Usually, coaches shy away from providing bulletin board material. But new Tennessee defensive coordinator Bob Shoop has provided some for every team on the Vols’ schedule this fall.
“We’re going to stop the run,” Shoop told host Jimmy Hyams on WNML-AM radio in Knoxville on Monday night. “Nobody will run the football on the ‘Orange Swarm.’ Nobody will run the football on Tennessee.”
That's heady stuff, considering Tennessee was 45th nationally in rush defense in 2015, allowing 151.6 rushing yards per game. In conference games only, that figure was 159.4 per game.
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That said, the Vols return eight starters on defense and Shoop is fully aware of the experienced talent he'll be working with in '16. A standout is junior defensive end Derek Barnett, who has a distinct goal: He wants to set the school's career sacks record. Barnett has 20 after two seasons.
"(He) knows for a fact Reggie White has 32," Shoop said. "Trust me ... he reminds me every day."
Shoop mentioned sophomore defensive tackle Khalil McKenzie as a key against the run. McKenzie is a former five-star recruit who didn't live up to billing as a true freshman last season, but has a big upside.
Shoop did say that McKenzie needs to continue to watch his weight and stay in shape to be as effective as he can be. McKenzie went from 335 pounds to 320 this spring.
(You can follow Dan Mathews on Twitter @DanMathewsATL)
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