SEC Country is breaking down each Tennessee position group as the Vols prepare for spring football practice.
Saturday’s breakdown features Tennessee’s 2016 offensive line.
Notable departures: OT Kyler Kerbyson and C Mack Crowder
Major players: OT Drew Richmond, OG Dylan Weisman, C Coleman Thomas, OG Jashon Robertson, OT Chance Hall
Analysis: All eyes will be on Richmond this spring. The highly touted prospect was a bit of a disappointment when he arrived on campus last summer. Richmond was clearly not ready to play and redshirted in 2015. However, Richmond improved throughout the season. The Vols would love for him to lockdown the left tackle position for the next three or four years. The right side of Tennessee’s offensive line should be solid with sophomore Jashon Robertson at right guard and either junior Brett Kendrick or sophomore Chance Hall at right tackle. Kendrick started the first five games last season but was knocked out by injuries and replaced by Hall, who played admirably.
After playing tackle for much of freshman season at tackle, junior Coleman Thomas is back at his more natural position, center. That’s where he played throughout high school. At 6-foot-5, he’s a little tall for a center so he’ll need to continue to work on his pad leverage. Spring practice is a good time to address such fundamentals. Senior Dylan Weisman started every game last season at guard. However, he’ll have to fend off sophomore Jack Jones, who was solid last season when the Vols were hit hard by injuries. This is the last time for senior tackle Dontavius Blair to prove he was worth his lofty ranking coming out of junior college. So far, he hasn’t done anything significant.
Key question: Who replaces Kerbyson at left tackle?
Bottom line: The Vols have plenty of experience returning up front but Kerbyson’s loss is significant. He was a warrior at left tackle that probably should have been playing guard in college. His leadership will also be missed.
Sunday morning preview: Defensive line