Aug. 8, 2013
On the field on Wednesday -- the Vols' second consecutive night practice on Haslam Field -- Jones was pleased with the team's intensity.
"I wanted to see our overall intensity level," said Jones. "Can we sustain the physicality and the intensity level that we require throughout the course of practice? That lends itself to winning games in the fourth quarter. I think the big thing still that is missing is details, and just overall consistency."
In addition to Smith's injury, Jones announced that freshman defensive lineman Corey Vereen is undergoing a MRI on his knee right. "We'll know more tomorrow," said Jones. "We have some veterans at that position. Corey Miller and Marlon Walls have played a lot of football here. I've talked about depth, and individuals have to step up."
Jones continues to point out several freshmen for their performances through six practices.
"(I am) very encouraged by our two freshman quarterbacks," said Jones. "They continue to progress. We put them in some stressful situations tonight, I really like the way they are developing.
"The two freshman corners, Cam Sutton and Malik Foreman, very encouraged by what I see in them. I think right now they are gaining a lot of confidence as we continue to progress throughout training camp."
Saturday the Vols will go through their first scrimmage of the preseason. That will take place in the evening as Saturday will also be the first day of the team's double sessions this camp.
"Saturday will be our first two-a-day," he said. "The thing that we have to do is to have them understand the preparation, in the training room, nutritionally, and then finishing summer school the right way as we head into the following week of training camp."
LANE LEARNS A LESSON
Being away from the team this past spring was one of the toughest things that Marlin Lane has gone through in his football career.
"It was very difficult, because the whole team became a family," said Lane. "Being separate from them was like being alone and not with my family. I just learned to appreciate what I got."
During the time apart from the team, however, he kept in touch with his coach every day.
"Coach Jones was with me every day," said Lane. "He talked to me every day. Coach G [Gillespie], he stuck with me every day. And Mr. [David] Blackburn. I talked with them through my ups and downs and they helped lift my head up."
"They just told me `what you give is what you get,'" said Lane "And `hold your head up high no matter what goes on.' Never tell them a fib and speak the truth to them and they will help you out. Buy in what they are saying and we are going to be successful."
Lane has responded well since rejoining the Vols this summer. He has put in his best effort in the weight room, on the field and in the classroom.
"I am just out there showing [Coach Jones] that I care for the game," said Lane. "That is how I feel. In meetings, class, and anything that I do I hold myself to high standards to show them that I am all about ball right now."
"I am just trying to show that I have passion for the game," continued Lane. "63-4. Six seconds, three strains, for our team."
Like the rest of his teammates, the grueling practices and lifts the Vols go through every day have Lane tired and hurting. But he knows that in the long run, it's all worth it.
"I wake up," said Lane. "I don't feel like getting up but I motivate myself because I see everybody else getting up. They are going through the same thing I am going through out here and we are working to get better."
"We pressure each other," said Lane. "We are all working to compete with each other and push each other forward. When one does good, we all do good."
Lane has learned from his hiatus away from Team 117. And is putting it all on the line each and every day.
"I live my life like it is fourth and inches every day," said Lane. "It could be taken from me any second. I just go out there and give it my all."
WILLY? WALLY? WOODY?
Coach Jones is known for calling out both players and coaches on the microphone in the middle of practice.
Some of them are described as soft. Others aren't hustling hard enough.
But Woody Quinn doesn't hear his name much.
That's not because he's doing everything correctly. Jones just likes to call him by different names.
"I haven't paid much attention to it, but it definitely wasn't Woody yesterday," said Quinn. "I don't know if my name was on the mic as much today, so that's good, although, I didn't feel like I had a great practice. I have a lot to improve on."
Quinn doesn't mind the ribbing. Like any new player, he knows he has to earn the right.
"Yes, it's Wally or something," said Quinn. "It's something different, so I have to earn my name, earn my stripe, and it's just a motivator for me."
ICING THE KICKER
With the first instrasquad scrimmage of training camp approaching on Saturday, Coach Jones will look to hone in on the Vols' specialists, as he continues to apply the pressure and force consistency out of the Orange and White.
"We'll have a big day on Saturday," Jones said. "We'll do a lot of special teams scrimmage situations. The next few days in the development of this football team are going to be critical. We're working towards getting game ready. Saturday is gameday for a lot of individuals. I'm really interested to see our special teams, and that's going to be a big day for us Saturday.
