Tennessee's Spring Practice To-Do List
Jones ended up with a massive 34-player class, with a large chunk coming onto campus as early enrollees.
That certainly sets up an intriguing spring for the Tennessee football program, and there's no doubt that it's been quite a while since Volunteer fans have had this much to cheer about.
Spring practice gets underway in Knoxville on Friday, so with that in mind, let's take a look at what should be on Tennessee's to-do list over the next month:
1. Quarterback, Quarterback, Quarterback
If Tennessee wants to be successful in 2014, it has to have consistent quarterback play. Jones has brought in phenomenal playmakers at wide receiver (Josh Malone and Von Pearson) and at running back (Jalen Hurd and Derrell Scott). But, if someone doesn't step up and stand far above the competition in the race for the starting quarterback, the Vols won't be as good as they could be. Many believe that redshirt freshman Riley Ferguson will ultimately claim the job, but the three quarterbacks who played last season (Joshua Dobbs, Justin Worley, and Nathan Peterman) all have a chance to prove themselves this spring. This will be the most intriguing battle of the spring.
2. Find a New Offensive Line
Yes, by find a new offensive line, I mean find five new bodies. Tennessee will lose its entire offensive line from a season ago, meaning that Jones and his staff has to get the replacements plenty of reps this spring. Jones picked up four offensive linemen in this recruiting class, so they'll have opportunities to find some playing time right off the bat with so many changes at that position. The transition to a new five won't be easy, but the spring should help the Vols get in a lot of reps with the new unit.
3. Find a New Defensive Line
As if finding a new offensive line wasn't hard enough, Jones also has to do the same on the defensive side of the ball. While the Vols certainly lack experience on the defensive line, the defensive staff has quite a few players to choose from to rebuild this unit in bringing in six new players to go along with the ones that were already there. It should be interesting to see who emerges from the pack to claim a spot on the new (and hopefully improved) defensive front.
4. Create a New Culture
While this may seem like a small matter since it doesn't focus on a particular position or area of weakness, it's completely necessary. Tennessee hasn't won more than seven games in a season since 2007, and hasn't been to a bowl game since 2010. With so many changes set to take place on the field, Jones really needs to hammer home the fact that this is a new era in Tennessee football. A whopping 34 talented youngsters enter the program to go along with a plethora of returning talent, so it would be an understatement to say that the Vols are expected to win games come September. They simply must win. Jones need to make sure that these players understand the opportunity that is before them, and that this program finally has the pieces in place to turn it around for the long term. That turnaround starts in spring practice.
What do you think Tennessee needs to focus on this spring? Let us know by commenting below! For more college football talk, follow FanIQ College Football or myself on Twitter!