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Vols roll through first practice in full pads

Tennessee football suited up in full pads for the first time on Tuesday for the sixth practice of preseason camp.
Roman Harrison
Roman Harrison(Tennessee Athletic Communications)
Published: Aug. 10, 2021 at 11:17 PM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Tennessee football suited up in full pads for the first time on Tuesday for the sixth practice of preseason camp. Linebackers coach Brian Jean-Mary met with local media to discuss the development of his group following the team’s morning session at Haslam Field.

“The first day in pads is always an exciting day,” Jean-Mary said. “I’ve been happy with it. Our guys, when we’ve been in up-tempo, we’ve had guys that have kind of been a little too exuberant, taking guys to the ground, so when we get the opportunity … I thought the guys really stepped up and did a good job there.”

The Volunteer linebacker room was bolstered over the summer with the additions of transfers and freshmen to the fall roster as well as players returning from injury from the spring semester. UT’s ‘strength in numbers’ has fostered competition among the group through the first week of preseason camp.

“At the end of spring, I think we were actually rotating five guys in that whole unit,” Jean-Mary said. “We were really, really thin. Getting some of the guys that transferred in and getting some guys back that were injured has been huge. Now, we can get some quality reps and guys are not trying to save themselves or just trying to survive practice. It increases the competition level, which is the best coach in the world—competition. That’s been a bright spot.”

Jean-Mary also spoke to the importance of communication from the linebackers to their defensive teammates and how his group has handled that responsibility.

“That’s one of the things Coach (Tim) Banks always harps on,” Jean-Mary said. “There should be some sort of communication every play, whether it’s what you see from the offense or what are adjustments on our defense. That’s always the challenge for our guys, especially with the tempo that we see every day. I think they’re getting better. We correct things on tape, and it seems to be carrying over onto the field. That’s something that they’re working on, but it can always get better. If it’s not 100 percent, there’s always something you want to work on, but we feel like we are trending in the right direction as far as the communication on all three levels.”

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