Mike Strange: Tennessee's defense is taking small steps forward

Mike Strange
Tennessee defensive back Cameron Sutton (23) and defensive lineman Jacques Smith (55) celebrate a recovered fumble during the first half Saturday, Sept. 21, 2013 at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, FL.   (MICHAEL PATRICK/NEWS SENTINEL)

Photo by Michael Patrick

Tennessee defensive back Cameron Sutton (23) and defensive lineman Jacques Smith (55) celebrate a recovered fumble during the first half Saturday, Sept. 21, 2013 at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, FL. (MICHAEL PATRICK/NEWS SENTINEL)

You remember the epitaph of the 2012 Tennessee defense:

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Comments » 2

maciste54 writes:

There is obvious improvement from horrid to just not so great. You can't teach speed can't be said often enough. They just don't have enough of it. Hopefully by this time next year that will be improved and they will go from "almost" making a play to actually making one.

johnlg00 writes:

I pretty much agree with what you and Mike said. My biggest worry is that while lots of youngsters are getting good experience in the secondary and the back seven generally, next year's D-line will likely be a jury-rigged affair, with as many newcomers as those who are currently learning the ropes on the back line of the defense.

Same with the offense. The young receiving corps will hopefully be better next year, at least two of the QBs will have a fair amount of playing experience, and hopefully Jalen Hurd can add some punch to the running game, but the O-line will be a serious question. It will take at least two more highly-productive recruiting classes before the Vols will have a competitive blend of talent and experience across the board.

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