KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — Tennessee coach Butch Jones was critical of his team’s intensity after Friday’s camp opener, but he was much more upbeat Saturday night — even if his lost voice still hadn’t returned.
“Today was very productive,” he said. “This group is extremely prideful.”
Jones singled out the freshmen wide receivers for praise, saying the group had “improved our football team” from the spring.
Other notes and quotes:
* Jones said former fullback/tight end Justin King was now at linebacker — or would be when he returns from a hamstring injury. Jones said King would be back by the end of camp.
* Defensive coordinator John Jancek said he thought Saturday was better “in terms of enthusiasm” than Day 1 and that he felt that the group had done a good job building on the progress of the spring.
* Jancek said he wants consistency out of his group. He doesn’t like an up-and-down camp, but wants to see consistent growth building up to the first game.
* Defensive backs coach Willie Martinez said he didn’t see senior safety Byron Moore as a second-team player, even though that’s there he’s listed on the depth chart. Moore was bracketed behind sophomore LaDarrell McNeil, but Martinez said he doesn’t have a leader. In fact, he’d like to feel comfortable playing four or five safeties.
* Receiver Cody Blanc “won” the first challenge of practice on Saturday, beating cornerback Malik Foreman on a short pass play in the end zone. Why did Jones choose Foreman, a true freshman, to be on center stage at the start of practice?
“It’s a lesson that every time you step on the football field, you’ve got to be ready to play,” he said.