#VolReport: Make Them Earn It

Oct. 15, 2013

Here are sound bites from Coach Jones and the players after Tuesday's practice:


"It is a process. What a lot of people don't realize is when you are dealing, especially at quarterbacks and young players, I still view Justin as a young player relative to experience, is every week is a new week, every game has a new life. You preparation is brand new, a different game plan, the mental effort, the mental intensity.

That is what happens with freshmen sometimes, the bulk of the season adds up on them, so there is a lot that goes into it. I think Justin has had a high level of consistency, he has gained a lot of confidence, but you are only as good as your last game. We are going to need a lot from him Saturday and he is going to be challenged with his pocket presence and just the overall leadership and the management of the offense."

"I think first of all they executed and second of all the big plays, the post up top, some big runs, so anytime you have big, explosive plays that create opportunities that is a momentum swing and they made plays. Like I said, they are a very good football team."

"Night and day. Completely different then from when we walked in here. Playing with a lot of confidence. Again, we have a high standard and expectation by which we expect our seniors to perform. He is an individual who is leading, he is vocal, he is giving great effort, and he is accountable. I like everything about him and he continues to develop and get better week in and week out and we are going to need a big effort from him Saturday."

"Consistency, every week. A.J. is a model of consistency but sometimes I use A.J. to motivate other guys. A.J. Johnson brings it every day, every game. I don't really have to prod him to practice, he understands the standard and expectations. Sometimes it is just having fun and sometimes it is motivating him for others."


"We've just got to have great eye control and read our keys and know what we're supposed to be doing and handle our responsibilities. If we do that, I think we'll pretty much do what we have to do and make him a non-factor."

"Almost every offense in this conference is good. We've just got to, like I said, we're not worried about what they're going to do. We've got to worry about what we've got to go out and we've got to do. If we go out and perform well, I think we'll be okay against this offense. We've got a pretty good defense, so it'll be a pretty good matchup."

"He runs hard. You can't arm tackle him, he runs through arm tackles well. We've just got to put our hat on. We've just got to keep hitting him and keep hitting him. Eleven hats to the ball every time. Every time he runs the ball we've just got to hit him like I said. I think if we do that we'll be okay."

"It makes it a lot more difficult. When a guy starts running around, the whole defense breaks down. Guys' eyes start to wonder, they lose track of receivers. That's when you have guys running wide open. It's going to be big on our D-line this week. Keep the points on the quarterback, keep the points of pressure, contain him in the pocket, and make him throw the ball without running around."


"After playing the teams that we're kind of facing now, we've got to get points via touchdown or field goal. Definitely we want to try to get touchdowns every time we get down there but always we know we've got three in our back pocket."

"O-line, O-line, and believing."

"Yes, definitely... We put it behind us, talked about it a little bit, but we had to put our head down and go to work today."


"It was great. We got to get in our pads and stuff and get prepared for South Carolina this week."

"It helps us that we have already played him a couple times, it is coming on my third year playing him. It is just watching more film and studying what they do."

"We had circle of life, it is a good competition, we get to go head to head. Coach is just talking. I am never going to say that I lost, it was a good fight."


"They have a really physical and athletic defensive front and can rotate guys in and out. They keep guys pretty fresh during the game. Their secondary is pretty strong too. They do a lot of disguising their coverage's. We're going to have our hands full, they showed that against Arkansas this week."

"He played running back for his elementary school team. He was an animal back then, taller than the rest of the kids. Faster than everybody. Played against him in middle school. Same thing. He played defensive end and running back and ran all over the place. In high school, the rest is history now. He is a great player."

"I have all of the confidence in the world. They did a great job last year handling him and even the year before with their whole defensive front. These guys are ready. They know the task at hand and are ready for the challenge."


"I feel like South Carolina is going to do everything that a defense wouldn't want. The routes they're going to give us will be [designed to] give us problems with whatever coverage we're playing. They're going to try and hit us in the mouth early."

"Devrin has a lot of speed on him and he can do almost anything. He can play running back, receiver, catch the ball and run the ball. He'll do a lot to help us."

"It starts on first and second down. We have to play a good first and second downs so third down will be long and we can stop them, get to the money down and get off the field."

