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VOL REPORT: Georgia State Week Starts



Sept. 3, 2012

Here are a few of the most important quotes of the day from selected players:

JUNIOR WR CORDARRELLE PATTERSON

"There was a lot of feedback from my family, just happy to be there and see me. They hadn't seen me in two years playing so it was pretty amazing."

"I think they were [shading me] a little more, but it left other receivers like Justin Hunter open. In the first half they left me open a lot and they covered him."

"The routes are really what I need to work on, just knowing the signals and making sure I do everything right and learning the defensive coverages. It's not frustrating, I just go out and do what I can do and I know it'll pay off. It seems like I got everything, it's just a few things that I'm missing out on."

"We talked about [his block for me] after the game. I told him today thank you for that. He's very important to our offense. He's a good person and he comes in every day with energy just ready to practice and be here. He brings excitement to the team."

JUNIOR TB RAJION NEAL

"It was a lot I had to take. There were some things I kind of forced. I'm going to learn from it. Coaches say it was the first game, but I just have to take what they give me sometimes and make that one decision and go with it."

"Just make that quick decision and stick with it. Take what they give me. Those guys did a good job filling lanes and stuffing gaps. It wasn't much at times, but the time that it wasn't those were the ones that we gave up yards and we're just trying do a little more."

"Speed kills. Speed is a great thing to have when playing a good team and fast flowing teams like what we've been playing. We try to use that to our advantage at times, but sometimes it gets the best of us. That's because we're always looking for the home run play, but it's good to have speed and those guys use it."

RS SENIOR FB BEN BARTHOLOMEW

"I've been working at both tight end and fullback. When I'm at tight end, there are a lot of pass plays. I'm blessed to have this opportunity and I'm going to make the most of it."

"The offense did really well but we still left a lot of things on the field and we corrected them today. We were really happy with the game. They were a great team so we were happy to come away with a victory."

"We knew he was a great player. He came out with confidence and played his heart out. He played a great game and we are all really excited for him and the game he had."

"I think we are. In the summer we did some extra practicing just me and him throwing the ball to each other so we could get on the same page."

RS SENIOR DB PRENTISS WAGGNER

"I always notice Eric out there making plays, even in practice. He sort of has a knack for making plays, he is always around the football. The main thing with Eric right now is just training, playing fast all the time. When he is playing fast all the time he can make even more plays."

"I think he is in a lot better condition and I think he is in a lot better condition in his mind also. He knows the plays, he knows 70 plus plays and he is on every special team. So that goes to show how well conditioned he is and how good of a player he is."

"I pretty much did it because the whole training camp, I am a guy who likes to watch film and look at the whole big concept. During training camp I was watching the defensive linemen and those types of biltz's Coach Sal was writing up and I knew we were going to affect the quarterback."

"During the game we pretty much play man to man so I don't really get to see but once I watched the film I saw that we could have, even on the big plays we gave up, if we had covered more for one more second we could have had another hit on the quarterback."

SOPHOMORE LB CURT MAGGITT

"I think communication would be the most important thing that we have to work on. I think there was a lot of excitement from the turnovers that we forced and the way that we played as a defense, running around, affecting the quarterback and affecting the other players."

"It was good, there was a pressure for him too because it was moving fast. They had a hurry-up offense and the tempo was moving fast."

"That was something that was pressed hard this fall camp and early summer. Being aggressive, taking the ball and giving the offense more opportunities. Last year, we emphasized it but didn't go out and get it done. This year affecting the quarterback and getting turnovers is the main focus."

RS JUNIOR DL MAURICE COUCH

"We did a bad job of communicating and we were undisciplined with our pass lanes. Going into the next game against Georgia State we want to have a real agile, athletic quarterback, so that's something we're going to practice all week: being disciplined and keeping our pass rush lanes in the pocket."

"We were seeing blitzes from everybody, but we didn't want to keep [NC State] just sitting in the pocket. We want to get them uncomfortable. Just from watching film, if he's on a run he doesn't' do a good job of throwing the ball, so even if we can just get him off edge a little bit, we're going to get our job and our guys will take some responsibility on the back end."

"In the run I like the nose off-center because I can get off on the center quickly, but on the ends also. You have more spaces for just one-on-one situations. So it's just knowing the person in front of you, and that's all you have to beat."

JUNIOR OL ZACH FULTON

"It shows as an offensive line we're putting in the work and it's really a great honor to me."

"I was impressed by that. I knew Bray and everybody else was going to get it done, the receivers were going to get it done. It was up to us to stop the running game first so they could get the passing game going."

"It was his debut, so were excited to see him play as well. We were excited back in July when he first came to see what he could actually do. He proved himself."

SOPHOMORE TB MARLIN LANE

"I think with them on the perimeter, they open up the run game a lot. They are using their speed and they aren't playing man on them all the time so the defense will stay in a zone."

