Morning folks. As Tennessee’s focus turns to the Ohio game this week, Butch Jones indicated practice would focus on correcting the Vols’ recurring issue with slow starts- though SEC Country was unable to see much change in procedure (to be fair we have no idea how you’re supposed to drill something like that).
Following yesterday’s practice, Jones sounded (unsurprisingly) pleased with the play of the defensive line against last week against Virginia Tech, and Bob Shoop singled out Shy Tuttle for praise, calling him “ our swarm-points winner at the defensive line,” which is evidently a thing. For his part, Mike DeBord has apparently warmed to the wacky idea of using more than five offensive linemen a game, with all the glee of your uncle who just discovered online dating:
“I’m really changing my mind about five guys, but I think what happened was, we moved guys around and guys played well.” [...]
Alabama used 11 different defensive linemen in games last season, and DeBord said he anticipates Saturday’s noon opponent, Ohio (TV: SEC Network), will use eight to 10 defensive linemen.
“So you’re getting teams doing that, so it’s like why not?” said DeBord, who works alongside offensive line coach Don Mahoney in practices. “So as long as guys will play to the level that we expect, then why not?
“And, it keeps guys fresh and keeps them in the game and builds the depth through the season.”
Tennessee WR Josh Smith was seen on crutches with an— Jimmy Hyams (@JimmyHyams) September 14, 2016
apparent ankle injury. He also has a wrist injury. He likely won’t play v. Ohio.
As of this writing, details on Smith’s injury are light on the ground, though he has been declared “questionable” for Ohio. As for his expected replacement: Butch wouldn’t confirm Fr. Tyler Byrd as the starter, though he did say he’d get “plenty of reps.”
MISCELLANY: VOLS EDITION
The drolly-named Tennessee Journalist ponders the legacy of one Jalen Hurd.
This kid, he’s growing on us:
#Vols backup QB Sheriron Jones on drawing 15-yard penalty vs. VaTech on the sideline: It was like FIFA. I went down and sold the contact.— Wes Rucker (@wesrucker247) September 15, 2016
Because we’re now just literally asking anyone with a microphone their opinion on Colin Kaepernick’s protest, it came up yesterday in Butch Jones’ regular presser. He responded with characteristic (and probably wise) taciturnity:
"Everyone has the right to freedom of speech and belief. But in college football, we don't really have that because we are not on the field for the national anthem," Jones said on Wednesday during a news conference at the Ray & Lucy Hand Digital Studio. "To be very honest with you, I haven't given it too much thought. I respect it and I respect what is going on and I have some personal opinions on that. But you know for us, we are not really affected by that because we are always in the locker room for the national anthem."
So this #WGWTFA thing is happening (well, mostly on Twitter)- the (rather NSFW!) story behind it is here, if you’re interested.
MISCELLANY: NONVOLS EDITION
Ty Darlington, a former center and captain at Oklahoma, has a new blog post calling on Oklahoma fans to be louder and participate more- like, y’know, Vols fans:
I was never a big believer in homefield advantage. I scoffed at the notion that a fan could actually have an impact on a football game. You have a hostile crowd? Good. I feed off of hostile crowds, and I embrace it when fans ridicule me. You think you’re loud? Whatever. We use a silent count anyways, and noise is only a factor on three to four plays a game. Your homefield advantage is incredibly overrated. Bring it on. You’re wasting your breath.
And then I ran out of the tunnel in Knoxville, Tennessee, FOR WARMUP and was greeted by thousands of screaming fans and the chorus of “Rocky Top.” The game wasn’t set to start for over an hour, and these people seemed to think it was kickoff time. I exited the tunnel for the pregame warm-up, and those psychotic students were already there, giving us a small preview of what to expect in the hours to come. What had we gotten ourselves into?
He goes on like that for a while, and it’s glorious. Check out the whole post here. [S/O to I_S for the link]
Unable to get a direct interview, Jordan Ritter Conn over at The Ringer does a sort of a mini-Citizen Kane routine, chronicling the fall from grace of Justin Blackmon, through the eyes of basically everyone but the man himself.
Having Bruce Pearl host a BBQ is either genius marketing or a complete lack of awareness. Either way, its awesome. pic.twitter.com/UEEqv7GBwv— Bunkie Perkins (@BunkiePerkins) September 14, 2016
Can’t fault the man’s sense of humor.
ARMCHAIR OC THURSDAY
Aight yall, the Reddit well ran dry this week, and we’d rather keep complaining about playcalling, anyways. So: if you got the call from Butch Jones, what would you like to see from the Vols offense? We’ll go first:
They’re Called “Mobile” QBs For a Reason Do we run a single bootleg or play moving Dobbs’ launching point outside the pocket?
Develop an Actual Play-Action Game Which means use it regularly, as a constraint, not calling it like a trick play once a game.
When You’re in a Goalline Scenario, Run to the Corner Always works, yall. Always. It’s just angles and math and stuff.
What yall got? (Here’s a handy cutup of every offensive play against VT, for reference)