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New Week, Familiar Challenges
Sept. 2, 2014



By Brian Rice
UTSports.com

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - It is a new week for Tennessee, but the challenge that awaits in Neyland Stadium on Saturday afternoon will be a familiar reminder of the one the Volunteers just completed.

The Volunteers have a short week to prepare for Arkansas State, a team much like Utah State, that relies heavily on a dual-threat quarterback and a physical front line.

UT has to deal with the quick turnaround and the physical nature of both opponents in getting ready for Saturday's noon kickoff.

"You have to be cognizant that it's a short week for us and it was a very physical football game," Butch Jones said in his weekly press briefing on Tuesday afternoon. "We have a lot of work to do, it's a balancing act."

The other issue Tennessee has to balance is not being satisfied with the complete effort that produced a 38-7 win over the Aggies. The preparation of training camp earned the team the win, now the challenge is carrying that hunger to be the better team on the field into practice each week.

"This football team must understand what's at stake," Jones said. "The more you win, the more is at stake. What you did last week has absolutely no bearing on the the outcome this week. You have to have a short-term memory, no matter if you win or you lose, you move on. It's a very, very good football team coming in here.

"This is a new week, they have to earn the respect again, they have to earn the right to win again. That's something we'll continue to harp on."

The biggest challenge from Arkansas State will come from the quarterback position, which is nothing new for the Tennessee defense. Much like Chuckie Keeton a week ago, Red Wolves QB Fredi Knighten is a threat on the ground and through the air.

"Explosive, dynamic with the ball in his hands," Jones said of Knighten. "Has to be accounted for in everything he does and can distribute the football. He can flip field position and change the game in one snap."

He certainly lived up to the description in ASU's season opener. The junior accounted for 368 yards of total offense in the 37-10 win over Montana State. Knighten threw for 219 yards and a touchdown on 19-29 passing, ran the ball 15 times for 104 yards and even caught a pass for a 45-yard gain.

Knighten earned the starting spot for the Red Wolves after splitting time a year ago. He started ASU's appearance in the GoDaddy.com Bowl and was named MVP after a then-career-high 212 yards of total offense. He led a late-game three-play, 55-yard drive that gave ASU the win.

For the Vols, containing Knighten gives the team a good focal point in practice for a challenging spot in the schedule.

Putting the win over USU behind them is not the only issue, there is also the matter of focusing on what is directly in front of them and not on the challenges that await on the road at Oklahoma and Georgia. But Jones says he is not not worried about his team looking ahead.

"We haven't done anything yet," he said. "We've won one football game."

 

 

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