Football Player Media Availability Transcript (Aug. 8)

Redshirt Senior WR Jauan Jennings

On if there is a good chemistry between the receivers and quarterbacks:
“It has been a good camp so far. The quarterbacks and receivers have been clicking on all cylinders. We are just going to keep working on each and every day.”

On the veteran receivers and if they are ready for a big year:
“Definitely. We have been working day in and day out off the field and on the field and making sure we are catching extra balls during practice. We are definitely ready.”

Credit: UT Athletics

On if he likes what he has seen from the young receivers:
“Yeah, but not just the young receivers, but the young defensive backs, defensive lineman and offensive lineman. All these guys come in hungry and they have been pushing me to go to another level.”

On Josh Palmer and Jordan Murphy and if there has been something different with them in camp:
“They have been working hard just like the other receivers and defensive backs. We have all been working hard. We have all been working together and making each other better throughout this camp.”

On Tee Martin and if there any extra incentive to see what he has done:
“Definitely. Every day you cannot go by without looking at his face and see a quarterback that went perfect with a national championship. I still have not seen the championship ring, but I have not bothered him about it because we are out there working every day.”

On Tee’s coaching style as a wide receiver’s coach:
“He coaches us hard. He makes sure we are doing what we are supposed to do. He wants to make plays and that is something he stresses in the room. That is what wide outs do. That is what we are going to continue to do.”

On the way he has matured and changed:
“Not so much. Not just me, but the whole team. Getting better every day and just playing your role. All you have to do is your job.”

On who has made the most impressive play in fall camp on the other side of the ball:
“There has been too many to name any one. Just a lot of players out there from the running back position and wide receivers have made some plays. We have seen some pancakes from both sides of the ball. We are just ready to go.”

On how he would compare Alontae Taylor and Bryce Thompson:
“Just getting better. That’s the job. That is what you are supposed to do when you come to camp.”

On what he has seen from Warren Burrell from camp:
“Working hard. I love it. He is just bringing along the other players too. We have been helping him out as well.”

On the competitive streak on the defensive side of the ball:
“I say mostly everybody. Everybody has that day where they are not practicing that good and we pick them up. Everybody has the talent and capability to play at their best.”

On how he feels compared to spring:
“I feel good. Way better since surgery. I am feeling a whole lot better. I am out there running really good. My knees feel better and I am just ready for the season.”

On if they are managing him different with the knee stuff:
“We are trying to manage it. I am still practicing and going 100 percent. You do not see a black jersey on me. I feel good going out there. I tell them not to hold me back.”

On if there is a guy on the other side of the ball that juices him up:
“There is going to be some trash talking out there, but that is what players do. I love it. It is just another motivator. That’s for everybody every day.”

On who is the best talker among the young guys:
“They are just out there trying to make sure they are playing the right reps. I really do not get to go against them too much, but we shall see.”

On the level of competition of receivers and defensive backs compared to last year:
“It is just a whole lot of competitiveness. I just love it out there. It makes me better as well as everyone, and that is what we need to be a high caliber team.”

On need for team to be more consistent every day:
“I come out there every day with a high-level intensity and a high level of play. It’s contagious and everyone comes out to try to match that level of energy and that’s all we need. For everyone to come out and give their all and it’ll all take care of itself.”

On what he’s seen from coach Chaney that gives him confidence:
“Jim Chaney is a great offensive coordinator who knows how to put people in certain matchups to give them opportunities to win. That’s something we need here and that’s something that as players we’re going to have to fulfill.”

On what he believes has changed with QB Jarrett Guarantano’s game since last season:
“I wouldn’t say too much. He’s always been a good quarterback. Just like any other player he has a lot to work on and everyday we’re going to go out there and work on it.”

On what Coach Chaney brings to the offense:
“Coach Chaney brings a playbook that automatically makes us more explosive and he also believes in us as an offensive team and we’re going to go out there and work to get better each and every day.”

On has it hit him that it’s his final fall camp:
“It hit me the first day of spring ball. I definitely feel it. It feels good to be out here with my teammates, me watching them grow as they watch me grow.”

On surgery hindering the beginning part of his season:
“No, not at all. I came out of surgery walking, we’re exactly on schedule with everything. [Director of Sports Medicine] Jeronimo (Boche) and the training staff do a great job day-in and day-out in terms of recovery and I feel great.”

On potential of staff making him take a day off of practice to recover:
“I’m definitely not going to take that. Me personally, I can’t go out there and watch my brothers grind the way they do and not be involved. There’s no way I can do that.”

On motivation being higher now that it’s his final season:
“It’s always been the same. To win games. I’m very competitive as you all know and this year having the team we have, they’re always being competitive as well. We’re just going to try to put the pieces together working day-in and day-out during this year’s camp.”

On comfort level with Coach Pruitt back for a second season:
“I’m even more uncomfortable. You can’t ever be comfortable. Being satisfied is a downfall and having coach Pruitt here a second year makes me even more hungry. I know what he expects as a coach. This whole coaching staff is nothing but winners and we need that mentality to carry through the entire team. I can’t wait to see how this season is going to go.”

