Matthew Butler

2020 Unit Rankings – Defensive Line

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So far, here’s where the Vols’ units have ranked in the SEC heading into the 2020 season:

Today, we’ll look at the defensive line.

2020 SEC Defensive Line Rankings

Additional comments

Of all of the unit rankings this year, this one surprised me the most when I first crunched the numbers. Tennessee No. 2? I don’t think so.

But when I went looking under the hood to see what went wrong, I found that what was wrong was me. Apparently, that image of two of Tennessee’s defensive ends lined up on the same side of the line against Georgia State has the shelf life of Twinkies. The feeling associated with that obscures the fact that Tennessee’s defense improved all season long and that the line was a key part of that improvement.

The Vols were a somewhat surprising No. 6 in the league in total defense, 23rd in the nation. They were third in the league in sacks. Beginning with the Mississippi State game, the line started carrying its share of the load on the way to a solid finish for the season. And this year, everybody on the line is back, plus Emmitt Gooden returns. So yeah, Tennessee’s at No. 2.

Your thoughts

What do y’all think? Where did we get it right? Where are we wrong?

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1 year ago

Hey Joel, typo in the headline, need to change to defensive.

Good stuff though, just got the hard copy of the magazine delivered the other day!