Butch Jones met with the media on Wednesday for his weekly press conference. Because last week’s game was on a Monday, Jones previewed the upcoming matchup with Indiana State just three days before the Vols take on the Sycamores. Jones’ weekly press conference will move back to Mondays after this week.
Here are some notable things Butch Jones had to say today.
Jones said that Jauan Jennings is “out indefinitely.” He did not specify what the injury was, only saying it was “indefinite” for now.
Kick returner/safety Evan Berry and defensive tackle Kendal Vickers are considered questionable to play this weekend.
“At this point in time, (Berry and Vickers) are questionable,” Jones said. “There is a possibility that they could play. I think our training staff has done a really good job. We set up ice tubs in the locker room. We tried to do all of our recovery at the stadium. I’ll know a little bit more as the week progresses.”
Drew Richmond, who was suspended for the season opener against Georgia Tech, will play in this weekend’s game against Indiana State.
Tennessee’s quarterback position has an early leader. But it’s not quite over yet.
Jones said that Quinten Dormady and Jarrett Guarantano will continue to compete, starting with the Vols’ game against Indiana State this weekend.
Guarantano took a lot of heat, including from ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit, for looking disinterested and frustrated on the sidelines. But Jones came to the defense of his redshirt freshman quarterback.
“In terms of managing the two quarterback system, they’ll continue to compete,” Jones stated. “I know there’s a lot out there about Jarrett, but he’s a good teammate. I think we found out in college football, with all the injuries around the country, you’re always one snap away from being in the football game.”
Many programs tell their backup quarterbacks to wear a headset on the sidelines. But Jones doesn’t use that method.
He added that his quarterbacks specifically practice their communication with Mike Canales on the sideline. And he was proud of the way Dormady adjusted on the field with his coach’s advice.
“That’s not a gameday glitch,” Jones said about the quarterback sideline situation. “We’ve never had our backup quarterbacks on headsets. A lot of schools, when it shows the QB is on headsets, they’re on dummy headsets. I thought our quarterbacks did a good job with Mike Canales on the sideline.”
Marquez Callaway wasn’t the only player who provided lots of energy to Tennessee’s offense on Monday. Jones pointed out multiple players on the offensive side of the ball who made a big impact on and off the field.
“I think you could feel the energy behind John Kelly,” he said. “He really gave us a spark offensively. Trey Smith did some really good things up front. We score one touchdown, and he’s high-stepping into the end zone. Jashon Robertson played as good a game as he has here.”
Defensively, Daniel Bituli had a career performance in his first start, totaling 23 tackles and forcing a fumble in the first half. Jones said that his leadership was vital to the Vols defense keeping his team in the game.
“Our defense gave us great field position, and we weren’t able to take advantage,” Jones said. “I give our defensive front a lot of credit. It was a big spark to get Daniel Bituli in there.”
Tennessee’s sideline trash can has garnered a lot of attention over the past few days. But Jones doesn’t understand what all the fuss is about.
“Our kids enjoy that,” he said. “If you go around the country, everybody does something. Whether it’s a heavyweight belt, or a chain. We do a thing called shots on goal. We chart how many ball disruptions we have. It’s something that we actually did last year.”