Category Archives: Uncategorized

‘Sweet Home Alabama’ blares at Vols practice on Tuesday

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — As is customary, Tennessee’s football practice included a few selections from the opponent’s playlist.

That means the Vols heard “Yea, Alabama,” the Crimson Tide’s fight song, and “Sweet Home Alabama,” by Lynyrd Skynyrd.

Also, Butch Jones included his familiar tweaks of Tennessee players.

To defensive end Corey Miller: “C’mon, Miller. You have to go against the best tackle in the country, Cyrus Kounandjio.”

To offensive tackle Ja’Wuan James: “James, you get to play on the same field as Kouandjio.”

Tennessee football: Vols practice Tuesday leading up to Austin Peay game

Justin Worley, Mike Bajakian

Quarterback Justin Worley takes a snap in practice on Aug. 27, 2013, as offensive coordinator Mike Bajakian looks on. (Photo by Evan Woodbery)

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — When Justin Worley worked with the first team during Tuesday’s practice, we no longer had to get our notepads and jot down the observation.

Worley is officially the starting quarterback.

Backup Nathan Peterman will be among many players we talk to after practice wraps up this evening. Check back for notes, quotes, stories, videos and photos later Tuesday night and into Wednesday evening.

* Before practice, Butch Jones told his team about a walk-on who had taken out three loans and was $30,000 in debt in order to play football. He contrasted that with certain unnamed scholarship players who “just show up.”

* There were a few roster additions late last week. Most of the new walk-ons are covered in my blog post about the updated roster earlier today. But there was one new walk-on I missed. Defensive back Michael L. Williams of Knoxville’s Bearden High rejoined the team. He was previously a walk-on in the spring.

This complicates things because there’s another walk-on defensive back named Michael Williams — Michael F. Williams from Maryland.

When Michael L. departed, Michael F. reverted to just plain old Michael. Now he’s back to Michael F.

For what it’s worth, Michael F. was still wearing a green non-contact jersey and working on the sidelines on Tuesday.

* Other players in the Hole include kicker George Bullock, defensive end Jacques Smith and receiver Ryan Jenkins.

* Receiver Paul Harris had a massive bandage on his forehead but otherwise looked OK.

Rich Homie Quan is a popular pre-practice selection. His hit song “Type of Way” contains the lines: “I probably make more money in six months/Than what’s in your papa’s safe/Look like I robbed a bank.”

Coincidentally, a bank on UT’s campus was robbed earlier this afternoon. Quan is not a suspect.

The News Sentinel’s new subscription plan: Now activating

extry-extryKNOXVILLE, Tennessee — Already a print subscriber to the News Sentinel?

Take 30 seconds this morning to activate your premium account here. The premium account gives you access to all the News Sentinel’s coverage on any platform.

I just activated my premium account, and it was a breeze.

Not a print subscriber? Click here to sign up for a digital-only plan or a premium subscription that includes home delivery.

If you’d like to read more about the paper’s decision to switch to a subscription plan, read a letter from editor Jack McElroy.

What if you’re an avid reader but aren’t in a position to subscribe just yet? Some stories will remain free, and many stories will be free for a limited time before they are available only for subscribers. Following me on the various social media networks listed below is still a good way to keep up to date on Tennessee news. I’ll always let you know  whether links to content are free or available only to premium subscribers ($).

For now, at least, there will be no changes to this blog. Consider signing up to receive e-mail notifications when the blog is updated. Just use the module on the right side of this page.

UPDATE: I fixed the links! Sorry about that.

Tennessee football practice wrap: Vols ‘stronger and faster’ in 1st workout, but Butch Jones not fully satisfied

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — You had to lean forward to hear everything Tennessee coach Butch Jones said after Friday’s practice.

His voice was already hoarse after Day 1, and there are about 30 more practices to go.

“I promised myself I wasn’t going to lose my voice on the first day and I failed on that,” Jones said.

Speaking generally about the first day, Jones said he could tell that players were “stronger, bigger and faster” and he was pleased with the retention from the spring. On the other hand, he saw a letdown in “momentum and intensity” toward the end of practice.