On seeing any differences in Coach Pruitt in year two:
“Like I said, we’re even more hungry to win. It’s just a mentality. That’s all it is. I can’t wait for this season to kick off and that’s when time will tell.”

On talent of QB Jarett Guarantano:
“He’s a great quarterback and a great leader. He’s going to come out here and work his tail off each and every day. He believes in us like we believe in him and we’re going to take this one day at a time.”

On responsibility the receiving corps feels being one of the more experienced position groups in the locker room:
“We take a lot of responsibility as a whole on this team. We’re definitely a go-to outlet for this offense. We’re going be there when the running backs are having an off day and then the running backs will be there to pick us up. It all works hand-in-hand.”

On if he considers himself the alpha of the wide receiver group:
“I’m the alpha male anywhere I go.”

Redshirt Junior OL Ryan Johnson

On Fall Camp:
“Camp is going great. We are getting some good practices in, getting everybody better and we are just trying to take it day-by-day. It is definitely been a process and I think a lot of people are enjoying really getting better, trying to do the best they can every day.”

On the extra weight guys have put on and if it helps:
“Absolutely. I think a lot of guys have really gotten stronger over the offseason. And you can tell, coach Fitz (Craig Fitzgerald) has done a great job working with the team getting everybody stronger, faster, tougher and just all-around more athletic so we can be better football players on and off the field. You can really tell a lot of the guys have changed. You can see it in their body; they’ve cut weight, they’ve cut fat, they’ve gained muscle. You can just tell that they’re a lot stronger.”

On how big of an advantage it is to have the same strength and conditioning staff two years in a row:
“Well, its huge. Having coach Fitz and the whole staff is huge. They’ve done a great job. They really work with everybody to make them stronger. Just having the whole coaching staff here for two years is really great. They’ve all done a great job pouring in knowledge to all the players and making all of the players better, not just athletically but also mentally. And that’s the huge thing in the game of football, it’s really a mental game and having some coaches here that have the knowledge they do and having the experience that they do is a huge asset to Tennessee.  I mean, heck, you got coach (Jim) Chaney who has been doing this forever. As an offensive coordinator, I mean, he’s brilliant, he really is and it’s just amazing to go into a meeting every day and just listen to him and get the knowledge that he has built over the years and some of the humor that goes along with that as well.”

On Will Friend’s biggest focus throughout camp:
“Coach Friend has really been pushing us to be the best that we possibly can be on and off the field. He has been working with us all offseason to get us better. We’ve got a lot of guys that have been really working hard, and you can tell that they’ve been putting it in every day, putting in the work. Coach Friend has really just been pushing consistency and hard work and doing your job. Do your job every day, every play. That’s the most important thing that he’s been pushing, execute. That’s the whole message for the entire team, we are just trying to execute one play at a time, one game at a time. We’re not trying to look ahead, we’re not trying to look back, we are just trying to look forward.”

On Brandon Kennedy being back and the position competition:
“It is great to have Brandon back and it’s great to have competition. That is a huge thing with the entire offensive line, we really have some depth. That’s great from a competition standpoint, it’s great to help out. We’ve got a lot of people who can help out depth-wise. That’s just a huge asset that we can have. Moving forward, being able to have competition with the offensive line is good. Really, it’s a do your job kind of thing, it really is. Whatever role you can play, you do your job. It’s funny, coach Pruitt was talking the other day and he was saying ‘do your job, whatever that may be.’ I just was listening to a podcast, my minster back home, and he was just talking about the same thing. He said, ‘do your job.’ It was kind of funny, it was one of those things that are kind of ironic. It was completely two different things, but (Pruitt) was preaching on football and talking about everybody in the field has to do their job, all 11 people. And in life, God may call you to do one thing and that may not be what you want to do, but you need to do your job, so that I thought was kind of interesting, just seeing that from different perspectives. I really think coach Pruitt is just telling us the same thing. It’s just do your job, whatever that may be. And I think a lot of guys really bought into that and are really buying into the fact that if they just do their job, we will execute and we will do what we can do and we will do our best.”

On if he is comfortable at center or guard:
“I feel comfortable at whatever position they need me in. Whatever position coach Pruitt says he needs me at, I’ll  play. I want to make the team the best I can. I want to succeed, and I want the team to succeed. I will do whatever I have to do to make the team the best that it can be.”

