Offensive line heads Tennessee Vols' good stuff

Tennessee offensive linesman Antonio Richardson (74) blocking Alabama linebacker Adrian Hubbard (42) during their 44-13 loss against Alabama Saturday, Oct. 20, 2012 in Neyland Stadium in Knoxville. (MICHAEL PATRICK/NEWS SENTINEL)

Photo by Michael Patrick, copyright © 2012

Tennessee offensive linesman Antonio Richardson (74) blocking Alabama linebacker Adrian Hubbard (42) during their 44-13 loss against Alabama Saturday, Oct. 20, 2012 in Neyland Stadium in Knoxville. (MICHAEL PATRICK/NEWS SENTINEL)

KNOXVILLE — There was plenty of lowlights last season for the University of Tennessee football program, and that's why there's a new coaching staff. But it's not all bad news for Butch Jones and Co. as they prepare to start spring practice. Here are three good things for the Volunteers:

1. The offensive line

It's pretty easy to spot a strength on Tennessee's offense for 2013, and it's the big guys up front. The group's credentials: four seniors, 123 combined career starts and a likely NFL first-round draft pick at left tackle.

Tackle Ja'Wuan James and guard Zach Fulton remained entrenched on the right side of the line, James Stone is locked in at center and rising junior Antonio "Tiny" Richardson is back for his second (and likely last) season at left tackle. The coaches must replace Dallas Thomas, but Marcus Jackson and Alex Bullard were nonstarters who played very regularly last season. It'll be an important spring for the Vols to develop younger players for 2014, when the line must reload.

With an impressive combination of experience and talent, Tennessee's offensive line must be an anchor for the Vols as they transition to a new coaching staff, and if the 2012 season was any indication -- Tennessee tailbacks averaged better than 4.5 yards per carry and allowed only eight sacks in Tyler Bray's 451 passes -- the front five will be up to that challenge.

Continue reading at the Chattanooga Times Free Press.

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Comments » 5

johnlg00 writes:

All is not lost, Vol fans! Picking wins and losses is a fool's errand, given all the headwinds the Vols will be battling, but we should see evidence of growth in several areas. Oh, no doubt some will be calling for Jones' head if or when the Vols get killed by Oregon or Florida, but griping is just a reflex on the part of many fans these days, and the dark clouds they raise may obscure evidence of improvement from the eyes of those who will not see.

antonio14313 writes:

all 5 of the starting offensive linemen will go on to be NFL players. you heard it here first. go vols.

t

mocsandvolsfan writes:

Good luck Austin Sanders. Bradley's # 1 pancake man. Mr. 3A football.

VolGrad writes:

Always tough this time of year... waiting to see some Tennessee Football.

Go Vols!

pdhuff#552644 writes:

How many more days left in the doldrums?

Ah, the agony....

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