No. 18/18 Tennessee (5-2, 2-2 SEC) is coming off of its bye week. The Vols continue to focus on improvement and approaching each week with the same intensity and attention to detail.
The Vols will next face South Carolina (3-4, 1-4 SEC) on Oct. 29 at Williams-Brice Stadium with a 7:15 p.m. ET broadcast on ESPN2.
The Gamecocks are coming off of a 34-28 home win over UMass on Saturday.
Under Jones, Tennessee is 3-0 against South Carolina and each of the last four games between the Vols and the Gamecocks have been decided by three points or less.
Butch Jones | Head Coach
Jones and the Vols continued to work on the practice field and in film study during the bye week. The team also enjoyed an evening at the movies last Wednesday and it heads into this week ready to get back to work.
“I thought it was a very productive open week, work week. Now what did we do with it? We had a lot of individuals gain physical reps. Some gained mental reps. Again, it’s very important now that we get back to work and we have game-speed repetitions with some time off. So I’m looking forward to practice today. It’ll be a short practice like it always is on Monday. Obviously, we start the second half of the season. The goal does not change. We’re looking to be 1-0 each and every week and it starts with today looking to be 1-0 today.”
Josh Malone | #3 | Wide Receiver | Junior
After battling through the first seven weeks of the season, the Vols were also able to use the bye week for some much-needed rest. Malone said that he made sure to rest and prepare his body for the grind that lies ahead.
“We all know what position we put ourselves into going into the bye week and the best thing we can do during the bye week is to get the rest that we need and take care of our bodies. When it is time to go to practice, we work on our technique, improve on our game and get stronger. That is how we as a team handle our bye week.”
Colton Jumper | #53 | Linebacker | Junior
Jones announced that Darrin Kirkland Jr. is expected to return to the field on Saturday. Jumper, who started the last five games at middle linebacker and is familiar with all three linebacker positions, described what Kirkland brings to the defense.
“He’s a very athletic guy, very quick. A lot of play making abilities as you guys have seen in the past, his speed from sideline to sideline and he’s a really smart player also. He really just embodies what a linebacker is”
Ethan Wolf | #82 | Tight End | Junior
Tennessee will look to duplicate its impressive six-game winning streak over its last six games of the 2015 season. Wolf said that every SEC game is important and players need to be at their best each week.
“We always talk about playing good football all year round and our goal as a team since I’ve been here has been to continuously get better. You cannot plateau at Week 5 or Week 6, and that is when the barrier comes in for the younger guys who have not played as much. You have to bust through that. It comes down to taking care of your body and not having injuries. There coaches do a good job of understanding how we feel and what our bodies need and taking care of nagging issues.”
Emmanuel Moseley | #12 | Defensive Back | Junior
With 33 career games played, Moseley has been a key veteran in a Tennessee secondary that has battled through injuries. Moseley is the most-experienced member of the secondary after Cameron Sutton and he has taken on leadership responsibilities over the past few weeks.
“A lot has definitely been put on my shoulders, but I feel that it’s been put on the rest of the players’ shoulders too. I’m not one person that can just control the game. Everybody has to come in and be ready for the ‘next man up’ mentality.”
More Sound Bites
Head Coach Butch Jones
(On South Carolina)
“Great challenge going on the road in the Southeastern Conference. South Carolina continues to gain a lot of momentum. As a coach, you sit and watch their body of work on video and I see a football team continuing to improve and get better and better. I’m very impressed with them defensively. They make you beat them. They make you beat them through execution. They’re only giving up 21 points per game. I believe they’re 11th in the country in red zone efficiency, so execution will be at a premium. They take the ball away on defense. Offensively, they’re playing two freshman quarterbacks and I think they really complement each other so it really challenges you schematically with which quarterback is in the game. They have playmakers big up front, big physical offensive line and they play a number of running backs, so it’s going to be a great challenge for us and just like every week, it never changes. You have to win each and every day in practice so I’m looking forward to getting back on the practice field.”
(On UT’s games against South Carolina in recent years)
“If you kind of look at this series, I believe that the last four games have been decided by 11 points. Most of the games have come down to the final play of the game, so everything is in your preparation and preparing to be at your best each and every day.”
Junior Receiver Josh Malone
(On Tennessee’s close games against South Carolina in recent years)
“I know that this game has always come down to the wire. Both teams are highly competitive. This is a good test for us going to Columbia and playing South Carolina. They are solid on defense and are a solid opponent that is well-coached and physical. In the SEC, you expect every game to come down to the wire. That is the nature of the SEC.”
Junior Linebacker Colton Jumper
(On playing different linebacker positions)
“When I first got here, I started out as a Will linebacker and I’ve played them all. From the Cheetah, the Mike and Sam, to the Will. They’re all very similar so really you’re making the same call, doing the same things. It might be a little different but really nothing else too much changes. I would be comfortable playing the Will but I would say the most natural one, is probably the Mike just because I’ve been playing it the most. But that’s not to say I wouldn’t fit in playing the Will linebacker.”
Junior Tight End Ethan Wolf
(On the bye week)
“Wednesday we were supposed to have practice and everyone was taped up, but you could tell there was a little bit of fatigue on the team for sure. Going through a seven-game grind like that, exhaustion is expected. Coach made a gut call and rewarded us with a day off to go see a movie. I think it helped us as a team to re-energize and have time to lay back for an extra day and get ready for this week. We saw The Accountant and it was a really good movie. The guys enjoyed it.”
Junior Defensive Back Emmanuel Moseley
(On South Carolina quarterback Jake Bentley)
“I think he is a really great quarterback. Even though he is supposed to be a senior (in high school) right now it doesn’t matter. He went out there and did a great job. He got his team the win, so I feel like he is a really great quarterback and we have to prepare for him.”