KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — After Tennessee’s dispiriting overtime win over Appalachian State on Thursday night, the Volunteers took a couple extra days to recoup and recover.
Now it’s time to get back to work.
Tennessee and Virginia Tech will play in the historic ‘Battle of Bristol’ on Saturday, and coach Butch Jones will address the media shortly, talking the App State win, injuries, adjustments, possible lineup changes and more.
- Butch Jones opens presser sending his condolences to Phillip Fulmer and his family after the loss of Fulmer’s mother, Nannie Lee, who passed away at the age of 91 on Sunday morning.
- Jones “excited” for Bristol, really complementary of Va Tech. Says the Hokies receiver corps will really challenge Tennessee.
- “Everyone in our program has to have a tremendous sense of urgency to make the progress from Game 1 to Game 2.”
- On App State: “In the end we found a way to win a football game.” Notes how there’s no preseason games in college football.
- Butch Jones disagrees with stat sheets, says Tennessee had 3 explosive plays, saw lots of opportunities for more (mentioned at least 5).
- “The big way we want to play football is 1st down efficiency. … We had way too many negative yardage football plays. Those are self-inflicted wounds. … Negative yardage plays are killers.” Added new catch-phrase: “One wrong, all wrong.”
- Jones on rumors that Josh Dobbs is limited/out by broken ribs: “Whoever your sources is, check your source.” Dobbs will start vs. Va Tech.
- Tennessee can’t get caught up in all the hoopla surrounding Bristol. Notes that Vols will play in front of over 250,000 fans in first two weeks of the season. “The power of Tennessee.”
- Injuries: “We actually came away from that game pretty healthy.” Jones anticipates everyone being available for Saturday, says TE Jason Croom will practice today.
- On Vols OL struggles: consistency and continuity.
- “I believe we had 7 missed tackles.” Disappointed in some poor fundamentals, lack of communication.
- When pressed on possible lineup changes, Jones refuses to bite — namely on OL. “We’re going to compete.”
- “Everyone wants to compare how we ran the football to last year’s team. That was last year. … The thing I like is they were excited about the victory but they understood we created some of that adversity for ourselves.”
- “I thought our football team grew up a little bit.”
- Jones thought backup LB Cortez McDowell played well but did think Tennessee missed Jalen Reeves-Maybin, especially on special teams.
- Va. Tech will challenge Tennessee with tempo, so Tennessee wants to “get Kyle Phillips and Darrell Taylor (in the game).” Also anticipates Shy Tuttle playing.
- Evaluating the line of scrimmage play: “Inconsistent. There were plays were we did with the line of scrimmage. Other times we did not. A lot of times it was individual (errors).”
- Jones on Dobbs’ first game of 2016: “There’s a number of things you don’t see,” notes protection breakdowns with receivers running open. “The thing that was uncharacteristic of him was the ball on the ground.”
- Jones on Va. Tech standout Isaiah Ford, “He’s a very, very talented player. We have to identify where he is at all times. … He’ll be one of the better receivers we play against all year.” Mentions how Ford can line up all over the field, run a variation of routes.
- “We’d like to get Alvin (Kamara) a little more involved. … The other individual we have to involve is John Kelly.”
- “We didn’t play our best football game, but at the end of the day the goal is to be 1-0 and we’re 1-0.”
- Jones (AGAIN) harping on consistency, urgency, uncharacteristic mistakes.
- Per Jones, under Justin Fuentes, Va. Tech as a “one word” offense. Very complementary of the creativity and pace of attack.
- Jones on Reeves-Maybin targeting rule: Wants a rule change on early fair-catch. Proposes back judge raise his hand, too, as App State player signaled fair catch immediately. As for hit, Jones said JRM was just trying to make a play. “I can guarantee you that will be on every teach tape for the next few years.”
- “I didn’t think the game dictated playing a lot of newcomers.”
- Jones going crazy about depth charts. Emphasizing who plays the most snaps, not starts.
Jesse Simonton covers Tennessee football and recruiting for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and SECCountry.com