#VolReport: Teaching Opportunities

April 6, 2013

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Butch Jones' Transcript

VFLs at Practice

Here are a few of the most important quotes of the day:


"You have to give credit to our defense. We're proud of our defense, but as an offense we want to convert every third down. Our goal is 45% realistically, but as a competitor you like to convert every third down. You never know; we could execute things a little better obviously, but there are some times when the defense is just going to win at times."

"Yes sir, I thought I did better with my reads today; counted one, two, check down, or throw it away. I think Coach Jake thought me and Worley did a good job of that, voiced it to us, so yeah I was proud of that."

"I don't, I think we both have our good days and bad days. We've been in orange jerseys and the offense has been winning; offense is a little easier to see when you mess up than a defense, but I don't think there is a huge gap to where the defense is better than the offense. We're just trying to be a team and do good in everything."

"The coaches stress this is a game-type situation, so I'm going to approach it like that. Whether it's just pressure or focus, I'm going to approach it like a game. I do put pressure on myself in the sense that I want to give my absolute best: being very focused, make all my reads right, get the ball to the right guy, and make all the right detections too; so it's just like a game."


"It is all fun and games when you come off the field but when you are on the field it is all competition. Seeing them in the orange jerseys is never fun when you go out but you have to go out and win the next day."

"That is always the case in a scrimmage situation. It falls on us in what we do and how we control things as players. I would not say it is sink or swim, but it is the nature of the game."

"I have been throwing to these guys for the last two years since I have been here. Vincent Dallas, Jacob Carter, Jason Croom when he got here, Cody Blanc, all of these guys. We have built a good relationship and we have had the chemistry over the past year or two but it has been a transition just learning the plays and learning what Coach Azzanni wants and what Coach Bajakian wants."

"Just falling back on what we used to do. That was tucking our tails between our legs and pout, just things like that. We need to work on getting away from that and I think we have made huge strides in that. That still happens here and there and that hurts, but I definitely think we are making strides in the right direction."


"There is more simple game plan that allows the players to go out there, play fast and fly around. There is not a lot of thinking going on with the defense and it just allows us to read run or pass and fly and make the play."

"It is about the same. We felt confident coming out of last spring ball so this time we feel confident again, it is one day at a time and we have to keep this momentum going that we had today and take it over to Tuesday's practice and continue to build and get better. Like coach said everybody is doing a good job, but we are not where we need to be. We don't have to be where we need to be because we have 100 and something days until Austin Peay comes here so we are just brick by brick trying to build this thing."

"It makes my job easier when the front is comfortable and confident and can fly at the ball and get pressure on the quarterback and make the quarterback want to get rid of the ball quicker. It makes my job easier. It is all one unit working together. Without them the back end doesn't work. Without us, the work that the front seven does is no good if we are giving up big plays. It is all one team working together and we are starting to click really well right now."


"It's a big confidence boost. Just to know we're able to go out there and shut down offenses and beat an offense like ours, cause we know the offense we were in last year. Although we lost some players, it's still the same talent there. So it's good to go out there and prove we can play. Coach Janeck has done a great job of simplifying things down for us, making it so we can play faster, know what we're doing, and be efficient.


"It's tempo. If you watched any spring practice from last year to this year it's completely different. We're running all practice and there are really no breaks in between. Last year, we had three standout receivers that got reps and were subbing a lot. There's not a lot of that this year."

"My route running definitely needs to improve, but I'm a bigger guy - me and (Jason) Croom - we're not afraid to hit people. Our blocking and our size is definitely a strength that we have, but our route running and stamina definitely needs to get better."


"I expected us to come out and do well today. It's just mental. When you get tired you have to learn how to use your techniques when you're tired and not just when you're full of energy. The coaching staff had to see where our minds were today and to see if we were game ready with the plays and our physicality. We're going to get better."

"I like it because it's going to open a lot of holes once we get it down pat. It stretches the defense outside so we can cut and read."

"It's a lot different from last year because it's faster. Last year, we had a great tempo and we could keep up with it because it wasn't new, but this year everything is faster. There are a lot of quick signals involved so we just have to learn it and go out there and execute it."


"We looked very good today. We had a lot of ball disruption. From what I saw as a unit, the defense is starting to buy-in and come together. Overall, it was a good day on defense."

"I'm in it for the entire spring. I can't stand being in it. I want to be out there with the other guys, but I don't want to get out there and reinjure myself again. I'm doing as much as possible to get to 100 percent. I just have to wait. It's my shoulder. I had surgery so that's what is keeping me out all spring. I have no contact."

"As an older guy, it's our job to talk to the younger guys and let them know things are going to happen in a game that the referee doesn't see so you can't react like that. He got his head together and went back out there. He talked to coach and everything was fine."


