Jimmy’s blog: Some Vols have false positives, return to practice

By Jimmy Hyams 

Tennessee coach Jeremy Pruitt said UT had a “few false positives’’ based on Sunday testing. He did not say how many. He said those players missed practice Monday but returned Wednesday.

Here are other notes about Tennessee:

* Tennessee is last in the SEC in third-down conversions (26.1%) and only once had at least a 33% ratio. Pruitt said it’s a combination of lack of execution and too man third-and-longs. “We need to be in manageable third downs,’’ he said.

Pruitt: `It’s much easier to convert third and 1 or 2 than third and 9 or 10. Winning first and second down is important. The other thing is creating explosive plays. When you have to covert third and long over and over, the odds are against you putting long drives together.’

* Pruitt said he thinks Arkansas WR Traylon Burks (6-3, 232) is “one of the best players in the conference. … He’s a mismatch guy.’’ Burks is 6-3, 232 and runs about a 4.4, Pruitt said. Burks has had 18 catches for 254 yards and 3 TDs in the last 2 games and had 7 for 102 v. Georgia.

* Arkansas coach Sam Pittman also likes Burks: “He’s talented, has big hands, wears a 5X glove … good speed.’’ Arkansas has used Burks in the slot, at wideout, run him out of the backfield and had him throw a pass. “We just try to use him every way we can on offense,’’ Pittman said.

* Pruitt said Arkansas’ talent level is much better than it was in 2017, when he played against them while Alabama’s DC. “On each side of the ball, they’ve got 6-7 players that have a chance to be All-SEC type players. Their guys are playing hard and with confidence and playing together.’’

* Pruitt said he hopes UT has improved its tackling during the open date; UT had 23 missed tackles for 97 yards against Alabama, Pruitt said. He said Bama did a good job getting guys in space and making UT “play all over the field.’’ He said UT needs to contain the edges and be closer in pass coverage.

* Pruitt said he wants his offensive ID to be balance: “You’ve got to be able to run the football, throw the football, got to have quarterbacks make all the throws, got to execute at a high level, mix up tempo, sometimes got to play fast and sometimes slow down and protect the defense or protect the lead. Got to create explosive plays, whether its run game or throw game and score touchdowns in the red area.’’

* Pruitt said QB Jarrett Guarantano helps get UT in the right plays and “one thing about being a quarterback is how you lead the other 10 guys on the field.’’ He said a QB must recognize a blitz or get OL aligned when a DL stems. “He’s done a nice job leading the quarterback room, helping these (younger) guys understand,’’ Pruitt said.

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