Nice warm evening, great, great day today. I liked our approach for this football team, I thought we grew up a little bit, I thought we matured a little bit. It started with our approach this morning with a lot of special teams work and just overall fundamental improvement. Tonight, anytime you get the chance to scrimmage in Neyland Stadium, 102,455, is very special.
I liked our approach, I liked our mindset. We're slowly learning how to practice as a football team. Still a lot of mistakes, penalties, turning the football over, but I liked the way we competed. It's going to be a great evaluation tool for us as coaches. We'll go back now and look at the film and see who's game-ready. We'll see who can execute and make plays in our system. The great thing was, our coaches were off the field, so they had to think for themselves, they had to play football. We'll know more in the next couple of days who's game-ready and what individuals need to step up just overall knowledge of our schemes.
The big thing for us is our overall effort. Effort can make you right when you're wrong and our younger players are really struggling with that right now. They ave so much going on with deciphering the signals and the calls and getting lined up and playing with their technique and executing heir assignment, then playing with effort. As we know, 63 effort is the cornerstone of our program, so our freshman class is very, very behind in that. This will be a great tool to go in and watch their effort. I'm pleased overall with our football team in their mentality. We talk about we can;t control how young we are, but what we can control is how we execute and how we take care of the football and how we play with effort. Those are the things we can control. We also sprinkled in live special teams to be able to see which individuals will have a role and the clock is ticking. We need everyone to have a role and we need as many people to play to help us on special teams and even if its five snaps a game, it's a valuable roll to help this team win.
(On having big plays)
"Not as many as we would like. On one side you are excited about it because the defense didn't give them up but we need more big plays. What our young players are finding is you are creating habits and you are creating habits in your practice habits and those go to the game field. And even though they are highly recruited individuals, what you did in high school doesn't make it any difference at this level. It is all about how you practice, you play the way you practice. We have some individuals right now that are figuring that out. It stems in practice so when you come to the game field and it is a scrimmage or it is a game you rely on your habits that form in practice.
(On the line of scrimmage)
"Well it think it was give and take. I thought both sides of the ball had their moments. We did some coming out situations, great illustration, the offense - we started on the 1-yard line and the offense drives the ball, they get down to the 2-yard line and we turn the football over. It is a great illustration for our defense, just give me a place to stand, just keep playing, just keep scratching, keep crawling. Then on the other hand, we have to finish the deal, you have to reward your hard work. It was a 13 play drive and we put the ball on the ground on play 14. We can't do that and expect to win football games."
(On the quarterback playing during the turnover)
"The quarterback on the drive, I believe was Nate Peterman."
(On the set up)
"We went ones on ones and twos on twos and it was our second group."
(On depth building on the defensive line)
"Slowly, not anywhere near where we need to be. Just because our younger players just haven't mastered our style of play. And the other thing about scrimmaging tonight is football endurance. We still have to work our football conditioning, especially in the defensive front, of what it takes. And with the uptempo offensives it is a great challenge because of the substitution game. So our defensive line has to be ready to play 8, 9, 10, 12 plays in a row without a break. The days of substituting freely in the defensive front, they are over with because of the uptempo offensives now."
(On freshman defensive linemen)
"Derek Barnett is an individual who continues to show up. He has worked himself into a role in this football team. Now I will go back and I will see exactly where he is at because he had to play in some extended drives. That was the other thing that was productive for tonight is the extended drives. The 8, the 9, the 10 play drives. So we will see a little bit more of where we are at. But of all the young individuals right now on the defensive front, Derek Barnett is the one who is really standing out right now."
(On the extended drives because of offense or defense)
"It was a combination. It was some big third down plays on offense, which we have to get off the field on defense. It was some big runs. I think Jalen Hurd continues to get better and better and better. So we did some good things. And we have really stressed the importance of negative yardage football plays, you can't have them on offense but again on defense you have to generate them. So great teaching moments. On a one-minute drill we give up a sack on the first play, that is catastrophic. You can't allow those things to happen and expect to win football games. So again, every play, every snap is a teaching moment."
(On competition in the backfield)
"Well it is pushing them and we will have Derrell Scott back full go on Monday. So again that just adds another element to the competition at the running back position."
"No, we had one interception, which was a great play in the backend and a tipped football. And one turnover when we ran the football. On offense you can't turn the football over period. And then defensively it is all about ball disruptions. We are still not having enough ball disruptions or really what we call starting a lawnmower, trying to pry the fingertips off. We have to do a much better job next week of continuing to coach that and demand that out of our defense."
(On the secondary)
"We really have been set back, Todd Kelly Jr. did not scrimmage tonight and that was a set back for him because they are putting their identity on video. Cortez McDowell did not scrimmage tonight. So again, next week for those two individuals in particular, they are really going to have to step up and have a great week of practice. Brian Randolph continues to perform well, it is great to have him back. Devaun Swafford did some good things. But again it is too early to really comment, I will have to watch the video and will be able to know more after I watch it."
(On the tight ends)
"They continue to develop. They are still youngsters. Ethan Wolf is an individual right now that is performing at a high level, he continues to get better and better. Brendan Downs has done a good job of coming back. Daniel Helm continues to push and Alex Ellis has done some good things. A.J. Branisel is another individual who didn't participate tonight. So again, we have competition there and that is very healthy as you know."
(On Justin Coleman)
"I do, Justin has been one of those individuals who has really performed consistently and I'll know more, again it is hard to tell from field level and to try to manage everything, but one thing I have liked about Justin has been his overall consistency that he has shown day in and day out."
"I just think the overall approach of our football team, that is the big thing, we are still not in total football condition. We ran 90 some odd plays tonight. Both ones and twos. We have to be able to fight through some adversity to find out who can make conditioning a factor. Who is mentally tough? Who can play the extended play drives? Those are all things, the body language, those are all things that I am really excited and interested to watch. I can assure you this, all that will be corrected and critiqued some tomorrow in all of our meetings."
(On if they held back A.J. Johnson)
"We held back A.J. because it was an opportunity for some of the young linebackers to get out there, particularly without the coaches on the field. We wanted to see can they execute our defense, can they get the signals, can they get the front lined up, communication. Great secondary play is tied to a straining back but also stems with the linebacker being the quarterback back there. We wanted to see our linebacker be able to see what they could handle in some game settings, some game live repetitions. Been really pleased with Dillon Bates, Dillon Bates is another one of those individuals who continues to get better and better."
(On the quarterbacks)
"I think all of them are improving. I think Nathan Peterman really took some really important steps in moving forward today and so did Justin Worley. Justin is starting to play with much more confidence, more command on the line of scrimmage. We still need more but I see that overall development starting to happen."