The Vols opened the season with an impressive 38-7 win over Utah State.
Jason Witten football team Arkansas State Bob Pearson Jordan Williams win investing Kickoff coverage quality performance Tennessee team chemistry fire hose individuals performing season progresses patent office defense Game decent job senior class scored touchdowns home field Pearson Beijing
Butch Jones spoke to the media following Tennessee's 38-7 win over Utah State.
Automatically Generated Transcript (may not be 100% accurate)
00:00 First Novo. To -- -- And support. -- even now
00:07 home field and it's our players off their energy. It started.
00:13 The ball walked. You -- in the look. I'm 45% of
00:18 the players played their first game tonight Tennessee uniform. And --
00:22 come -- to music coach. Now IQ which -- -- it's.
00:26 This place is special. In we set the temperament state Tennessee.
00:32 In magnitude and relevance. People coming out for the ball --
00:36 -- are students action. It was a great atmosphere and here's
00:40 my challenge. -- At noon Saturday. In the next evolution of
00:46 the young football team. How can be handled this put it
00:50 to rest come to work tomorrow with a short work week.
00:53 -- a very good quality opponent is very good football team
00:57 knows how to win Arkansas State. So excited for players. Again
01:03 45%. -- their first game played 21 true freshmen 32 newcomers
01:08 all. I -- we -- ready to go on our overall
01:12 demeanor started yesterday. In -- walk throughs in that hotel I
01:17 thought our older players did a tremendous job mentoring. Younger guys
01:21 thought Justin now. It is very very productive football team play
01:26 winning football quarterback position. He means the offense. First games you
01:31 always worry about turnovers we generated force three and we --
01:35 football or I thought we played. Well on specialties. Or one
01:40 return that we work to get better and continue to improve.
01:43 But zero turnovers in the first game was great to see.
01:47 -- tight end position had productivity. It's great to have Jason
01:51 Witten and locker room before the game and welcome him back.
01:55 In so again very very productive. Nine I didn't think --
02:00 We got in much rhythm in the first half the law
02:02 offense your defense did a great job. Special teams generate some
02:06 turnovers and did a good job -- capitalizing. You know scored
02:10 touchdowns and actually few goals but if we really got in
02:14 an overall rhythm second half was a little bit better. We
02:18 have five mineral in terms of third down conversions of possessing
02:21 the football keeping its key ones lines. It was a big
02:25 thing -- answered questions. Tough -- to make more big plays
02:31 and I just isn't. Once. Almost certain performance specialties. How would
02:37 you. Absolutely you know he he does his job he takes
02:42 pride in his job he takes pride in his quality performance.
02:46 He has equality which we talk about playing in. He knew
02:49 he does a great job we're gonna need more from him
02:51 obviously there's some things we need to get corrected overall. As
02:56 we can he do to -- And you know most growth
03:00 and development football teams -- happen from week one week. So
03:05 we have to take minute panel steps. Movement for this --
03:09 one game still a lot of mistakes a lot of mistakes
03:12 that we have to clean up. But so was great start
03:16 one no person there injured told state football teams are good
03:19 football team. It's a quality opponent. There. Well you know I
03:26 think we've really improved their team speed. We are very active
03:30 we're able to apply pressure to -- -- he's a great
03:33 player. I thought we did a great job in the secondary.
03:37 But again being resilient we get you know we give up
03:40 the big player the first or second possession of the game.
03:43 So and we force. Them -- the football. But you know
03:48 we're gonna have to swarm we're gonna have to play with
03:50 great effort if we don't we come here average so --
03:53 63 string which we talk about. And yes we are calling
03:57 card and everything we do in his football program. It. She
04:02 was -- it touches. But all right John. Well again and
04:09 we wanna be a football team that there is great team
04:12 chemistry. It has a love and passion for Tennessee. In what
04:16 we represented in place of great effort great strain and in
04:19 a team that doesn't eat itself. It was great to see
04:22 with the turnovers but again and we have to learn from
04:24 our mistakes and corrected but you know we're not anywhere we
04:28 need to be. But we're making progress but. -- You know
04:36 it doesn't happen I think it's more is set up hoping
04:40 to win. Its earning the right to -- And our players
04:44 earned their right to win by the week of preparation. And
04:48 preparation taking care of their bodies now what you did. This
04:52 week doesn't make any. Difference in next week but we always
04:57 talk about rather than hoping to win investing in victory earning
05:01 our right to win. By your work ethic by your style
05:03 play by your investment studying film and your team chemistry. And
05:08 it's different in you know I love our last year's senior
05:11 class and in they -- so much to us but as
05:14 we continue to build his football program and move forward. You
05:18 know these players expect to win. There. Well I think a
05:26 lot of times. It was third and long situations and we
05:30 had a key fourth down stop early. They're really provided them
05:33 Menem's changing field position was critical. You know so much about
05:38 football -- -- position in hidden yardage but you know I
05:41 thought we restated headed mistakes defensively and put him in third
05:44 and long situations. As a follow up the ball better and
05:49 we're we're and one how important is that for a young.
