- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
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The pride of the Volunteer defense in recent years has been its linebackers. Early last season Hank Walter seemed to be cast in the classic mold, winning National Lineman of the Week honors against Auburn. But two games later he was out for the season with a knee injury. Now he is back, fully mended.
The secondary, which has also produced a fair share of talent lately (Jim Weatherford, Bobby Majors, Conrad Graham), now offers Jim Watts.
Tennessee's kicking game is unsurpassed. Neil Clabo averaged 43.6 yards a punt last year, fourth best in the country. And Ricky Townsend, the Vols' barefoot boy and two-time All-America, returns to kick placements, though this season he will be shod. "My foot got banged around so much last year," he says, "that I decided I had to learn to kick with a shoe on." Townsend now wears a shoe with laces on the side. Last year his two fourth-quarter field goals beat Vanderbilt, and he accounted for 45 of the NCAA-record 105 consecutive extra-point conversions Tennessee made over the past four seasons.
All the more reason for that Tennessee walking horse to keep on trucking.
A little quiz, football fans, to ease the shock of finding Maryland, a celebrated basketball and lacrosse power, in this year's Top 20:
1. Name the losing team in the first college football game ever televised (Oct. 5, 1940).
2. Where did Bear Bryant begin his collegiate head-coaching career?
3. Where did Tom Nugent, who invented the I formation, end his?