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#VolReport: Dobbs To Start Vs. Mizzou
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Oct. 29, 2013

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

HEAD COACH BUTCH JONES

"Probably some even bigger news that completely and directly affects recruiting, it affects our football program, it is something that we have been dealing with for a long period of time and I think it is probably one of the greatest victories that we have had in Tennessee football.

"I am really proud to tell you that we have been informed by the NCAA that we have made the APR and we will have no APR issues moving forward. This has been an issue since day one when we walked in here as a coaching staff, that our opponents have used against us in the recruitment process and we were informed by the NCAA that we made that. There has been a lot of hard work and a lot of effort by a lot of individuals behind the scenes that have made this come to fruition."

"Joe Scogin has been outstanding. He is the best of the best, he is the best in the business. We are very fortunate to have him here at Tennessee. When we use in recruiting, `people make a place,' we have the right people in place. When you look at our administration, the coaching staff, the Thornton Staff, Joe Scogin is a great illustration of that. We have great people. They have a great vision.

"Again, there is a lot of hard work that went into this. It starts with our student-athletes. You look at the successful spring that we had with 48 individuals above a 3.0 or above, you look at a 2.82 cumulative GPA and a perfect score in the APR. That proves that academics are the forefront of our football program. It speaks volumes."

"First of all, the quarterback intangibles. Josh is extremely intelligent, very cerebral, his recall is outstanding and then the ability to make plays, great feet. I think what he does exceptionally well is he can make the anticipatory throws, he anticipates exceptionally well. He is a true freshman going up against one of the best D-lines in the country, one of the best defenses in the country, so everyone around him has to pick it up. Our receivers have to play exceptionally well. The big thing for Josh moving forward is he doesn't have to win the football game, just manage the game for us, and take it one snap at a time. His functional intelligence in being able to take the classroom setting to the field. We will see how he progresses but I am excited about his opportunity."

"We challenge them every week. That is part of the offensive lineman's job, the running back's job, the tight end's job, to protect the quarterback. We always talk about it being a line of scrimmage game and protect what we can as ours; it is the football and the quarterback. So it will be the same message this week as it is each and every week."

SENIOR KICKER/PUNTER MICHAEL PALARDY

"Huge emphasis. It is always, `you are here to get your degree, you are a student-athlete, not athlete-student.' School is first, your education is first and Coach Jones always preaches it to us. The amount of effort and time that we put into our academics and going to the Thornton Center and I see a lot of guys in the library and I find myself doing a lot more and making sure that I am on my game when it comes to school because I am graduating in December as well.

"I feel like that is pretty important. Everybody wants that degree, they want that piece of paper and Coach Jones preaches that a lot. We are proud of the way that we have handled our school situation and our APR stuff. Hopefully we continue to do that."

"That is a kicker's worst nightmare right there. You feel for him. Whether you have been there or done it or you have felt the same things as him, you never want to see anybody go through that. I have heard about all of the things that have been said to him and I can only imagine. I feel for him but that comes with the territory.

"I say it all the time. You are either the hero and you are playing pro or you are the zero and not playing well. It is unfortunate, but he is a real good kicker and I know he is going to bounce back from that miss."

SOPHOMORE WIDE REIVER PIG HOWARD

"They know their defense inside and out. They play really well, they are disciplined, they play the ball good. Their defensive ends are legit. Up front helps their secondary as far as the pressure, attacking the quarterback. Overall they have a solid defense."

"He is consistent with just knowing the plays. His throws, reading the run, if he didn't bite - pull it. In general, with him doing that and having speed that is going to help us."

RS FRESHMAN WIDE RECEIVER JASON CROOM

"I strive to use my whole body every day. That is the mentality that you have to have when you are not the fastest person on the field."

"We are going up against a good team. They are pretty good at getting interceptions. They lead the country in interceptions."

"I am just happy that my quarterbacks trust me enough to make the play for them when it counts the most. I just do my job as a receiver to make a play."

JUNIOR RUNNING BACK MARLIN LANE

"With them being No. 3 [in the conference at stopping the run] it is going to be a big challenge for us. We just have to get out there and just know the defense before we even step on the field Saturday. What they run, what the stunts are, what games they run. Go out there and play ball."

"I am very confident. No matter what number he was on the depth chart at quarterback, they all know the material well. We just go in and protect them."

"Not necessarily because he does it every day at practice. No matter what the consequence, he is out there every day after practice, before practice, working with Worley and Coach Jake and going through all of the progressions. I knew once he got in, he wasn't a downfall to the offense."

SENIOR DEFENSIVE LINEMAN JACQUES SMITH

"Offensively they've got speed, they've got tempo, and they've got some big receivers. So, they're a very talented football team. You just can't go out there and just roll your hat on those guys. You've got to definitely work hard and that's something that we're doing this week."

"They have very shifty backs. They can beat you with their feet, especially if you let them get on your edges. Our defensive line, we're just worrying about our techniques and setting those points and edges to make us play better. That's something that we've been talking about ever since Sunday. We're just trying to get better every single day, and I think we definitely got better today."

