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Tennessee Football: Three ways Week 0 was encouraging for Vols

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Week 0 is in the books, and college football is underway. Tennessee Football didn’t play last weekend, but the slate of games that did take place should actually encourage the Vols for this year, more than fans should have been before everything kicked off last Saturday. Here are three reasons why.

Notre Dame proves Alabama has issues on offense.

How did I come to this conclusion? Well, Sam Hartman was superb for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in their 42-3 win over an experienced Navy Midshipmen defense. The Wake Forest Demon Deacons, playing for a new offensive coordinator who was demoted at his last stop, completed 19 of 23 passes for 251 yards, four touchdowns and 0 interceptions.

That was far better than Drew Pyne’s average performance last year playing under Tommy Reese and Tyler Buchner’s before he got hurt. The Alabama Crimson Tide have Reese as their OC now and Buchner since Jalen Milroe and Ty Simpson aren’t working out, but Buchner lost the starting job to Hartman. Simply put, Bama has no quarterback, which helps Tennessee Football.

Vanderbilt is no real threat

This wasn’t a valid opinion to have before the season started, as Tennessee Football beat them 56-0 to close out last year. However, Clark Lea’s team did have a strong finish to the year before playing the Vols, as they beat the Kentucky Wildcats and Florida Gators in November to finish 5-7, showing marked improvement.

Another step like that would suggest they could be dangerous this year. However, after beating the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors 63-10 on the road last year, they just won 35-28 at home this year. Vandy replaces a lot of talent on defense, and it showed. As a result, the Vols don’t have to worry about them.

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Josh Heupel is no Lincoln Riley…in a good way

A common concern about Josh Heupel is that he would be just another Lincoln Riley: All offense and no defense. Well, while Tennessee Football has some questions on defense, there’s a huge difference in how the two operate, and that showed last weekend with the USC Trojans’ 56-28 win over the San Jose State Spartans.

UT gives up points because it scores a lot, runs tempo, and lets teams come back late. Riley and USC, however, just don’t care about defense. In the third quarter, it was a 35-21 game. Heupel’s team would never have let SJSU hung around like that, as the defense would have been good enough.

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