3. Which base defense will the Vols run?
It’s assumed that new defensive coordinator Tim Banks will run his standard nickel-heavy 4-3 base defense. Given Tennessee football’s issues at linebacker, that seemed like even more of a given. However, he experimented with different formations in the spring, including staying in the 3-4 at different times and the 3-3-5.
Beyond that experimentation, UT’s roster still has edge rushers listed as linebackers instead of defensive ends, as if the Vols are still in Jeremy Pruitt’s defense. This affects Tyler Baron, Bryson Eason, Morven Joseph, Roman Harrison and newcomer Byron Young.
In that Tuesday media session, Banks said even if he had his base defense set, he wouldn’t go public about it. He also said that the main focus, regardless of the unit’s base, will be about staying multiple and being able to switch up different formations.
Taking all this into account, we have no idea what system Banks will stick to when the season starts. It’s true that Pruitt’s conditioning and focus got players to a size more conducive to a 3-4, as the ends on the line are bigger rather than quicker. However, Banks’ success has always been out of the base 4-3 defense, so it’ll be interesting to see what he runs in fall camp.