#VolReport: Assistants’ Take On UGA

by UT Sports Information on September 25, 2014

in Tennessee Vols Football

unnamed (30)KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee will come face-to-face with a offense known to be different in its schemes and one with a successful run game. With defensive leadership, defensive coordinator Jancek is looking forward to the challenge that awaits in Athens.

“Anytime you get players with experience, that’s an added bonus,” Jancek said. “Some of your best college football teams aren’t necessarily the most talented but they have a senior laden team. They have guys that have redshirted and been in the program for a long time. Usually you can win with those types of players.

“They’ve experienced a lot more and they’re able to handle a lot more. You can be a lot more flexible as a coach. Having guys with experience in that first group is invaluable.”

Led by upperclassmen such as A.J. JohnsonJordan Williams and Curt Maggitt, the Vols will focus on stopping the Bulldogs.

“They do a great job with their offensive line. They really do some great things in terms of scheming you up and when to pull the center and the tackles and when not to, trying to create run throughs and things like that,” Jancek said on Georgia’s success in running. “It’s a combination of having a really good offensive line and obviously some great backs.”

Georgia has some different formations, such as one with two backs, that Tennessee is yet to see and a few that Jancek understands will be a challenge.

“Georgia is a power team. Georgia will be in 21 personnel then they can be in 11, now 12,” Jancek explained. “Those are things you have to make sure you’re on top of your game too. Make sure you have the right people in the game, the personnel to matchup. It’s more of an organizational thing but it’s challenging. “

As a coordinator, Jancek will prepare to create matchups that will work, but he realizes what the orange swarm defense must do to come out on top.

“From a personnel standpoint we’re going to really have to play with great leverage up front,” Jancek said. “We’re going to have to try to do some things schematically to try to keep them off balance. We’re going to have to play extremely hard. We have to get 11 hands to the football. We’re going to have to be turnover conscious and get the ball back and be opportunistic when it comes to punching the ball out, interceptions. It’s going to be a great challenge and fun.”


For Offensive Coordinator Mike Bajakian, the Oklahoma road trip served a valuable purpose. Not only did the trip allow roughly 50 percent of the traveling party to experience their first road game, but it presented a chance to play in a hostile environment similar to the one that awaits the Vols this weekend in Athens, Ga.

“I remember saying going into the Oklahoma game and coming out of it that, every experience we have is a learning experience for the young guys,” Bajakian said. “For the 20-something freshmen that have played and for the 50 percent of the traveling squad that was traveling for the first time. I think we’ll be better off [facing Georgia] for it.”

Facing their second ranked opponent in as many games, film study and breaking down Georgia’s schemes have been at the top of Bajakian’s To-Do list during Tennessee’s bye week. While a few patterns may have appeared, he notes that one of Georgia’s strengths is their defense’s versatility to adapt to each opponent.

“They’re just talented. They’re very good at rushing the passer and conscious with trying to take the ball away,” Bajakian said. “You see them going for strips all the time, things that we preach on our defense. But also schematically, they pressure a lot. They pressure from all different directions and have many different fronts. There are a lot of unknowns going into this game as far as what exactly we will see.”

Notably, Georgia’s defense boasts a few of the best linebackers and defensive ends in the league. They stand out, they demonstrate speed and agility which will present challenges for the Vols’ young offensive line.

“They’re very disruptive. I think that’s the best way to describe them,” Bajakian said. “They’re very athletic and aggressive, they’re aggressive schematically and in their style of play. They create a lot of ball disruptions, take aways and we’ll definitely face that challenge.”

While Team 118 continues to prepare for SEC play, several starters will also be receiving reps following brief hiatuses from the field, including tight end Ethan Wolf. For Bajakian, he sees a moment of opportunity for those individuals to come back strong with an edge as well as an opportunity for others to step up in their place during a critical game week for the Vols.

“We always need playmakers and we’ve challenged our guys across the board, whether it’s the running backs, the receivers, the tight ends,” Bajakian said. “We need guys that are going to make people miss, break tackles, make the extra tough catch and we need to make sure that we have more than one of those [guys].”


With the Vols’ wide receiver corps suffering with various injuries, true freshmen Josh Malone has an opportunity to see more action when the Vols travel to Athens. The five-star recruit has five catches through three games, but he should make a larger impact at Georgia.

In addition to the chances which have developed due to the injuries, Malone has stepped up his game and showed his coachZach Azzanni he has merited more time.

