The O-line is not completely gone for Montana, but still only three veterans will shore up the wall to fend off the Tennessee defensive front, two OTs and a G.
Though the verdict is still out on Vol DE Ben Martin and whether or not his matched pair of Achilles tendon injuries have fully healed, the fact that he is No.1 on the depth chart has to account for something.
Then the sophomores arrive. NT Daniel Hood, and DE Jacques Smith have stood out all spring and legitimately earned their starting roles. Then there is DT Malik Jackson who sprained the medial ligament in his right knee during the first week of August. Jackson says he is back to 100 percent and feels ready, but was glad for the other guys to get the extra reps while he rested his knee and took mental reps studying D-line mistakes.
All in all, you might say Montana's three returning starters could give the D-line some trouble, but the bad news for the Grizzlies is if that does happen all of the Vol D-line depth is shovel-ready to take the field due to the rigorous scrimmages and practice regimens that DL coach Lance Thompson has instilled since the first day of spring.
Add in the Strength and Conditioning coach Ron McKeefery's unyielding workouts and it's a no-brainer. Midway through the third quarter the Grizzly line will be inundated by the strength and stamina of the Vol defensive front and that's when things will really start to get ugly.