SEC Power Rankings: Eastern division defenses

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Sep 28, 2013; Knoxville, TN, USA; Tennessee Volunteers defensive back Brian Randolph (37) is congratulated by team mates after he intercepted a South Alabama Jaguars pass during the fourth quarter at Neyland Stadium. Tennessee won 31 to 24. Mandatory Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

Tennessee Volunteers

Defensive Coordinator: John Jancek (2nd year)
2013 ranks – 101st vs. run, 27th vs. pass

Tennessee lost six seniors and four starters from their defensive line, which was already patchwork to begin with. They’ll get some help this year with the return of Curt Maggitt, who missed all of 2013 due to injury.

However, the Vols were excellent against the pass, and may be even better this season with all of the starters in the secondary returning. Brian Randolph is stepping up to be the real leader in that group, and may put up some monster numbers in 2014.

The problem for the Vols is that they face some of the best backs in the nation while playing Eastern Division foes, and their defensive line just can’t stand up to the pounding. Perhaps some of that will improve with the head coach and defensive coordinator both entering their 2nd year.