The lack of seniors on Tennessee's depth chart could be appealing to a coaching candidate. But if he's competent enough to be the next football coach at UT, he also should be able to figure out how misleading that same depth chart could be.
I'm not just referring to the possibility that quarterback Tyler Bray and wide receivers Cordarrelle Patterson and Justin Hunter could all declare for early entry into the next NFL draft.
That's a short-term concern. There's also a long-term concern regarding both lines.
And that underscores the importance of a new coach salvaging as much as possible from the 2013 recruiting class. He soon will have two lines to rebuild.
The offensive line likely will be the strength of UT's next team, just as it was this year. Four starters will return, as will No. 1 backup Alex Bullard, who started 12 games in 2011.
Bullard will join fellow veterans Zach Fulton, James Stone, Ja'Wuan James and Antonio Richardson in the 2013 starting offensive line, which should be one of the best in the SEC. The concern relates to the line after that.
Seniors Fulton, Stone, James and Bullard will have to be replaced after next season. Also, given all the promise Richardson showed in his first season as a starter this year, you might wonder if he would go pro early.
You can imagine where that would leave the Vols in 2014. That's why building depth in the offensive line will be crucial next fall.
Sophomore Marcus Jackson started five games in 2011 as a freshman. But the others — Alan Posey, Mack Crowder and Kyler Kerbyson — in UT's second-team offensive line don't have that kind of experience.
The situation is similar on the defensive front, which wasn't nearly as acclaimed as its offensive counterparts this fall. At least, it won't lack experience in 2013.
Again, the season after that will be the problem.
UT's top two returning players at both defensive ends and nose tackle will be seniors next fall. That's good for next year. But it raises concerns about 2014 — especially for a new coach.
Most coaches get a pass in their first season with a downtrodden program. Progress is expected in Year 2, though, which helps explain why UT's most recent coach began his third season on the hot seat.
Derek Dooley's second season was worse than his first and was capped by an embarrassing lost to Kentucky.
Dooley and his staff tried to expedite the progress through junior college recruiting. As bad as the recently completed 5-7 season was, it would have been worse without junior college transfers.
Patterson became the best player on the team. He caught passes, returned kicks and bedeviled defenses on occasional runs as well.
Three other junior college transfers — Darrington Sentimore, Daniel McCullers and Maurice Couch — started on the defensive front.
Sentimore led the Vols in sacks with five. McCullers led UT down linemen in tackles with 37, and Couch was just three behind him.
All three — and their backups — will be gone after next season. So don't be surprised if the new coach addresses that with more junior college recruiting.
Dooley improved UT's talent level in his three seasons on the job. But he also left holes to fill for his successor.
Look closely enough at the depth chart and you can find them.