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2013 SEC master football schedule: Start planning your TV viewing today


Austin Peay, Tennessee football schedule

That’s the Austin Peay mascot who will be patrolling the sidelines of Neyland Stadium on Aug. 31 (AP photo)

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — That huge document below is the SEC’s master football schedule grid for the 2013 season. Here’s a direct link to the .pdf.

Tennessee‘s two off-weeks provide — Florida-LSU on Oct. 12, and Florida-South Carolina, Alabama-Mississippi State or Georgia-Auburn on Nov. 16.

There are several big games on the Aug. 31 opening weekend that are likely to overshadow the Vols’ opener against Austin Peay. In fact, it’s hard to see where many weekends in which the Vols will have the spotlight, even if things go better than expected this year.

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Jerome Dews is 17th commitment, 3rd linebacker in potential 2014 Tennessee class


KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — It took about 48 hours, but Maryland linebacker prospect Jerome Dews is officially on The List.

Dews talked of his commitment in great detail with the Washington Post, but the recruiting sites held off on adding him to the Vols’ commitment list. Why? It’s not unheard of for a team to take a lightly recruited two-star player late in the process. It is somewhat unusual for a team to take that commitment in June.

Jerome Dews (photo courtesy KNS partner 247Sports)

But the Vols do need linebackers as much or more than any other position, so Dews’ commitment is unlikely to spook any other player the Vols could be recruiting.

Also, it’s likely that there will be shuffling on the Vols’ commitment list between now and February. If UT does much better or worse than expected in 2013, some recruiting doors could open or close accordingly.


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How the recruiting sites projected Tennessee’s roster: A ranking from 1 to 82

Ja'Wuan James, recruiting rankings

Ja’Wuan James is the only consensus five-star player on Tennessee’s roster. (Photo from GoVolsXtra)

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — For most players who sign with a college team out of high school, their recruiting ranking is quickly forgotten. But for elite prospects, the burden or benefit of that high ranking doesn’t go away.

We reviewed the rankings for the Vols’ 82 scholarship players to see which high school prep stars were highly regarded and which ones were less acclaimed.

The numbers are from the 247Sports composite average, which aggregates the rankings of all the major recruiting services. In that sense, this is a good way to get a “consensus” ranking. Some services might have ranked players higher or lower.

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Reported UT commit Jerome Dews on coaching staff: ‘They like me’ and don’t care about ‘politics, publicity’ — or rankings


KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — Butch Jones, like most coaches, publicly disavows recruiting rankings.

The only opinions that matter, Jones has said, are those of the UT coaching staff.

Most college football coaches will give you a similar refrain. (Although when I was at Auburn, running backs coach Curtis Luper once gave a refreshingly honest answer: “If they’re keeping the score, you want to win, right?”)

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Tennessee football: Vols player-by-player stats on a really big map

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — There’s more than one way to visualize the 2013 football team.

If you’ve had your fill of spreadsheets, this map offers another way of looking at the same stuff.

All 82 current scholarship football players are included in this map, and you can play around with the numbers based on class, geography, recruiting ranking and more.

This map was constructed on the relatively new Google Maps Engine light, so I’m still trying to figure out how to best share it. Let me know if you have any ideas. As best I can tell, the map shown above is static, but you can manipulate the map here using your own Google account. You can even change stuff, add markings, etc., and it won’t affect the “master copy.”

Follow me on Twitter, Facebook, Youtube,  Google Plus or tumblr. E-mail with questions or comments.

Q&A with Bob Welton, Vols’ new player personnel director


KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — Bob Welton was working for the Cleveland Browns, living in Boise, Idaho, and enjoying life as an NFL scout.

But when Butch Jones called him up with an offer to come to Tennessee as the Vols’ new director of personnel, Welton decided to make the switch.

“When he asked me to come here, I was like, ‘This is the one guy I can’t say no to,'” Welton said in an interview. “I’ve had chances before to leave, but I was happy in the NFL. The NFL is great. Everything is good about it — the pay, the insurance, the benefits. I loved it. When he called, my wife was like, ‘We’re doing what?’ I said, ‘No, wait until you meet him. This is going to be awesome.'”

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