"That is a big part of the scrimmage, getting into a game situation and also stopping to evaluate and teach, getting teaching out of it as well. That is really important for us."

"I definitely do want to get the ball more, get the ball a decent bit. I want to be able to make plays for the offense and move the chains. That should be everyone's goal. I do want to do that."

"I will have to go back and watch the film because when you are in there and everyone is flying around you do not always see what is going on. They both have had good springs and made a lot of progress so I'll get in and watch it and we will see what kind of throws they were making."


"There is no time to waste because this offensive line will be gone next year. Somebody has to be stepping up and along with me and some other people, Kyler Kerbyson, and Marcus Jackson stepping up. We are pushing the ones. It really helps the whole group. It is not just me, it is everybody."

"It is nice to be noticed for working hard, but you cannot let it get to your head. You have to come every day to grind and to keep working. You are in there with your buddies and they are doing the same things. We just have to keep each other accountable. There are a lot of guys getting notices and I think we are all doing a good job of keeping our heads on straight coming in every day and working."

"I think as centers, James and myself both think it is our job to take control of the offensive line. Whenever we are not doing things right or being physical enough, we just try to bring it up to the guys and make it noticed that we are not doing our jobs and that we have to start playing better."


"The speed. The speed of the defense getting to the ball. People make mistakes, but if somebody broke a tackle we had another guy, or three or four guys there. That was good."

"Dontavis has come along great, he is improving every day, doing the right thing with techniques and correcting every day. He is becoming a great player."

"AJ [Johnson] and Curt [Maggitt]. They have both been stepping up and talking to the team more. Getting things together so we can all hang out outside of football and do some activities together."

"That is a great feeling every time you get past third down. When you do, everybody gets excited and chest bumps and has fun."


"I think the offense needs to improve on our consistency and bringing the leadership and how to handle adversity when adversity hits."

"I felt like there were things that we were not happy about on offense, but I think it is never as bad as you think it is or as good as you think it is. We have to go and watch the film and really evaluate it as a unit."

"The biggest thing that I learned and what I talk to Justin about is to have a snapping clear mentality. Once the play is over you have to focus on the next play and take every play like it is a one play game. Just building on it one play at a time. That is how you create success. When you start worrying about things, you start going to try and create plays outside of what we have in the offense that is when we have penalties and turnovers and mistakes and things like that."

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Under sunshine at Neyland Stadium, the building of Team 117 continued with a scrimmage on Saturday. Prior to the ninth practice of spring for the Vols, the team welcomed hundreds of UT faculty members to Neyland for a breakfast and tour of the facilities.

Inside the Peyton Manning Locker Room, Butch Jones addressed the professors about the importance of teaching and education while putting the emphasis on the student in student-athlete with his teams.

On the field after the gathering, Jones was teaching the Vols, about the finer points of football.

"I thought it was a tremendous teaching opportunity with all the different situations," he said after Saturday's scrimmage. "We really have a lot of things to teach in terms of situational football. That is so much a part of it, the intelligence factor that really goes into playing football."

The defense dominated the action between the white lines on Saturday, which pleased Jones in one sense, but also bothered him from the offensive perspective.

"It is different when you are the head coach because obviously you want the defense to do well and you want the offense to do as well," said Jones. "I think we are taking strides defensively, which is the mental energy and the intensity that we need. I will know more when I go an access the film.

"Offensively, I am not pleased at all. I didn't think we were physical at the line of scrimmage. I was disappointed in the way our offensive line came off the football. I was disappointed with our running backs and obviously our receivers have a long way to go.

"To finish out the last portion of spring our offense needs to step up, somebody needs to take ownership. And defensively the same thing but I liked the way they flew around."


The trash talk started Friday night as senior defensive back Byron Moore called out offensive coaches Zach Azzanni and Mark Elder on twitter, explaining to them that Saturday would be a no fly zone for the receivers and tight ends at Neyland.

Azzanni and Elder fired back and the Vols wide receivers got in on the ribbing, but the defense went out and did what Moore promised and won Saturday's scrimmage.

"I expect it to be like this every day," said Moore. "To come out with that mentality that the defense is going to set the offense and give our best against them because they are going to give their best."

Defensive lineman Daniel Hood believed that this practice was the best the defense has had this spring.

"Yeah it looked like it," said Hood. "We have some tendencies we need to fine down but from an energy and effort standpoint, I thought it was a lot better today. We had a lot of three-and-outs today and even though when we made mistakes; we had someone making up for us."

Saturday was not a fluke for the defense, since returning to campus from spring break, the D has been preparing hard for today.

"It has started in our meeting rooms all week," explained Moore. "I think we have been having good quality meeting time with the coaches. Everyone is in sync with the game plan and the calls. There is not a lot of thinking going on. When there is not a lot of thinking going on it allows us to play fast and that is the big thing right now. Everybody is flying around with no hesitation. The guys are just reading the plays and just making them."

