Tennessee Locked In On Gamecocks

Eight Former Athletes And Coaches To Be Inducted To Tennessee HOF

Wednesday, October 11, 2017 - by special to The Chattanoogan.com
Tennessee linebacker Colton Jumper (53) draws a bead on the Indiana State quarterback in a game earlier this year. Jumper, a former Baylor School standout, had this to say about Team 121's chemistry: "We're a team, it's not just one side of the ball. So it doesn't matter if one side is doing better, it just comes down to who you are as a team."
Tennessee linebacker Colton Jumper (53) draws a bead on the Indiana State quarterback in a game earlier this year. Jumper, a former Baylor School standout, had this to say about Team 121's chemistry: "We're a team, it's not just one side of the ball. So it doesn't matter if one side is doing better, it just comes down to who you are as a team."
- photo by Dennis Norwood/File Photo

Tennessee senior linebacker Colton Jumper, redshirt senior wide receiver Josh Smith, junior defensive back Micah Abernathyand sophomore offensive lineman Marcus Tatum met with the media on Tuesday afternoon in the Ray and Lucy Hand Digital Studio to talk about the team's preparations for this Saturday's game against South Carolina.

The Vols' showdown with the Gamecocks at Neyland Stadium will be broadcast at noon ET on ESPN.


 

Sights Set on South Carolina

The Vols made valuable use of their bye last week by getting some much-needed rest and recovery while also setting their sights on a talented South Carolina team that is riding high after a dominant 48-22 victory over Arkansas last weekend.

UT players and coaches have made it clear this week that the Georgia loss is in the rearview mirror and that the team's focus is solely on the Gamecocks.

"Georgia is in the past and it's South Carolina now," Smith said. "That's our main focus right now and it has to be that. We can't end our season versus Georgia. We have seven games left. It's a long season and we can still finish with a great record."
 

Vols Gearing Up for Another Competitive Matchup with Gamecocks

It's no secret that the Tennessee-South Carolina game has been extremely competitive over the past five years with every matchup in that span being settled by three points or less. The Big Orange have come away victorious in three of those contests, including a pair of triumphs at Neyland Stadium in 2013 and 2015.

However, South Carolina earned a signature win over the 18th-ranked Vols last season in Columbia with a 24-21 victory in head coach Will Muschamp's first season with the program.

"It's a big rivalry game and we've been emphasizing that this week," Jumper said. "Over the past few years, these games have come right down to the end. It's always close each year."
 

Tatum Talks About New Starting Role

One of Tennessee's main priorities during the bye week was to find a cohesive unit up front and give them time to gel. The Vols seem to have found that in the starting five of Drew Richmond, Brett Kendrick, Jashon Robertson, Trey Smith and Tatum, who is in line to make his second straight start at right tackle this Saturday afternoon against the Gamecocks.

Tatum talked about how he has adjusted to being moved into a starting role and what the offensive line is looking to improve on overall.

"The biggest change is being more focused on the details and things like that," Tatum said. "Also, not letting the hype get to you and still practicing like you're competing for a position. Even though I feel like I still am all the time, you still have to give your all in practice no matter what. So never getting too comfortable in a spot is important.

"As a unit, we really just need to be more consistent. We need championship consistency, and that's what Coach [Walt] Wells stresses a lot. We need to keep getting that, and then we'll be good."
 

Eight Former Vols Set to Be Inducted into Tennessee Athletics Hall of Fame

Tennessee Athletics announced its eight-person 2017 induction class for the Tennessee Athletics Hall of Fame back in August. The star-studded class includes Monica Abbott (softball), the late Ray Bussard (coach; men's swimming), Phillip Fulmer (coach; football), Justin Gatlin (men's track), Todd Helton (baseball), Jeremy Linn (men's swimming), the late Gen. Robert Neyland (coach; football) and Delisa Walton Myricks (women's track).

The Class of 2017 will be celebrated this weekend with events and activities surrounding the Vols' game against South Carolina. The Hall of Fame activities will include a private induction ceremony on the evening of Friday, Oct. 13. The inductees also will be recognized on the field at Neyland Stadium at the end of the first quarter.
 

Additional Quotes:

Senior Linebacker Colton Jumper 

On if any special blitzes have been drawn up for him specifically:
"There's never been like a 'Colton blitz' or anything, but certain blitzes are just designed to defeat certain things, and so it's kind of just worked out that way."

On being able to maintain chemistry between the offensive and defensive side of the ball:
"We're a team, it's not just one side of the ball. So it doesn't matter if one side is doing better, it just comes down to who you are as a team."

On making adjustments during the Georgia game on the sidelines:
"Our coaches are really good at changing things up. We might not have been on the sidelines that much, but when it comes down to it, it's our job in that amount of time to get things fixed."

On educating the younger players about the competitiveness of the South Carolina game:
"I don't think we really need to tell the younger guys about it because it's an SEC East game. It's a big rivalry game and we've been emphasizing that this week. Over the past few years, these games have come right down to the end. It's always close each year."

