Gameday Today: Easing expectations on the Vols offensive line

In today’s Vols link roundup, we’re tapping the brakes on expectations for the offensive line, looking objectively at the third consecutive preseason Top 25 for the Vols, and noting that nobody knows what to think about Tennessee this season.

Consider the brakes tapped on the offensive line

We’ve been saying since we published the magazine back in May that the offensive line was one of the main reasons to believe in this team this fall. But fall camp is essentially over now, and you haven’t really heard much, if any, praise about the unit from coaches or reporters. If anything, the news has tended on the negative side, what with the season-ending injuries to Chance Hall and K’Rojhn Calbert and three other key guys reportedly missing time during camp for unspecified minor injuries.

Butch Jones is apparently concerned, having left Monday’s practice this week a wee bit frustrated:

“We have to have the discipline to execute, football is too hard of a game as it is, from the technical aspect, to fundamentals, efforts, techniques, [and] winning your one-on-one matchups,” Jones said, “let alone a team that jumps offsides, a team that doesn’t take care of the football, a team that doesn’t snap the ball well.

“All those things, it comes down to the disciple to execute, having that ability.”

Not only that, but one of the takeaways from this GoVols247 roundtable about what their reporters have learned during preseason camp is that we may have been expecting too much out of the offensive line. When the guys who are not charged with winning but with reporting are beginning to wonder, it might be time to break out the sideways eyes.

I sincerely hope those guys are an absolute strength of the team this year, but I have to admit that I’ve transitioned a bit from belief to hope.

Vols in the Top 25 again

Tennessee is in the preseason AP Poll for the third year in a row, albeit barely at No. 25. That makes three consecutive seasons now that the Vols have started the season in the Top 25, something that hasn’t happened in nine years.

And yeah, when you hear Tennessee officials say that they are one of only 10 teams to have been ranked for three years straight, you chalk it up to PR, but look at the other nine teams:

  • Ohio State (1, 6, 2)
  • Alabama (3,1, 1)
  • Florida State (10, 4, 3)
  • Georgia (9, 18,15
  • Southern California (8, 20, 4)
  • Clemson (12, 2, 5)
  • LSU (14, 5, 13)
  • Oklahoma (19, 3, 7
  • Stanford (21, 8, 14)

That’s pretty good company, and I think it shows that the Vols are at least building some consistency. Now to focus on the Top 10 instead of the Top 25.

Quick Hits


  1. I love the blue-chip ratio metric. And you know what else I love: Florida’s ratio haha sliding from “champ caliber” 54% allll the way down to “practically Dooley level” 37%. Big shout out to Coach WillMessUpaChamp and Jim Mac’llWane 🙂

    • Heh. Love those names. And yeah, it is comforting to see numbers showing that Tennessee’s talent is increasing while Florida’s is going the other way. They just need to lose a few more so they can start losing their confidence, too.

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