Burning Questions for Tennessee's Spring Game
And why shouldn't it be? Head coach Butch Jones signed a massive recruiting class filled with many talented players, several of whom that should be major contributors when the Vols take the field for their first regular season game against Utah State on August 30.
But first comes the DISH Orange and White Spring Game, which will take place on Saturday at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville.
There's obviously plenty of intrigue heading into the game, as fans are eager to see how some of the newer players will fit in with the more experienced talent on this team.
Let's take a look at three burning questions heading into this weekend's game.
1. Which Quarterback Will Take the Next Step Towards Gaining the Starting Job?
What started out as a four-man race may now be down to two. While Josh Dobbs and Nathan Peterman were considered possibilites to win the starting role when the spring started, it looks as though senior Justin Worley and redshirt freshman Riley Ferguson are showing the most promise.
Will we have a definitive answer as to who the favorite is after the game on Saturday? It's certainly possible. If either player has a superb performance, it will go a long way towards determining the eventual starter. Fans have been clamoring for Ferguson because of his potential, but Worley may still be the leader because of his experience. It will be exciting to see how these QBs perform this weekend.
2. Will the Defensive Line Continue to Progress?
Jones hasn't been all that happy with the defensive front this off-season. He's even gone as far as calling the entire defense "soft" at times. That's not the greatest compliment in the world, especially considering that Tennessee struggled against powerful rushing teams like Alabama and Auburn a year ago.
There's no doubt that the strength of the defense will be what determines the Vols' success in 2014, and it all starts with the front. Defensive end Curt Maggitt returns to lead a unit that has a ton of potential. But that potential will need to be reached if the defense as a whole wants to be successful.
3. How Much Will Early Enrollees Jalen Hurd and Josh Malone Contribute on Offense?
Leading the talented group of freshmen for the Vols are in-state products Jalen Hurd and Josh Malone. The two early enrollees have spent time thus far in spring practice gaining a better understanding of the offense, but both have already made an impact at their respective positions.
Hurd should offer the speed and playmaking ability that is needed from a running back in the SEC. Meanwhile, Malone and fellow early enrollee Von Pearson are set to become huge targets at wide receiver for whomever wins the quarterback competition. Jones is having to throw a lot of new faces into the mix on the offensive side of the ball, but given their production so far, that's definitely a good thing.
What are you most looking forward to in Tennessee's spring game? Let us know by commenting below! For more college football talk, follow FanIQ College Football or myself on Twitter!