Tennessee’s offensive line will have to perform at a higher level in 2017.
Head coach Butch Jones would agree. That’s why he replaced offensive line coach Don Mahoney with Walt Wells during the offseason.
But what about Tennessee’s offensive line needs to change?
Cole Cubelic of the SEC Network shared his thoughts on Tennessee’s offensive line during an appearance on Sports 180 on Tuesday. Cubelic, who played on the offensive line at Auburn from 1996-2001, pointed to an issue he noticed with the Vols’ offensive line last season.
“The main thing I saw was finish and attitude,” Cubelic said. “I was the strongest player on Auburn’s football team and I wasn’t knocking anybody on their ass on a regular basis so the weight room doesn’t necessarily transition over to being a good offensive lineman all that much.”
Cubelic said he believes the arrival of talented freshman Trey Smith and the improvement from left tackle Drew Richmond, a former five-star prospect in the 2015 class, should help Tennessee’s offensive line. That’s as long as the Vols work on their mistakes from last season.
“There are some guys that had a lot of talent along that offensive line,” Cubelic said, “but I thought toughness, I thought finish and I thought attitude were the biggest issues up there. They didn’t seem like a group that really played together well very much. It was similar to something I saw with Alabama’s offensive line last year.
“You had a lot of guys that were sort of just a lot of C.Y.A. (cover your ass). They were concerned about their own assignments, concerned about themselves. That can’t happen playing offensive line. It needs to operate as one; it needs to work as one, and if it doesn’t, you’re going to get beat.”
Cubelic shared more of his thoughts on Tennessee’s football team, defensive tackle Kahlil McKenzie and the Vols’ competition in the SEC East. Listen below.