We continue our preview of LSU’s 2011 football opponents and the rest of the Southeastern Conference with a look at Tennessee. We’re counting them down one a day through July 16.
Tennessee Volunteers (TBA Oct. 15, Neyland Stadium, Knoxville, Tenn.)
2010 Record: 6-7 (3-5 SEC)
Bowl: Lost to North Carolina in the Music City Bowl, 30-27 (OT)
Coach: Derek Dooley (6-7, 2nd year at UT; 23-27, 4 seasons overall)
Starters returning: 7 offense, 6 defense
Top returners: Passing – QB Tyler Bray (125 of 224, 1,849 yards, 18 TDs, 10 INTs); Rushing – Tauren Poole (204 carries, 1,034 yards, 11 TDs); Receiving – WR Justin Hunter (16 catches, 415 yards, 7 TDs); Tackles – LB Herman Lathers (75 total tackles, 2.5 sacks)
Noteworthy: There’s very little chance the Tigers and Volunteers will be able to surpass the bizarre ending of the Tigers’ 16-14 win last Oct. 2 in Tiger Stadium, with LSU scoring the winning TD on an untimed down after Tennessee was flagged for 13 men on the field. … Amazingly, the Vols lost to UNC in the Music City Bowl in OT after the Tar Heels had too many men on the field. … Bray failed to impress in the spring game but Dooley has kept him ahead of backup Matt Simms, who threw for 1,460 yards and 8 TDs in 2010. … Poole will likely get plenty of carries as the WR corps matures. … The defense, which gave up 382.2 ypg and 25.1 ppg last season, has big issues. FS Janzen Jackson, the former LSU commitment, has left, while Lathers (from Scotlandville HS) will likely miss several games after breaking an ankle in summer 7-on-7 drills. Clinton’s Prentiss Waggner moves from RCB to take over for Jackson at FS, with Anthony Anderson replacing Waggner. … Since 2000, LSU has won five of seven meetings with Tennessee after beating the Vols just three times in 24 previous meetings from 1925-93.
– Scott Rabalais