How will Darrell Taylor perform while making the switch from playing defensive end to outside linebacker? As the Vols move from a 4-3 (four defensive linemen and three linebackers) to a 3-4 alignment, guys like Taylor will need to step up.
The redshirt junior from Hopewell (VA) came on the scene in last season’s opener against Georgia Tech, collecting a career high 12 tackles. But he had only 15 stops in his remaining nine games.
Taylor was second on the team in sacks, but only had three of them. As a team, the Vols only had 22 sacks, so new defensive coordinator Kevin Sherrer needs to get more pressure on opposing quarterbacks. Freeing Taylor of most responsibilities except for rushing the quarterback might be a good start.
Taylor missed two games last season while serving a suspension, after reportedly kicking teammate Trey Smith in the head during practice.
(Mark Nagi is the author of “Decade of Dysfunction: The Road to Tennessee’s Crazy Coaching Search,” which takes an in-depth look at the ten years of frustration that led to a revolt by Vols fans after UT attempted to hire Greg Schiano as head coach in 2017.)
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