Tennessee Vols redshirt junior offensive lineman Drew Richmond is well aware of the stigma attached to the 2017 UT football team.

Richmond knows it was the worst team in Tennessee history. And he’s hungry to erase that taste from his mouth.

The Memphis native told reporters on Tuesday that reaching a bowl game this season is “all we want to do”, adding “We were the worst team in Tennessee history last year. That’s doesn’t feel good at all. At all.”

Senior defensive lineman Shy Tuttle echoed Richmond’s sentiments, saying “I’d like to win out and go to a bowl game as a senior”.

For a player like Tuttle, simply reaching a bowl game as a senior probably wasn’t his goal when he committed to the Volunteers in 2014.

But in 2014, the future looked much different at Tennessee. Butch Jones had the program on an upward trajectory thanks to his stellar recruiting. Toward the end of the 2016 season, however, the trajectory flipped and the Vols began their descent to the bottom of the SEC.

Jeremy Pruitt has the program, once again, trending up. Unfortunately for a seniors like Tuttle, they won’t be part of any future successes the program might enjoy.

But that doesn’t mean their labor this season will be in vain.

If the Vols reach a bowl game in 2018, it could be a springboard to future success for Tennessee. Reaching a bowl game will help the program improve via recruiting and extra practice time.

Getting to six wins this season might not seem like a big deal, but it’s huge for the future of UT football.

And it’s especially important for players like Drew Richmond and Shy Tuttle who are more than ready to put the disappointment of the 2017 season behind them for good.

Featured image via WMNL

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