Mike Strange: Twelve guys who would like to spoil Tennessee's day in football next season

Mike Strange
Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota, right, celebrates his first half touchdown against Washington State with Oregon's De'Anthony Thomas, left, during an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 29, 2012, in Seattle. Oregon beat Washington State, 51-26. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota, right, celebrates his first half touchdown against Washington State with Oregon's De'Anthony Thomas, left, during an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 29, 2012, in Seattle. Oregon beat Washington State, 51-26. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

Poll: Which opposing player that UT will face this season poses the biggest threat?

See the results »

View previous polls »

We’re 69 days from kicking off the Butch Jones era of Tennessee football. So far, so good for the new regime.

However, life becomes more challenging when the other guys show up. They’re not going to salute when the Team 117 flag is raised. They won’t be bringing any bricks to add to the foundation.

For your summer consideration, here’s 12 of the other guys Tennessee ought to worry about.

Marcus Mariota, Oregon: He’s the triggerman for the most problematic offense the Vols will face in 2013. Mariota threw for 32 touchdowns and rushed for 752 yards last year — as a freshman.

The dual threat is being hyped as the Pac 12 offensive player of the year. The Vols are hoping the sophomore slump kicks in by the time they arrive in Eugene on Sept. 14.

De’Anthony Thomas, Oregon: He’s only 5-foot-9 and maybe 170 pounds soaking wet. The problem (for UT) is that Thomas is fast, really fast.

He’s got 4,000 all-purpose yards in two seasons to prove it. He rushes, he catches passes, he returns kicks. He scores a lot of touchdowns.

Antonio Andrews, Western Kentucky: Andrews is a bigger version of Oregon’s Thomas, with 3,161 all-purpose yards last year, including 1,728 rushing.

Think Bobby Petrino won’t come up with ways to get the ball in Andrews’ hands?

Kyle Christy, Florida: He’s only a punter so what’s the big fear? Field position in The Swamp, that’s what.

Christy set a school record last year with a 45.8-yard average. Against the Vols he was even better, getting 48.6 yards on five punts.

Louichez Purifoy, Florida: Besides having one of the great names in college football, Purifoy is a dynamic cornerback and special-teams star.

In fact, he’s so dynamic, Will Muschamp will get him some plays at receiver.

Todd Gurley/Keith Marshall, Georgia: I couldn’t tell the freshman tailbacks apart last year when they were leading UT’s defense on not-so-merry chases.

For the record, Marshall was the one with 164 rushing yards, Gurley 130. They haven’t gone anywhere.

Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina: You can still see him on Sportscenter crumpling that Michigan guy and taking his football with one bit mitt.

The jaw-dropping hit is also on posters all over the state. I saw one in Charleston last weekend.

Amari Cooper, Alabama: Quite the coming-out party Mr. Cooper had against the Vols last year. The freshman had seven catches for 162 yards and two TDS.

It wasn’t just the Vols, though. He made Freshman All-America with 53 catches. Even quarterback AJ McCarron’s girlfriend was impressed.

C.J. Mosley, Alabama: A consensus All-American at inside linebacker, Mosley is as big and tough as they come.

A worthy poster boy for a Nick Saban defense, Mosley made 43 more tackles than anybody on Alabama’s defense last year. And that was a pretty good defense.

Cyrus Kouandjio, Alabama: There ought to be an offensive lineman on this list. My pick is the 6-6, 310-pound All-SEC tackle, because he’s a road-grader and you know some serious tailback is coming right behind him.

Dorial Green-Beckham, Missouri: Considering all the hype, Green-Beckham had a disappointing freshman season with only 25 catches. Two of them, however, were for crucial TDs against Tennessee.

Still, he’s a fantastically talented 6-foot-6 target and I’m betting by Nov. 2 of his sophomore year DGB has figured it out and is putting up big numbers.

Jordan Matthews, Vanderbilt: Speaking of big numbers, Matthews torched UT’s defense last year for 115 yards on seven catches. He added insult to injury by running 47 yards for a score.

His final tally was 94 catches and 1,323 yards. He’s big and he’s good. Receivers like that didn’t used to go to Vandy.

Mike Strange may be reached at 865-342-6276. Follow him on Twitter at Strangemike44.

Get Copyright Permissions © 2013, Knoxville News Sentinel Co.
Want to use this article? Click here for options!

© 2013 govolsxtra.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Discuss
  • Print

Comments » 20

Vols_For_The_Win writes:

Wow! I had to youtube the JC Michigan hit. Wow.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gC44nP...

That's on the Top 5 all-time list.

voloffaith writes:

12 guys that play for opponents..thus they want to rain on the UT parade.....how many days til I'm there for opening day? That's my birthday so I'm predicting a W for me. I know it really doesn't matter.....

Witch_Doctors writes:

in response to Vols_For_The_Win:

Wow! I had to youtube the JC Michigan hit. Wow.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gC44nP...

That's on the Top 5 all-time list.

Witch Doctor say Clowney is a freak! Witch Doctor has watched that a thousand times...first time noticing for ONE split second the QB almost runs toward the flying helmet and not the ball. Witch Doctor all Vol but can appreciate talent. 1# pick in the next draft.
Bones never lie.

