KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee football head coach Jeremy Pruitt is excited about the upcoming week and eager to get back on the practice field to improve in all phases of the game.
“We are excited about this week,” said Pruitt. “It’s another opportunity for us. We have to really improve this week in all phases. Our coaches have to do a good job of developing the team and creating depth. We have to learn exactly what we want to do and how we want to do it.”
The Vols will return to practice at Haslam Field on Monday looking to work on errors that Pruitt says needed to be improved upon before the arrival of this weekend’s opponent, UTEP.
“We have so many things that we need to improve on,” Pruitt said. “We improved on a lot of things this past week, but we still had a lot of errors and made some critical mistakes in the game. We are still looking to play a complete game for 60 minutes.”
With both UTEP’s Dana Dimel and Pruitt being new head coaches at their schools, there are many things that look the same in both programs.
“I look at UTEP, and I think they are very similar to us,” Pruitt said. “This is Dana Dimel’s first year. Offensively, if you look at them when they are going in the right direction and everyone is on the same page, they have an opportunity to have success. When they don’t have that, they haven’t had success.”
Bain Receives a Scholarship
Redshirt senior Paul Bain was awarded a scholarship by head coach Jeremy Pruitt last week.
“I think Paul is a guy that works really hard,” Pruitt said. “We have a lot of walk-ons in our program that work really hard, and they’re all over the country, and I think it builds character. I was a walk-on, so he’s not the first one that’s ever done it. When it comes to playing, he’s got to be consistent and really learn what to do. He has some ability, and I think he’s a very good representative to the University of Tennessee.”
When asked about receiving his scholarship, Bain said he was excited and very relieved. “Felt like a ton of weight lifted off of my shoulders. It was really emotional for me and my family,” said Bain.
Wood-Anderson Coming Along
A key part of the Vols offense, Dominick Wood-Anderson continues to make strides to get better each day. After scoring his first-career touchdown as a Vol in the season opener against West Virginia, Wood-Anderson has been trying to get better each day during practice.
“He played much better this week around the line of scrimmage, and he blocked really well,” stated Pruitt. “That’s something that he’s improving on, and he worked hard on it in fall camp. I think he’s a guy that can create some plays with us in the passing game. He’s got to be a little more consistent with his route running. There are a lot of guys on our offense that have ability and are improving, and he’s one of those guys.”
Thompson and Defensive Backs Getting Better
Freshman defensive back Bryce Thompson earned SEC Rookie of the Week honors on Monday, becoming the first Vol since Ty Chandler did so after Week 2 last season. Thompson made his first-career start in the Vols’ 59-3 win over ETSU on Saturday. He finished the game with four tackles, two tackles for a loss, a pass breakup and his first-career interception.
“Bryce practiced the way you’re supposed to practice, and he played well,” said Pruitt. “So that would be a good lesson for everyone involved, if you practice that way, it gives you a chance to have success on Saturday.
“We’re young, we’re new, and they’re trying to figure it out. Moving forward, there are a lot of lessons that we can learn from every week. We have to make sure we continue to educate our guys and how we expect things to be done.”
Vols Going Extra Yard for Teachers
Tennessee will participate in the fourth annual Extra Yard for Teachers Week this Saturday. Supported by the College Football Playoff Foundation, Extra Yard for Teachers Week is an annual salute to teachers in recognition of their hard work and dedication.
The Vols are participating in the Extra Yard for Teachers Week by hosting a Teacher Appreciation Day presented by the United Way of Greater Knoxville. All teachers, educators, staff and friends can secure tickets to the UTEP game at a discounted rate by calling 865-946-7000 or by emailing Jeff.Haher@utk.edu.
There will be an exclusive FREE pregame tailgate (breakfast and drinks provided) with special guest appearances.
In addition, the Tennessee football team will wear helmet stickers supporting the campaign, and a group of teachers will honored on the field at Neyland Stadium.