March 29, 2014
By Brian Rice KNOXVILLE, Tenn.
By Brian Rice
KNOXVILLE, Tenn.- Tennessee's football family welcomed over 300 members of the team's actual family to Neyland Stadium to watch practice on Saturday morning and to enjoy a day of fellowship at the Anderson Training Center following the session.
The crowd cheered on the Volunteers as the team went through the paces of the second scrimmage of spring practice. The guests retreated for cover as the rain began to fall, but gathered on the field for Jones' post-practice address and for a group photo on the 50-yard line.
"I think that's the core value of our football program, that's what we talked about from day one," Jones said. "To be able to welcome over 300-plus family members of our players here, then to be able to go have a family barbeque together, like a family reunion, this is a day I really look forward to."
Following practice, the group dodged the raindrops to return to the complex for an afternoon of food and fellowship with the players and staff.
Senior quarterback Justin Worley said bringing the families in to see a normal day in the life of the Volunteers helps build that bond between football family and blood family.
"It's awesome to have our families here to watch what we do every day," Worley said. "Most families just see gameday and experience that, but for them to be able to come out here and see how we practice and what Coach Jones does on the microphone and everything, just being able to play in front of them is awesome."
Fellow QB Nathan Peterman also appreciated the chance to introduce his family to the daily grind.
"It was great. My parents actually didn't get to make it up but my cousins and brothers are here and I haven't seen them in a while so it's really good to see them. Its a really good family atmosphere here."
Knoxville native Kyler Kerbyson had his brother on the field with him Saturday. As a local player, he has the opportunity to have his family around all the time. For him, days like this are a chance to further develop bonds with the families of teammates.
"I'm so happy for these guys to have their families around," he said. "Its a great opportunity. I love the fact that I have such close relationships with other people's families, not just my own."