"The coaches stick Dobbs in there, and he does everything that they ask of him. He is falling into the role that we need him to be. The coaching staff made a great decision in putting him there, and we are so glad that Coach Jones is making the right decisions for this football team. Everything he has done has put us in the right place, and he made the choice to put Dobbs in so we will stick with his choice."

SENIOR OFFENSIVE LINEMAN JA'WUAN JAMES

"He is a great player, I thought he was last year. At SEC media day I said that I thought he was one of the most underrated people in the SEC. He is a great player with a great motor. His motor and he seems like he knows the game too. Smart and technique and things like that."

"He is taking it well. I shot him a text last night and he told me and I was telling him to keep his head up. We appreciate everything that he did, especially our seniors and offensive linemen, leading us. I told him keep leading from the sidelines, keep Dobbs' head right, keep him confident and we are going to go out here and win as many as we can."

"Like I said, experience helps a lot. Experience in those games, experience in these past two games are going to help a lot."

SENIOR OFFENSIVE LINEMAN ZACH FULTON

"Oh yeah, of course. I mean it doesn't matter what happened last week or the week before that. We've just got to focus on this next game. That's our mindset every week."

"At first, yeah, we told him to speak up a lot of times during practice when he would get his reps with the ones. When he stepped in the Alabama game, we were surprised that we didn't have to do that. So, it was pretty good to know that."

"I've been to Missouri. Well, I went to St. Louis. So I was close. I am excited because we haven't been there before. We know it's not an entirely big stadium. We know it's going to be cold, so we have to focus on the road."

SENIOR DEFENSIVE LINEMAN DANIEL HOOD

"The way we see him is he's almost like a Johnny Football (Manziel), just not as developed. He throws the ball all over the place, plays with a great amount of confidence and if you don't have good gaps he'll take off running on pass rush."

"It seems like they run the speed sweep and then are able to get vertical. They're able to make guys miss in the hole and they're small so they're able to shed tackles like it's nothing."

"We just look at the mistakes and then carry on. There were so many mistakes we made in that game that it didn't give a good representation of who we are. We just looked at why weren't we ready to play, why didn't we come out with the right energy, why weren't we in our gaps at the right times, and then take that information, move on and make sure it doesn't happen again."

"They definitely do... It's really impressive to see how far they've come from last year to this year. All of their players look a lot faster than they were. It will be a good matchup for us."

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- After leaving Tuscaloosa, Ala. with a sour taste, Team 117 started preparation for the University of Missouri on Tuesday evening.

"I thought we had a great start to the week," said head coach Butch Jones. "I thought our players came out and I liked the way they attacked the day. Now moving forward we're going to have to follow that up with another great practice."

Saturday's matchup against Missouri will be the fourth consecutive game against a ranked opponent. The Tigers welcome Tennessee into Columbia, Mo. as the #10 team in the country.

It is the second time in school history and the first time since 2005 that a Volunteer team has played four ranked opponents on the road, all consecutively. The Vols have traveled to #2 Oregon, #19 Florida and #1 Alabama in their first three road appearances.

"Our players have a lot of pride in their performance and I know that our players were extremely disappointed in their performance at Alabama," said Jones. "It doesn't get any easier with a great opponent in Missouri."

Tennessee looks to knock off their second top 15 opponent of the season after having previously defeated South Carolina. Missouri is coming off an overtime loss to the Gamecocks.

"Coach Pinkel has done a tremendous job and I've said it," said Jones. "He's built that program over time and they're tough and they're physical and they've got great team speed and it makes it exceptionally challenging.

"Now you throw in a young quarterback and the speed of the game is going to be fast. That's why we have to do a great job of mixing things up, mixing tempos up, different personnel groupings and making the quarterback a factor in the running game as well."

Behind the center for Tennessee will be freshmen Joshua Dobbs who is making his first career start for the Volunteers. Junior Justin Worley went through surgery Tuesday to repair an injury to his thumb and will be out indefinitely.

Jones also had big news revolving around Team 117's Academic Progress Rating (APR).

"I'm really, really proud to tell you that we've been informed by the NCAA that we have made the APR and that we will have no APR issues moving forward and this is an issue since day one when we walked in here as a coaching staff that our opponents have used against us in the recruitment process and we were informed by the NCAA that we made that," said Jones.

STEPPING UP... ALREADY

If anyone had anything to fear about freshman Joshua Dobbs being too young or inexperienced to start on the road in an SEC game, rest assured.

According to senior offensive lineman Ja'Wuan James, Dobbs is locked in.

So much so that he is already taking charge in the meeting rooms.

"Dobbs came to us as an offensive line in our meeting and just talked to us and told us that he believed in us and that he feels comfortable going out there and playing behind the best O-Line in the country," said James. "I like how he is confident and how he approached today."

Dobbs didn't knock and wait for an answer on the door. He came in and asked offensive line coach Don Mahoney if he could wait for a second because he wanted to address the team.