The defense will return to the orange jersey's Tuesday at practice, and according to Hood, today's scrimmage will be a big boost of confidence for the Orange Swarm.

"It was incredible just to be a part of it," said Hood. "We could almost sense it this morning when we came in. I saw A.J., we were joking around, had energy and intensity before we even got our pads on. We knew it was going to be a good day, and we came out and played like it."


Quarterbacks Justin Worley and Nathan Peterman continue to see the lion's share of action under center as spring practice progresses. But neither has established themselves as the early front runner as spring wraps up in two weeks.

Head coach Butch Jones has been up front about not knowing when he will name a starting signal caller for the 2013 opener vs. Austin Peay on Aug. 31.

"We are earning that depth chart every single day," said Jones. "They better have a sense of urgency. If they don't, they should have it after today and I can promise you they will have it on Monday. They do, they understand the importance and they are all prideful. They are extremely competitive."

Worley admitted he wasn't pleased with his performance on Saturday.

"I was a little disappointed," said the junior. "We came out strong and really executed in some of the situations well, but towards the end we fell off. The defense had a lot of energy and we could not really respond. I have to go watch the film but Coach (Mike Bajakian) always says, 'it is never as good as you think it was and never as bad as you think it was.' Hopefully that is the case and we definitely have some things to approve on."

Peterman praised to the defense as well.

"We give credit to our defense and love it when they make plays as a team, but you don't love it as an offense," said the redshirt QB. "We're going to get better from it. We didn't think we had our best practice and we weren't perfect today as always, so we got to get better."

After two-thirds of spring ball, the competition is relatively even according to the Vols.

"They both bring different things to the table," said receiver Cody Blanc. "I think everybody knows that Nathan (Peterman) is a little bit more mobile than (Justin) Worley. The competition has been good. I've been with both of them, and to me, it's about even."

"Somebody is going to have to step up and play offense here come the first game against Austin Peay," said Jones.

"I'm not sure what the coaches are thinking," said Peterman. "I'm just going to trust the coaches with what they think and say while just giving my all."


If you were within a mile of Neyland Stadium today you might have heard a familiar voice floating through the air.

That would be head coach Butch Jones, who spends the majority of practices calling out both plays, and players, on the Neyland sound system for all to hear.

There are times players are called out for doing well, and usually after praise from Jones, the player turns around to see the head coach running at him for a chest bump.

But then there are the times players make mistakes, and Jones is sure to let everyone know.

"I like it really," said defensive lineman Daniel Hood. "You have to be accountable for everything you do and you can't get by with stuff. If you get by with stuff and he allows it, it's just going to become habit. To have him call it out, you know to correct it right then and so the whole team is held to the same standard."

Instead of straining to hear their coach at practice, the Vols are fully aware of the omnipresent Jones.

"It adds some excitement [to practice]," said senior offensive lineman James Stone. "It lets you know how into it coach is and lets you be alert and be aware of what is going on around you in the practice and lets you be more efficient with speed and tempo."

"Having him call you out," continued Hood, "is like okay I messed up this time so let me try to fix it on the next one. It's really nice to have it so that you can work on it during practice than to wait until after practice to try and correct it."

Hood has realized in the last few weeks that his head coach does not miss a beat.

"He's got good eyes," said Hood. "He's been doing it a while and probably has seen it all, so he knows exactly what to look for."


Butch Jones has been clear since his arrival that he wants the Vols to be a player-led team. The evolution of players leading players continued on Saturday as Jones and his staff allowed the players more autonomy.

"Coach Bajakian came over to us and told us he was going to be a quiet coach today," said Worley. "He was not going to be loud and vocal because he is going to be in the booth when we are playing in a game situation.

"Coach Bajakian did a good job of staying out of the way and just giving us some teaching points here and there. There was never a big, vocal point in practice. He was on the headset, Coach Azzanni was calling plays in the huddle to run on the field."

Heading into the scrimmage at Neyland, Jones vowed to the players to allow them more control as they are the ones on the field who will have to execute come fall.

"I feel like there were times when we needed more from the guys on the field," said center James Stone. "But the coaches held true to what they were saying. They stayed out of it and they left it to the players to dig ourselves out of a rut."

Tight end Brendan Downs agreed with Stone as Tennessee moves closer to game-type situations.

"That is a big part of the scrimmage," said Downs. "Getting into a game situation and also stopping to evaluate and teach, getting teaching out of it as well. That is really important for us."

After a season of struggles on defense, new coordinator John Jancek has simplified the game plan and it has been appreciated by the players as they continue to gain confidence.

"The coaches give us a lot of freedom to go and get after it," said Couch. "The playbook is not as critical. We're not installing something new every day. A lot of guys are learning the defense and comprehending everything. It's just a better overall defense and mentality."





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