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 over 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. 6:
Who will be the biggest surprise for this football team this fall?
I didn't say pleasant surprise so this question could go either way. This is perhaps the toughest question in the countdown, because there are several athletes that could end up winning this award.
This wasn't part of the question, but I'm going to give you two answers - one on offense and one on defense, because this question wasn't easy for me either.
On offense, I will have to say the biggest pleasant surprise on this team is going to be Tyler Bray. The true freshman signal caller may not be the starter when UT lines up against Tennessee-Martin in less than 60 days, but I think he will be the guy going into the month of November.
No, I'm not saying that Matt Simms will get hurt, but I think the older of the two will start early but will fade to the talents of the young surprising newcomer.
Expect Bray to get better faster.
How fast will determine how quick he becomes the starter. No, I'm not writing off Simms. I just think that Bray is the future and I think that future will be sooner than later.
Is this a positive or negative for Tennessee?
Well, it will show the future is bright with a true freshman taking the reins of the team. Please let it be (dooley) noted that most true freshmen don't fare so well in SEC competition.
If Simms can't get the job done early, I don't think you will see Derek Dooley being as hard-headed as Lane Kiffin was last year in saving Jonathan Crompton's senior career.
Bray will get the chance to start this year, and once he does, look for him to never look back. Could he earn the job before the season opener?
Sure he can, but will he will be the question. For some reason I think he will be a pleasant surprise for this year's UT offense.
Now for the defensive side of the ball.
I'm betting on the defensive surprise of the year honors to go to linebacker Nick Reveiz.
Reveiz had a big year last year until the Ohio game when he suffered a devastating knee injury.
For this team to be a great defense, Reveiz needs to have a big season. First, he will have to show that he is completely healthy, and he will have to stay that way throughout the season.
I'm thinking the talented linebacker will have his best season under Justin Wilcox.
Reveiz has a great nose for the football and is the heart and soul of this defensive unit. He is also the defensive side of the ball's quarterback.
He will make all the calls. He was flourishing last fall under veteran linebacker coach Lance Thompson and should only continue to get better.