KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee is coming off a 30-10 loss to LSU, and the 2017 Vols are hoping not to rewrite history.
Tennessee has never lost eight games in the SEC before. The final matchup of the season is on Saturday against Vanderbilt.
Interim coach Brady Hoke spoke to the media to begin the in-state rivalry week.
Below, we have a roundup of news and notes from Hoke’s news conference.
- Opening statement: On behalf of our team and staff, thank you to our fans. From the Vol Walk to the energy they had. It was really a great turnout and we can’t thank them enough for their passion. I thought our effort was good and were engaged. I think the staff did a good job putting a game plan in place. We go into game-by-game. Offensively pre-snap penalties hurt us. That happens sometimes with guys who haven’t played much. Got to stay away from the negative plays. Defensively, the biggest thing is gap integrity. We have to do a better job on the edges. We didn’t create enough opportunities. Stealing possessions is important in football. We have 22 seniors who we want to leave with a win.
- On letting team run through the ‘T’ before him: It’s about them. The seniors were out front. It is about more than just the coach.
- On Will McBride: He will be available. Health and wellness will be a big part of the game.
- On Vanderbilt: Started off well. Defensively they are very multiple in what they do. Offensively Webb has proven it as a 4,000-yard rusher. They have taken care of the football pretty well as a football team.
- On Pat Shurmur: He played at Michigan State and I was an assistant there. Seeing him in the coaching profession. He’s one of the good guys out there.
- On health issues: It’s early in the week, I’ll you know later in the week.
- On facing uncertainty as a staff: We have a bunch of guys who are professionals. We want to do a great job for these kids.
- On getting the players motivated during the rivalry week: For some of these guys, this is the last game they are going to play. When those opportunities start to shrink down, I think they’ll be awfully competitive.
- On pre-snap penalties: I think at times it may cadence, at times. It comes down to your self-discipline. You’re playing guys without a great deal of experience.
- On Jarrett Guarantano: The one thing I’ll say is he’s a pretty tough guy. He’s been hit a few times. I love his toughness. The timing, having confidence. He continues to grow and it’s all positive.