05:52 Look defensive front to develop. Well very important doctor Barnett played
05:57 well. You to refresh in making his first career start I
06:01 thought he didn't do very very good job. But it is
06:05 you know than the flip side you know we jump off
06:07 sides and haven't legal procedure penalty on fourth and one we
06:10 don't get a third one. It's unacceptable in the fourth and
06:14 one we jump off sides which is unacceptable. And so there
06:17 are a lot of things we need to go back and
06:19 get corrected as we continue to move forward. Rivers over how
06:23 how important was it can well. Five. It's very very critical
06:29 in Justin was called home. Collected in the acted like he
06:34 had been before. And he was kind of a calming presence
06:37 on the sideline. And I thought our receivers. For the most
06:41 part did a good job catching the football they made some
06:44 really good catches to extend drives. You know in we haven't
06:48 had that passed so that was great disease well you know
06:51 and then in some of the quick touches you know Bob
06:54 Pearson makes agree. Play in the open field and that's what
06:57 we need to be able to. -- -- -- -- The
07:01 lord god. -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --
07:09 -- -- -- -- -- -- -- Play three snaps last
07:14 year on defense. You know it's sad and we think he's
07:17 an older player and just plain in the second year --
07:20 jailers then again I can't say enough about him we have
07:23 so much of him. Not just from a defense standpoint but
07:26 on special teams and it was great to see. In these
07:29 players have taken ownership easily taken ownership and mentoring younger players.
07:34 And you know I spoke with AJ the other day and
07:36 I said you know for as much as you hold yourself
07:39 accountable. He just are holding your teammates to the same accountability
07:44 that you hold yourself to. And you could see that rub
07:47 off. It. Long though a little bit more when -- go
07:57 back and watch the film but we missed a couple tackles
08:00 but I think overall we did a good job. In --
08:03 give up very many big plays and you know a lot
08:06 of it again he's he's just the overall speed and atlases
08:09 and we've been able to gain defensively. Now we need to
08:12 continue to get stronger and continue to grow. But again for
08:16 first game -- -- -- about tackling and I thought for
08:20 the most part we did a fairly decent job with. --
08:27 It Chris Chris is continuing to learn our defense -- you
08:31 know scheme. And -- he brings another element in terms of
08:35 his speed quickness and you know he's shipping to a fire
08:38 hose right now I mean everything's come and at -- a
08:41 lot of them. You know not only from a from a
08:44 defense standpoint -- on special teams and he has a long
08:47 long way to go but hopefully. As these younger players continue
08:51 to gain valuable game experience in -- repetitions. Were able to
08:56 continue to grow -- defense sets and our offensive sets well.
09:01 Does not go there -- and what it. You know. Just
09:06 kind of a gut feeling it was back inactive. We charted
09:10 everything throughout the course training camp from even specialists to pressure
09:14 situations. In from mom about forty on and he was 85%
09:19 efficiency the entire camp. And so he is a very strong
09:24 leg in. Start a little slow missed it but came right
09:28 over means and I got a coach in it was great
09:30 to see him on the extra points and then. You look
09:33 at stage of the game when hit debt -- goal from
09:35 the right ash that was great to see 'cause we needed
09:38 at this stage of the game. There. I know a little
09:42 bit more when I see it. Again they're very very good
09:46 defense -- what they reduced dramatically challenges yeah it's different. So
09:52 again there's some different things you have to do when your
09:54 run schemes but on the -- little bit more when I'm
09:57 with you guys on Tuesday and I watched a video. --
10:00 change faster and more complete get a big play on special
10:03 teams history for patent office. Well you know as a coach
10:08 can look back the third one grinds me you know the
10:11 fourth and one with a penalty. The one kick off. Return
10:16 we gave up. We didn't do very well on third down
10:19 offensively in the first half. But again and you pointed good
10:23 football team they're gonna make their place -- our players were
10:26 recently. Again. Closing games out that's critical as wells was allotted
10:33 teaching lessons and move forward as we know. It's always a
10:36 lot easier to teach off a win. I'm sure that's --
10:40 the big question are undefeated. I did you know they were
10:46 were much more athletic up front. But again you never know
10:50 how they're gonna. Perform and vote until the lights go one
10:54 allowed these individuals performing for the first time but. You know
10:57 again -- Bernanke gave us some quality snaps it was great
11:00 to have courage and out there. You know Jordan Williams in
11:03 the middle Owen Williams -- DeMar he makes and adds another.
