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. 8 in the countdown:
Can Justin Wilcox do a better job as the Vols defensive coordinator than Monte Kiffin did last year?
Answer: Yes he can, but the main question is will he.
What a lot of fans don't realize is how bad the Vols did defensively against nontraditional pro-style offenses. Kiffin, known as one of the brightest minds in the defensive game, had trouble stopping some of the new creative offenses, including tGuz Malazan's offense at Auburn.
Ole Miss' Houston Nutt also destroyed the Kiffin mastery, making the guru look foolish at times. If the elder Kiffin still has dreams, he is probably having nightmares about Dexter McCluster.
Where stopping the nontraditional spread offense were an issue with Kiffin, don't expect that to be the same with Wilcox.
He came up with a genius plan to stop Oregon last year, so let's hope that he repeats that feat again this fall.
Another advantage that Wilcox has over Kiffin is the fact that his better days are ahead of him. Kiffin's best days are fast approaching to be behind him. Expect Kiffin to maybe coach another one or two seasons before retiring. Expect Wilcox to continue coaching for a long time.
There is no doubt that Wilcox is one of the brightest young minds in the game, and I will take that over one of the oldest minds in the game any day.
The Wilcox hire was one of Derek Dooley's crown jewels of this coaching staff.
Another advantage Wilcox has is the fact that he is an overachiever. He gets more out of less than perhaps most coordinators in the country. The question will be can he continue to master that in Knoxville with better talent than he had in Idaho.
Wilcox needs to have his defense perform way over its head. He needs the defense to stay healthy. If he can get those two things out of the defense, this could be a much better year than a lot of fans and writers are expecting.
The Tennessee defense appears to be in good hands with Wilcox leading the way.