KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Tennessee believes it's on the way to recapturing its former status as an perennial Southeastern Conference contender.
There's no shortcuts in the SEC and the Volunteers still have far to go.
This year's Tennessee team has more playmakers than the squad that went 5-7 in Butch Jones' debut season, but it's much less experienced.
The Vols have a brutal schedule that includes trips to Oklahoma, Georgia, Ole Miss and South Carolina.
Jones has stabilized Tennessee's program since his arrival last season. The Vols say it's only a matter of time before those efforts are rewarded.
The first step is to earn a bowl bid, something that's eluded Tennessee since 2010.
Whether the Vols take that step this year likely depends on the progress of a highly touted freshman class.