3. New weapons have emerged.
This is the biggest positive for Tennessee football in this game. The Vols have discovered new weapons across the board, and we’re not just talking about Hendon Hooker stepping up and making some nice plays at quarterback.
It started on the first drive. Christian Charles blocked the punt that set up the Jabari Small touchdown run. Charles was always known as an elite athlete, and he stepped up immediately to take advantage of some special teams miscues.
Beyond Charles, though, new receivers emerged in the passing game. This was particularly the case at tight end. Princeton Fant did what was expected of him, finally, with four catches for 47 yards. However, Jacob Warren became the breakout tight end, as he had five catches for 55 yards and a touchdown, and he would’ve had more if Joe Milton III hadn’t missed him in the first half.
At receiver, Jimmy Calloway became the star. Calloway led the team with three catches for 60 yards and a touchdown. With him and Velus Jones Jr. in the game, the Vols have some real speed at receiver, and if they can overcome the miscues, this could be a huge benefit for Heupel. In spite of all the issues, this is a major positive.