Vols Hit Practice Field Tuesday, Continue Prep For SEC Home Opener

Tennessee looks to carry mpmentum of Mizzou win into S. Carolina contest
Published: Oct. 5, 2021 at 8:24 PM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - After back-to-back road games to begin conference play, Tennessee football returns to Neyland Stadium Saturday to host divisional foe South Carolina. The Vols took Haslam Field Tuesday to commence preparations for the SEC home opener, set for a noon kickoff on ESPN2. 

Defensive coordinator Tim Banks, offensive coordinator/tight ends coach Alex Golesh and select UT players met with members of the media Tuesday to review Tennessee’s dominant 62-24 victory at Missouri and to preview the upcoming bout with the Gamecocks. Banks’ defensive unit is among the league leaders in rushing defense (104.0, 4th SEC/24th FBS), tackles for loss (8.4, 3rd SEC/7th FBS) and passes intercepted (6, 3rd SEC/19th FBS).

The first-year coordinator spoke to his group’s ability to defend the run and balancing his personnel to play winning football week in and week out. “We try to live game by game, quarter by quarter,” Banks said. “At the end of the day, we feel like we are trying to play to our players strength, whatever it is. Obviously as we identify the strengths and weaknesses of each opponent, we try to put a defense or a plan together that gives us an advantage. In this day in age, you have to be able to stop the run, but at the end of the day, to me, it’s just based on that personnel and how we utilize them and give them the best chance to be successful.” 

Coming off an offensive clinic at Mizzou which saw the Vols put up historic numbers, Coach Golesh emphasized the program’s need to continue focusing on the perfecting the process and avoid getting caught up in results. “You can’t live on the end result,” Golesh said. “The end result takes care of itself. In elite programs, the process is right. From January 28 to today, all we’ve cared about is our process of how we prepare, because if you prepare like a winner, you win, generally. If you prepare like a loser, you lose. So, that’s been our mantra or whatever. I’m not a slogan guy, but that’s been our call to them is, how do we get them to perfect their process in everything we do?” 

Senior offensive lineman Cade Mays feels the team is starting to hit its stride and come together as a unit. The Knoxville native was named SEC Offensive Lineman of the Week and was quick to pass praise along to his teammates in his comments to the media on Tuesday. “It was just huge, but we got a new week this week,” Mays said. “I was very blessed to have that honor, but like I said on Twitter, it wouldn’t happen if it was just me. Everybody on the field this weekend was playing unbelievable. All four guys up there with me were doing their jobs, making holes for the running backs. Running backs were finding the holes. Quarterbacks were making their reads. Wide receivers on the perimeter, they were blocking, our tight ends were blocking. It’s not just a me award, the whole offense played unbelievable, but I’m definitely blessed to have it.”

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