KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — The bye week is probably seven days too late, but Tennessee enters the idle date hoping to get healthy.
More than a dozen players are dealing with various injuries after the Volunteers 49-10 blowout loss to top-ranked Alabama on Saturday.
In a few minutes, coach Butch Jones will address Tennessee’s M.A.S.H. unit, as well as recap the defeat to the Crimson Tide.
Jones still isn’t here, but hopefully he will address the Alvin Kamara rumors immediately.
As SEC Country reported over the weekend, Tennessee also lost starting defensive tackle Kahlil McKenzie to a season-ending injury against Alabama.
* Interesting, linebacker Jalen Reeves-Maybin is here, talking about his legacy at Tennessee after undergoing season-ending shoulder surgery over the weekend.
* The senior believes he helped put Tennessee back on the map, represent his home-state school. Hopes to be remembered as a guy who helped Tennessee “on and off the field.”
* Reeves-Maybin tried to give his shoulder a go against Florida, but didn’t feel like he could help the team. The linebacker believes he will be fully-recovered in a couple of months, ready to showcase for NFL scouts.
* Reeves-Maybin doesn’t regret coming back for his senior season, definitely “plans on being at all of the (rest of Tennessee’s) games.”
* Jones confirms McKenzie’s season-ending injury for torn pectoral.
* Jones lambasts “accurate and inaccurate” injury reports. Doesn’t addresses Kamara rumors. Says he’s spent an hour this morning talking with families of players and dealing with “inaccurate” reporting. “Start respecting our players.”
* Tennessee has 5 one week seasons left, taking a game week approach to bye week. Vols will practice Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday before giving players the weekend off.
* Jones gets asked about Kamara, acknowledges the tailback is “banged up,” but adds, “Everything is wait and see … Let things take its course.”
* Jones calls recent run defense “unacceptable.” … Volunteers have allowed nearly 800 rushing yards during their two-game losing streak. Notes missed tackles, missed assignment, missed run-fits, quarterback run game, injuries. “Our players understand it. They’re disappointed but they’re not discouraged.”
* Jones stressing meetings this week need to be more interactive with players taking a vocal, leadership role. Notes guys like Nigel Warrior, Colton Jumper, Elliott Berry, freshman OL, need reps.
* Jones talking about Team120 needing to focus on all the off-the-field aspects of preparation (weight room, nutrition, sleep, hydration, study habits, etc.)
* “We’re never going to use injuries as an excuse.”
* On SEC: “It’s a grind. Your depth of your program will start to show itself and reveal itself … There are no off weeks.” … Cites championship teams having a certain maturity. Says youngsters must emulate Derek Barnett, Jalen Reeves-Maybin, Cam Sutton — cites their passion, character, want-to.
* Jones on tracing injuries: “We research and do our due diligence on everything. … The crazy thing this year they’re all different. … It’s one of those years.” … Notes all the preventative maintenance (customized ankle braces, specific training on muscle groups).
* Jones on all the youth on the OL vs. No. 1 Alabama: “They’ll remember that for a long time. … It has to drive you. Those experiences will prove to be beneficial down the road.”
* “We anticipate most of our players being ready (for South Carolina).”
* Jones says Tennessee didn’t have enough winning players against Alabama, again calls the performance unacceptable and said it starts with him as the head coach. … There’s a reason why our theme is “Own It.” … “We need more individuals to step up and play winning football.”
* Tennessee will “experiment” during the bye week “schematically.” … “This is the time you can install some new things (noting DE vs. DT rotation).” … “I was really proud of Kyle Phillips.”
* Jones is not a proponent of the NCAA’s proposed early signing period. … “We have to have the ability to do our due diligence.”
* DT Alexis Johnson is sidelined with a hip flexor strain.
* Jones on playing frosh OL: “You win with experience.”
* “Our starting 22 can play with anyone. “