Four More Vols Have Stripes Removed From Helmets

Tuesday, August 16, 2016 - by Special to Chattanoogan.com
Tennessee wide receiver Tyler Byrd (10) talks with teammates during Tuesday's practice session at Haslam Field.
Tennessee wide receiver Tyler Byrd (10) talks with teammates during Tuesday's practice session at Haslam Field.
- photo by Donald Page/Tennessee Athletics

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee defensive linemen LaTroy Lewis and Kendal Vickers and defensive backs Stephen Griffin and Micah Abernathy spoke to reporters after practice on Tuesday at Haslam Field.

Three Vols also earned black helmet-stripe removals. Receivers Tyler Byrd and Jeff George and offensive lineman Marcus Tatum became the first three offensive players of 2016 preseason camp to remove their black stripes.

Five newcomers have removed their black stripes so far as defensive backs Baylen Buchanan and Nigel Warrior were recognized by their teammates last week.

Wednesday is the first day of class for the 2016-17 academic year.

LaTroy Lewis | Defensive Lineman  

Lewis discussed the growth along the defensive line. He said the team talks about laying bricks and the Vols' need to keep growing now that the foundation is in place.

"Coach Shoop has done a great job with getting us veterans in front in the defensive room. Speaking to the younger guys, the older guys, whatever. We always have a word of the day and a week back my word of the day was continuation. It was about continuing what was already started."

Micah Abernathy |  Defensive Back

As Abernathy's play-making consistency has improved throughout fall camp, Tennessee defensive coordinator Bob Shoop has taken notice. The safety believes consistency comes from effort, the film room and a mindset to give 110 percent on each play.

"The safeties as a whole meet with Coach Shoop every day. We have to know the ins and outs of defense whether it's the d-line, corners, nickels, safeties or linebackers. We have to correct everybody and be the safeties. We know that we have to get the job done."

Stephen Griffin | Defensive Back

Griffin spoke highly of his teammates and Shoop's coaching style, which he believes has helped shape him as an athlete after being injured last year.

"The orange swarm is our name for the defense. So we are swarming to the ball, everyone is flying to the ball, trying to make plays. We are trying to be ferocious and tenacious as a defense."

Kendal Vickers | Defensive Lineman

Vickers started every game in 2015 and finished with 20 tackles and half of a sack. He said that his mindset fuels his level of play and the Vols defensive line aims to be the nation's best.

"We want to be the best defensive line in America and we've said that since day one as we walked on the field. We have it written on the white board in the defensive line room and we believe that if we come out here every day and grind like we're supposed to do, we believe that we can do that. I know guys can step up and they will on the field when it comes to the fourth quarter. We talk about those 25 points all of the time. We work on that as a defensive line so I think we will be good this year."

 


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