A look at Kiffin, Year 2: By the numbers.
132: The number of combined starts by departing offensive linemen Jacques McClendon, Josh McNeil, Vladimir Richard, Chris Scott, Cory Sullins and Cody Sullins. Right tackle Aaron Douglas will be the only Vol on the 2010 offensive line with starting experience. The other spots? Up for grabs. Daniel Hood, a Kingsport native, is among the guys who spent this year as barely used backups or playing on the scout team.
17: The number of players on scholarship who have departed Tennessee’s program since Lane Kiffin took the head coaching position on Dec. 1 of last year. The defections might not end there. One hint: Keep an eye on guys on track to graduate this year who either didn’t play or rarely played during the 2009 season. Kiffin can opt to release those individuals from their scholarships without affecting the team’s academic progress rate, which could take a major hit with all the other transfers.
28: The maximum number of signees Tennessee can have in its recruiting class, per the regulation put in place by the Southeastern Conference. No, this isn’t part of some anti-Kiffin conspiracy by the league. Call it the Houston Nutt Rule; he had 37 signees in his 2009 recruiting class at Ole Miss. UT can also back count two early enrollees — the guys who start classes in January and participate in spring practice.
41: The number of cornerback Dennis Rogan, who could decide to bypass his last year of eligibility and go pro. At 5-foot-10, Rogan would be undersized at the next level, but he was a key playmaker in the secondary as Eric Berry moved into a hybrid safety/linebacker role. Two factors that could influence Rogan’s decision? Academics and the chance of an NFL rookie salary cap in 2011.
13: The number of passes attempted by Nick Stephens this season. Sure, freshman Tyler Bray and junior-college transfer Matt Simms will factor in the competition to be Tennessee’s “QB1” in 2010. Stephens will make his claim for the job as well. His biggest advantage? Familiarity with UT’s returning receivers, which could quicken chemistry in the passing game — something slow to develop in 2009 due to injuries.
78: Toney Williams’ rushing performance in the 2009 Orange and White game. Williams tore his ACL during the summer and had to sit out this season. He’ll be a significant factor in the competition for playing time at running back on the 2010 squad.
3: The number of Vols who started at middle linebacker for UT this season. There’s a potential logjam at that position heading into 2010. Savion Frazier, though, seems the likely candidate to replace Rico McCoy at weak-side linebacker. That leaves Herman Lathers and Nick Reveiz to battle for the starting job. Lathers played very well in the Chick-fil-A Bowl, but Reveiz has tremendous knowledge of Monte Kiffin’s defense.
242: The number of days until the Vols kick off the 2010 season against UT-Martin. Incidentally, UT-Martin is the first Football Championship Subdivision opponent the Vols will play since 1983.
John Moorehouse covers University of Tennessee football for the Times-News. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.