Vols looking for game changing plays on both sides of the ball

Tennessee focusing on Touchdowns and Turnovers
Published: Sep. 14, 2021 at 9:24 PM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - With preparations underway for Tennessee football’s Week 3 non-conference bout with Tennessee Tech, assistant coaches Kodi Burns (wide receivers) and Willie Martinez (secondary) and select players met with media Tuesday afternoon. The Vols welcome the Golden Eagles to Neyland Stadium Saturday at noon ET to wrap up a three-game homestand to open the 2021 campaign.

After evaluating film on his group through the first two weeks of the season, Burns sang the praises of his receiver corps—noting their quick adaptation to learning new schemes with a new staff. He has been pleased with the room’s decision-making and ability to create separation early in the season.

“It’s crazy, obviously as coaches we get a chance to really evaluate the film, not just the TV copy,” Burns said. “We get a chance to look at every single view and angle of the film and you really see growth from Week 1 to Week 2 as far as in-route adjustments and making the right decisions. (I) was really impressed from game one to game two, and it’s a process. If we continue on that same strength, we’re going to connect on some of those balls and really change some ball games moving forward.”

On the defensive side, Martinez believes the secondary unit is rounding the corner on creating turnovers that will shift momentum in Tennessee’s favor. He acknowledged the Tennessee defensive backs’ focus on creating sudden change based upon the formations and schemes presented by the opponent week-to-week.

“Obviously the best thing you can do on defense is get a turnover, because that just kills the momentum of an offense,” Martinez said. “From a coaching standpoint, you’ve got to tell them and show them the schemes that are very consistent, and what formations they run certain plays out of to get yourself in a position where that if we do have a call, you can be a little more aggressive.

“We’ve had some really good sudden change situations. Basically, it’s ‘not a turnover,’ but to be able to change the momentum and stop an offense off of a turnover. I think that’s the start of something. We keep on sharing with (the players) and showing them the positives of it. It’s just like a momentum changer. We’ve just got to get the ball now, there’s no doubt about it.”

Saturday’s contest against Tennessee Tech will be streamed via SEC Network+/ESPN+, available online or through the ESPN app. For those seeking guidance on how to watch games on SECN+/ESPN+, fans can contact ESPN Customer Care at 1-888.549.3776 or

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