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No unit showed more dramatic improvement from the first game to the next game than the linebackers for Tennessee football. Henry To’oTo’o is beginning to show why the coaches loved him so much as a true freshman, and Quavaris Crouch also saw action as well. Meanwhile, Will Ignont began to prove that he could lead a unit in Daniel Bituli’s absence.
However, Bituli should be set to come back this week, and that’s a huge reason to bet on the unit. Combine him with Darrell Taylor’s explosive playmaking, which showed up on the outside against the BYU Cougars, and the potential that everybody saw here before the season began could finally begin to take off. There were a couple of issues Saturday but far less than two Saturdays ago.
This was a unit that played terribly on Saturday. Marquez Callaway had minus-four yards on his one punt return, and Ty Chandler inadvisably returned a kickoff that only got the Vols’ offense to the 20-yard line. So it was poor overall, but it was actually very good in the first week outside of an uncharacteristic fumble by Callaway.
So we just find this to be a bit of a fluke, and it should begin to improve over time. If it can start to match what the kicking game is doing, then the Vols could maybe steal a few wins and get things back on track with elite special teams play. But what’s clear is that this unit is likely to look much better the rest of the way.