New head coach Butch Jones has done more to revitalize Tennessee's fan base before coaching a game than any coach in recent memory. But as training camp gets set to start up on Friday, the Vols have more questions than answers and will have plenty to sort out before Aug. 31 when they face Austin Peay.
Who's lining up under center?
It's been the biggest looming question surrounding the 2013 Vols ever since Tyler Bray announced his departure for the NFL last spring.
To some, the obvious answer is Justin Worley, the junior who started three games as a true freshman in 2011. His one touchdown to five interceptions over his career leaves a lot to be desired, but one could argue that's a byproduct of him being baptized by fire early on. There's also Nathan Peterman, a redshirt freshman who can make defenses pay with his mobility.
The newcomers are making the most noise, however, as Riley Ferguson and Joshua Dobbs both come in as highly-touted recruits. Ferguson is more of a drop-back passer with elite vision, while Dobbs can run just as well as he can throw—both of which he does incredibly well.
I'd be surprised if Vol fans saw a concrete starter at the end of training camp. Unless Worley takes over and shows an incredible amount of promise, the coaching staff may look to give every quarterback playing time to see who will give the Vols the best chance to win in future seasons.
How much will the defense improve?
After a historically bad 2012 season, the Vols defense undoubtedly will improve this season. But the question is, how much?
Tennessee will be switching back to a 4-3 defensive scheme this season, which on paper looks to help their chances. In 2011, their last season in the 4-3, they finished 27th nationally in defense before a move to a 3-4 by 2012 defensive coordinator Sal Sunseri doomed the Vols.
Personnel-wise, the Vols are sound at linebacker but that's about all the certainty they have. Will the move help the potential-laden defensive line to generate more pressure and stuff the run game? Can the secondary find its full-time starters and keep them healthy?
With so many new parts on offense, the defense could hold together a decent season by returning to their 4-3 prowess, or completely fall apart and cause more woes for Vols fans.
Which playmaking receivers will emerge?
Ever since taking the job, Jones has preached that he needs offensive weapons to step up and fill the shoes of departing players Justin Hunter, Cordarrelle Patterson, Mychal Rivera and more.
After all, it's 'Wide Receiver U,' and there's not much experience returning at the position.
The mass of playmakers leaving the Vols has opened a lot of doors for youngsters on the team. Junor Devrin Young, who is returning to receiver after spending a year primarily as a running back in 2012, is the Vols' most experienced option to become the big-play star.
A handful of young receivers such as Jason Croom, Drae Bowles, Alton "Pig" Howard, Cody Blanc and more will look to emerge given the extra chances. Incoming freshmen Paul Harris and Marquez North also have high expectations.
Also, don't forget about junior Vincent Dallas who looks to finally have a serious shot at a starting spot after being passed over by the likes of Hunter, Da'Rick Rogers, Zach Rogers and Patterson in recent years.
The door is open, and it'll be exciting for Vol faithful to see who walks through it.