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  • July 16, 2019
    KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- This is the season Tennessee has been pointing to for years.Tennessees revival started with the arrival of consecutive top-five recruiting classes in 2014 and 2015 that restocked the Volunteers talent base. Tennessee ended a string of four straight losing seasons in 2014 and finished last season with a six-game winning streak and a Top 25 ranking.The next step is to compete for a Southeastern Conference title and playoff berth. SEC media have picked Tennessee to win its first Eastern Division title since 2007.We want expectations high, Tennessee coach Butch Jones said. Thats why you come to the University of Tennessee. Thats why you coach here. To me, its a compliment of your program, no more, no less. Now its what you do with it.The Vols believe they can meet those expectations if they do a better job of protecting leads. Tennessee led in each of its four losses last season and was ahead by at least 13 points in three of them.Only five starters from last seasons 45-6 Outback Bowl blowout of Northwestern arent back this year. Depth and experience could help Tennessee produce better in close games this season.Youve just got to go into those situations with confidence, knowing that youre going to make a play, knowing your teammates got your back, linebacker Jalen Reeves-Maybin said. Thats what we started getting toward the end of last year. We played with a lot more confidence at the end of those games.Perhaps the biggest challenge is to avoid getting consumed by the preseason hype.Honestly, all of thats just outside noise, defensive end Corey Vereen said. All were focused on is bringing it to work every single day.Here are some things to watch this year:RUNNING WILD: Jalen Hurd, Alvin Kamara and quarterback Joshua Dobbs return after combining to rush for 2,657 yards and 30 touchdowns last season. Hurd enters his junior season with 2,187 career yards rushing. Hes well within reach of the school record held by Travis Henry, who rushed for 3,078 yards from 1997-2000.SPECIAL-TEAMS SKILLS: Tennessee had the nations leading kickoff returner (Evan Berry) and punt returner (Cam Sutton) last season. Both are back this year. Tennessee scored a combined six touchdowns on kickoff and punt returns last season. Tennessee also returns its kicker (Aaron Medley) and punter (Trevor Daniel) from a year ago.NEW COORDINATOR: Bob Shoop takes over as defensive coordinator after previously filling the same role at Vanderbilt and Penn State. Shoop, a Yale alum and former Columbia head coach, said he wants to establish an in-your-face defense thats built on relentless pursuit and never-ending pressure. Vereen noted that Shoop is not real high on the swag-meter but added that the new coordinator has made a major impact with his philosophy that how were going to be as a defense is going to look better than whatever you have drawn up on paper.PASSING CONCERNS; Tennessee must upgrade a passing game that struggled with consistency. Dobbs completed 59.6 percent of his passes last season, down from 63.3 in 2014. Tennessee doesnt return anyone who had more than 405 yards receiving last season.FRONTLOADED SCHEDULE: Tennessee hosts Florida, visits Georgia and Texas A&M and hosts defending national champion Alabama on four consecutive weekends between Sept. 24 and Oct. 15. But the schedule gets much easier from there. Tennessees final five opponents (South Carolina, Tennessee Tech, Kentucky, Missouri and Vanderbilt) had losing records last season.-------AP college football website: Miles Sanders Eagles Jersey .com) - The Pittsburgh Penguins placed forward James Neal on injured reserve Tuesday. Clayton Thorson Jersey . Bryzgalov stopped 25 shots on Saturday in the Oklahoma City Barons 4-1 victory over the Abbotsford Heat. The Oilers signed Bryzgalov to a one-year $2 million contract last Friday after shedding payroll by dealing defenceman Ladislav Smid to the Flames. . Louis Blues absence from top spot in the TSN. Nick Foles Jersey . -- Five former Kansas City Chiefs players who were on the team between 1987 and 1993 filed a lawsuit Tuesday claiming the team hid and even lied about the risks of head injuries during that time period when there was no collective bargaining agreement in place in the NFL. Brian Westbrook Youth Jersey . Philadelphia is 2-0 against the Senators this season and scored five goals in each victory. The Flyers recorded a 5-0 win in Ottawa on Nov. 12 and then earned a 5-2 home decision on Nov. 19. The Flyers have claimed three straight and four of the last five encounters with the Sens overall and Philly has won two in a row and three of its past four tests in Canadas capital city. Kevin Magnussen has reiterated his desire for a long-term Renault deal after giving the team two more weeks to decide whether he will be there next year.Like teammate Jolyon Palmer, Magnussen is unsure whether he will be retained for 2017 as the team continues to dwell on its line-up. The team had originally planned to announce its drivers in early September, though it has continued to postpone that decision.Magnussen, who recently voiced his frustration at the delay, has given the team an extension to when he expects a decision, something he thinks shows his desire to stay.Ive given them the two weeks and hopefully there will be a decision by the end of those two weeks, the Dane confirmed on Thursday. I think it shows very clearly that I want to continue here.Thats what I wanted to signal and say that I am willing to wait and I understand the situation that is going on. Its very clear that I believe that this team will go very far and I hope I can continue here for a long time.Renault has been linked with French driver Esteban Ocon, Valtteri BBottas and Sergio Perez, though the latter is confirmed to be staying at Force India next year.ddddddddddddsked if every passing day without a decision makes it more likely he will stay, he replied: Its hard to know whats going on sometimes but I think as ever Formula One is a commercial sport and its not a secret that my commercial value is a bit lower than perhaps other drivers.I have very good partnerships and sponsors and Im very grateful for their support but some of the other drivers have an unbelievable amount of support. So hopefully I will be judged and the decision will be taken on talent and not on money.Magnussen is happy to wait a little longer if the outcome is positive.?I hope I can be with this team for many years ... I didnt have to give them the extension. Weve had good dialogue, positive conversations and I know what the situation is, more or less. So Ive given them more time to get things sorted. ' ' '