10seVol85_Part_Deux writes:

Well, who didn't torch Sunseri last year? I don't think that is any predictor of them doing it again now that Sunseri is history.

Southland writes:

had to be the worst coached defensive team ever put on the field for UT last year. we will not beat the big boys this year but we can probably slow them down more than last year even if we let cheerleaders play

Orangeblood13 writes:

in response to Witch_Doctors:

Witch Doctor say Clowney is a freak! Witch Doctor has watched that a thousand times...first time noticing for ONE split second the QB almost runs toward the flying helmet and not the ball. Witch Doctor all Vol but can appreciate talent. 1# pick in the next draft.
Bones never lie.

Tiny is up for the rematch, could be interesting

Witch_Doctors writes:

in response to Orangeblood13:

Tiny is up for the rematch, could be interesting

Witch Doctor say Tiny held Clowney in check and Javon even said Tiny was one of the best he'd played against. Witch Doctor say Tiny got Big future also as a probably first rounder(who know with how they draft year to year but SHOULD be) Witch Doctors Opinion.
Bones never lie.

voloffaith writes:

in response to notfunanymore:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Translation.....Debbie or Donnie Downer....the sky is falling..the glass is half empty.....your elevator doesn't go all the way to the top.....my new $100 bill has a wrinkle....Oh I looked at the time of your post so....My pillow was too hard....

On Topic, we will have a rough year, but I don't expect to lose due to lack of effort. It's a marathon and we are near the back of the pack. So we can only move up as the race progresses.

SummittsCourt writes:

Instead of writing this article why not write an article about the 12 Volunteers that might spoil our opponents Saturdays this season.

And you wonder why you get so much hate from the reader.

10seVol85_Part_Deux writes:

in response to notfunanymore:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

As I recall, Dooley had a pretty bad situation where the roster was concerned, and had to play a record 17 freshmen in his first year. The Vols still won 6 games, and should have won two more (LSU and UNC).

My point? Who thinks that Dooley was as good as Jones? That the roster is actually worse than it was at the beginning of 2010? Or that this year's schedule is actually significantly tougher than 2010?

QB was nothing but a question mark in 2010. Oregon was right there at the start of the season in 2010. Vandy is tougher now, but Auburn this year versus LSU in 2010 certainly balances that one out.

I think we'll see at least 6 wins this year too.

murrayvol writes:

in response to Witch_Doctors:

Witch Doctor say Clowney is a freak! Witch Doctor has watched that a thousand times...first time noticing for ONE split second the QB almost runs toward the flying helmet and not the ball. Witch Doctor all Vol but can appreciate talent. 1# pick in the next draft.
Bones never lie.

It would truly suck to be the Michigan guy who took the hit that will live for-ev-er. Ouch!

chattabluetick writes:

in response to murrayvol:

It would truly suck to be the Michigan guy who took the hit that will live for-ev-er. Ouch!

Just the same way Bill Bates is always remembered for Hershel Walker running over him. His outstanding career at Tennessee and with the Dallas Cowboys always seem to take a back seat because of that one play. Like he was the only one Hershel ever ran over.

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

in response to chattabluetick:

Just the same way Bill Bates is always remembered for Hershel Walker running over him. His outstanding career at Tennessee and with the Dallas Cowboys always seem to take a back seat because of that one play. Like he was the only one Hershel ever ran over.

It comes in cycles, Noshon Moreno seems to be remembered by getting jacked-up by Eric Berry.

Witch_Doctors writes:

in response to murrayvol:

It would truly suck to be the Michigan guy who took the hit that will live for-ev-er. Ouch!

Witch Doctor agree..Witch Doctor say good news you made a top 5 greatest hits of all time highlight...bad news..lol
Bones never lie.

ncvol17 writes:

I believe the days of our being blown out are over. We will be competitive on D and a WIP on O in early 2013.

utvolfan1955 writes:

in response to notfunanymore:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

translation: troll

UTvols33 writes:

There are about 1200 "guys who would like to spoil Tennessee's day in football next season." They are called opponents.

Dumb article.

antonio14313 writes:

in response to SummittsCourt:

Instead of writing this article why not write an article about the 12 Volunteers that might spoil our opponents Saturdays this season.

And you wonder why you get so much hate from the reader.

i agree! hopefully that article comes out soon...

go vols.

t

utvolfan1955 writes:

in response to UTvols33:

There are about 1200 "guys who would like to spoil Tennessee's day in football next season." They are called opponents.

Dumb article.

also the so-called "truth squad" want UT to fail

VolGrad writes:

in response to Witch_Doctors:

Witch Doctor say Clowney is a freak! Witch Doctor has watched that a thousand times...first time noticing for ONE split second the QB almost runs toward the flying helmet and not the ball. Witch Doctor all Vol but can appreciate talent. 1# pick in the next draft.
Bones never lie.

Tiny Richardson is a bigger freak.

Want to participate in the conversation? Become a subscriber today. Subscribers can read and comment on any story, anytime. Non-subscribers will only be able to view comments on select stories.

Features