Tag Archives: Mike Bajakian

Wrapping up Friday’s scrimmage at Neyland Stadium (video, photos, .gifs)

Coach Butch Jones (right) talks to offensive coordinator Mike Bajakian before the scrimmage (photo by Evan Woodbery)

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — Tennessee coach Butch Jones dismissed his players on Friday with instructions to visit with family and get some rest. But he also told them to be ready for football when they return.

The Vols are now in the midst of an 10-day break from practices, but the final practice on Friday was a fearsome one.

Subscribers can read all about on GoVolsXtra or today’s News Sentinel. I’ll update our depth charts with a few tidbits gleaned from the scrimmage later today.

For now, check out some brief pre-scrimmage highlights and some photos and .gifs after the jump.

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Tennessee spring football Saturday roundup (photos, video, .gifs)

Butch Jones at practice on Saturday (photos by Evan Woodbery)

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — Tennessee coach Butch Jones started his tenure last spring with several practices forced indoors by chilly weather.

So perhaps the two brilliant days on Friday and Saturday are a good omen for his second season.

Jones didn’t talk to reporters on Saturday, as he handled Junior Day duties. But we did have interesting interviews with Corey Vereen, Marquez North, Cameron Sutton and others.

You can read all our coverage on GoVolsXtra, although some content is for subscribers only.

You’ll want to check out at least the beginning of today’s practice video for some solid one-on-one footage.

Here’s some of what I wrote about Sutton, who has been victimized by the Von Pearson show so far in spring camp:

Tennessee sophomore cornerback Cameron Sutton made some nice stops during drills on Saturday morning, but he’s having hard time forgetting one play on which he was burned badly Friday night.

In that play, junior college newcomer Von Pearson caught a pass near the sidelines, juked left and then turned upfield, all but buckling the knees of Sutton, normally one of the Vols’ fastest and most reliable defensive backs.

Why can’t Sutton forget it?

Because it’s playing on a loop over and over again in the Tennessee football football facility as part of the daily practice highlights.

“He’s shifty,” Sutton said of Pearson.

When Jones said the 14 early-enrolled newcomers would elevate the level of competition in spring camp, this is what he had in mind.

Not only will players like Pearson and highly rated freshman receiver Josh Malone create new competition at receiver, they’ll also be providing tougher daily tests for the secondary.

I also wrote about Vereen, who lived up to Butch Jones’ billing as a serious and studious worker. Here’s a snippet from his interview, and a little bit of Marlin Lane.

Offensive graduate assistant Nick Sheridan on Saturday (photo by Evan Woodbery)

The Vols didn’t have much coaching staff turnover during the offseason, but they did welcome a new offensive graduate assistant in Nick Sheridan, who will work a lot with the quarterbacks.

Sheridan is a former Michigan quarterback who last worked at South Florida.

Check out more photos and .gifs after the jump. Or click here for a link to the full gallery.

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Tennessee football position preview: Vols will have more options at tight end in 2014

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The fifth in a series of position-by-position reviews of the Tennessee football team with an eye toward the start of spring practice in March.

Tight end Brendan Downs (KNS photo by Adam Brimer)

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — By the end of the season, Tennessee’s second-string tight end was a recently converted quarterback.

That former quarterback, walk-on Joe Stocstill, was one of the pleasant surprises of 2013. Even so, coaches have no desire to repeat the scenario in 2014.

Two highly regarded freshman tight ends will enroll next week, which should give offensive coordinator Mike Bajakian some more flexibility this spring.

Everyone on the current roster except for Joseph Ayres will be back in 2014. Ayres suffered a career-ending ACL injury early in the year. He could have been a valuable reserve if he had stayed healthy.

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Report: Bowling Green interested in Tennessee coordinator Mike Bajakian

Offensive coordinator Mike Bajakian at practice last month (photos by Evan Woodbery)

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — Tennessee offensive coordinator Mike Bajakian could be an option for Bowling Green in its search for a new head coach, according to a report by CoachingSearch.com.

Bajakian, 39, has served as coordinator for Butch Jones during all seven of his years as head coach, including stops at Central Michigan and Cincinnati.

Bowling Green is searching for a replacement for Dave Clawson, who was hired as new head coach at Wake Forest.

Like Bajakian, Clawson is an alumnus of Williams College. He served as offensive coordinator for Tennessee in 2008 before being hired as head coach at Bowling Green.

