The last 24 months have been an incredibly trying time for Tennessee Vols supporters.
During that time, Tennessee has gone 12-13 on the field, fired one of its longest tenured head coaches, watched his replacement sully the Tennessee name and bring NCAA scrutiny on the program before leaving the Vols for the head coaching job at USC.
That decision led to Tennessee selecting a coach, Derek Dooley, who went just 4-8 in 2009 at Louisiana Tech.
Through it all, however, the bond among the players has strengthened. Well, the players who are left anyway.
It was quickly apparent, once Lane Kiffin left Knoxville for the smoggier atmosphere of Los Angeles, that Tennessee would likely fall victim to numbers in 2010.
When All-SEC offensive lineman, Aaron Douglas, decided to transfer from an already depleted front-line unit, it became official that 2010 would not be a banner year on Rocky Top.
Shortly after he left, Tennessee lost depth at another critical position, quarterback. Fifth-year senior Nick Stephens left the program after it became apparent that he was likely going to finish the spring as the backup quarterback in 2010.
Bryce Brown didn’t even participate in spring practice, but the ‘09 top recruit’s story wouldn’t be finished until just one week ago when he finally made it official that he was leaving the program.
Preseason practice hasn’t been in session for a week and two more Vols have apparently bitten the dust for 2010, as well.
Defensive end Ben Martin and defensive tackle Marlon Walls both injured their Achilles since practice began on Wednesday. Both are out for the season.
The deck is definitely stacked against these Vols at the start of the 2010 season.
Hopefully you’ll learn all you need to know about the Big Orange in 2010 after these next few slides.