2. Top three offensive playmakers gone
It’s bad enough when your offense loses elite talent in the trenches the way Tennessee football’s did. However, when you hire a head coach who runs an offensive scheme that relies on skill players getting the ball, losing your top three playmakers on that side of the ball only makes it worse. That’s what the Vols are faced with this year.
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Eric Gray led last year’s team in both yards and touchdowns from scrimmage. He had 157 carries for 772 yards and four touchdowns on the ground and caught 30 passes for 254 yards and two touchdowns. Ty Chandler was second on the team in both, carrying it 100 times for 456 yards and four touchdowns and catching 16 passes for 111 yards.
This offseason, Gray transferred to the Oklahoma Sooners, and Chandler transferred to the North Carolina Tar Heels. Then there’s Josh Palmer. He was the leading receiver last year on the team, catching 33 passes for 475 yards and four touchdowns.
Palmer has since gone to the NFL, getting drafted by the Los Angeles Chargers. The Vols still have some talent back in guys like Velus Jones Jr. and Jalin Hyatt, and they have added lots of new talent. Still, this is a lot to replace. As a result, it’s a major concern.