KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Butch Jones said the dismissal of Georgia Tech’s top returning rusher doesn’t have any effect on Tennessee’s preparation for the team’s Sept. 4 opener.
“It doesn’t affect it one bit, I believe they were 3-0 without him last year,” Jones said following Friday’s practice at Haslam Field when asked about Dedrick Mills’ dismissal from the Yellow Jackets football team.
Mills rushed for 771 yards and 13 touchdowns last season as a freshman.
“They have a system that’s challenging and they have good players and a very solid defense and good special teams,” Jones said. “This is a complete football team that we’re playing, we prepare the same way, so it doesn’t affect our mindset our how we look at things.”
Georgia Tech is known for its cut blocking as well as occasional chop block violations, and last year the Yellow Jackets went 3-0 against SEC teams.
Jones made it clear that Tennessee isn’t ready to play a football game, even after Wednesday night’s 85-play scrimmage at Neyland Stadium.
“I thought it was productive, but we’re nowhere where we need to be to be game ready,” Jones said. “We’ll do it (scrimmage) again in the next couple of days, just to work on the focus and some of the same details.”
The Vols have had some offensive linemen nicked up with injuries, and that forced Jones to cancel the first scheduled scrimmage last Saturday.
“Our offensive development overall has been set back a little bit with lack of continuity and consistency,” Jones said. “We’re getting everyone back now, and that’s why the next couple of days are absolutely paramount in terms of getting the rhythm and spacing down.”
Jones mentioned a few freshmen that stood out in the scrimmage, including receiver Josh Palmer, tight end LaTrell Bumphus, cornerback Shawn Shamburger, safety Theo Jackson and middle linebacker Will Ignot.
The Vols’ head coach also said that incoming freshman kicker Brent Cimaglia is pushing senior Aaron Medley.
“We need leadership and maturity the next couple of days, and we start school next week,” Jones said. “Every time we leave the practice field, we must be a better football team.”