Brady Hoke addressed the media for the final time on Monday morning. And he was asked about what this difficult week will look like for his team.
The Vols are done for the year after their matchup with Vanderbilt on Saturday. While there isn’t a lot at stake for this year’s team, a loss to the Commodores would give UT its first eight loss season in program history.
“This game is about your kids. It’s about the seniors,” Hoke said in his comments on Monday.
Since taking over as the Vols’ interim head coach, he’s been all about giving the seniors two good games to end on. When asked about the motivation for his players knowing that a bowl bid is out of sight, Hoke added that he wasn’t worried.
“This will be the last game some of them play,” he said. “I’ll think they’ll come and play for Tennessee.”
While a conventional trip to a bowl game is out of reach, a few teams got into postseason play with five wins a season ago. And theres’a tiny chance that the Vols could be one of those teams this time around.
Of course, they have to beat Vandy first.
But Hoke wasn’t concerned about that issue either. He’s just focused on Vanderbilt. And judging from his answer, it looks like John Currie is too.
“That’s a question for John,” Hoke said. “We have not had those conversations. Right now he’s quite busy.”
On the field, Tennessee remains winless in conference play. After UT’s 20-point loss to LSU on Saturday, there’s a chance that Tennessee could go winless in SEC play for the first time in program history.
Hoke pointed to the Vols’ inability to run the football as a big reason why they lose. He specifically mentioned the seven tackles for loss racked up by the Tigers’ aggressive defense.
But he did give credit to the fans for sticking it out through a torrential downpour.
“For those who weathered the weather, give them credit,” Hoke said.
Will McBride missed Saturday’s game due to an undisclosed injury in practice last week. That meant that Jarrett Guarantano had to return from his ankle injury to lead the Vols’ offense.
Hoke praised Guarantano’s toughness in his comments on Monday. He also said that McBride will be available for this weekend’s game.