"I didn't look at it as that way. I just went out there and wanted to play. It was nine months of just hitting each other and I just wanted to show all my hard work that we did from the spring all the way til the game. I didn't look at it as me being the third back. I looked at it as whenever it is my turn I will go out there and continue the tempo."

"I feel who is ever in the game to start, that is who will be in the game the most, depending on how they perform. We stay in each other's ear. We aren't even down on each other, we keep each other up and go out there and do what we do."

"I was [mad] because when I looked at it, when I got up I should have attacked the safety a whole lot quicker. I was just trying to get around him because of the angle that he took but we got three points off of it so I was satisfied. I just saw a wide open hole and our linemen from fullback to receivers had somebody so it was just one-on-one with me and the safety."

RS JUNIOR DB BYRON MOORE

"We came out yesterday stretched and stride to get some of the soreness out. So today we came in, started to get our first look at Georgia State and make some corrections from the game. All mental day, so it was a pretty good day."

"I did pretty good. You can always get better. I felt pretty good as far as my condition in the whole game. I felt pretty good and not getting tired. Now just coming in this week and cleaning up. Getting tighter on our different checks and communications so we can improve from last week."

"It was a big emphasis. Ever since the new defensive staff got here, they said it was going to be aggressive and attack the quarterback and try to get turnovers. We felt like we established that in the first game and we were proud of that."

PHOTOS | DOOLEY TRANSCRIPT | FOUR DOWNS: By the Numbers | DEPTH CHART

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - Tennessee's 35-21 victory over NC State in the Georgia Dome was clearly a step in the right direction, but head coach Derek Dooley has his eyes set on his team's long-term goals and is looking to make sure that momentum continues to move forward when the Vols host Georgia State this Saturday at 4 p.m. in Neyland Stadium.

For Dooley, UT's biggest improvement from last year to this season didn't have anything to do with talent or execution, but rather a significant change in the team's collective attitude.

"I saw a difference in the whole team on game day," Dooley said. "There was a whole different level of maturity on the sidelines. When we came off and when we didn't have success, either we went three-and-out on offense or they went down and had a good drive and gutted us on defense, we came over and corrected [the mistakes].

"There was no finger-pointing, no blame, no complaining and we went out there and played again. That was a good sign more than anything and I think that is why we were able to play through all the things that happened."

Although obviously pleased with the outcome against NC State, Dooley was quick to caution that one game does not make an entire season and that the Vols have plenty of work left to do.

"It's an early indicator, but it is really early," Dooley said. "Each week you find out more and more about your team. I feel like I have a little better handle of our guys this year than I ever have, on what they can do, how they are going to perform and then trying to put them in a position to help us. I definitely feel like I have a better handle, but we really don't know much about this team.

"All these first games, a lot of things can happen. Sometimes you look great early and you fall flat on your face, and then sometimes you look horrendous early and you end up winning 10 games. That's just how it is. It's good that we had a win like that. Hopefully it will inspire a little confidence to keep working at it and understand the fruits of our labor and why we had that success. There was a lot of investment by this team in that game and this season. We just have to now stay the course."

This week, as the Big Orange begin preparing for the Panthers, it will focus on two main areas as a team.

"One is how much improvement we can make from week one to week two, because this is always a big week of improvement for any football team, cleaning up a ton of mistakes from the game and seeing if we can make a big jump," Dooley said. "The second thing is trying to define a standard of how we compete every week, regardless of the opponent and regardless of the environment or the venue.

"We need to learn to come out there and perform with the same intangibles, the same level of execution, the same intensity every week and that is what good teams do. We have a lot to prove over time and this will be step two in proving that we are a good football team."

FULTON NAMED SEC OFFENSIVE LINEMAN OF THE WEEK

Tennessee rolled up over 500 yards of total offense against NC State on Friday and a lot of the team's success came from the push it got from the big guys up front.

For his efforts in leading the offensive line, UT right guard Zach Fulton was named the SEC Offensive Lineman of the Week on Monday, the first Vol to claim that honor since 2009.

"We nominated him because he graded out the highest for us and he got a lot of yards," Dooley said. "It's deserving, he's played well and he had success."

Against the Wolfpack, the Vols finished with 191 yards on the ground, their highest total since running for 199 against Buffalo last season and the third-highest total in Dooley's tenure at Rocky Top.

Even that wasn't quite good enough for Fulton though.

"I thought we did pretty well, but we still have a few things we need to clean up on the running game. We weren't really getting great movement on double teams and face blocks, so we need to get our technique down."

The beneficiary of Fulton's hard work on the line was sophomore tailback Marlin Lane who recorded 75 yards on just nine carries to finish as UT's leading rusher in the season opener.

"I think he went out there and handled his business Friday," Lane said. "He worked for it every day at practice and he is a quiet guy but he's good to hang around."

