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Jones Discusses Targeting Call Against JRM

Reeves Maybin-1

Already down 7-3, Tennessee faced some unexpected adversity in the first quarter when senior linebacker Jalen Reeves-Maybin was called for targeting against a punt returner.

Replay upheld the controversial call, sending Reeves-Maybin to the locker room for the evening.

“Jalen brings a lot,” Butch Jones said after the game. “Obviously he went out, but that’s football. Next man in. And that’s what we talk about with competitive depth. I thought Cortez (McDowell) came in and did some good things.”

McDowell, a junior reserve defender who is more frequently used on special teams, did step up with nine tackles, including some clutch plays late.

But the conversation after the game centered on Reeves-Maybin and a controversial call that didn’t end up costing UT the game, but certainly gave the Vols extra adversity on an evening where there was already plenty.

“You know, I’m really interested to see it,” Jones said of the call. “I’ve had a number of calls from coaches already. They thought it was a 50/50. I’m all for player safety first and foremost. It was was a strange play to begin with because the returner called for a fair catch right when the ball was kicked, so here’s a young man trying to make a play. He’s trying to play hard.
“I’m all for player safety, but also this is a senior who is trying to play hard and give his all, and I hope there was discretion, and it’s reviewable and I trust they will get it right. They better’ve, so that’s kind of where I’m at.”

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