KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — We’re less than 48 hours from Tennessee’s stunning win over Georgia on Saturday night.
I’m still not sure if the Volunteers, heck even the city of Knoxville, knows what happened in Athens.
The “Comeback Kids” — a.k.a the No. 9 Volunteers — are 5-0 for the first time since 1998. They’re 2-0 in the SEC for the first time since 2003.
Tennessee travels to College Station to take on No. 8 Texas A&M at 3:30 p.m. on CBS. For the third time this season, ESPN’s College GameDay will feature Tennessee.
We’ll hear from coach Butch Jones shortly.
* “I hope everyone is recovered from the weekend.” … I was just wondering. ?
* Tennessee does a “Difference” video breakdown each week. Jones cites Josh Dobbs’ run on 3rd-and-15, Shy Tuttle’s tip on 4th-and-2, Riley Lovingood’s catch downing the punt, Aaron Medley’s “game-saving tackle” on special teams. Evan Berry’s kickoff return at the end.
* “We told (Berry) to get every yard you can get and to get out of bounds. … We executed a play we’ve repped every Friday for three years.”
* Jones preaching on “maxims. “That was a 3 maxim game. … If at first the game or the breaks go against you, don’t let up, put on more steam.”
* On moving past UGA game: “It’s a week-to-week season.”
* “Probably the greatest challenge we have to date, playing a complete Texas A&M football team.” … Jones raving about Sumlin’s offense, A&M’s front-seven.
* “They go get the football.”
* “You don’t win that football game if you don’t have great character in your football team or culture.”
* I continue to say it. We have something special here.”
* You’re only as good as good as your last game. We want to be 1-0 this week.”
* “We’re going to continue to get better and improve. But this is a special group and a special team.”
* Suspended DB Justin Martin “will be back.” Jones says if “he travels this week it will be based on his performance.”
* INJURY UPDATES: Status of linebackers Jalen Reeves-Maybin (shoulder) and Darrin Kirkland (ankle) T.B.D. Notes DK “ran some late last week” and “will try some cutting drills this week.”
* Jones notes Aggies quarterback Trevor Knight posed a challenge when UT faced him at Oklahoma. “He can do it all.” Added that since the transfer he “he has a lot of great players around him. I think he has a lot of confidence and a lot of feel.”
* “It’s been five emotionally filled games. I don’t think I’ve been in a game like that where you go from one extreme to another in a 10 second stretch.”
* Asked about special (different) kickoff alignment at the end: Jones says it was not Tennessee’s hands team but simply a specific design play. “The personnel on it is designed to return different kinds of kicks.”
* Jones on 2-minute drive to (attempt to) close out the game: “We wanted them to burn their timeouts.”
* “One thing that’s imperative for us as we move forward: Every team has star players. We need more players to step up as role players.” … Notes freshman cornerback Marquil Osborne “stepping up.” … “We need more individuals to step up and embrace more roles on special teams.”
* “We’ll have open tryouts today” for kickoff coverage roles.
* Jones: Tailback Jalen Hurd is fine, will practice today.
* On JRM going from probable to doubtful last week: ”
* Reporter praises UT on reducing penalties: “You made my day.” … Jones notes Tennessee didn’t have an procedural penalties on road this week.
* Jones said WR assistant coach Zach Azzanni deserves credit for comeback play. Notes alignment switch after “Polaroid timeout.” Said Jauan Jennings wasn’t in the original play.
* On Texas A&M’s front-seven: “It’s a unit that gives you a lot of issues because of their depth. They can rotate a lot of players in and there’s no drop off.”
* There’s only one person that can rattle Joshua Dobbs and that’s Stephanie Dobbs.” (His mom). “He doesn’t get rattled. … He doesn’t let one bad play beat him. He has a snap and clear mentality.”
* Jones on DL dominance in the second half: “We’re going to need our defensive front to be that way each and every week. … We expect our defensive line to make a difference.”
* On slow starts: “I’ve talked to anyone and everyone. … Said ultimately it comes down to execution.” … “In the first half, I didn’t think we played up to our capabilities.”
* “Coming up on the road, we need to play four quarters of football. That’s paramount. … But this team is as talented as any in the country.”
* Jones on Malik Foreman starting over Baylen Buchanan: “I thought he did a really good job. Now we need more consistency.”
* Jones on who will simulate A&M’s freak DE Myles Garrett in practice: “We might bring Chuck Smith out of retirement and suit him up.”
* Jones on Aggies WR corp: “Impressive. Because of the different skill sets of the individuals. They’re very, very complete. … Very impressive.”
* On playing at Kyle Field: “It’s loud. A lot of people compare it to Neyland Stadium. … They have a tremendous, tremendous advantage.” … With hotel about an hour away, notes challenge of being on the bus that long.