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Tennessee football offensive, defensive coordinators discuss lineups at media day

UT defensive coordinator Tim Banks and offensive coordinator Alex Golesh met with the media as Tennessee football training camp begins.
Credit: WBIR/Madison Hock
Tennessee offensive coordinator Alex Golesh addresses media members

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee football offensive coordinator Alex Golesh and defensive coordinator Tim Banks met with the media on Sunday afternoon as the Vols' fall training camp went underway.

Banks said he is glad to have more scholarship players on campus compared to the spring, and he is looking forward to the practice time the team is about to get.

"We're always confident. Comfortable, I don't know about that," Banks said. "We obviously still have a lot of work to do. We're definitely excited with the number of student-athletes we have in our program at this point."

Banks also said that the number of players on the roster doesn't always mean the team will be deep at every position and that he is only giving playing time to the guys that deserve it.

"We're going to play all the guys that earn the reps, but the reality is you have to earn it," Banks said. "I know these guys are eager to get to work, so we'll find out soon exactly how much depth we will have."

Offensive coordinator Alex Golesh said the veteran leadership he gets out of quarterbacks Hendon Hooker and Joe Milton has been one of the greatest things to see, and it's been a huge asset to helping younger guys along.

"The way Hendon and Joe carry themselves and their competitive relationship with each other has been fun to watch because they do truly like each other and encourage each other and are each other's biggest fans," Golesh said. "You're looking for model examples for these young guys and Hendon and Joe have done a great job of taking ownership of it, not feeling like they're stepping on each other's toes. I give those guys a lot of credit. That's more than I could do at 22 years old."

On his running back rotation, Golesh made it seem like the backfield will very much be a "by committee" situation, especially coming off Sunday's news that redshirt sophomore Len'Neth Whitehead will be out for the season. Returning rushing leader and junior back Jabari Small will be looked to as the primary options, and Golesh has seen a much different version of Small going into camp.

"I think Jabari has changed his body in so many ways and is about as focused as I've seen him since we've been here," Golesh said. "Anytime you know you're the guy going into the year, just the way he's even walked into the facility, there's a different look on him. There's a confidence about Jabari. I don't think he was super confident a year ago."

Golesh said that sophomore Jaylen Wright and freshmen Dylan Sampson and Justin Williams-Thomas are all likely to get touches this season as well.

Tennessee's fall training camp begins on Monday, August 1 and the Vols' season opener against Ball State will be one month later on September 1 at Neyland Stadium.

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