KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Sunny skies and warm temperatures greeted the Tennessee football program on Thursday afternoon as it put in two hours of work at Haslam Field in its second practice of the spring.
Senior safety Todd Kelly Jr. spoke to reporters following Thursday’s practice, discussing the points of emphasis the Volunteer defense is taking into spring workouts.
“I think just being focused more on our assignment, knowing our alignment and keys, and being all on the same page is the biggest thing,” the Knoxville native said. “On defense, you have to have all 11 guys playing as one. When you have 10 guys playing as one and one on their own, that’s when you have mistakes and big plays. So we are focusing on eliminating those big plays and catastrophic plays and playing as one with eleven people on the field.”
Tennessee gets back to work on Saturday, concluding its first week of spring practice with a closed session at Haslam Field. The Vols’ 15-practice spring schedule culminates on Saturday, April 22 with the annual DISH Orange & White Game (4 p.m. ET, SEC Network). Admission and parking are free to the public and a fan appreciation event will precede kickoff.
Day Two Quotables
Senior TE Ethan Wolf
(On the tight ends’ role in offensive coordinator Larry Scott’s system)
“I know he does like to throw the ball to the tight end just from his past track record, but we’re hoping for that. We’re going to do whatever we can. If he throws us the ball, we’re going to make every play. With these first two days in the books, I think we probably, as a collective group in team periods, probably caught close to 13, 14 balls and only one’s been dropped by the four guys that are getting in through the rotations right now. So we’re doing a good job at executing the plays when they’re called and we’re going to continue to do that through the spring and hopefully build up a little bit of confidence in the position.”
Junior LB Darrin Kirkland Jr.
(On assuming a leadership role within the defensive unit)
“They just said to embrace it. We always talk about ‘next man up’ and ‘it’s your time’ and it is my time. I have to embrace that role and be the leader. Be the alpha male that we always talk about. The guys I’ve seen play — Curt Maggitt, Jalen Reeves-Maybin and Cam Sutton, all those guys on defense — they have been able to be great leaders. It’s my time to embrace that role now.”
Sophomore WR Marquez Callaway
(On becoming more comfortable with the offense)
“I’m more comfortable, so that’s more fun. But looking up at Josh Malone and Jauan Jennings, all the older guys, they all set a high standard. Last year I was under their footsteps and they kind of carried me and all the younger guys.”