KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — In 2020, the Tennessee Volunteers gave up an average of 407 yards per game behind defensive-minded Jeremy Pruitt and defensive coordinator Derrick Ansley — this year, under offensive-minded Josh Heupel and new DC Tim Banks, they’ve reduced the average to 339 yards per game.
The difference is in the run game, in 2020 the Vols were giving up an average of 142 yards a game, now, that average is down to 104 yards.
Defensive lineman Matthew Butler on what the difference is between last year and this year, “It comes down to how we’re being coached. Our philosophy on defense, I don’t want to get into the nitty-gritty about it because I don’t throw any other staff under the bus because there are other defenses that used our old philosophy and they play good. We didn’t, just being real, go watch the film, we didn’t play as good as we are right now.”
The run defense will face another test from South Carolina, who’s averaging over 120 yards per game on the ground.