Past struggles lead to improvements for Vols’ line



KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Ja’Wuan James, James Stone and Zach Fulton had to learn on the job last year, when the freshmen were expected to help anchor Tennessee’s offensive line. They took their lumps, but now that experience is paying off.

The linemen learned to trust each other, and James thinks having a strong bond with the guys he lines up with makes him play better.

The three sophomores who each got at least five starts last season brought plenty of raw talent to the field but made numerous mental mistakes while trying to learn the job.

Coach Derek Dooley still sees the occasional error from the players who likely will start for the Volunteers when they open Sept. 3 against Montana, but he’s still feeling better about the unit.