PATTERSON STAYS GROUNDED

When a newcomer has a smashing debut, typically they go one of two ways in terms of their demeanor: they bask in the glory and rest on their new-found laurels or they continue to focus on the long-term goals and work every day to get better.

Vols receiver Cordarrelle Patterson is taking the second road. After gaining 165 yards of total offense in his debut with two attention-grabbing touchdowns, Patterson still knows he has a lot to improve upon after his first game in orange and white.

"It's not tough at all [to live up to expectations]," said Patterson. "I don't' pay any attention to that. I just go in day in and day out at practice and work hard every day and try to get better and just compete with these guys out here."

With media and fans gushing about his first game at the FBS level with an SEC program, Patterson said he did glimpse at the coverage, but again is eyeing next week's game with Georgia State.

"I read a little bit [about the game] but I try not to give it too much attention because I don't want to get too happy about it, I'm just getting ready for this week," he said.

Dooley agrees that Patterson has to keep his attitude and work ethic where it has been since arriving at Tennessee from the junior college ranks.

"I hope he keeps his level of humility that he's shown," said Dooley. "I told him that. I was really impressed. He's not walking around like the big shot. There's going to be, could be this week, where all of a sudden he doesn't get anything. It's recognizing that the game isn't easy. There's a lot of guys that had a big first game, but if he just stays the course on what he's doing, he has a chance to be really good, obviously."

Patterson knows he has a lot to improve upon when it comes to his education in football and is striving to make himself a better player every day.

"The routes are really what I need to work on, just knowing the signals and making sure I do everything right and learning the defensive coverages," he said. "I just go out and do what I can do and I know it'll pay off.

"I'm just going into the game hoping that I don't have any downfalls; just keep everything up and just trying to get better every day. I hope I can just prove myself. I know what I can and can't do, so [the NC State game] wasn't a big surprise for me, just like at practice every week, I work hard and it paid off."

We will see how his progress continues when we see No. 84 flying down the field vs. Georgia State on Saturday.

CALMING THE DEFENSE

In the first half of the season opener against NC State, the Tennessee offense put up some big numbers, but the secondary also allowed some big plays to wide open receivers across the middle.

The pressure on the quarterback was apparent, both Curt Maggitt and Mike Glennon can attest to that fact, but the communication was still off, something that can happen in the first game of the year.

At halftime, however, defensive coordinator Sal Sunseri spoke with his players and in the second half the defense calmed its nerves and played with a steady hand.

"I would say that we settled down a little bit," said Maggitt, "we communicated a lot more and we talked to each other. In the first off you could see that we weren't ready, didn't have the calls and weren't on the same page. But in the second half I feel like we were on the same page a lot more."

Prentiss Waggner agreed.

"We just settled down," Waggner said. "Coach explained the corrections at halftime, every mental lapse that we had we pretty much corrected and went on from there."

Despite the miscommunication and struggles in the first half, both Waggner and Maggitt still came away with highlight-reel plays.

With UT's first interception of the game, Waggner squelched a 43-yard NC State drive in the first quarter and set up Tennessee's second TD of the game, a 72-yard pass from Tyler Bray to Zach Rogers which was the first of three scores in a 38-second period.

Maggitt then single-handedly recorded the second score after bull-rushing Glennon back 18 yards, sacking him and forcing a fumble that the Wolfpack recovered in the endzone for the Vols' first safety since 2010.

In the second half, UT came out and succeeded as a team.

Both Maggitt and Waggner know how many hits the team had on Glennon (12), and they both also know why they were able to impact the NC State offense so well (Coach Sunseri).

NC State had nine drives in the first half resulting in three scores. In the second half the Wolfpack had six drives, the first ending with a punt, one ending on downs, and three resulting in Vol interceptions.

The shift in momentum was thanks in part to the Vols realizing the mistakes they were making and fixing them.

"I feel like a lot of our errors were self-inflicted wounds and if we can correct them, we can be a better defense," Maggitt said.

Waggner concurred.

"Every big play that they had, it wasn't what they did it was what we did. We pretty much left them wide open. Once we tightened that up we played aggressive football."

Both teammates know that working on communication this week will be a step in the right direction for the upcoming game against Georgia State.

"Communication I would say," said Maggitt, "making sure that everybody is on the same page, and making sure everybody knows their assignments. I feel like we could do a good job if we do that."

Waggner went as far as suggesting that they might need some sort of defensive pop quiz.

"We have so many signals," Waggner said. "We need to have a little mini quiz, a mini test within each other to get those signals correct. I think we will be good from there."

Either way, coming off of a big win there is a lot of excitement among the defensive players heading into the home opener with Georgia State on Saturday.

"A lot of guys on the team felt that they didn't play up to their expectations and I know as a defense we didn't play up to our expectations either," said Maggitt. "But there is a lot of excitement knowing we can get better and that is a lot of positive energy coming into this week."


 

 

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