NASHVILLE, Tenn. — There was no hesitation from Tennessee football defensive lineman Omari Thomas. He believes the Vols can win the SEC East.
At SEC Media Days in Nashville, Thomas explained why he believes in Tennessee this season.
“We’ve been focusing a lot on the corrections that we have to do,” Thomas told the media on Thursday. “This past year we saw where we have things that we know we messed up on different types of busts, missed assignments, but we’ve been locking in on those and really just making sure that we’re doing everything we need to do in order to reach our goal, which is winning the East.”
The SEC East has been dominated by Kirby Smart and Georgia for most of recent history. The Vols made some noise in 2022, but they couldn’t overcome the Bulldogs in Athens.
Thomas says there is room for Tennessee to win the east, and that he thinks the Vols have shown they can belong.
“I think we have really done a good job in showing that we belong,” Thomas said. “And I think that we are going to continue to show that we belong and to continue to grow as players. And that is our goal as a team. We want to win the East.”
The team goal is to win the SEC East. Winning the east, especially moving forward in the era of an expanded playoff, means that Tennessee would make the said 12-team postseason.
Georgia still stands in the way, and the Bulldogs are a mighty hurdle to overcome. Thomas isn’t looking at that game yet.
“We aren’t there yet, so we’re just ready for this opening opening game in Nashville against Virginia,” Thomas said. “So when we get to it, we’ll attack that task. But I feel like we’re a pretty good team and I feel like we’re going to win the East. I hope so.”
The recent success of Tennessee football is not surprising to Thomas. Since he arrived on campus, he has called that the Vols success would begin his junior year. The success began, and so did the banter between Thomas and his old friends who doubted him.
“I was actually texting them over there while I was just sitting, just saying they were proud of me,” Thomas said. “They’re happy for me. They’re doing their they’re doing their thing at different colleges as well. But I always mess with them because when I first decided to come to Tennessee, they was like, ‘Why would you choose to go there? Like y’all not good.’ But I just tell them to trust the process. And I told them, ‘By my junior year, we’ll be good.'”