Vol Report: Linebackers Lead Defense into Chevrolet Orange and White Game - FreakNotes

Vol Report: Linebackers Lead Defense into Chevrolet Orange and White Game

UT Sports Information

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee football team held its final practice before the annual Chevrolet Orange and White Game on Thursday at Haslam Field.

The Vols practiced in full pads two days before they will wrap up spring workouts at the intra-squad scrimmage at 6 p.m. on Saturday inside Neyland Stadium.

The format of the game will be 1s versus 1s and 2s versus 2s with the first-team offense and second-team defense comprising of the “White Team” and the first-team defense and second-team offense donning the “Orange” jerseys.

The game will feature a running clock until the final four minutes of each half. It will air live on the SEC Network.

Tennessee has several players who will be running through the “T” for the first time on Saturday, including 10 early enrollees such as tackle Wanya Morris.

“He had two good scrimmages, it will be interesting to see how he does Saturday night,” offensive line coach Will Friend said. “That’s what I told him today, ‘let’s see how it’s going to be on Saturday night, when you walk into that stadium for the first time.’ That’s another reason why it’s great to get a guy midyear. I think it’s great when the fans sell this thing out, It puts some pressure on the young man so he doesn’t have to get it for the first time when the scoreboard’s on in September.” 

Pads will be popping with live tackling making for a great opportunity for Tennessee’s linebackers.

Rising senior Daniel Bituli is one of the leaders of the Vols’ inside linebackers unit. He is joined by rising junior Will Ignont and rising redshirt sophomore Shanon Reid as upperclassmen at the Mike and Will positions with rising redshirt senior Darrin Kirkland, Jr. out for the spring with an injury.

“Daniel Bituli coming back for his second year in the system and being a senior, he’s had a really good spring,” inside linebackers coach Kevin Sherrer said. “I think Will Ignont and Shannon Reid, those guys have done well.”

In their second year in head coach Jeremy Pruitt’s defensive system, Bituli and the other linebackers are far ahead of the pace from a year ago.

“Last year, everyday was a new day,” Sherrer said. “So, when you hit the first day of the second year they know what to expect. They saw it last spring and they saw it in the summer and the fall and now this is their fourth time to be presented a lot of the same information, at least terminology wise. It’s like speaking the same language now instead of everyday you’re giving them new words. You can really communicate so now you’re teaching them how to play the position and how to operate.”

Johnson Excited to Coach Running Backs
Second-year assistant coach David Johnson moved to oversee the running backs this season after coaching the wide receivers last fall.

Johnson is one of several assistants with new responsibilities. The longtime college coach and former New Orleans high school head coach said he was excited for the new challenge.

“Whatever we need to win football games,” Johnson said. “I can coach football. I can coach running backs, tight ends, I can be the water boy. Whatever we need to do to win. I just have that attitude. I’m just glad I have an opportunity on this staff. Now, I have a new opportunity at a new position. So, I’m just excited for that opportunity.”

Johnson was the head coach at St. Augstine High School in New Orleans, where he coached future first-round pick at running back, Leonard Fournette, as well as future NFL stars defensive back Tyrann Mathieu and offensive lineman Trai Turner.

Full Chevrolet Orange and White Game Day Information 
In addition to the live game where the first team offense will face the first team defense, Tennessee has several other promotions scheduled, including:

  • Schedule Poster Pick-up
    • Fans can stop by the Fax Experience Headquarters tent at Vol Village 3 – 6 p.m. to pick up a FREE Limited Edition Die-Cut Football Schedule Poster while supplies last.
  • Smokey Statue Unveiling
    • Ten statues honoring all the bluetick hounds that have served as Smokey will be unveiled at the Pedstrian Bridge by the Student Union at 2:30 p.m.
  • Chevy Truck Give-Away
    • One lucky contestant will win an all-new 2019 Chevy Silverado as part of the “Go Orange! Go White!” Silverado Sweepstakes.
  • VFL Skills Challenge
    • Field goal kick, punt catch, passing and other competitions will be held at halftime.
  • VFL Autograph Alley
    • Fans can stop by Vol Village 4 – 5 p.m. for autographs with their favorite VFLs.
  • Football Helmet Magnet / Win Season Tickets
    • first 10,000 fans through the gates will recieve a “Powered by the T” Football Helmet Magnet courtesy of Coca-Cola. Following the game, fans can enter for a chance to win 2019 Football Season Tickets by posting a photo of their magnet with the hashtag #StickItForSeasonTickets.
  • Season Ticket Requests and Seat Tour
  • VOLS Letters Photo Opp in Vol Village

For more information visit the Gameday Central Page for the Orange & White Game.