After two weeks off, Tennessee football finally gets Daniel Bituli back this Saturday. And yes, given what has happened with the Vols on the defensive side of the ball at times, that is a huge deal. So even against an FCS team like the Chattanooga Mocs, he’s a key player to keep an eye on.
Bituli is the one veteran inside linebacker and the guy who calls all the plays for the defense. His absence was blatant in the Vols’ opener against the Georgia State Panthers, as the defense was consistently out of position and allowed for Dan Ellington to rack up yards on tons of misdirection and option plays.
Against the BYU Cougars, UT benefitted from Kalani Sitake’s coaching staff not calling enough misdirection and option plays. When they did, the unit looked better, but it still bit on some plays and took horrible angles on others, most notably in Ty’Son Williams’s regulation touchdown run after Jarrett Guarantano’s interception.
With Bituli back, the Vols should improve here, and the linebackers can develop with less pressure. What’s key is for Bituli to help the defense consistently shut down Chattanooga and then the game be a blowout by halftime so he can come out and save himself while having gotten back in rhythm due to being able to play.