I’m not sure if the final record will show it in 2020, but the Tennessee Vols are primed to take a major step forward this season.
I feel that way for several reasons. There’s the momentum that Tennessee built at the end of the 2019 season (six straight wins), the fact that Jeremy Pruitt is entering his third year at the helm, and a UT roster that’s a lot more talented than it was a couple of years ago.
But those aren’t the main reasons I feel like the Vols are about to take a major step forward.
It’s because of Tennessee’s offense and the progress it’s making this offseason.
Pruitt said last week that he’s been impressed with the improvements his offense has made during fall camp, saying “I really think over the last three days our offense continues to improve. As far as how fast we’re getting lined up, getting the calls in, communicating, taking care of the football”.
Specifically, Pruitt is pleased with the offensive line.
“Really pleased with our offensive line. They continue to improve and develop some chemistry up there…You can tell from a conceptual standpoint that we’re a lot further ahead than we were when we practiced in the spring, thanks to the OTAs we had this summer”.
It shouldn’t be much of a surprise that Tennessee’s offense is improving. This is Jim Chaney’s second season as the Vols’ offensive coordinator. Instead of working to install a new offense this offseason, Chaney’s been able to focus on fine-tuning the offense.
A year ago, the Vols’ defense was good enough to be a 10 win team (UT had the No. 29 scoring defense in the nation). The offense, however, wasn’t (Tennessee averaged 24.2 points per game, which was No. 98 in the nation).
Even with some question marks at the quarterback position (does Jarrett Guarantano finally break out in 2020, or does another quarterback step up), the Vols’ offense should still be improved enough for Tennessee to look like a legitimate threat in the SEC East.
Of course, with the revised 10 game conference only schedule it’s anyone’s guess as to what the Vols’ final record will look like.
But even if the final record doesn’t show drastic improvement, it doesn’t necessarily mean that Tennessee didn’t get a lot better in 2020.
Sometimes what you see on the field is more important than what the record in the newspaper says.
Featured image via Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports