Vols hold first practice of fall camp - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Vols hold first practice of fall camp

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (UTSports.com)– Tennessee head football coach Butch Jones and Team 121 officially kicked off fall camp with their first practice of the season on Saturday afternoon at Haslam Field.  
 
Jones was impressed with what he saw on Day 1 but hit on the importance of improving each day during camp.
 
"I thought it was a very, very productive start. Tomorrow, again, is a very critical day for us, but I'm pleased overall with the first day," Jones said.
 
Jones also touched on the early impact of the newcomers and younger players on this year's team.
 
"I think we've elevated our skill set, now you know it's the maturation process of these youngsters and who can help us and making sure that we don't put too much stress on them right away," Jones said.
 
Along with the freshmen, graduate transfer cornerback Shaq Wiggins is also adapting to his new team. Jones said he expects the older players in the program to familiarize Wiggins and the other newcomers with the Tennessee culture and practice expectations.
 
"I know this about Shaq. He's very prideful, he's very willing and he wants to do it," Jones said.
 
Wiggins captured All-ACC honorable mention honors as a redshirt sophomore at Louisville in 2015. He played in 21 games with the Cardinals and also made eight starts in 12 games as a true freshman at Georgia in 2013.
 
POST-PRACTICE QUOTES
 
Head Coach Butch Jones
 
(Opening statement)
"I thought it was a productive first day, a typical first day. Only so much you can do in helmets, but also you can get a lot out of it in terms of assignment on linemen, technique, retention of the fundamentals for the older guys from the spring into the summer, but also retention of knowledge and situational football and then, for the newcomers, retention of the schemes that are going in. Right now, things are going to start to accelerate because, for the youngsters it's not just offense and defense. Now you start putting in special team's schemes and the fundamentals and details that go along with that too. So, I thought it was a very, very productive start. Tomorrow, again, is a very critical day for us. But I'm pleased overall with the first day."

(On how Khalil McKenzie is coming along)
"I like everything I see from him, and not just on the field but in a leadership role as well. For a defensive lineman right now it's just all about your technique and the use of your hands and the fine details. We'll know more obviously when the pads go on."

(On the progression of the passing game)
"A lot of work still to do, which you would expect, but also really excited. I thought our receivers did some really good things. I liked what the quarterbacks did, you could tell they're progressions, they were quicker from spring. Their decision making process was much better, but again we don't have the pads on. When all of a sudden you got a live rush coming at you, some things change. I was also encouraged by our wide receivers and our youngsters there as well."

Junior QB Quinten Dormady
 
(On what he gained most from the 7-on-7 work during the summer)
"I think that it was just a good fundamental base for being able to translate it out here. We got some good work in in the summer with the receivers. For us to be able to do that, I thought it was a good building block. That's how you build is by getting reps, so the more reps we got this summer, the more that was going to help us out here today. I think that did translate."
 
(On the possibility of a dual-quarterback system)
"We're here to win a championship, whatever we have to do to get there. I think that as an overall team and our offensive unit, people are definitely willing to do that. Whatever happens, we'll go with it and do our best to try to get us back to the top."
 
(On the camaraderie in the quarterback room)
"We have good camaraderie. The room is fun and energetic. We get a lot accomplished throughout our meetings and the camaraderie in the quarterback room is really good."
 
Redshirt Freshman QB Jarrett Guarantano
 
(On how the first day of practice went)
"It was a pretty good day. All the guys came out here with high energy and were very excited. It was a very productive day, and I think we got better."
 
(On how the receivers performed during the summer and on the first day of camp)
"I think we have a great set of receivers. Latrell Williams is definitely someone that came on. Josh Smith was back and had a great practice today. Brandon Johnson is able to create separation from the outside. Marquez Callaway is able to go up and get it. Jeff George is 6'6". Jauan Jennings is Jauan Jennings. The freshmen who just came in have been working their tails off and are doing a great job."

Redshirt Senior DL Kendal Vickers 

(On how having experienced defensive tackles is good for developing young offensive linemen)
"I think when I was a freshman, I had Zach Fulton and Ja'Wuan James to go against and James Stone, Tiny [Richardson] and all of those guys. Every time you get to learn something from those guys, it's always a bonus. I just try do the same thing, give them a tidbit of what I see and I want to get feedback from their perspective as well. It's always good learning from each other."

(On how different UT's two defensive tackles are)
"I think there is a lot of versatility between all of us. Kahlil can play the 1, the nose, the 3 technique, the 2i and me as well. I had to play it all last year because it seemed I was the only D-tackle left. There's a lot of versatility between the guys and I think it's going to help us be better."

Junior DL Reginald McKenzie Jr.

(On his message to the freshmen)
"I told them to focus on the details and the little stuff. Get better little bit by little bit. You don't have to bite off the whole thing at once. Just take it step-by-step. The first game isn't until Sept. 4. We are in July still. Come out tomorrow and work on something you messed up today. It's all about continuous improvement."
 
(On getting back out on the practice field)
"Everybody is hungry. Everybody was ready to be back out there. There were guys flying around and screaming. Guys were doing flips during practice. Everyone was excited and ready to be back out here."
 
Senior LB Cortez McDowell

(On the first day of fall camp)
"It's just good to be back out here on the field with my team. There are a lot of guys that are out here for the first time. There are a lot of older guys out here teaching the younger guys the way we're supposed to be out here and teaching them how we're supposed to practice and prepare. It was a good first day to be back out here with everybody."
 
(On his mindset and how it has changed from last season)
"It changed a lot. I'm one of the older guys, one of the three seniors in our room. It's on our shoulders now to be leaders in our room and for our team. It's just a different mindset to come in and work every day."

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