Sophomore Offensive Lineman Marcus Tatum 

On adjusting to being a starter on the offensive line:
"It's been good. The biggest change is being more focused on the details and things like that. Also, not letting the hype get to you and still practicing like you're competing for a position. Even though I feel like I still am all the time, you still have to give your all in practice no matter what. So never getting too comfortable in a spot is important."

On what the offensive line needs to improve on as a whole:
"As a unit, we really just need to be more consistent. We need championship consistency, and that's what Coach Wells stresses a lot. We need to keep getting that, and then we'll be good."

On what the team worked on over the bye week:
"Over the bye week, we just worked on our toughness: going back and getting in full pads and just doing a lot more full team work, just competing against each other and winning our one on one matchups."

Redshirt Senior Wide Receiver Josh Smith

On looking ahead to South Carolina:
"Georgia is in the past and it's South Carolina now. That's our main focus right now and it has to be that. We can't end our season versus Georgia. We have seven games left. It's a long season and we can still finish with a great record. This team believes in this team. I love this team and I'm ready for South Carolina."

On redshirt freshman quarterback Jarrett Guarantano's improvement:
"Jarrett has a good story because he's unselfish. They're both competing and he keeps competing. That just shows his character. I think highly of him and I think he's growing. I think he's just going to keep getting better."

On South Carolina's defense:
"I think their linebackers and defensive backs are strong. Their linebackers are really aggressive. They make plays and they're always around the ball. You have playmakers in the secondary as well. They have the ability to make plays. Last year, they had two picks. They have good ball skills and they're good in the cover game. That's just makes our job that much more important. Our route technique and execution will be huge and that's on us." 

Junior Defensive Back Micah Abernathy

On the bye week:
"It was definitely progressive. We had a productive week of practice, just getting back out there, going back to our crafts, our fundamentals and getting better."

On if the focus of the bye week was to get back to fundamentals:
"Yes, that's what the bye week is for. You get to assess half of your season or almost half of your season, wherever your bye week is, and you get to see what you need to improve on and focus more on that."

On Nigel Warrior's progress as a sophomore:
"I would say every week he is maturing more and more on the field, even off the field and in film room and things like that. Really, it's just maturity."

On if the team uses the 2016 loss to South Carolina as motivation for this week's game:
"We are obviously going to watch the film from last year to see how they attacked us. But that's pretty much it."

(Contact Dennis Norwood at sportsshooter614@gmail.com; Follow him on Twitter at @DennisENorwood)



McCallie Basketball School Sessions

The McCallie basketball school and instructional 3-on-3 league directed by Blue Tornado coach John Shulman is scheduled over the next four months at the private school on Dodds Avenue. There is a $175 cost per semester (seven classes) and the start dates are Nov. 5, 12, 19 and 26 and December 3, 10 and 17. In the second semester, dates are January 7, 14, 21 and 28 and February ... (click for more)

Randy Smith: Vol Fans Wait, While Butch Plows Forward

While the Tennessee offense extended their touchdownless streak to 14 quarters in their 45-7 loss to Alabama, Coach Butch Jones and his staff went back to work  on Sunday getting ready for the Vols' game at Kentucky this weekend. In the meantime, Tennessee fans are waiting for the axe to fall on Jones; speculating on just when his firing happens. Things are as bad as I've ... (click for more)

State Seeks To Take Deposition Of Key Witness With Cancer In 17-Year-Old Cold Case Murder

The District Attorney's Office is asking to take the deposition of a key witness in a 17-year-old cold case murder, saying he has cancer that had spread from his brain to other parts of his body. District Attorney Neal Pinkston said Michael Penterics has information in the case in which Jason Kirk Sanford, 44, of Westland, Mich, in charged in the June 2000 death of Sarah Lea ... (click for more)

Home On Standifer Gap Road Damaged By Fire Monday Morning

Chattanooga firefighters responded to a house fire at 6731 Standifer Gap Road a round  9:30  a.m. on Monday . Battalion Chief Brandon Schroyer said the first arriving firefighters with Quint 8 encountered dark smoke coming from the basement. The firefighters attacked the fire quickly, using hand-held hoselines to extinguish the fire within a few minutes.  ... (click for more)

October Is Breast Cancer Awareness Month: Myth And Fact Check

My husband and I recently had the privilege of participating in the American Cancer Society’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk in Chattanooga. I listened as my husband told the audience about how his mother was diagnosed with breast cancer when he was nine and how she died from the disease when he was fourteen. As a child, my husband didn’t understand what breast cancer ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Evil This Way Comes

There is a line in Act IV of William Shakespeare's Macbeth, as some of the 20,000 students at Middle Tennessee State are taught, that reads: "By the pricking of my thumbs / Something wicked this way comes." The professors explain that in the 16 th century the “pricking of thumbs” meant an intuition of evil about to happen and every student at MTSU knows several white supremacy ... (click for more)