3. Injuries and attrition on the offensive line
It was always expected that Tennessee football would have to replace Trey Smith and Brandon Kennedy this year. However, that doesn’t mean it would have been without concern. Smith has been the Vols’ best player the past four years, and Kennedy became an anchor at center. The talent and veteran leadership being gone wrecked the experience on the interior of the line.
However, to make matters worse, Wanya Morris transferred to the Oklahoma Sooners. When healthy, Morris has been the Vols’ best tackle the last two years, and he occupied the crucial left tackle position. In addition to Morris, Jahmir Johnson also transferred, joining the Texas A&M Aggies, costing the Vols more depth at versatility at tackle.
If you’re keeping score, that’s two elite stars and three veterans among four players UT lost. Then another one of their veterans at tackle, K’Rojhn Calbert, went down in fall camp and could miss up to two months. This is a huge problem for Josh Heupel.
Now, Cade Mays and Darnell Wright are both back. They are stars. Jerome Carvin is a veteran on the interior. Cooper Mays is a rising star who should thrive at center. So there is some talent. But all of these changes could cause major issues. UT has to address them.