KNOXVILLE (WATE) – With just days to kick-off against Bowling Green and classes only days away the pressure is on for Head Coach Butch Jones. Jones said the Volunteers can’t afford to waste time.
Despite ending the season on a string of four straight losing seasons, SEC media has picked Tennessee to finish second in the East, behind only Georgia. Friday, Jones said he is not letting the extra pressure get to his team, telling players that all the expectations are a product of Team 118, not Team 119.
“Last year’s team is not here,” said Jones. “We’re responsible for the identity we create.” The head coach said the Volunteers still have a lot of freshman in the mix and they need to continue to evolve their leadership.
Jones said they are making progress each and every day, but the biggest thing going through training camp is stamina. This week junior wide receiver Marquez North and Marcus Jackson were injured during practice. Jones said that eight to 10 players off the injury list could return for Saturday’s practice.
The head coach said he would like to identify a starting five offensive line very soon, but that the Volunteers can’t put a timeline on anything. Jones said Jakob Johnson will stay at tight end. He played linebacker last year.
Getting a number two quarterback, freshman Quinten Dormady, was also a big priority for Jones. “You can never have enough quarterbacks,” he joked.
The Volunteer gets serious about sleep
One of the new things Jones is doing this year is really focusing on players sleep schedules.
Jones said players have a sleep coach. It includes a sensor that they can put underneath their mattress to measure the amount of sleep they get. He said players actually have a competition going.
Players also have sleep masks and goggles to help block out light.
Vols for Life
“Vol for life means everything,” said Jones. “When you’re from Tennessee and you represent the University of Tennessee, that means everything.”
Jones said the SEC Network has made a major impact on recruiting. He said it has brought validity to the the conference and also helped get exposure for the Tennessee Volunteers in other areas of the country.
The mid-state, according to Jones, is an important part in recruiting.
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Vols open practice set for Aug. 15
The Vols will hold their annual Open Practice at Neyland Stadium on Saturday. Admission and parking is free of charge. Gates to Neyland Stadium will open at 5:45 p.m. Practice is set to begin at 6:50 p.m. Fans can enter the stadium through gates 4, 14, 20 and 21.
Shuttles from Ag Campus will start running at 4:30 p.m.
The first open practice in 2013 drew a crowd of 39,000 and last year’s saw 40,000, according to the University of Tennessee Athletics.