May 18, 2024

Saturday proves to be the most important day of the year for the Tennessee football team.

It is the day that could send them to a bowl game for the first time in four years. The Vols face a Missouri team that has just as much on the line. If Mizzou wins, they clinch the SEC East and go to Atlanta to play for the SEC championship. Saturday proves to be one of the most difficult matchups of the year for the offensive line.

It’s no secret, the big orange offensive line has struggled immensely this year. This week they go up a pair of teammates that have combined for 20 sacks this season. Shane Ray is the standout with 13 sacks which is third in the NCAA and leads the SEC. The Vols will be forced to game plan specifically to limit his disruption. Whoever Ray goes against, he will have the upper hand. Whether he lines up across from Kyler Kerbyson, the RS JR, or Brett Kendrick, who is a RS FR, Ray will use his dominant experience and skill set to his advantage. Kerbyson, who will see most of the playing time, is a Knoxville native and has great size standing at 6’4” and 310 pounds. He had decent playing experience before this year, but never anything more than a backup and special-teams role. He had never started a game prior to this year and has been steadily improving. However, Kerbyson’s improvement will be hardly notable against Ray.

Ever Since Josh Dobbs took over, Tennessee has looked like a competitive SEC team. If Dobbs can take control of his offense, and most importantly his line, he might be able to avoid running for his life the whole game. More importantly, if Team 118 is able to step and overcome all of the distractions from this past week, they may be able to finally achieve the goal they have been working for the entire season.

Edited by Will Lomas

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