KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - After years of playing catch-up with the rest of the Southeastern Conference, Tennessee's defense finally is getting up to speed.
A variety of position switches and the infusion of a talented recruiting class have given Tennessee a faster defense, addressing what had been a major weakness. The Volunteers need that extra quickness to make up for a lack of experience and size as they head into their Aug. 31 opener against Utah State.
The inexperience is most apparent. Defensive coordinator John Jancek said Thursday that the defense could end up playing 11-13 newcomers.
But the Vols also lack bulk up front as they attempt to replace all four of last season's starting linemen. The only healthy defensive lineman with a listed weight of 300 or above is freshman Michael Sawyers.