KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Dylan Wiesman knows bowl motivation is a popular storyline this time of year, but Tennessee’s senior center isn’t worried about the Vols ambition heading into a Dec. 30 showdown against Nebraska in the Music City Bowl.
“We’re ready to go,” Wiesman said.
“There are some people out there doubting us, but I think we’re a hungry team. If you watch our practices, we get after it. I think that’s an indication of how we’re going to play in this game.
Although Tennessee’s season fell short of expectations, the Vols had a productive month of practices following a bitter loss at Vanderbilt to end the regular season.
Sure, Tennessee would rather be playing in the Sugar Bowl on Jan. 2, but the team responded well to its season-ending disappointment, balancing preparing for the Cornhuskers while readying underclassmen for the future.
“I’ve liked the approach of our players,” coach Butch Jones said.
“Their attitude, their energy. Numerous reps for a number of individuals that did not gain significant reps throughout the course of the year. It’s been very, very productive.”
Tennessee’s seniors are especially motivated to finish their careers with a win, ready to erase the “sour taste” still lingering from the loss at Vandy.
The group is 29-20 over the last four years and has a chance to win a third consecutive bowl game, something the program hasn’t accomplished since 1995-98.
“It’s our last game,” said Wiesman, who will return to the starting lineup after missing the final two games due to injury.
“Coming in here, my class, we wanted to turn the program around. We feel like we’ve done that.
“We want to leave here and say, ‘We’ve done this, now this is where we’re to go.’ If we win this game, it’s momentum going into next season. It’s huge for us.”