have been around the football program a lot won't be. The weakest link on this team will be overall depth. It won't be a particular unit, while there will be some stronger and weaker units on this squad, but overall it will be a lack of numbers of scholarship players that will haunt this team the most this fall.
If this team can stay healthy it can surprise some people. If this team suffers major injuries it could be the worst season in recent Volunteer history.
There are no starting offensive linemen returning to this year's team, no returning starter in the backfield at running back or quarterback. The only ones that have started previously are a few guys at wide receiver.
The offensive line has a chance to be better overall as a group, but it may take some time. This group appears to be bigger, more athletic and has a chance to be better than last year's group.
At the quarterback position, only one of the three signal callers has ever taken a D1 snap. That quarterback is Matt Simms, a junior college transfer from Louisville, where he took about 10 snaps during his tenure for the Cardinals. The other two competitors for the position will be true freshmen.
What is the biggest strength on this year's squad?
This answer may also surprise some.
I feel it's the overall leadership from some upperclassmen that has developed since the hasty and betraying departure of the former coaching staff.
Derek Dooley has done a tremendous job wrapping his arm around this team, and they have responded.
The first night he was introduced to Vol Nation, Dooley won points with the crowd and the team when he said that he wasn't going to ask the team to trust him, but instead earn their trust. This appears to be ahead of schedule.
It appears that this team has developed a great group of team leaders who have joined together to overcome the adversity they have faced this spring. They also appear very hungry to prove a few points, including one to the previous staff. That point appears to be that this team together is a lot better than some people are giving them credit to be.
Some early confidence can do wonders for this team.
A win over Oregon in week two could catapult this team to a lot better season than most are predicting. That game will most likely be a defining moment for this year's squad.
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