VOL Report: UT Turns Attention to UMass

University of Tennessee, Knoxville

University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Tennessee head coach Butch Jones, defensive tackle Kendal Vickers and wide receiver Marquez Callaway met with the media on Monday in the Ray and Lucy Hand Digital Studio to preview this weekend’s game against UMass and talk about moving forward following the loss at Florida.

Details a Point of Emphasis for Vols this Week

 Jones praised his team’s will to win and resiliency, but also was quick to put out that the team did not do a good enough job with the small details it takes to win close games.

“I think our will to win gave us an opportunity, but our details did not,” Jones said. “When you go back and look at the nuances of the game, we pride ourselves on situational football. That is an area that we must make tremendous strides in.

“We cannot and we will not ignore the details it takes to play winning football.”

Kelly Continues to Emerge as Offensive Leader

 One of the major bright spots for Tennessee on Saturday was the play of junior running back John Kelly, who set career highs with 141 yards rushing and 96 yards receiving to go along with a 34-yard touchdown scamper in the fourth quarter.

“What can you even say about the effort of John Kelly and his yards after contact,” Jones said. “He is becoming the face of leadership for our football program. I think that energy is starting to permeate across the team. I think it’s great for our younger players to see.”

The Detroit, Mich., native currently ranks fourth in the country with 540 total yards from scrimmage and leads the SEC in rushing, averaging 116.3 yards per game. Kelly’s 349 yards on the ground through UT’s first three games are the third-most since 2000, trailing only Travis Henry (355 in 2000) and Travis Stephens (412 in 2001), who went on to set the program’s single-season rushing record that year with 1,464 yards.

All Eyes on UMass

 Despite Saturday’s disappointing loss, the message from Jones and Vols’ players was that the team must focus its attention solely on this Saturday’s opponent, UMass.

“We want guys to be frustrated that we lost [because] it shows an investment,” Vickers said. “They’ve been showing that throughout the year, but we are a mature enough team to look towards the next week. We got UMass coming up so we have to look towards them. We got to play well on Saturday.”

Callaway said that the team’s upperclassmen made sure to let the younger players know that the season is far from over.

“Just keep our head up,” Callaway said in regards to the upperclassmen’s message to the younger players. “It’s a long season ahead of us, and we can’t let this loss keep us down and hold us back from the next opponent coming up.”

Tennessee-UMass Game Info

 Fans can still purchase tickets for Saturday’s game between the Vols and the Minute. Tickets may be purchased online via AllVols.com or by phone by calling the Tennessee Athletics Ticket Office at 1-800-332-VOLS. The game will be broadcast live on the SEC Network at noon ET.

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Source: University of Tennessee, Knoxville

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