11:07 To mention in terms of his speed and quickness. And then
11:10 Chris whether it is well also and again and I thought
11:12 it was a very good team win. -- Well everything is
11:22 about -- position. In. Kickoff coverage is the first play defense.
11:29 Game. We need to improve our kickoff coverage from last year
11:34 in Beijing has -- cents to get to the football. So
11:38 we just felt where were out with the youth and inexperience
11:42 and his football team is he beyond football team and he
11:45 want to do. Well it's great to have the luxury you
11:58 know we have great competition at that position and have those
12:01 individuals step up tonight. I was big and we're gonna need
12:04 to continue to have them evaluate as the season progresses but.
12:08 You know we want to play with a tight and I
12:10 on the field and get in some different sets so that
12:13 was a great starting point force. The lady. There. He he
12:26 did have a good feel for the Russian we always talk.
12:29 You know about -- hi vision quarterback. When protection breaks down
12:34 I thought he kept some plays alive with his legs when
12:37 it was a scramble to roll out in the perimeter. Are
12:39 kicking him picking up some valuable yardage with his legs. And
12:43 so again I just thought. The dean played slow for him
12:47 he was in control of the game and that was great
12:49 to see. -- It. Yet you know get rid of the
12:58 ball quickly. But also we have to do a better job
13:01 when we get one on one matchups of completing the --
13:04 football that's probably the one thing when I look at it
13:07 one of you know a number of things rather but we
13:10 we have to do much better job with the deep ball
13:13 you know our receivers getting off the line of scrimmage and
13:16 complete -- But you know I thought we did a good
13:18 job of mixing it up. -- Yeah I think he'll be
13:27 fine on -- Jacob Gilliam I just came in here right
13:30 now and that to be fine. Thank you.
(WBIR) With 9:24 left in the fourth quarter, LaTroy Lewis and the rest of the Tennessee defensive line swallowed up Utah State quarterback Chuckie Keeton, bringing him to the ground on third down. The Heisman hopeful hobbled off the field, not a stranger to the Vols' pressure, which overwhelmed his Aggies the entire game.
It was that kind of night for the Vols.
In front of a sold out crowd of 102,455 in Neyland Stadium, Tennessee dismantled Utah State, 38-7, on Sunday night in a game they never trailed.
The scoring started early for the Vols. On a six-play, 70 yard drive, Tennessee quarterback Justin Worley drove the young Vols down the field, capped by a 8-yard Pig Howard sidestep into the end zone.
Howard led the receiving corps in catches with six for 37 yards.
It only took fourteen seconds for the Vols to strike again. On a possession set up by a Utah State turnover, Worley connected with Brendan Downs for a 12-yard score, his only catch of the night, to push Tennessee's early lead to 14.
Worley threw a career high 27 completions for 273 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions on the night.
The Vols took a 17-0 lead into the locker room at the half, which could have been inflated, reaching Aggies' territory on five consecutive possessions before the half resulting in only a field goal.
But Worley's night wasn't over.
He would connect on his first 13 passes to begin the second half. For the game, he threw to ten different receivers, with touchdown passes going to Downs, Von Pearson and Jalen Hurd.
Heavy reliance on a stout recruiting class was imminent before the season.
Head Coach Butch Jones played 21 true freshman, the most in a Vols' opening game. He also played 11 other players who played in their first Tennessee game. The Vols shined offensively, but the play of the defense, for Vols' fans, was a sight for sore eyes.
In 2013, Tennessee ranked 107th in total defense.
On Sunday, It was difficult to tell.
Senior A.J. Johnson led the defense with nine tackles and an interception. He also made in impact in special teams, forcing a Utah State fumble recovered by freshman and Webb product Todd Kelly Jr. Sophomore Cameron Sutton also chipped in with an interception of his own and sophomore Jaylen Reeves-Maybin led the team in tackles with ten.
The Vols defense forced three turnovers, Utah State didn't force any, something they had accomplished in their last 23 games.
The buzz surrounding the Vols' top recruiting class, as well as a Sunday start on Boomsday weekend made the game the first sellout for a Vols' home opener since 2007 --- a 39-19 win against Southern Mississippi.
The victory marked Tennessee's 20th consecutive home opener win.
Next week, the Vols have a 12 p.m. ET start on Saturday against Arkansas State.