KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Tennessee began its penultimate week of spring workouts on Tuesday, running through nearly two hours of work on a warm afternoon at Haslam Field.
With 10 of 15 scheduled spring practices now complete and some Vols nursing bumps and bruises, head coach Butch Jones emphasized the importance of the spring period in establishing his team's physicality and in growing its depth and maturity.
"You are always going to have setbacks with injuries and that is part of being physical and that is part of the game of football," Jones said. "If one person is out then another person has an opportunity to gain those repetitions, but that’s all part of the game. We talk about the growth and maturity of a young football team -- today challenged our maturity. Making sure we are getting the proper sleep, making sure that we are hydrating and making sure that we have the proper nutrition we need. Today was just like an August day in training camp."
The Vols continue to drive through the back half of the spring season with eyes on the annual DISH Orange & White Game. The Orange & White Game concludes the spring season on April 22 at Neyland Stadium (4 p.m. ET, SEC Network). Admission and parking are free to the public and a fan appreciation event will precede kickoff.
Week Four of spring practice rolls on with workouts on Thursday and Saturday.
Day 10 Quotables
Head coach Butch Jones
(On the team's emerging leaders)
"That is the great thing about this football team, that is ongoing. We talked about servant leadership from Day One and helping everyone get better. This team has been outstanding and there is not just one or two -- it has been a leadership-by-team and group effort. This is a very close-knit football team so I have been very happy with that part. They are holding each other accountable, which is great to see."
Linebackers coach Tommy Thigpen
(On having two Mike linebackers and moving them around)
"The way the name of the game is played now it's either two-by-two detach or three-by-one detach. Really that's the same thing both guys are doing. If you detach somebody, the number three, then the Mike is doing the same thing as the Will linebacker. It could possibly be two Will linebackers being the best two guys on the field and not just the two Mikes. You want to have guys that are athletic and play in space. What we're looking for now is the best two linebackers, not so much the best two Mikes -- just the best two players that can help us win. Not only the best two players, but when you're playing so many hurry-up teams your second string guys or your B-team guys are just as important as your first guys. Having that depth and being able to play at a high level of football, making sure we don't have to coach down to the lowest denominator and being as sophisticated as we want to on defense, making sure guys don't have any mental errors or mental busts and missed tackles. That's the key for us being successful and making sure our young guys like the Reids, the Sapps, and the Smiths, are just able to keep improving their game."
Freshman OL Trey Smith
(On why people say he is mature beyond his years)
"It really is a sensitive subject. When I was 15 my mom died. I got a really good text from one of my personal heroes, Artis Hicks. He taught me that in that time it was tough, but it was time to man up. It was just time for me to grow up in a way. Losing that person, knowing that the way I behave, the way I carry myself on and off the field is going to determine what type of man I am and that is going to make her proud."
Junior DL Quay Picou
(On his small size as a DL and what it has been like going against some bigger guys)
"I do not really pay too much attention to that, I always had the mindset that it does not matter how big a guy is, if you play ball then you play ball. Drew Brees is about 5-11 so hey, you know what I mean? None of that really matters to me. I ain’t got to be King Kong or nothing like that, as long as you get the job done. A coach once told me he don’t care how rocky the ocean is, just bring the boat in. So that is how I look at it, whether it is football, school or anything. If I go though any trial or tribulation or what, just bring the boat in."