There are plenty of things to worry about with Tennessee football heading into this season. That’s always the case when you undergo a coaching change, but when you add a wave of transfers and issues with the NCAA to that, you’ve got a potential recipe for disaster. When you’re coming off a 3-7 season, that’s even more the case.
Now, the good news for UT is that a couple of standard concerns aren’t really concerns this year. Changing a head coach and installing new schemes on both sides of the ball isn’t a big deal given how bad things were last year. Also, not all the transfers were problematic.
However, the attrition at certain positions does indeed create problems, and off-the-field issues can’t be ignored. It was hard to point out the most significant issues facing the Vols this year given how many, but some were much more blatant than others. Let’s dive in and point those out. These are Tennessee football’s five biggest concerns heading into the 2021 season.
5. NCAA investigation distraction
The investigation itself is a concern, but it now looks like UT will kick off the season without it reaching a conclusion. That’s somewhat ridiculous given the fact that it began last December, before any of the changes came to the program, but this is how things work with the NCAA. Since the Vols can’t control the investigation, we don’t count that as an on-field concern.
However, Josh Heupel’s first team can control how they handle the cloud of the investigation, and that’s going to be a concern no matter what. The first concern is if they can tune it out when its results aren’t in yet. It could serve as a distraction in games, and that could be a problem.
Also, what if the NCAA brings the hammer down on the program? Then there’s another concern as to how committed the players will be if no postseason is on the table. Simply put, there are multiple ways the investigation is an on-field concern until it concludes, and even then, it could be a problem for Tennessee football. As a result, it has to make the list.