2. Transition to a 3-4 defense
This is a big one that leads to a major concern on Rocky Top. It was an issue in the spring, and it remains an issue in fall camp. How will Tennessee football’s defense be able to handle the transition to a 3-4?
Yes, the offense is also changing to a pro-style. But that is a more seamless transition than to a 3-4. History just proves it. Look at what happened to the Georgia Bulldogs the first couple of years they tried it under Mark Richt.
Also, look at the Vols themselves when they made the switch back in 2012. It was disastrous and cost Derek Dooley his job. Alabama themselves struggled a bit with it Nick Saban’s first year in 2007, but it wasn’t as bad since Joe Kines would run some 3-3-5 sets in addition to his base 4-3.
The Vols, however, have been in a 4-3 for the past five years that often operates out of the nickel. Jeremy Pruitt and Kevin Sherrer will likely still use the nickel package, to be fair. But everything is different in how things are managed.
Don’t believe me? Look at how much the Tennessee football defense struggled in the spring game. The secondary already looks to be in for a brutal year. As a result, with the full roster in tact now, pay attention to how much the defense struggles in fall camp.
If the issues are still there, then the Vols are in for a seriously long year on that side of the ball. In fact, right now, the best hope on Rocky Top is that the defense is not so disastrous that they’re impossible to overcome, like they were in 2012. This transition is a major concern.