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Assistants Talk Depth Chart, Personnel

Offensive coordinator Mike Bajakian
Offensive coordinator Mike Bajakian

With the focus shifting to Utah State, the depth chart is beginning to stabilize in all three phases for Tennessee.

We spoke to the assistant coaches after Thursday’s practice to get their insight on a few of the spots that are still somewhat undecided and some other personnel issues:

OC Mike Bajakian:

On if they’ve decided on a No. 2 QB:

“[Joshua Dobbs and Nathan Peterman] compete every day.”

On why they shook up the right side of the offensive line – moving Kyler Kerbyson to tackle and bringing in Jashon Robertson at right guard:

“I think, as much as anything, it was Jashon’s progress and he was a surprise to all of us – how quickly he was able to come in, step up and compete and play effectively. That was one of the main factors.”

DC John Jancek

On who would be the third LB in the 4-3 look:

“It’s either going to be Curt [Maggitt] or Chris Weatherd”

On how many d-linemen he feels comfortable playing at this point:

“I would say eight”

On if any of the defensive ends could play defensive tackle in pass-rushing situations:

“We’ll eventually, once we get going, be able to move some guys around, but I don’t think that’s something that I feel comfortable with right now based on the youth. We have to get them comfortable first.”

On if Emmanuel Moseley hit a wall or Michael Williams really came on strong:

“I think it’s a combination of both. Mike was steadily progressing every day and Emmanuel, it’s a lot for a true freshman obviously, and Emmanuel – he’s going to play, we’ll figure it out as we move forward.”

On what he likes about Michael Williams:

“I think Mike has great quickness, change of direction, suddenness. I think he’s a good press corner and a good off corner too if he just slows down a little bit – sometimes he’s a little fast. I like Mike’s skill set.”

On how many freshmen he expects to play on defense:

“I would say anywhere from 11 to 13”

WRs coach Zach Azzanni

On if he’s settled in on a rotation:

“Yes and no. We’ve still got guys coming back full speed and we’ve got some dings and bruises and things like that. Now that we’re kind of getting into game week, we’re kind of seeing which guys can push past five, six, seven play in a row. Kind of getting a feel for that – what guys I can still trust more than two or three plays in a row. It’s still a work in progress.”

On if there’s every any concern about getting all the receivers enough reps:

“You can’t have enough great receivers in this offense. If you’re great, we’re going to get you the ball.”

On if Vic Wharton missing some practice time slowed his overall momentum:

“He lost a little of that momentum – had a little pull in the leg that kind of hampered him a little bit. Of course, as a freshman, he wasn’t here in the spring, so you lose a couple weeks of practice and that’s detrimental. All we can do now is get him back in, push on, but I have to dip him in the grease a little bit.”

STs coordinator Mark Elder

On the consistency from the kickers:

“There’s been some more consistency. Those guys have done a little bit better. We’ve put them in some stressful spots. We’ve had them kicking some long field goals and you want to see what their range is. Certainly you know if you’re kicking 50-yard field goals, your percentages are going to be lower. When you look at the numbers, you have to look at where they’re kicking from, so those guys have been steadily improving over camp and I was looking through those numbers earlier today and you can see a marked difference in the last week and a half than from the first week.”

On if there’s any separation:

“It’s still neck and neck and we’re going to take it down as far as Coach Jones wants to to name a starter.”

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