KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee is a football program that’s finally blossoming.
There’s healthy talk of a possible championship run, discussions about elite recruits choosing the Vols over the rest of the nation, and coaches are meeting with the media on a regular basis.
There were signs of greatness last season with a 5-0 start and the program’s first Top 10 ranking in 10 years.
But injuries and attrition took a toll, revealing that Coach Butch Jones had not yet developed “competitive depth.”
It’s the final step in building a championship program.
That element is changing thanks to a renewed commitment in the weight room under new strength and conditioning coach Rock Gullickson, and there are not only signs, but a picture.
ADD MORE WEIGHT‼️ pic.twitter.com/A4taNWmluc
— Kahlil McKenzie Jr. (@Kahlil_Mckenzie) July 25, 2017
The picture was put on the Twitter account of junior defensive tackle Kahlil McKenzie, one of many players on the Vols roster who were celebrated recruits but have yet to pan out.
Seeing that McKenzie has finally worked himself into a productive condition is only takeaway from the photo.
The bigger, more important take, is that the Tennessee players are proud of the work that they are putting in and they feel good about themselves again,
For some reason, McKenzie felt this place and time was important enough to document with a photo and send out to those who follow his social media account.
That’s making a statement about healthy team pride — now the Vols have to prove they can back it up on the field against a physical and aggressive Georgia Tech team that’s 5-1 against the SEC the past three seasons.