Like Bob Dylan said, "the times they are a-changin'" especially in Knoxville. If you watched any of the NFL draft, six Tennessee players were taken including All American safety and soul of the defense, Eric Berry and run-stuffing nose tackle Dan Williams, whose blocked field goal on Kentucky's Lones Sieber won the East for the Vols in 2008.
These slides show what parts of this legendary program changed the most over the later winter and spring months.
After a mediocre 7-6 season, Lane Kiffin, defensive genius Monte Kiffin (architect of the Tampa 2), and D-line coach and recruiter extraordinaire Ed Orgeron made like the Clampetts to coach in sunny SoCal.
The Vols brought in Derek Dooley, who led Louisiana Tech to a bowl win. He's only been a head coach for three seasons, but Dooley was the recruiting coordinator for LSU's 2003 championship and even brought in five star wideout Da'Rick Rogers in the late-signing period.
Some players have left the program, but Dooley is friendlier with the Knoxville media and plays by the rules. He also smartly kept OC Jim Chaney, who developed Jonathan Crompton and Montario Hardesty from bench warmers to NFL draft picks.
Receivers coach Charlie Baggett has worked miracles with Matt Milton this spring and has 33 years of coaching, including in the NFL, where he coached the Vikings' Randy Moss and Cris Carter.
But the best hire might have been DC Justin Wilcox. Young Wilcox's Boise defenses led the WAC in total defense all four years of his tenure and beat teams like Oklahoma and TCU in BCS Bowls. He will bring 3-4 fronts as well as plenty of takeaways as the spring game showed.
I thought I would never say this, but I miss Jonathan Crompton. From an overhyped recruit who was getting death threats and fumbling at the goal line to throwing for 2,700 yards and 27 TDs and getting drafted in the 5th round by San Diego.
Crompton's replacements aren't so polished. Matt Simms threw for over 2,000 yards in junior college and played one year at Louisville, but he has a hard time releasing the football, getting sacked five times in the spring game. He does have some speed but must work on getting on the same page with his receivers.
The other QB, Tyler Bray is a skinny (180 pounds) four-star recruit who throws bullets. At the spring scrimmage, several of his passes sailed over his receivers' head, but he spread the ball around even targeting his fullback Ben Bartholomew.
This quarterback controversy is far from over, but Bray had a better arm, didn't single out one wideout (Simms and Gerald Jones), and moved his team down the field. He did have the advantage of first team tailback Tauren Poole, but this battle should be interesting to watch.
An amazing career with 241 tackles, 14 picks, and 3 touchdowns, Eric Berry will probably start at strong safety for Kansas City alongside ten year veteran Jon McGraw. The Vols didn't have any empty cupboard. Janzen Jackson is a heavy hitter, who had a big lick on special teams during the spring game.
Senior Art Evans (39 tackles) is the returning tackler on the secondary, and Wilcox should let him loose this year after a season in the conservative Tampa 2 defense (10 interceptions). He missed the spring game, but Eric Gordon (4 tackles; 1 TFL in spring game) and Stephaun Raines (1 int) should provide good depth in Wilcox's nickel packages.
The safety position is a logjam, especially with promising sophomore Darren Myles' legal problems. He would probably start because of his ball-hawking ability (1 int; 2 PBU), but Prentiss Waggener had three stops and is a great last line of defense. The secondary should have more fun in Justin Wilcox's takeaway happy defense, but a shutdown corner must emerge.
Two Tennessee offensive linemen Jacques McClendon and Chris Scott were drafted in the fourth and fifth rounds respectively. Over their careers, they protected two less than speedy quarterbacks (Erik Ainge and Jonathan Crompton) and paved the way for two 1,000 yard rushers (Arian Foster and Montario Hardesty). You can't replace these guys with one recruting class.
Over spring, Dallas Thomas emerged at left tackle, even though he and his linemates allowed five sacks on Matt Simms. This might have been attributed to Simms holding the ball too long. Jawuan James will join him on the strong side and hopefully will live up to his four star billing. Jarrod Shaw is a fifth year senior who didn't give up a sack to an interior lineman and could help at center.
Center is the weakest spot for the Vols, and converted tight end Cody Pope must work hard this summer with both quarterback prospects to avoid botched snaps and false start penalties. Tennessee will need their linemen to grow up quickly and pave the way for Tauren Poole and David Oku and give their inexperienced quarterbacks time to throw, especially slow Simms. The Vols' success on offense is pinned on this young O-line
Tennessee has a long history of churning out elite nose tackle prospects from Pro Bowler John Henderson to more recently Justin Harrell, Jesse Mahelona (RIP), and Dan Williams.
This year, using a 3-4 front, could be a good thing. Only Montori Hughes took snaps last year finishing with 20 stops in limited action. He was invisible in the spring game, being outblocked by Jarrod Shaw, but sophomore Marion Walls showed off his speed in sacking Matt Simms three times. A bit undersized at 280 pounds, Walls will play in the 4-3 sets alongside Hughes. These guys are young but have a great future ahead of them.
The spring game really showcased that Tennessee has depth on the defensive line especially with pass rusher Ben Martin returning (3.5 sacks). The D-line must put pressure on the quarterback in order for the defensive backs to make plays in Wilcox's new defense.