"He's basically telling us that this is the time when you'll see the man come out of everybody if they love football. Everybody here loves it here and we don't want to let Coach Jones down."


"You have a little bit of both, you have to treat it like a normal week but you also have to be aware that he is out there. You always have to be aware of where he is at and what you are trying to do on different plays."

"That is crucial especially when we are involved with the backs, we have to do a good job there. I don't know about shifting or what not, but in protection we have to be aware of him and what moves he likes."

"That is big. He has been, since his freshman year, making plays for us so that can do nothing but help us."


"This week is a big focus on inches. That is our big goal this week. We just keep talking about inches. Coach Jones does. Each inch makes a different. We have more inches than they do, we win the game. Definitely things like that, you can play hard 75 plays and one play an inch can change the game. We are just going to go out there and take care of business and treat each play like a new play I think we will be fine."

"When you are playing day-in and day-out in the SEC every offensive lineman and defensive lineman are getting looks. We got the best trenches in America and that is where everything happens. We get stuff taken care of up front and we will be fine."

"I see it helping, they know each other. A lot of them have been together for the past six years. You can tell on and off the field that that continuity. It helps us gel and bring everybody together well. As a player, them knowing each other so well, talking to two coaches and they are on the same page, they speak the same language and have the same terminology. It makes everything more smooth."


"I think in the SEC, there aren't many surprises. Every team is a good team, no matter how you look at the situation. Everybody is here for a reason. Texas A&M and Missouri have done a great job of getting better as the weeks go on and as the season goes on, so I give those credit and that's exactly what we're aiming to do."

"It's definitely a value in learning how to win and as Butch [Jones] puts it, our preparation for Georgia was the best week of preparation we've had all season. I think that plays a huge role in getting wins on Saturdays. You come in, you do the extra. You watch film. You get your treatment. You lift weights. You take your vitamins, things of that nature. Everything that you do, whether it comes from the classroom to the film, you have to be ready for Saturdays. That's what it's going to take to get a win."

"What happens deep in the fourth quarter, guys are mentally tired, physically tired. Maybe, they're not thinking about what's going on around them, maybe they're not looking at `hey, I need to tell this guy he has this assignment and such and such,' things of that nature, but when it comes down to the fourth quarter Saturday against South Carolina, we need to make sure we're fully prepared mentally and physically for anything that could happen."


"It shows that the defense is doing something good and the Arkansas offense was probably not doing the right things. You've got to look at the film."

"I would say it's his leadership and he's been a lot more consistent than he has in the past. He's got like 616 yards right now... That's almost as much as he had in the whole season last year. He's doing pretty good."

"You have to learn how to win in the offseason, camp and every single practice. It's always the little things - being out of line or finishing a play - those things translate into winning."

"Most things they do are pretty basic. They do some stunting, but other than that it's pretty straight forward."

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- When the Vols take the field against No. 11/9 South Carolina on Saturday, Butch Jones has a simple message for his team, "I think the big thing is making them earn everything they get and that is a challenge."

Saturday is yet another game in the Vols' gauntlet of a schedule, taking on a ranked team for the fourth time in five games.

"That is the big thing, containing their entire offense," said Jones. "We can't give up big plays, whether it is running the football or deep touchdown passes or big splash plays. It is really the same formula every game. In the SEC we play explosive offenses and defenses every week and very talented football teams. I think seven ranked football teams that we will play."


Last October, Antonio Richardson got the best of Jadeveon Clowney for 75 plays. Clowney bested Richardson with a head fake that resulted in a game-changing sack.

Something Richardson hasn't forgotten and has rewatched at least once a week.

In July, at SEC media days, Clowney spoke of Richardson's `holding abilities'.

Richardson responded the following day saying the best offensive linemen can hold and get away with it.

The duo will finally see its rematch on Saturday at Neyland Stadium.

Richardson's linemates know he is a high energy player, and they expect him to go out and give it his all.

Just like any other week.

"He's his regular self now and taking it like any other game," said Zach Fulton. "But I know inside he's excited to play."

