As the Vols wrapped up their 13th practice of the spring on Thursday, the offensive work has started to show some progress, at least according to Alex Golesh. From the tempo to the formations, nothing about this offense is simple, but that’s the point. It’s meant to throw off the defense and wear them down to the point that substituting is the easy way out. That’s if you can get off the field in time.
For OC Alex Golesh, the basic fundamentals have been where he wants his group to feel comfortable, knowing the call coming in from the sidelines, while being able to line yourself up correctly. It’s the small details that have been the point of emphasis.
“We are probably right where we thought we would be. As coaches, we have scripted some situations. We just got done with a heavy red zone day and you leave with a bunch of stuff you want to catch up. When you get into a third down day, you leave and you want to get on stuff to touch up. I think we are where we hoped we would be, in terms of normal situation football. I think the situation side we have to continue to grow”.
It’s all about the situation, where are you on the field as situations present themselves and can the group take advantage of their skillset. This type of offense is not something you nail down in 15 practices, it’s take time, which is exactly why Golesh needs his players to understand their surroundings.
“I think it’s just guys understanding the game better, understanding what we’re trying to get done in certain situations. That’s the part that if we need to grow in a big way, that would be it. I think it just takes time, not that we had a built-in excuse when we got here, but that’s where you always feel behind as the coordinator that you’re not getting enough situational work.”
As the wide receivers and quarterbacks continue to get comfortable with each other, the quicker this offense can work on a bigger stage. I know, it’s stating the obvious, but there were times last season that this wasn’t the case. Tennessee has the talent on the outside to make defenders nervous, and Kodi Burns has done a great job in bringing them along, according to Golesh.
“I truly believe that Kodi Burns is good as anybody I’ve ever been around at developing that position. He played that position. He’s coached in this conference. He knows what it takes, and there’s a fiery approach to how those guys are getting coached. I think there are going to continue to grow and take steps. Their roles will continue to get defined as we get into fall camp and start to hone in on week one. That’s when those guys will figure out who’s playing where, who their backups are and who will play what roll. They are starting to get there right now.”
The hot-button topic this Spring has been the quarterback position, as the coaching staff worked on how to bring these guys up to speed, without completely overwhelming them in the first week. Over the course of 13 practices, Alex Golesh has seen different traits from each QB, as the look to build on each ones strength.
“It’s been the three guys rotating through. Everybody’s mixing in with the ones, twos and threes. I think they have showed a ton of growth. That’s the one spot where you start with as you come in as a new staff and put in a new system. All three have shown a bunch of growth in their own ways. As we’ve gone, we have fine-tuned things to each guy’s skill set. As we’ve got into situational football, we’ve fine-tuned things to each guys’ skill set. But it’s been daily growth. They’ve been up and down a little bit at times. As we install more, all lights are on you at that point and that position. Obviously, it all goes through that position and there have been days we have been really excited. There have been days where we’ve wanted to see more growth”.
Golesh added, “But individually, all three of those guys have done a really good job of soaking it in, getting better every day not making the same mistake twice – which we’ve really hit home at every spot, that one specifically in commanding the offense, and commanding that group. So, I’ve been really proud of those guys with what they have done, where they are at and where they are heading”.
Getting through spring practice with the offense knowing the basic core of the playbook is where you want to be, but now the hard work begins. Every single day this summer will be centered on installing the rest of the offense and the players working on their own to fine tune it.
This is a marathon for now, not a sprint, but as fall camp arrives, the coaches will want this group moving at warp speed as they prepare for the season opener,