On coach Chaney’s brilliance:
“You can see it in a bunch of different places. One, for example, you’ll be watching film with him, and just be watching a play here or there and he will come out with something that you just haven’t seen before. And it’s just one small minute detail that he can build off of, like a corner’s footwork, and you’re just sitting there like, ‘man, I’ve never thought of that, who would have possibly thought of that?’ We’re just looking at inside zone and you’re looking at the corner and saying we can exploit that. It’s something that’s incredible that he can just kind of think about that. It’s like a chess game, and I like chess so I can make an illusion to that. Some people play chess one or two moves ahead. Coach Chaney plays chess, or I guess the game of football, 10 or 11 moves ahead. I’m not by no means a good chess player, I’ve played one guy and I have never been able to beat him. I’ve played him 150 times and I have never been able to beat him. I came close to a draw one time. I’m playing him and I made this move that I thought about for 30 minutes, we were playing on our phones back and forth, and I made the move and I was thinking in seven moves, I’ll have the draw. He texted me saying that was a great move but you’re thinking seven moves ahead and I’m thinking 10, and that’s coach Chaney. It’s a long, drawn out way to explain that but, he’s thinking 10 moves ahead. It’s just one of those things that goes way over your head and you just have to step back. You just have to sit there listen and learn.”

On coach Chaney’s balance between being cerebral and going after guys:
“That’s the great thing, it’s a learning process but it’s also a mental toughness game. I think he really brings both aspects to the game. He really drives and pushes all the players to be the best that they can be, and that’s on and off the field. That’s one of the things that he goes at, if you’re not giving everything you’ve got, he wants you to give 110 percent. It is the same thing in the classroom, if someone comes back and had a bad test you have to pick that up. That’s just something that is really, really important that coach Chaney brings to the table; that he just pushes everybody to be the best person that they can be. That’s another thing that he has that he brings to the table, not just the cerebral aspect but also the mental toughness.”

On plays in camp that ignite the room:
“I wouldn’t necessarily say that there is one play. I think that we really got an atmosphere that has been going on throughout this camp from a lot of the players that have really stepped up and are leading the team and really pushing the team to be the best that we can be. There is a lot of excitement and it’s not just coming from one person, it’s not just coming from one play. It’s really coming form a lot of people. And there are those plays where somebody gets a good hit and you’re like, ‘dang that’s a good hit right there.’ You get a big run and everybody blocks it right and the running back just cuts back and you see the hole come open at the last second. For the most part, it’s a continual process and a lot of guys are making those plays which is something. You talk about that one person, that one explosive play. But really, it’s when you have a bunch of explosive plays, a bunch of explosive people. That’s the thing that you really get excited about because that means that you’re coming together. Going back to what I said before, you’re doing your job, all 11 people are doing their job, not just one person. It is all 11 people every play, every down, and that’s when you start getting those big breaks, those big plays is when people start doing it. Football is not just about that explosive play but those plays that lead up to it. It’s like I was talking about in chess, it’s the plays before that lead up to the explosive play. It’s the inside zone, inside zone, outside zone boom, we hit a 15-yard run. Play, play, two yards, three yards, boom we score a touchdown. It’s those plays before that lead to that long play. That’s what we really have been focusing on, not just the long plays but the short plays and that’s what’s exciting to me.”

On Nathan Niehaus’ decision to retire from football:
“We wish Nathan the best and I know God is going to put him where he needs to go. Right now, the team is focusing on yourself right now and I think that is a question you need to ask coach Pruitt.”

On the new defensive lineman who is the toughest to go up against:
“I think the whole defensive line is really improving. We’ve got a lot of guys who have really started showing out and there’s not just one person who has been pushing out ahead. I think it’s a bunch of the guys. Coach Fitz, the whole defensive staff has been pushing for them to improve. They’ve been working really hard in the offseason and you can really tell. They’re helping us too, because were going against them every play and it’s making us better. That’s something that we’ve seen over this fall camp, over the spring, over the summer that they have been improving.”

On expectations for the offensive line:
“We’re just trying to do the best that we can do. We are trying to do the best that we can do every day, every play. We are not trying to look forward to any game, we are not trying to look forward to any play. We are just trying to focus on the current play, the current down, the current game and do the best that we can do, do our assignment and do it well. If an offensive lineman doesn’t get mentioned, if an offensive lineman doesn’t get his name called then we have done our job and that’s what we want to do.”

Senior WR Brandon Johnson

On what he has liked about the first handful of practices: 
“I have been focusing on what Coach Tee (Martin) has been given us to do. I’ve been focusing on catching a lot of balls and really getting deep. He (Coach Martin) said we are doing what we are supposed to do.”

On if he finds it easier to pick up the offense this year:
“I wouldn’t necessarily say it is easier to pick up. It is a lot of different terminology from last year, but I wouldn’t say it isn’t any easier or harder to pick up. It depends on how much time you really put into it.”

On how he would describe the wide receiver’s group:
“We have a lot of seniors and a lot of experience in the room. We are definitely focusing on being leaders and leading the young guys in the right direction.”

On how he has approached his senior season:
“Individually, I am just focusing on just going out there and doing the best that I can. No matter what my role is on this team, I want to give my all, whether that is on the field as a receiver or on special teams. I am going to give my all for every snap and just have fun my senior year.”

On what stands out in the defensive back unit:
“It is definitely the way they compete. It is also the attitude that they have. Coach Pruitt kind of gives them a certain level of confidence that they know what they are doing. Everybody is physical. We don’t have a defensive back that is not physical.”


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