"We talk to him saying that every game is important from the start of the season," continued right tackle Ja'Wuan James. "You can't worry about it. He has done a great job of just focusing on this opponent. I know that he was excited for this game but he hasn't done anything different this week."

James on the right side also has the ability to defend against Clowney, though he didn't have the opportunity last season.

Justin Worley feels blessed to have both of the strong tackles at his disposal.

"[Tiny] wants to go out and perform each and every week to the best of his ability," said Worley. "Going up against the potentially number one NFL draft pick, you always amp up the stage for him, any tackle that is going to face him. I know Tiny is ready to play and if Ja'Wuan has to block him as well, he is ready to play as well."

Head Coach Butch Jones agrees and knows the entire offensive line needs to be ready, not just for No. 7, but for the entire South Carolina defense.

"Everyone wants to make a big deal about Tiny and Jadeveon, but they do a great job he will be lined up over by Ja'Wuan James as much as Tiny," said Jones. "It is our entire offensive front, it is not just Jadeveon Clowney. He is a great player but they have great players around him."


When the South Carolina Gamecocks come to Knoxville on Saturday, Corey Miller will be playing with a little more determination than normal. Miller will be playing against his home state, former peers and his cousin as well.

Nick Jones, Miller's cousin, is a redshirt junior wide receiver. Both grew up together playing in little league, going to school and both playing for Byrnes High School.

Miller is familiar with numerous names on the South Carolina roster from growing up with some to playing with and against many.

While Miller may come across some recognizable faces, the senior defensive lineman knows the most important thing in his final game against the Gamecocks is beating them.

"I see it as another opponent and we have to just bring our A game and be ready for whatever they bring to the table," Miller said.

Miller's attitude going into Saturday's matchup shows the true senior leadership that the Volunteers football team has developed.

"I like to think I've come a long way- refocused my mindset, just understanding my priorities and what I need to do as far as in the classroom and on the field as well," said Miller. "I feel like we have a great coaching staff that helps us stay on top of things. I have teammates that have stood by me the entire time, so I feel like I've come a long way."

"This team is believing in what Butch [Jones] is telling us what to do. We're fighting hard for an entire 60 minutes and what it's taken, is for us to take the effort from last week and bring it to this week, because even though last week was a tough loss, we still have a lot of games left to play and it's a great opportunity to come out on top."


Marcus Mariota, Jeff Driskel, Tyler Murphy, Ross Metheny and Aaron Murray. In six games this season, the Vols have faced five "dual-threat" quarterbacks.

That trend continues on Saturday, when Connor Shaw and No. 11/9 South Carolina come to town.

"I think it all starts with Connor Shaw, he is a great quarterback," said head coach Butch Jones on the Gamecocks' offense. "He manages the offense; he makes great throws. He can make the short, the intermediate and the deep ball. But he can also run. There is a reason they are a top 10 football team. They are very, very talented."

Six dual-threat signal callers in seven games. The number may seem high, but Jones isn't surprised by the current trend.

"I think it's the landscape of college football," said Jones. "From (Johnny) Manziel to Connor Shaw and the different players we've already faced. It creates a space game. When you're playing the talented players we have - Connor is one of them - one individual out of place can hurt you."

Senior defensive lineman Corey Miller plans on using past experience to prepare, and thinks it starts with his group when defending a dual-threat quarterback.

"Playing guys like Mariota and Murray - guys that can actually run the ball - it gives you a sense of exactly what a quarterback like Connor Shaw can do.

"It gets to me when I see things like that happen, because that starts with the defensive line - keeping our quarterback points, making sure we don't let him get anything out of the pocket - so it starts with us. It's definitely frustrating."

Speed and agility aside, junior defensive back Justin Coleman has noticed another trait in Shaw that's not typically found in quarterbacks.

"You can tell he's a tough guy," said Coleman. "We're going to have to deliver the blow. He's going to have to feel where Tennessee is coming from. Whenever we hit him, he's going to have to feel it."


Against Georgia, Justin Worley led the Vols on a second-half comeback, turning a 17-3 halftime deficit into a 31-24 lead with less than two minutes to play in the fourth quarter.

Worley was poised in the pocket, a leader on offense, and connected with his wide receivers on multiple pressure-packed situations.

