5. Chattanooga’s pass protection
Vol fans were excited last week when Darrell Taylor finally emerged. The continued development of the defensive line and the inside linebackers should allow him more opportunities to wreak havoc on future opponents. And if there’s one bright spot, Tennessee football is already off to a good start in its pass rush.
The Vols have six sacks on the year, one of which forced a turnover. So they are doing what they should be doing in a 3-4 defense, particularly Jeremy Pruitt’s system. Now, though, Derrick Ansley is hoping his unit can turn that up a notch, and that requires the continued improvement of other players on the field.
On Saturday, though, they will have a good test for this. Despite being an FCS team, the Chattanooga Mocs have yet to allow a sack this year. That’s pretty impressive through two games, and it should absolutely be a concern for the Vols. Their defense relies heavily on a pass rush, and if they can’t get one this weekend, they will have a lot of other issues to deal with.
Now, it works both ways, and the Mocs have only picked up one sack through two games as well. Being unable to pressure Jarrett Guarantano takes away the one thing that makes him look horrible. But the big story is whether or not the Vols’ pass-rush can step up. Taylor and LaTrell Bumphus have been the stars so far, but even more will need to step up on Saturday.