5. Where will the depth build?
Jeremy Pruitt said at SEC Media Days that, despite his excitement over where the program is at entering his second year, the Vols are still on the “potential” side of things. What he was saying was very clear.
Tennessee football has built up its depth with a solid recruiting class at key positions, and the Vols are lucky to have lots of talent returning. But so much of it is unproven that, as he said, it’s all about potential at this moment.
That’s mostly true for the backups across the depth chart. UT has a good bit of returning starters for last year, but there was so much inconsistency that it was hard to know who could fill in if an injury occurred.
Injuries are obviously going to be a part of the game, even with this team appearing healthier due to a better strength and conditioning program. As a result, Pruitt needs to spend fall camp identifying who can fill out the second and third teams.
Most notable among the depth is backup quarterback. Behind Jarrett Guarantano, as Pruitt mentioned in spring ball, nobody on the Vols’ roster has taken one official snap in FBS play. But JT Shrout and Brian Maurer are both going to try to make a push for that spot.
Parts of the secondary and linebacker also have a ton of open spots for depth to build, but there are a lot of bodies in both units. And then there’s the other part that needs depth, which leads to our next slide.