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Vols believe they can have elite offensive line

4:39 PM, Mar 26, 2013   |    comments
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AP Sports Writer

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Tennessee offensive tackle Ja'Wuan James says he believes Tennessee could have the nation's best offensive line this fall.

He has facts to back up his optimism.

Tennessee returns four starters from a line that allowed only eight sacks last season. The only Football Bowl Subdivision teams to give up a lower sack total were North Texas and Middle Tennessee, which each attempted over 100 fewer passes than the Volunteers.

The line needs to perform well to make up for Tennessee's inexperience at the skill positions.  At least six players from last year's Tennessee offense are expected to get drafted next month.

Offensive line coach Don Mahoney estimated the linemen collectively have dropped about 80 pounds to help them adjust to the faster pace of new coach Butch Jones' offense.

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