Tennessee football continues special teams focus in preparation for Vandy (with practice video, photos)


KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — After spending the bye week indoors, Tennessee moved back outside on Tuesday afternoon.

The temperature plummeted when the sun went down, but that didn’t stop offensive line coach Don Mahoney and tight ends coach Mark Elder from donning shorts. Running backs coach Robert Gillespie was on crutches and was sometimes driven around the field on a motorized cart. Gillespie was injured in the first half of the Auburn game while celebrating a touchdown.

The media viewing period contained more special teams coverage work. Michael Palardy boomed some incredible punts in the early period.

Watch the video montage in the highest possible setting for best results. We’ll have less mournful video later this evening.

Vols practice highlights from Tuesday (video)


KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — The Vols practiced on a gray afternoon at Haslam Field on Tuesday. Rain held off until overnight, but could force the team indoors on Wednesday.

The highlights video includes some good shots of receivers and some jokes from Butch Jones. As always, the video features the most comprehensive stretching you will find anywhere.

Watch in the highest HD setting for best results.

Vols offense lagging, but special teams offering a boost


KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — We’ll publish our weekly By the Numbers feature for News Sentinel subscribers later today and it should offer some really interesting data on the Florida game.

For now let’s take a big-picture look at Tennessee’s performance through four games this year.

I like checking out the weekly UPS/STATS Team Performance Index. You can view the details on the webpage, but it essentially tries to combine offense, defense, special teams and “miscues” and weigh that against the strength of the team’s schedule.

Tennessee's national rankings in parentheses.

Tennessee’s national rankings in parentheses.

As might be expected, the Vols fared well in special teams and “miscues,” but poorly against offense and defense. The rankings will become more meaningful as the season goes on. For now, they’re merely interesting.  And they confirm that South Alabama is no pushover.

Tennessee’s strength on special teams has more to do with the kicking and coverage teams than it does with any big returns.

On kickoffs, Tennessee is forcing opponents to start from the 24 or 25-yard line on kickoffs with an average net of just over 40.

Take away a blocked punt and the Vols have a very respectable 38.5 net average.

The return game has been more sluggish, particularly after an injury to Devrin Young.

On kickoffs, the Vols average 24.9 yards per return (boosted by a 58-yard return by Young in the opener) and an average starting starting field position at the 28 (based on kickoffs alone and not considering penalties).

On punts, the Vols have only attempted to return five times in 16 attempts. Opponents are netting 39.7 yards per punt.

Finally, it’s always worth monitoring tempo. For obvious reasons, the Vols haven’t gone as fast as coach Butch Jones and offensive coordinator Mike Bajakian would like.

For comparison purposes, UT had 2.7 plays and 2.17 live-ball plays per minute in 2012. (Live-ball plays are

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Tennessee football: Preparing for Austin Peay (videos)

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — Tennessee’s season opener against Austin Peay is only 48 hours away and the first week of in-season practice is coming to a close.

The video above, shot Wednesday, has a look at defensive backs coach Willie Martinez in action.

Good news! We’ve won our legal battle against Rich Homie Quan and his team of attorneys and our video from Tuesday (which had been flagged for copyright violations) is now back online. You can view it below.

As always, watch the videos in your highest available HD settings for best results.

Tennessee football practice video: Highlights from Monday morning’s session


KNOXVILLE, TennesseeButch Jones offered an homage to the Harlem Globetrotters on Monday morning.

In an otherwise intense and testy morning practice, a drill that is more often seen on the basketball court offered a little bit of levity.

Jones took it seriously, though. Much like the similar drill in basketball, players had to call out the name of the person they were passing to. When Jones told them to speed up the tempo, there were some drops.

The Harlem Globetrotters theme music in the background offers a nice touch. Check out the video above, and view it in the highest available HD setting for best results.

Tennessee football #PracticeGram: Vols prepare for 2-scrimmage day

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — The Tennessee football team will have its first two-a-day session on Saturday, later than most of its SEC peers.

The academic calendar at UT pushes the summer session well into camp, which makes two-a-days almost impossible until classes and exams wrap up.

Butch Jones and the Vols will make the most of their opportunities on Saturday, going with a special teams scrimmage in the morning session and a situational scrimmage at Neyland Stadium in the evening. Read all about it here.  We’ll have full coverage on the blog and GoVolsXtra.

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