Tennessee Vols Press Conference Cliff's Notes

Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

On toughness, mentality, toughness, and a few comments about specific players.

Butch Jones, as he should be, was not happy with the performance Saturday. He said he was disappointed, the players were disappointed, the fans were disappointed, and the entire program was disappointed. But he was not discouraged. He sees growth, and he sees how the players are reacting, and he likes their reactions. And he said a lot of the things about program-building and mental toughness that he's said all season. You don't need a recap of that, because you've heard it before. But he had comments on individuals and on physical toughness that may be new. As always, if you want more details, check out the live blog in the comments here. But if you want the high points? To the bullets:

  • We're going back to full contact practice. We got dominated on the line of scrimmage against Missouri, and we have to get tougher fast. We were worried about depth, but we have to hold ourselves to a standard of toughness, and to develop that, you have to live it every day. So we're going to build that in practice. It won't be overnight, but we're going to build it. And we need to build it fast, because playing Auburn is going to require it. The defensive line struggled to get off blocks Saturday, and that has to change immediately.
  • Dobbs is cerebral and will learn from every play. He needs to learn that sometimes getting out of bounds is better than getting another two yards and that throwing it away can be a good play if everyone is covered on first and ten. Him throwing 42 times will help him in the future. We had him do everything. We're also going to add more QB runs, but we're letting him make the reads. He generally did a very good job with them, but there were a couple chances he could've pulled the ball and gotten some yards.
  • Josh Smith has our best hands in practice. He has extremely high upside, and he just needs to bring his practice play to the games. He's making freshman mistakes, it's just more obvious when he does it in space.
  • Lane is back to 100% physically and is earning more carries. He needs some burst at the second-level and to finish runs.
  • Yes, the offensive line didn't not play up to their standard. We put a lot on them, and we should. We need to play more physically, and they all know it. They were all in my office on Sunday. But everyone likes to blame the offensive line, and there are 11 guys on the offense. It's not always on them.
  • Can we just keep saying good things about Michael Palardy? He's a different person mentally from last year. He's an example for the entire team on where we want to get. He was having back spasms this week and couldn't even walk. We didn't think he could play, and he played a great game. We asked him how close he needed us to get, and he said 50+ was good. We asked again, because kickers always say that, and he said he was good. And he was.
  • Alton Howard is doing well on the field because he's doing well in school. He's showing up first to meetings, and he's holding himself and the other receivers accountable. He wasn't doing that in August. He wasn't doing that in September. That's the kind of development we're starting to see.
  • Why do we keep getting commits after bad losses? Because people around the country see and feel what we're doing. Tennessee is a special place, and people feel the energy and vision that we have here.

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