Jones Presses Vols To Control What They Can Control

Fan Appreciation Open Practice Set For Saturday Night

Thursday, August 14, 2014 - by Special to Chattanoogan.com

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Coach Butch Jones had his target set on Tennessee's mental focus on Wednesday as the Volunteers held an evening workout at Neyland Stadium.

Jones gave players the morning off on what was originally scheduled to be one of UT's two-a-day practices. While the team got their legs back with the extra rest, the intensity of the night session was not where Jones felt it needs to be with the opening kickoff just 18 days away.

"First of all, it is controlling the things that we can control," Jones said. "That is our effort, that is our mentality, that is our fundamentals, that is just our overall intensity and physicality. Those are the things that we can control, being a disciplined football team."

The team work focused on situations and Jones specifically mentioned pre-snap penalties and big plays as areas where Tennessee didn't take care of the mental details, leading to the breakdowns.

"Everyone has to come out and everyone has to play," Jones said. "It is game speed repetitions. It is just responsibility. It is every player’s responsibility to get ready to play each and every time you step on to the football field. As a football player you never stay the same, you either get better or you get worse through your habits."

Jones did see players step forward, fighting for starting roles and playing time on both sides of the football and on special teams. He admitted that he uses the word "consistency" a great deal, but said it continues to be what he's looking for because consistency separates good from great. It also separates the players that have the mentality to move forward and those that need to improve that focus.

"Some individuals are starting to distance themselves and some individuals are kind of enduring," said Jones. "We can never endure a practice, you don't get better, some of them are just getting by and you have to embrace it as an opportunity to continue to improve your skill set."

QB SET TO BE NAMED

Jones is hoping to name a quarterback in the next few days. With three players in the race for the job, Jones has been impressed with their competitiveness and improvements.

"I think it's important for our football team moving forward that they know who the starting quarterback is," Jones said. "I've been pleased with all three individuals lately. They've done a very, very good job of handling the volume of the offense that we have, but more particularly taking care of the football and making great decision with the football, having command of the line of scrimmage."

Senior Justin Worley and sophomores Nathan Peterman and Joshua Dobbs have upped their performances throughout camp.

"He did," Jones said of Worley stepping up in Wednesday's night practice. "I see the confidence growing and growing, I thought Nate Peterman and Josh Dobbs did some great things."

Jones is looking for steady play.

"Just the overall consistency, I know they have word bingo going on, you hear the word consistency all the time because consistency is what separates average players from good players to great players," Jones said.

"Consistency in our snaps, we are still not there with the accuracy with our snaps, being perfect. To run our offense, our center has to step it up with their shot gun snaps. Again, pre snap penalties, tackling, we did a lot of special teams live as well. We have great video evaluation to be able to go back and look at our coverage teams as well."

As Butch and his staff near an announcement, he will go through hours of valuable film before a final decision.

"We'll go back tonight," he said, "we've charted every single throw every quarterback has made in practice. We're very to name a quarterback soon."

MALONE'S GREAT EXPECTATIONS

Fall camp has been a tougher transition for freshman receiver Josh Malone than most. From the grind of daily practice to the mental-endurance challenge of memorizing the Vols offense, it's no secret that he has struggled through several recent practices.

Jones also hasn't shied away from calling Malone's name over the practice microphone, not only in recognition of mistakes but when noticing the positive improvements worthy of praise. And tonight was a night for praise.

"He's had a tough camp and I'm very proud of him. He fought back," said Jones. "He's been battling some injuries and I thought tonight, he really stepped it up. So it was very encouraging."

So much of Malone's training this fall focuses on the mental and physical part of his game. As Jones points out, the coaching staff has complete confidence that the offensive play side will come. One part they do not have to worry about is Malone's maturity and attitude, not only toward his struggles but toward his visible improvements as well.

"Josh Malone is a very prideful individual," said Jones. "He expects to do great things and it's a part of that maturity level. When things don't go quite as well or the way you plan it, which is life, how to you handle the next snap? How do you bounce back? And I thought he bounced back exceptionally well and was very proud of him tonight moving forward."

JONES KNOWS FAN BASE WILL SHOW

The Vols are set to host their fan appreciation open practice on Saturday night. The night is a fan event, but has multiple purposes for Jones.

"It's very important," Jones said after the team's second session at Neyland on Wednesday night. "I know our fan base will respond and again, we're going to treat it almost like a preseason game. There are so many unknowns with this football team. How will they respond when there are people in the stands? Will the stage be too big for them or do they block it out?

"You know, that's all clutter and distractions. You always have to focus between the white lines and play football. So again, it will be a great evaluation tool for us and see how they compete."

(E-mail Larry Fleming at larryfleming44@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter @larryfleming44)


Notre Dame Blanks Merrol Hyde, 7-0

Using speed, ball control and an offense clicking on all cylinders, Notre Dame scored early and often to defeat visiting Merrol Hyde (Hendersonville), 7-0 in an A-AA Region 4 semifinal girls soccer match Tuesday night. The Irish (8-5-4) were led by a hat trick by junior Sofia Olenchek, while Gaby Mullin, Ashley McMeen, Emma Higgins and Liz Ciabattone each scored once. Assists ... (click for more)

State Volleyball Begins Wednesday In Murfreesboro

The ever-exciting state volleyball tournament will begin Wednesday morning in Murfreesboro with action scheduled for four different schools. The Boyd-Buchanan Lady Bucs are Chattanooga's entry in the Class A bracket while Red Bank and Signal Mountain will be competing in Class AA.  Baylor is entered in D-II Class AA. Boyd-Buchanan, 32-14, will face Loretto (31-12) in ... (click for more)

Architect/Contractor Selected By Erlanger For New Children's/Women's Hospital

HKS has been selected as the architect and McCarthy as the construction manager for a new Children’s and Women’s Hospital at the Erlanger campus on East Third Street. The Atlanta team competed against another Atlanta group for the major construction project. Erlanger officials announced Monday that $11.5 million is being set aside in a debt restructuring for the new $30 ... (click for more)

Westfield Charged In Burning, Torture Of Kitten At Cleveland

An arrest has been made in the case of a kitten who was burned and tortured in Cleveland, Tn. At 12:50 p.m. on Tuesday, Gary A. Westfield, 31, of Cleveland, was placed in custody on a warrant obtained by Lt. Robert Harbison and Detective Matt Jenkins of the Criminal Investigations Division. Westfield was charged with aggravated cruelty to animals, which is a Class E felony. ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Has Lost Its Most Popular Citizen - Luther Masingill

Chattanooga has lost its most popular citizen – Luther Masingill. Although we are saddened we cherish the memories.  All of us have a Luther story.  Mine is the first time I met Luther.  This was before TV and all of Chattanooga listened to Luther on the radio.  I was 12-years-old.  Some of my buddies and I had gone to the State Theater in downtown ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: An Election Day Fable

Every day I am peppered with emails that friends send to me from across the country so I am unsure of where the fable you are about to read originated. But with early voting for the November general election now in full swing, I think everyone who will -- or will not -- take part in freedom’s greatest privilege should read this story because I believe there is a great lesson contained ... (click for more)