Vols Up the Intensity For Third Practice of Fall Camp

(utsports.com) KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – The intensity and physicality picked up at Haslam Field on Tuesday evening as Tennessee held its third practice of fall camp.
The Vols sported shells for the first time this fall and kicked off practice with the “Circle of Life” drill to get some contact going early on.
“I thought we had a really productive day,” Vols head coach Butch Jones said after practice. I liked our mindset with the way we came out – probably the best practice No. 3 that we’ve had, but we have a lot of work to do.”
Jones, along with junior running back John Kelly, sophomore wide receiver Marquez Calloway, redshirt sophomore defensive end Darrell Taylor and junior defensive back Micah Abernathy spoke with the media on Tuesday to discuss the team’s first practice in shells and the physicality that Team 121 is looking to play with this season. Kelly has been particularly impressed with the physicality of the running back group so far this fall.
“That’s all I’ve told them from the day we got here,” Kelly said. “We’re going to be physical and we’re going to be tough. They’ve all been pretty physical every opportunity we have to be physical. They’ve all been pretty impressive.”
Kelly and Taylor are looking to fill voids left by departed starters and are aiming to secure starting spots for the first time in their careers.
Kelly led all UT running backs with 630 yards rushing last season and also averaged a team-best 6.4 yards per carry after a strong second half of the year. The Detroit, Mich., native is expected to lead a young and talented stable of ball carriers this season that features sophomore Carlin Fils-aime as well as a trio of freshmen in Ty Chandler, Tim Jordan and Trey Coleman, among others.
“I realize that I’m the oldest guy back there so every time I’m doing something, I know that there are a lot of younger guys watching me,” Kelly said. “I feel like it is just as much my job as it is Coach Gillespie’s job to get them ready … I really just want the best for everybody that’s in the backfield with me. I’m going to prepare everybody like they’re going to be a starter.”
Taylor talked about how the defense has looked so far this fall and what fans should expect to see from the Big Orange on that side of the ball this season.
“I think our defense has a lot of energy guys,” Taylor said. “We are going to be able to run around and make a lot of plays. We are able to swarm to the ball.”
Head Coach Butch Jones
(Opening Statement)

“I thought we had a really productive day. I liked our mindset with the way we came out. Probably the best practice number three that we’ve had, but we have a lot of work to do. Everything is about turnover margin, and it’s a fine line between winning and losing. Today, I really liked the way our defense swarmed the football, I liked them hunting the ball and their ball disruptions, but as an offense, we had way too many turnovers and way too many balls on the ground. You’re not going to win very many games turning the football over. But on the flip side, I thought our defense made some great plays. But again, tomorrow’s key to our football team and to see our consistency. Can we come out and match the intensity that we had tonight. And that’s going to be critical for our leadership to demand that out of our players. But I thought we were productive. Now it’s just constant growth and evolution of this team.”
(On the type of turnovers that the defense created)

“Balls on the ground, fumbles. I thought our quarterbacks did a pretty good job of managing offense and taking care of the football. It’s really the first time that they’ve been exposed to situational football in terms of third-down, first-down, and then we had some field position third-down type things where we forced them to take care of the football and make great decisions. I thought our quarterbacks stepped up and made some plays, just too many balls on the ground.”
(On filling the void left by players that are now in the NFL)

“We have lost some very talented players and some very explosive players, but I’m excited about the players that we have in this football team. We have a lot of individuals that have paid their dues and are still relatively young in our football program. It’s going to be a wide receiver group by committee, but obviously it starts with Jauan Jennings. Jauan Jennings is our playmaker on the outside. But Marquez Callaway has done some good things, Latrell Williams has done some good things, Brandon Johnson has done some good things. All these individuals have done some good things. We have to get Jeff George going as well. And then the freshmen, I thought Josh Palmer really stepped up tonight and made some big time catches for us. And then obviously Jordan Murphy’s done a very good job, as well as Jacquez Jones. And just like we just spoke about the running backs coaching each other, these individuals are coaching each other and they know that we’re going to have to rely on some true freshmen to play. Also, the tight ends have to be playmakers for us as well, and the quarterbacks with making some plays with their legs, which they can do that, but also pushing the ball down the field.”
(On what he has learned so far about the team)
“I think I’ll continue to learn more. I think tomorrow will be a great gauge. We had a very productive night tonight. Now we’re going to get up in the morning, we have to lift, then we have summer school, and then we have the same type of practice. Can we bring it with that same effort and intensity that we had tonight, and I think that’s going to a challenge for our football team. And so I’ll know a little bit more, but we have to be a football team that has great details, and we can’t be a football team that beats itself, and as you all know, we pride ourselves in that. Tonight, we turned the ball over way too many times on offense and we have to be very goof in special teams. But I think for this football team, it’s just consistency and performance day in and day out.”
Junior RB John Kelly
(On how the first three practices of training camp have gone)
“It’s going good. It’s going a lot better than I expected. The younger guys are out there ready to go. That’s definitely something that I can say. Everybody is taking a lot of good coaching, so we have something special here.”
(On being the oldest guy in the backfield and preparing the newcomers)
“I realize that I’m the oldest guy back there so every time I’m doing something, I know that there are a lot of younger guys watching me. I feel like it is just as much my job as it is Coach Gillespie’s job to get them ready. I’m the one that’s going to be out there playing next to them so I have to make sure they are ready to go out there and are prepared to take advantage of their opportunities the same way that I did. I really just want the best for everybody that’s in the backfield with me. I’m going to prepare everybody like they’re going to be a starter.”
Redshirt sophomore DL Darrell Taylor
(On learning from Derek Barnett)
“The biggest thing I learned from him was to study more film and stay in the film room all the time. It helps you get a better view of your opponent.”
(On playing for new defensive line coach Brady Hoke)
“He’s been hard on us, but he’s helping us get right each and every day. We are taking everything day-by-day and practice-by-practice. He’s doing a lot of good stuff to help us get better.”
(On how Rock Gullickson has helped the team this offseason)
“He’s done a lot of great things for the team. We have gotten a lot stronger and faster. We do a lot of explosive things in the weight room. That has helped the team a lot because everyone is flying around on the field and doing great things with a lot of energy. I have gotten better with my bench press and squat, and I’ve gotten a lot better with my power cling form and technique.”

Junior DB Micah Abernathy
(On the competition at safety)
“You have to come out here and do your best. You have to bring it every day in our room, and we all know that.”
(On his assessment of the new guys)
“The new guys are physical, fast and have learned a lot. They have tried getting in the older guy’s heads. They will be really good.”
(On being versatile in the secondary)
“Right now, I am working primarily at free safety. Last year, I played strong safety. I also know nickel. I try to move around as much as I can so I can be an asset in the back end.”
Sophomore WR Marquez Callaway
(On what Jauan Jennings and Josh Smith are like as veteran receivers in the group)
“They are always hard on us. They don’t take anything. So if we don’t know our stuff, they are the first ones on us. But they also hold us accountable so we can know where we’re supposed to be on our own.”
(On new playmakers stepping up)
“There’s a lot of opportunity out there and there’s a lot of receivers trying to get their opportunity. So we just come every day trying to learn the playbook inside and out and compete just like we do every day.”
(On the biggest area he has developed in his game over the past year)
“The playbook. I’ve learned and, not just me but all of them, we get together a lot and we go over everything. We go over the coverages. We go over a lot of defense so it makes us better on offense.”

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