Numerous media outlets are reporting Wednesday that Tennessee and Virginia Tech will open the 2016 season with a neutral-site game at Bristol Motor Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Tennessee Volunteers Football Notebook Week 6


Wednesday reports indicate the likelihood of Tennessee and Virginia Tech playing a non-conference game at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tenn. in 2016. The 160,000-seat stadium could play host to a record-breaking crowd for a college football game. Bristol, Tenn. is almost exactly the midway point between Knoxville and Blacksburg…

Coming so close to upsetting No. 6 Georgia last week gave a glimpse into the future of what first-year coach Butch Jones’ program could accomplish in the future. With as many times as former coach Derek Dooley came close and fell just short, though, it would be difficult for Tennessee fans to appreciate the effort of Jones’ team. The Volunteers have been close plenty of times in the recent past. Close isn’t good enough for a once-proud program. Can Tennessee steal one next week when it hosts South Carolina? …

The best thing QB Justin Worley might do all season is keep the talented true freshmen behind him on the depth chart on the bench. Worley played respectably – not better, not worse – last week in the near-upset of Georgia. Consistency continues to be a problem. He completed just 17 of 31 passes for 215 yards. However, he threw a TD and did not turn the ball over. With QB2 Nathan Peterman injured, true freshmen Riley Ferguson and Josh Dobbs have been an injury or horrible struggles away from playing. The preference, undoubtedly, would be for Jones to redshirt both players and allow them to compete for the starting job during the spring. For that idea to work out, however, Worley must play well enough to validate that he gives Jones the best chance to win. Nobody is saying Worley is Peyton Manning. If he simply plays well enough to allow Ferguson and Dobbs more time to develop, though, he will have done his job – especially if Worley guides the Vols to a bowl game in 2013. Tennessee currently ranks last in the conference in passing offense and total offense, though, and must find three more wins to claim bowl eligibility…

RB Marlin Lane is still trying to work his way back from a foot injury. His status for the next game against South Carolina (in two weeks) remains unclear. RB Rajion Neal has been limited in practice this week, but should be ready to go when Tennessee hosts the Gamecocks…

The return of S Brian Randolph has given Tennessee an uplifting story. Randolph missed most of the 2012 season with a torn ACL but has returned to form this season. He ranks second on the team in tackles and his 3 INTs tie him for best in the SEC. The Volunteers need stellar play in the secondary because the pass rush isn’t getting the job done. Tennessee has just 8 sacks in six games.

Dick's Sporting Goods presents "Hell Week":

Tags: SEC Tennessee Volunteers

  • zach ragan

    Tennessee’s pass rush has been terrible. They got a big pickup tonight though with Barnett committing.

    • Luke Brietzke

      There’s no question that Tennessee’s future — albeit perhaps not its immediate future — looks bright. They definitely need to find ways to get better (and more consistent) pressure this year, though.