(WDEF) – In Bob Shoop’s first season as the Vols defensive coordinator, UT allowed nearly 29-points a game.
That’s a number Shoop hopes to see go down in 2017.
Not even Smokey could watch the Vols defense down the stretch last year, especially against Missouri, when U-T allowed over 700-yards of offense.
Said Shoop: “I take responsibility. I’m not making excuses. We had injuries, and we gave up explosive plays. That’s it. If you really want it in one sentence, it was injuries and explosive plays. We’ve got to continue to develop depth throughout spring ball we did, the summer, and throughout training camp because you just never know. In this league, it’s such a physical league, and there’s so much attrition, that game 12 and 13 are every bit as important obviously as game one and two.”
Tennessee’s late season defensive collapse appears to motivate this year’s unit.
Said Shoop: “I’ve been coaching a long time. I don’t think I’ve seen a group of guys with a bigger chip on their shoulder. I’ve said this to you guys all spring and summer when we have talked. (Jonathan) Kongbo is on a mission man. I think the three guys at D-end that we are really excited about are he obviously, Darrell Taylor, and Kyle Phillips.”
Tennessee will need Kongbo and company to replace all time sacks leader Derek Barnett if the Vols are going to make a run at the division title.
Said Shoop: “I think there’s a stat that eight of the last nine SEC East champions have led the conference in sacks or something like that. Obviously getting pressure on the quarterback is a big thing.”
Reporter: “How much time will you guys devote to the triple option in fall camp considering that you only see it once?”
Said Shoop: “So in training camp I know before we actually get into game week, coach has set aside several days that will be triple-option days. We certainly did a significant amount of research on it. Talked to teams that have played Georgia Tech. Talked to offensive coaches that have run the triple-option.”
Tennessee opens the season against Georgia Tech and their triple option attack on Monday, September 4th, in the Atlanta Falcons new Mercedes Benz Stadium.