VOL REPORT: Vols Continue to Improve Every Day

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee head coach Jeremy Pruitt said the Vols continued to work hard and improve as the team gets set for its final non-conference game of the regular season against Charlotte, wrapping up practice on Wednesday night at Haslam Field.
“They’re very well coached, they’re fundamentally sound, they create turnovers, they give you different looks,” Pruitt said. “They don’t allow you to run the football and they eliminate explosive plays.”
The Vols will welcome the Charlotte 49ers to Neyland Stadium as former alumni, fans and friends return for Homecoming 2018.
“Our guys continued to work hard out there,” Pruitt said. “I think we’ve improved every day this week and it’s good to see that we’ve got some carry over from last week on both sides of the ball. We had a lot of lessons we could learn from last week and our guys have done a good job trying to prepare and not make the same mistakes twice.”
The Vols have had several players start games in the defensive backfield, including true freshmen cornerbacks Alontae Taylor and Bryce Thompson, the only true freshman duo to start an SEC game as the cornerback tandem in the league. Juniors Baylen Buchanan (at multiple DB spots) and Nigel Warrior (safety) have started every game. Buchanan has seen time at nickelback, cornerback and safety.
Pruitt said he wants his top five or six defensive backs on the field and has all of his players cross train.
“We try to teach all of our defensive backs two spots,” Pruitt said. “We teach everything conceptionally, so if you pay attention in the meetings and you jump in there when we’re doing walkthroughs and things like that, you should be able to play all spots the way we teach it, so it’s not uncommon for us. You look over the history of our coaching staff, we’ve always had players that have played multiple spots. I think you have to do that if you’re going to keep your best players on the field. If you’re going to play with five defensive backs, and maybe the backup left corner is your 10th best defensive back and the left corner gets hurt, it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to put the 10th best player in the secondary. You want to put the sixth best guy in there, so to do that guys have to learn multiple spots, and Baylen has been able to do that and that’s positive.”
Tennessee will welcome a large number of alumni back to Neyland Stadium this weekend for the 2018 edition of Homecoming. This is the first-ever meeting between the two teams. UT is riding a four-game win-streak on Homecoming, and is 72-19-3 all-time in Homecoming games. The Vols defeated Southern Miss, 24-10, in last year’s homecoming game.
Homecoming is a great time for alumni to reconnect to the campus and reunite with old friends. It is also a great time for current students to celebrate what makes the university truly unique and outstanding.
VFL and motivational speaker Inky Johnson, who played for the Vols from 2004-06, will serve as the Parade Grand Marshall for Homecoming. The parade will begin at 4 p.m. on Friday and will showcase student organization floats, community vehicles and includes the eighth annual Little Vol Walk, featuring children ages 10 and younger riding on decorated wagons, strollers, or tricycles. Johnson will also be speaking with faculty and staff as part of the alumni events.
Johnson is an American motivational speaker and former standout cornerback for the Vols on the field. He studied psychology and is now a motivational speaker at schools, community centers and ceremonies throughout the United States. He has served as keynote speaker at numerous events, including the Greater Knoxville Sports Hall of Fame induction ceremony.


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