HOOVER, Ala. -- After Butch Jones and the Volunteers spent Tuesday previewing the 2016 season at SEC Football Media Days, UTSports.com sat down with members of the media to get their pulse on what to expect from the Vols.
Peter Burns – Host of SEC Now, SEC Network
"From the day Butch Jones took that job, we felt like a different breath of air on Rocky Top. This was something we hadn't seen coming from Tennessee. Each and every year you see it getting closer. When I met with Butch the last couple of years, you felt he was confident in the direction, but that maybe it needed to be in the oven a little bit longer, it wasn't quite ready. Now, we heard the 'ding.' It's ready this season.
"What I cannot wait to see is Josh Dobbs take control of the game in the second year of this being his job. There's not a smarter individual that Josh Dobbs. You give him a problem and he can't figure it out the first time, I guarantee he's going to be able to solve it the second time. With him and Mike DeBord on the same page, the sky is the limit for Tennessee."
Barrett Sallee – Lead SEC Writer, Bleacher Report
"Butch Jones' team has taken a step forward every single year and I don't know if people realize that. His team has improved every year, he was left with a bare cupboard and he's restocked it. Step by step, brick by brick, he's made progress. The next step is the SEC East Title. Barring something unforeseen happening, there's no reason they shouldn't be there this year.
"I'm very impressed with Butch the coach, very impressed with the program and very impressed at where he has Tennessee now that he has the players to compete."
Zac Ellis – College Football Writer, SI.com
"The expectations are higher at Tennessee than they have been since the Phillip Fulmer era and what he was able to do. This is a team going into the fourth year under Butch, a team of his players and he's recruiting at an elite level right now. I think it's a legit expectation, both for fans and internally, to contend for the SEC Championship this year.
"A person like Josh Dobbs, what he's able to do on and off the field, that's what you want to see around college athletics. I thing he is a guy that leads off the field but also leads on it with his play. He's one of the better quarterbacks in the SEC this year. With how important this class was early on in being the building blocks, 'Brick by Brick,' as Butch always says, in recruiting. To have these players that were a catalyst for those early classes now at a point where every coach wants to be, competing for SEC titles. I think Tennessee is at that point and players like Josh Dobbs and Cam Sutton are exactly why."
Adam Zucker – Host of College Football Today, CBS Sports
"Any time a coach is in his fourth year, especially when he is a recruiter like Butch and has the momentum that Butch has and you saw last year how close they were. They are right on the cusp with Josh Dobbs back, and you have superstars on defense, this is the year we have been waiting for from the Vols."
Laura Rutledge – Reporter, ESPN and the SEC Network
"I think this is the year where Tennessee finally gets over the hump, winning those close games late and taking it all the way. They seem to be the most talented team in the SEC East and I'm picking them to win the East. A lot of it has to do with Josh Dobbs, the strong run game and all the talent they are returning defensively.
"Experience is priceless in this league and you can't put enough value on it. The experience that Tennessee is working with, guys have been in these big games, they are in a situation to know how to prepare themselves when their backs are against the wall and that can't be duplicated."