KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee football lost four starters on offense and four starters on defense from last season’s 9-4 team, including six that were drafted into the NFL.
But Vols coach Butch Jones hasn’t shown any signs of panic, and on Monday’s SEC teleconference he explained why.
“We went through a couple years where we had zero (draft picks), and I’m proud of those individuals, obviously,” Jones said. “There are only 3 teams in the SEC that have won 9 games or more the last two years and Tennessee is one (Florida, Alabama), and those players were a big part of that.
“With these young players returning it’s about growth and development, and we’ve had a great challenge during our rebuilding of building depth, (but) of our 22 starters last season, we only had 5 that started every game.”
While that inordinately high amount of injuries derailed Tennessee’s SEC championship hopes, it did give several of the young players Jones was referring to a chance to get valuable playing time.
SEC Country’s Mike Griffith and WNML’s Josh Dobbs discuss more about Jone’s teleconference.