Butch Jones talked to the media on Monday, updating personnel notes after the bye week.
One key player is suspended, and a few others are looking to come back from injury. Here’s what Jones had to say to start South Carolina week.
Jones officially announced that redshirt sophomore defensive end Darrell Taylor is suspended indefinitely. Taylor reportedly got in a fight with freshman offensive lineman Trey Smith last week.
“He’s been suspended indefinitely,” Jones stated. “There’s been no timetable set on his return…there are multiple factors that have led to this decision.”
Quarterbacks Still Competing
Every position is up for grabs this week according to Jones’ comments after the Georgia game. And that includes the quarterback position. Jones was very clear on what he wants from his signal caller.
“Taking care of the football,” he said. “We cannot turn the football over. The quarterback characteristics of leadership, bringing energy everyday and command of the offense…the decision making process is everything.”
Jones tried to throw both Quinten Dormady and Jarrett Guarantano into the fire during the bye week. Overall, he liked the progress those guys made.
“We tried to manufacture as many game-like conditions as possible…we’ll still continue to compete just like anyone else and see how this week of preparation goes,” Jones said.
He implied that there’s a slight lead in the competition at this point. But he didn’t specify who is getting the majority of the majority of first team reps.
“The way we’ve always handled that situation is the number one gets the bulk of the reps, but the number two gets a lot of the reps as well. The reps are probably 60-40,” he said.
New Contributors Stepping Up
With every position group open for newcomers to earn more playing time, Jones said more freshmen may see the field soon.
“A lot of our freshmen and younger players having accumulated reps. It was good for our health, getting some individuals back healthy,” he said.
Jones expects a few players to earn more playing time against South Carolina this week. He said a few young players have surprised him over the past week of practice.
“I think it’s still ongoing,” Jones said. “It’ll be an accumulation of this week’s preparation and how it goes. It was one of the best BYE weeks we’ve had. A lot of times you can approach the BYE week as though it’s an off week, and our players didn’t do that.”
Young Receivers Get Boost
In a lot of cases, UT’s young wideouts have had to play major minutes right away. And this weekend, they’ll face more tight coverage from a South Carolina defense with a lot of momentum.
“We’re going to need some individuals to step up,” Jones stated. “You’re not a freshman anymore. We’re going to see a lot of man-to-man coverage. They do an excellent job playing the ball in the air.
“You need a lot of big plays, and that starts on the perimeter of your offense.”
But those young receivers will get a lot of help coming up. Marquez Callaway will be back, after leaving the Georgia game with an apparent head injury.
“He’ll be out at practice today,” Jones said. “That’ll be big for us from an offensive standpoint and a special teams standpoint as well.”
With Callaway back, UT gets its jump ball guy healthy on the perimeter.
Jones says he needs more consistency on the outside. And Callaway is the best guy for the job.
“The big play has been missing. If we have an opportunity for a big play, we have to make that happen,” he said.