"I was surprised, that takes a lot of confidence and belief in us for him to do that," said James. "That takes a lot of guts and I like that about him."

Dobbs' confidence also exudes on the field, a lot of which starts with knowing the playbook.

"The freshmen have been here for five or six months," said James. "For him to know the playbook like he does and all of his progressions and to be able to stand there confident in the huddle and telling us the plays, going through his reads and everything like that, it is a lot for an 18-year old."

"I remember having to play as a freshman and he is more locked in than a lot of us," said James. "That shows in the game, his preparation. He played well, he didn't look frightened, or scared or anything."

PASS RUSH POINT OF EMPHASIS

Coming off a sackless performance against the No. 1 Crimson Tide, the emphasis of the Vols' defensive line is clear this week. Get after the quarterback.

Through eight games, the Mizzou offensive line has been a major bright spot for the No. 10 Tigers, ranking second in the SEC with an average of 224.5 yards per game on the ground.

While the line excels in the run game, the Tigers are allowing 2.13 sacks per contest - 10th in the league - and the Vols' defensive front plans on exploiting that weakness.

"A as a defensive line we know it's very important to get after the quarterback because it changes the game completely," said senior defensive end Jacques Smith. "It's a big play. We're working on the little details to make us better pass rushers and that's one point of emphasis for us this week."

In the middle, senior nose guard Daniel Hood and linemates have gone back to the basics after a disappointing performance.

"It's really back to basic work - working our hands, grabbing our pressure points, getting more vertical and getting up-field in our takeoffs," said Hood.

Prior to Alabama, Hood believes his group made strides in the pass rush against quality opponents such as Georgia and South Carolina.

"I thought we made a lot of progress [against Georgia and South Carolina,] said Hood. "There are still a lot of things to improve on, but each week we're starting to get a little bit better and starting to understand what Coach (Steve) Stripling wants as a defensive line."

With 18 on the campaign, the UT defense has had success forcing turnovers, and Hood believes that starts up front

"We've got to help our guys in the back," said Hood. If we can get up there and put pressure on [the quarterback,] he'll throw it up to them. It's a big emphasis, especially coming off last week where it seemed like we gave the quarterback forever to throw."

ANOTHER WEEK, ANOTHER CHALLENGE

While the Volunteers' post- practice on Tuesday was centered around the offensive side of the football, the defensive players are working just as hard with their snap and clear mentality moving into this week's game against Missouri.

The Vols will face a Tigers team that has quickly made a name for themselves in their second year in the Southeastern Conference.

Each game, the Missouri offense shows a new way they can be explosive, whether it's passing or running the ball.

"It is just Missouri," said defensive back Justin Coleman. "That is what they do, they throw the ball and try and see if the DBs are going to compete with them."

For the first time since their addition to the SEC, Team 117 will travel to Columbia, Mo., and the Volunteers plan to create a new sense of momentum on the road.

"It is not simple, but something that we have to do is practice it- practice it over and over, try and create that energy by basically focusing and playing with each other," Coleman said.

Although sidelined with an injury against Alabama, Coleman knows that Brian Randolph will be 100 percent for Saturday.

"Brian is a huge part of our defense, he knows everything about it" Coleman said. "He takes control, he leads, and if someone doesn't know what they are supposed to do he is going to help them a little bit. But we really value Brian back there and he helps us a lot."

"They are very competitive," said Coleman. "They want to score, they want to make you look bad."

THE BIG THREE

This week the focus for the offensive line is The Big Three.

Protecting. Having your Back. Effort.

With a new starting quarterback behind the offensive line, they know they have to step their game up that much more.

"Protect, that is our job to protect," said senior Ja'Wuan James. "Our quarterbacks, our running backs, anybody. We want him to feel comfortable and for him to play to the best of his ability, we have to make sure he is confident in what he is doing. You want to protect a little harder, you don't want him to be hit, you don't want to shake him up."

"We just want to make sure we protect him well," continued fellow senior offensive lineman Zach Fulton. "He's a young guy back there, so we want to make sure we give him as much time as possible."

The Vols O Line has a tough test coming at them in the Missouri defensive line.

But they are used to it. It's the SEC.

"We have a lot of respect for them because they're just great, high motor guys," said Fulton. "They're relentless in everything that they do. We have a lot of respect for them."

"We played them last year and they were pretty good last year," continued James. "They are playing inspired football right now. Coach Jones said it. They are all playing well together."

The offensive line, which has let up eight sacks this season through eight games, fourth in the SEC, have been playing well together, but there is always room for improvement.

"We want to try and get all five lights on at the same time," said James. "Sometimes we have four guys and one guy not doing the right thing. Three guys, two guys. We want all five and that is when we can play to the best of our ability."

James doesn't need any extra motivation to get up for an SEC game. It is all about being the best.

"Personally, you want to stay up for any game," said James. "I don't want anyone to go out there and embarrass me. You want to go out there and embarrass other people."

"So if you come sleeping one day, that is your fault. We take that approach every week."


 

 

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