KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee Team 121’s third practice of the fall camp came to a close Tuesday night, and coach Butch Jones had praise for half of the team.
The fifth-year Tennessee coach said the defense impressed by taking the ball away so many times. The offense, on the other hand, needed to be more consistent.
“Everything is about turnover margin,” Jones said. “It’s a fine line between winning and losing. Today, I really liked the way our defense swarmed to the football. I liked them hunting the ball and the ball disruption.
“The offense 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. On the flip side, I thought our defense did some good things.”
The first thought might be that the quarterback competition could be causing the turnovers. Junior Quinten Dormady and redshirt freshman Jarrett Guarantano have competed against each other in the spring and summer to replace departed three-year starter Josh Dobbs.
Too many fumbles
The issue actually rested with the running backs, instead.
“The ball was on the ground with fumbles,” Jones said. “I thought our quarterbacks did a pretty good job of managing the offense and taking care of the football. It is really the first time they’ve been exposed to situational football in terms of third down or first down.”
Tennessee has one proven running back in junior John Kelly with sophomore Carlin Fils-aime having logged some playing time. Kelly rushed for 630 yards and 5 touchdowns in 2016.
The Vols have tried to work freshmen Tim Jordan, Ty Chandler and Trey Coleman into the rotation.
The Tennessee team will have workouts Wednesday morning and another practice at night before having Thursday off.
“Tomorrow is key to our football team and to see our consistency,” Jones said. “Can we come out and match the intensity we had tonight? It’s critical for our leadership to demand that from our players.”