Vols Return to Practice Following Big Win Over Florida
(utsports.com) KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Following its big win over rival Florida in the SEC opener and some well-deserved rest with an open date this week, No. 8/9 Tennessee was back to practice on Wednesday morning.
Head coach Josh Heupel and select players spoke with the media following Wednesday’s session at Haslam Field to recap the memorable victory over the Gators and talk about the team’s goals during the open week.
The offense once again showed why it is one of the best in the country during last Saturday’s win against Florida, racking up 576 total yards and averaging 8.2 yards per play. Making the performance even more impressive was the fact that the Vols were playing without their top receiver in Cedric Tillman.
Heupel was extremely impressed with how the entire offense didn’t skip a beat despite the absence of one of its top weapons.
“Saturday was a great example of this being the greatest team sport there is,” Heupel said. “The next man inevitably is going to have to step up, and we saw that in multiple ways throughout the course of the game.
“Ramel’s (Keyton) catch was a great example, but that’s just one play that he made on Saturday. The greatest tribute you can give to him is, there wasn’t anything that was different about what we did. You can see the trust that Hendon (Hooker) had in him and when the ball went his way, he came away with it and made plays.”
Keyton believes that his big day was the direct effect of all of the hard work and repetitions put in over the offseason.
“Coach Kelsey Pope said I worked for that one,” Keyton said. “The whole offseason we were working, all of the receivers really. We just worked for that. We’ve got to continue to make those plays. We don’t want to be a one-catch guy, we’ve got to be consistent with that. That was the main thing, just coming back and being more consistent with the plays.”
One of the benefits that the open week presents is the chance to develop some of the younger players on the roster and build depth that will inevitably be called upon later in the season.
“Obviously, continuing the development of our young guys, and that’s guys who have played and guys that haven’t,” Heupel said of one of the team’s goals during the open week. “As the season goes on and you get to the back two-thirds of the season, you guys know that you are going to need a bunch of bodies, because you never know who gets nicked up and when.”
The Vols will be back on the practice field on Thursday morning as they continue their open week work and get a head start on preparation for LSU next Saturday down in Baton Rouge.