The Vols hit the field for their first full scrimmage of the preseason on Saturday night under the lights in Neyland Stadium. No media members were allowed to watch any of the scrimmage but Coach Jones and a few players did speak after the action on the field concluded. Here are some notable quotes from Shields-Watkins Field as the Vols finished their first two-a-day practice of the season.
On how the scrimmage went: “I liked our approach, I liked our mindset. We’re slowly learning how to practice as a football team. Still a lot of mistakes, penalties, turning the football over, but I liked the way we competed. It’s going to be a great evaluation tool for us as coaches. We’ll go back now and look at the film and see who’s game-ready.
“We’ll see who can execute and make plays in our system. The great thing was, our coaches were off the field, so they had to think for themselves, they had to play football. We’ll know more in the next couple of days who’s game-ready and what individuals need to step up just overall knowledge of our schemes.”
On what needs to improve moving forward: “The big thing for us is our overall effort. Effort can make you right when you’re wrong and our younger players are really struggling with that right now. They ave so much going on with deciphering the signals and the calls and getting lined up and playing with their technique and executing heir assignment, then playing with effort. As we know, 63 effort is the cornerstone of our program, so our freshman class is very, very behind in that. This will be a great tool to go in and watch their effort.”
On where his team is after a full week of camp: “I‘m pleased overall with our football team in their mentality. We talk about we can’t control how young we are, but what we can control is how we execute and how we take care of the football and how we play with effort. Those are the things we can control. We need everyone to have a role and we need as many people to play to help us on special teams and even if its five snaps a game, it’s a valuable roll to help this team win.”
On how the team performed: “I think it went really well. Coach Jones always talks about ‘one day’ and today we really focused on this one scrimmage. We came out and we played really good as a team. The future’s looking really good for us and we’re working hard.”
On his development: “I’m just working hard every day and trying to be a leader, as much as I can, on this team. I just come out every day and give 100-percent”
On how the offensive line performed: “Whew, they did really really good. There are still things, of course, that we need to work on but as a team I think we did really well tonight.”
On his relationship with Marlin Lane: “In practice we like to motivate each other, we like to try to lead and be in a leadership role for this team. We come out and just try to push these guys every day.
“This is his fourth year, so I definitely look to him as a leader and I’m really glad that I have him here with me.”
On the team’s performance: “I thought we got better today. Coming off of practice one this morning and then coming into a live game situation – I thought we did some great things on the offensive side and the defensive side.
“We got into some third and long situations and fought our way back out of those. We converted on a one-minute situation, did some good things in some situational football style – I’m excited with where we’re at and the progression we can make.”
On his performance: “I missed a few throws that I’d like to have back, but overall I thought I managed the offense pretty well in some of the situations. There’s always room for improvement. I’ve just got to go back and watch the film now and correct some of the little things.”
On getting the timing down with the wide receivers: “Coming off of the summer where we don’t throw against a live defense or anything like that, it does take a few days to get your timing back, getting back on rhythm against press defense. I wasn’t surprised that it happened, it happens occasionally.”
On the offensive line: “I’ll tell you, the offensive line did a great job picking up some odd looks that our defense is starting to put in. Overall, I thought that it was a pretty good night for our offense.”
On the young wide receivers: “We have so much potential, all those young guys coming in. It’s a healthy competition. Josh (Malone) and Von (Pearson) and Vic (Wharton) are all pushing each other to get better each and every day.
On the cornerbacks: “Cam (Sutton) is good, they’re all good really. They’re SEC corners, you’ve got to expect the best. I’ll never say that they can’t guard me.”
On his favorite route: “Vertical (laughs). Just let me go deep. That’s what I like.”