“The good thing about Josh is that he has grown every week,” said Azzanni. “He has gotten better every week.”

Malone made two catches for 23 yards at #4 Oklahoma and Azzanni has continued to see him play a more vital role for Wide Receiver U.

“”He went on the road to Oklahoma and made some plays for us,” Azzanni said. “Oklahoma is not too shabby of a football team and he was able to go out there and hold his own … There is a difference between week one and week three, game one and game three. As long as I see another step up then I am happy. I want to see a rise all season. If I can do that then I am happy with Josh’s performance.”


Despite an early camp foot injury, freshman running back Derrell Scott has stayed mentally prepared for the moment that he would have an opportunity. Now, he has that chance with the Georgia game approaching.

“He’s been doing good. It’s good to have him back out there,” running backs coach Robert Gillespie said. “The guys in the training room did a really good job bringing him along. The reps he’s had this week have been good.”

Scott missed the first three games of the season but that doesn’t necessarily worry Gillespie with game day countdown at three days.

“He does the natural things well, which is to run the ball,” Gillespie said. “We’ll pick and choose the spots to put him in, some pass plays, some specialty plays. One things that help him is that he’s smart. He’s really taken advantage of the mental reps just watching film on his own.

“We want to be selective and be smart on the amount of reps that he gets. He’s definitely ready but nothing’s like game reps. The fact that he didn’t get to play in the first three games, those are reps that you can never get back. Eventually you have to push him out and see what he can do. I’m confident in him. He runs the ball hard. He has good ball security.”

Gillespie worked closely with Scott ensuring that he stayed on top of the game treating him like a traveling player. Scott was given the same packages as were Marlin Lane and Jalen Hurd as well as the same tests. Despite his injury, he has been alongside his roommates. In his return to the field, Scott has ran with the running back group during practice preparing for an opportunity on Saturday.

“There’s still a lot he won’t know until he gets into the game,” Gillespie said. “There’s nothing like game speed reps. He’s going to get out there and make his plays. The fun part for him is that he’s going to get the chance to play this week. The more fun part for me is that it’s going to be against Georgia.”


Here are sound bites from the assistant coaches after Wednesday’s practice


»(On Josh Malone’s continued development)

“He has responded well. He has matured over the course of training camp, over the course of the season and continues to get better and better every week.”

»(On the team’s limited number of penalties this season)

“That’s always an emphasis and one of the keys to Coach Jones’ program is discipline, making sure we have the discipline to avoid things like penalties on everything we do in every facet of our life.”

»(On the possibility of Derrell Scott making his first appearance vs. Georgia)

“Absolutely. He’s had a good week in practice and brings a spark to us. He is very quick, has good speed and runs with good strength.”


»(On competing against Todd Gurley)

“As a competitor you always want to play against the best. He’s a big time back, and we know if we can go out there and do some good things against him, we can sure just about do it against anybody. It’s not just him. It’s the trio of back. They bring in Sony Michel and Nick Chubb. Those guys are great players in their own right. We’ve got a great challenge on Saturday. We know it and we’re excited to meet that challenge.”


»(On Georgia’s line)

“Good players. Those are some of the same players we played last year. We went right at them. We played a physical brand of football last year. Nothing is going to change. We have to respect those guys but we respect ourselves more than we respect them. We’ll go out and play a good football game.”

»(On how beneficial it was to play Oklahoma, a 4-3 team, like Georgia)

“It was good. Every rep of game speed reps are valuable. We have a lot of young guys that are playing and the great thing about it is that they were probably one of the best defenses that we will see this year. Right now, we’re battle tested. We’re calloused a little bit. We’ve had a week off to make some adjustments and do things a little bit better.”


»(On talk this week of Pig Howard’s performance against Georgia last year)

“I told him at the very beginning of this week, if I have to say anything to you this week then you have no soul. I was just joking with him about it. He knows and I don’t have to say much about it. That is the past. This is a new Georgia team and this is a new Tennessee team. We are trying to control what we can control on Saturday. If I am him then I am sure it is in the back of his head and he wants to rebound against that. It’s human nature.”

»(On the importance of moving the ball this week)

“We have emphasized making you miss this year and trying to get yards after the catch. This is going to be a field position game. Theiroffense is well documented. They will run the ball and chew up the clock. So we need to make some plays to get the chains moving on our end.”

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