Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but Tennessee has a new Head Coach, and the Volunteer faithful are chomping at the bits to hit the reset button and for Tennessee football to return to their previous glory. It’s no secret since firing Coach Fulmer in 2008, Tennessee football has fallen on hard times, and they haven’t been a threat to anybody other than themselves. However, it’s a new era for Volunteers football as Josh Heupel takes over as Head Coach, coming from Central Florida, where Heupel went 28-8 in three years.
Other than a new coach and the potential for a massive NCAA ruling, things seem to be returning to normal for the Volunteer faithful as Tennessee gets ready for a brand new season with new hopes and expectations.
Reasonably, what can Tennessee fans expect out of their beloved Volunteers this season? At this point, it’s hard not to go anywhere but up for this program. With a few winnable games to start the season, Tennessee fans could be in for a roller coaster of the season where they jump the gate to an undefeated start with wins over Pittsburgh and Bowling Green, followed by seven straight weeks of tough competition before closing the season with the likeness of South Alabama and Vanderbilt.
From a roster standpoint, Tennessee is in the rebuilding stages after losing standout running back Eric Gray, who departed the Volunteers to find a new home at Oklahoma on the offensive side of the ball, and Henry To’o To’o on the defensive side of the ball, who as well left Knoxville via the Transfer portal.
On a positive note, Tennessee has two All-American candidates in Cade Mays and Jalin Hyatt returning on the offensive side of the ball. Both Hyatt and Cade Mays will be leaders for the Tennessee Football program, not only for this upcoming season, but fans can expect these two guys to be the face of the Tennessee football program for years to come.
On defense, all eyes will be turned to the secondary as a healthy Trevon Flowers looks to make the Volunteer secondary a no-fly zone and a nightmare for opposing quarterbacks.
Overall, Tennessee fans can expect the Volunteers to be slightly better than last season with a serious shot at finishing the season with a bowl appearance. It won’t be easy, obviously but, Coach Heupel and the Volunteers will be up for the challenge this season as they look to revamp this program and turn the corner on a new decade of Tennessee Football.
Tennessee will open their season on Thursday night, September 2nd, at Neyland Stadium against Bowling Green.