"Every day is important. There are no off days. Your mental effort, your mental intensity, your mental focus, your toughness, you have to live it every single day. To be where we need to be, we have to have a very high level of consistency."
Senior Michael Palardy, who is currently listed as the starting punter, placekicker and kickoff man, knows that Saturday will be a big test, but says he enjoys those pressure moments.
"That's something that [Coach Jones] emphasizes, and that's part of my game," said Palardy. "That is my game. My game is special teams, my game is consistency, my game is going out there and having the pressure put on me. I embrace all of that. I embrace Coach Jones putting the pressure on me and the whole specialists group."
As for the group, that's who Palardy claims he leans on in those nervy moments.
"As a group, we're knit tight," Palardy said. "When we go into those pressure situations, we have each other and we have each other's backs. When that kind of stuff happens, we're there for each other."
RANDOLPH RARING TO GO
If you look at Brian Randolph you wouldn't know that less than a year ago he went down with a season-ending knee injury.
The now-redshirt sophomore, who injured his knee during the Florida game, is back out and feeling good during this fall camp.
"It is feeling good. It does not bother me at all," said Randolph. "When we are outside I do not even think about it, it is like I just bumped my head."
Randolph was slightly worried that he wouldn't be able to play to his potential after the injury.
"That was my worst fear," said Randolph. "I thought I would be timid, I thought I would be scared, I thought that would be the number one thing on my mind. But so far it has not bothered me at all."
The only thing that has bothered Randolph is rewatching the play. But he has put that part of his life behind him and is looking forward to 2013.
"I am good, and I am very thankful and blessed that I am able to go out at 100 percent," said Randolph. "When I get out on the field there is no doubt in my mind about my knee. I'm 100 percent, so I just think about the play."
D-LINE PUSHED TO GET BETTER
On Tuesday, defensive line coach Steve Stripling seemed rather pleased with the leadership, responsibility and progress that his players were taking so far and on Wednesday, defensive players La'Troy Lewis and Corey Miller voiced their coaching staff's expectations.
The defense line knows that much is expected of them this season and across the line one can see the seriousness in bettering Team 117.
After sitting out last season with a knee injury, Lewis is back and pressing through the pain for playing time.
"Some days I may be sore but that is the nature of the beast," Lewis said. " I shake it off and I keep it going. That is what they need me to do."
Stripling has urged the redshirt freshman and the defensive line to keep "plugging away" and work on getting better each day.
"Coach Strip, from day one, let us know that we were his point of emphasis and that he was going to do everything to get us better," said Lewis. "Day-by-day, every day, he pushes us forward. And he pushes us to become better and you can see that we are because of it."
Miller has noticed the team's progression from day one to day six.
"I feel like understanding the concepts of the defenses," Miller said. "We meet all the time. So we have a lot of opportunities to learn new things about our defense, and learn things that we haven't known back in the spring. So, now I feel like it's a lot better on our side on understanding."
Not only does Stripling urge his players to get better day-by-day, he has also been adamant about his individual communication, such as Lewis' footwork.
"He always gets on me about my first step," said Lewis. "He always says, `LaTroy you're stepping out, LaTroy it is not long enough.' Every day my first step is getting better. My footwork is improving every day because he preaches it and it is working."
Along with Stripling, the coaching staff has become more technical by pinpointing small details in their players.
"Everything is technique, technique, technique," said Miller. At the end of the day, if you don't have technique you're going to fail."
Both Lewis and Miller realize that the Volunteers coaching staff expect no down time on the practice field.
"We know what the coaches expect now," Lewis said. "From spring to the first few days of camp, we picked up right where we left off and are playing with a lot of intensity and a sense of urgency."
Freshman tight end Greg Tisho has been added to the Vols' training camp roster, wearing No. 89. Tisho stands 6-2 and weighs 232 pounds. A native of Cherokee, N.C., Tisho played at Swain County High School. He finished his senior season with 66 catches for 1,441 yards, a school record. He also set the North Carolina championship game records with 13 catches for 261 yards in the 2012 1AA championship game, the 13 catches is also a Swain school record
24 DAYS UNTIL...
The Vols will open the 2013 campaign against Austin Peay on Aug. 31. To purchase season tickets, go to UTTix.com.