I know that Booch’s personality and Tennessee’s proclivity for crapping the bed in the fourth quarter makes it easy to question the media’s anointment of the Vols as the SEC East favorites, but replacing John Jancek with Bob Shoop may go down as the conference’s shrewdest hire of the offseason.
The Vols ranked 36th nationally in total defense in 2015 but were middle of the road relative to the SEC. Within the league Tennessee ranked seventh in points allowed, eighth in yards allowed, eighth against the run and 11th against the pass. The Vols forced only 19 turnovers, totaled only 26 sacks and allowed 15 conversions on 21 fourth downs.
“Middle of the road” meaning seventh. Shoop’s three Vanderbilt defenses finished sixth twice and fifth once in total defense. (Vandy finished ahead of UT in total defense last season, as well.)
Tennessee’s 2015 defense was more talented than it showed and it won’t surprise me if Shoop has them playing closer to expectations this season. If you’re a Georgia fan, that’s not good.