"It helps a lot knowing that I can put together a performance like that against a quality team," said Worley. "It helps my confidence a lot."

Though Worley didn't believe the second half against Georgia was his best ever half of football, Ja'Wuan James believes that his performance has made him more self-assured in practice.

"It has carried over to practice," said James. "I feel like he was hot in that game, he built some confidence in himself. He has taken that out to practice; you can see him making some throws at practice and things like that."

Worley is just appreciative of the fan support after both his, and the team's performance against the No. 6 ranked Bulldogs.

"It has been all out support for us," said Worley. "That is great to see. We really opened up a lot of people's eyes from our performance in the Georgia game and a lot of people have jumped on board. A lot of the naysayers have converted back to hardcore fans that we love and appreciate."


The Tennessee Volunteers have won nearly 70 percent of their games after coming off of a bye week holding a 78-37-9 all-time record.

Butch Jones is 8-1 all time as a head coach when an off week.

This week, the Vols used their open date to rest their bodies and get ready for a win over a tough South Carolina team.

"It's always good to have a bye week and let some of the guys' bodies rest," said quarterback Justin Worley. "The running backs were a little banged up and the wide receivers and offensive line needed to get healthy as well."

Running back Rajion Neal, who was a little dinged up in the Vols final two games despite back-to-back 100 yard efforts thought the bye week came at the right time.

"I think it came at the perfect time," said Neal. "I felt well. Our coaches and our training staff do a great job of taking care of us and helping us get through the week and helping us manage the body. So, I felt pretty good."

Head Coach Butch Jones is good at allowing his players to make sure they are rested up.

"Coach Jones harps on that, keeping us fresh, keeping us ready to play on Saturday," said linebacker Dontavis Sapp. "The bye week definitely helped us. We had yesterday off, so we got some guys rested up, healed up, and I think we're going to be ready to play. We're going to be fresh on Saturday."

The extra week also gave the Vols extra time to prepare for their slew of SEC opponents coming up.

"It gives you an opportunity to take a more in-depth look at your opponent," said Worley. "You have an extra week to prepare for them and see what they do."

Echoed defensive back Justin Coleman.

"The week off was definitely great because we got a lot of time to prepare for South Carolina film wise and recovery," said Coleman.

Tight end Brendan Downs also agrees.

"It helped us get into the film room and study more tape," said Downs. "It gave us an extra week of preparation and we also got some work last week. More practices to prepare."


All season long Team 117 has praised the strength and conditioning staff on preparing the team week-in and week-out and with Tennessee having a bye week this past week, it was no different.

Players still reported to treatments as normal and Rajion Neal is one Volunteer that realizes how important it was to do so.

"They did a great job of taking care of us and making us come in and focus on treatment," said Neal. "Just taking care of the body with the little time we had off."

"The body's not aching and I'm still moving at a pretty good pace to get through practice and ready to roll on to the game," Neal said.

After toting the ball 53 times in the last two games, Neal believes the bye week could not have come at a better time, not only for him but other players as well and now it is time to refocus into game mode.

The Volunteers will welcome back wide receiver Devrin Young, who Neal knows will play a big role against the Gamecocks.

"He's another fresh body, another speed guy, a great guy on special teams as far as returner, punt and kick returns," said Neal.

The Vols have a sense of determination for a win against a ranked team like South Carolina, so Saturday in Neyland Stadium will be no different.

"Definitely, there's nothing that's given, especially wins, in this conference. We definitely have to learn and pay attention and get around guys that know how to win," said Neal.


We are halfway through the season and junior linebacker Curt Maggitt has yet to play in a game. On Tuesday, Jones addressed that Maggitt may be out for the year as he continued to make his way back from multiple injuries suffered in 2012.

"Right now I don't anticipating him playing. I always think of the worst case scenario, we are not expecting him to play this year. If he doesn't he will redshirt and we will move on. If he is ready to go and based on where we are at in the season we will make the determination. Right now I am not expecting him to play."

Also on the injury front, Jones, said returnman Devrin Young was back at practice, but the Vols will "pick their spots" to use him on Saturday.

Junior tailback Marlin Lane was back in action after missing the Georgia game.





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