Vols determined to eliminate self-inflicted errors

Through three games, Tennessee has committed 24 penalties.
Tennessee offensive coordinator Joey Halzle speaks with media following Florida loss
Published: Sep. 19, 2023 at 7:49 PM EDT
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Josh Heupel Speaks Ahead of UTSA Game

LIVE: What Josh Heupel has to say as Vols prep for UTSA. https://tinyurl.com/5ds2zjeu

Posted by WVLT on Thursday, September 21, 2023

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Whether it’s a lackluster win against Austin Peay or a disappointing loss to Florida, the general consensus inside the University of Tennessee camp is to eliminate the mistakes.

Those self-inflicted wounds prevented the Vols from finding a rhythm Saturday night. On offense, it kept them behind the sticks and in trouble most of the night.

Previous Coverage: Tennessee looks to reset ahead of UTSA in week four

New offensive coordinator Joey Halzle said he still likes Joe Milton’s decision-making and accuracy, despite there being questions if backup Nico Iamaleava could have made a difference Saturday. His answer was no.

“It’s operation Joe is operating at a really high level,” said Halzle.

Veteran running back Jabari Small emphasized that it’s going to take the whole team to buy in and play as a unit because one player can disrupt everything they’re trying to do.

The penalties and getting behind the chains prevented the Vols from ever settling into the game.

Still, the team still has a strong belief in their QB1.

“Joe didn’t blink, you know what I mean? Obviously, things weren’t going our way, but I told him today, ‘I don’t think I’ll play with another quarterback with more confidence or swag.’ For him to stay the same person through thick and through thin, through adversity, man, that’s all you can ask for. And I think he did a great job of leading us, Saturday,” said Small.

Halzle added, “Joe was really good with his decision-making and his calmness on the sidelines. He kept the calm within the storm there. Talking with him on the headset after every single drive he was like, ‘Alright, cool, what do we got next?’ He was accurate with the football like he played a good game. Obviously, we can always be better. His overall game management was very good.”

On defense, there was plenty of miscommunication and poor tackling. The guys just did not execute as they had in the first two games.

The motto is to ‘snap and clear,’ something defensive coordinator Tim Banks hopes a couple of his leaders on that side of the ball will help pass along to their teammates.

“Jaylen McCollough has done a great job, obviously, a guy who’s played a lot of football for us here. I think he does a good job of trying to calm the waters, so to speak, to make sure guys are able to snap and clear. I think Big O, Omari Thomas, has done a good job trying to slide into that leadership role. Again it goes back to that love and trusting each other so they can digest and go out and execute in a better manner on the next play,” said Banks.

The team looks to take advantage of their next opportunity when they face UTSA on Saturday inside Neyland Stadium.