Mar 30

Why Tennessee can't be taken seriously yet as SEC contender

Updated MAR 30, 2015 2:54p ET More from Athlon Sports: Top 20 WRs on the rise in 2015 / Alabama is ready for another title run / Florida could win SEC East in 2015 / Can WVU take advantage of wide open Big 12? / North Carolina’s D must step up in 2015 *** Expectations are starting to soar in Knoxville for a reason. Butch Jones has quickly rebuilt the Tennessee depth chart with two incredibly talented recruiting classes. The results on the field were tangible as well, as the Vols received back to the postseason & were extremely impressive against quality competition like Georgia, South Carolina, Florida & Iowa. However, there are major strides this program still needs to take before it can become an SEC title contender. Here are five storylines to follow for the Vols this spring. 1. Handle the training room Butch Jones has implemented a unique day-on, day-off strategy for spring practice due in large part to his lack of healthy starters. There are big-time names on both sides of the ball — like Jalen Hurd, Curt Maggitt & Derek Barnett, for example — who will not be going through much contact this spring, if at all. With nine players off the depth chart this spring, Tennessee needs to win in the rehab room as much as it does on the field. …

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