Phillip Fulmer will lead a team with a lot of unanswered questions into the Rose Bowl in September. After winning the Southeastern Conference East division a year ago, the fans in Knoxville want more.
They will get more from sophomore defensive back Eric Berry. He led the Vols with five interceptions last season. Berry also recorded 86 tackles while earning Freshman All-American honors.
He will be joined by Demetrice Morley in the secondary. Morley had ten starts to his credit before taking a year off to address some personal issues.
Leading the way for the defense will be weakside linebacker Rico McCoy. Coming off an amazing year with 106 tackles, McCoy is poised to have an All-SEC junior season.
McCoy will be the leader of the linebacking corps as the Vols will start two new backers. Senior Ellix Wilson steps up into the spot vacated by Jerod Mayo. Nevin McKenzie and Adams Meyers-White are fighting for the nod at strong-side backer.
The Vols will have a new offense, and new offensive coordinator Dave Clawson has many tools at his disposal. With the new system, a new quarterback is stepping under center. Jonathan Crompton looks to be the next great quarterback to develop in East Tennessee.
Crompton has friends at receiver as several players look to be hungry for the football. Lucas Taylor joined the elite at Tennessee last year as he went over the 1,000-yard mark for the season—and he has some great receivers behind him. Josh Briscoe returns for his senior year, having led the team last season with six touchdown catches.
The running game will be strong once again for the Vols. Senior Arian Foster looks to break the career rushing record, as he need less than 700 yards to top Travis Henry's mark. Foster rushed for 1,193 yards and 12 touchdowns last season and will look to improve his effectiveness under Clawson.
Lennon Creer, Montario Hardesty, and Tauren Poole will add depth, apply heat to Foster, and carry the Vols while the ball is on the ground.
The schedule is a double-edged sword as they travel to UCLA to start the season. They also travel to Auburn, between the hedges to face the Georgia Bulldogs, and to Columbia to face Steve Spurrier and the South Carolina Gamecocks.
The Vols welcome the Florida Gators, the Alabama Crimson Tide, and end the season with the Kentucky Wildcats invading Neyland Stadium.