6. Does Tennessee have the pass rush to overwhelm Georgia State?
Again, the Georgia State Panthers have a solid passing attack. They also have a mobile quarterback in Dan Ellington to be able to deliver the ball to the right guys and keep defenses on their heels. And they have a head coach in Shawn Elliott who is a Steve Spurrier protege and more than willing to air it out.
Combine that with the issue of Tennessee football’s secondary going without Bryce Thompson, and the Vols will need to find other ways to make sure this game stays within their control. Enter the pass rush.
Darrell Taylor is one of the stars of the Vols defense entering this year. With Daniel Bituli expected to be out at inside linebacker, and with questions all over the defensive line even with Aubrey Solomon’s eligibility waiver being granter, Taylor is the one guy on the front seven who we are sure about. However, he, Deandre Johnson and Kivon Bennett together have the biggest roles.
Those guys need to make sure that they get to Ellington as quickly as possible. Jeremy Pruitt’s defensive schemes are all about the edge rushers getting into the backfield, and Ellington will likely roll out a good bit to give them those opportunities. They need to take advantage.
This will also require a push up front from the defensive line. But whatever it takes, UT needs to give its secondary somewhat of a break. That will involve their star edge rusher and the unit as a whole getting to Ellington as much as possible.