Player Quotes, Media Availability (Oct. 8)

Freshman OL Wanya Morris

On what the experience of playing has been like through five games:

“At first it was a little hectic trying to get back into the game speed and learning something new, but as I go I feel like I’m getting better.”

On how much the freshmen on offense lean on each other:

“We all talked about it before we even came here. We knew that we had the possibility to play, so we took it amongst ourselves, that role, to come in and make an impact.”

On what Marquez Callaway and Jauan Jennings have done to lead the offense:

“They’re always keeping the tempo up, the energy. Jauan and Marquez are the best duo I’ve ever seen. They keep the energy up at practice, games, workouts, and you can always count on them to keep your head up.”

On film sessions with (Darnell) Wright and Will Friend:

“We really emphasize the little things like the steps you take, first steps, because that really determines how we play. The first two steps determine the whole block, so we really focus on our steps in practice, our pad level, where our hat is, eyes. That’s what we really focus on while we’re watching film.”


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Junior DB Theo Jackson

On the challenge of facing two different quarterbacks versus Mississippi State:

“I feel like we’re just accounting for both of their talents. We’re just going to have to keep them both contained as best as we can, and just get pressure on them.”

On if he thinks the team is playing with more personality as the season progresses:

“Yeah, I am. We’re becoming more together as one, and we’re just playing more confident. The first half against Georgia we played very well, but we just have to sustain that effort.”

On how the defense can be more disruptive and cause more turnovers:

“Causing turnovers, that’s just want to. Getting the ball off the runner and just taking it from him, that’s just want to. Picks just come from good technique and eyes. Really it’s just a scheme-based thing that can get us back there for tackles for loss.”

On what he has seen from Bryce Thompson since his return:

“I’ve seen a lot of development from him. He’s definitely matured a lot since that last incident, and I’m liking what I’m seeing.”


Junior DB, Ty Chandler

On how the team is trying to get the running game going:

“We talk about it every week. I’m sure Coach (Jim) Chaney has a great plan for how we’re going to do that this week. I’m just looking forward to going in there this week and working – working on myself and whatever I can do to get better – to help this run game to get going. That’s what we’re going to do this week. We’re going to push each other hard this week in practice and go out there and execute on Saturday.”


On how Brian Maurer handled himself on Saturday:

“I think he handled himself well – the ability to come in, facing the No. 3 team in the nation. I think he handled himself well, like a professional. We’ve just got to keep having that and we’ve got to keep building off that.”


On how critical this Saturday’s game against Mississippi State is going to be:

“This game is very critical. It’s another big game in Neyland at (Noon). So, we’ve got to come out ready to play. We’ve got to come out ready to play and just ready to get the ball rolling. I’m excited. I’m looking forward to it. We’re facing a good Mississippi State team. It’s a good challenge ahead, but I’m looking forward to it. Hopefully we’ll come out on the right foot, ready to go.”


On how Eric Gray has performed up to this point in the season:

“Eric’s coming along well. He’s another great running back in our room. He brings versatility to the room. He’s an even better person. He’s developing well. I’m excited to have both of them in the room (Chandler and Tim Jordan). I know anytime I’m out, I know they can get the job done.”


Junior DL Matthew Butler

On if he feels like his game is progressing:

“I’m always working for my game to evolve. My main goal is to help this team win. It’s been a tough time in Tennessee history my whole time. That lights a fire in me. I’m just trying to do what I can to help the team win.”


On what Aubrey Solomon has done to play well:

“Aubrey is a good player. He transferred in from Michigan. He’s always in the training room with me, with the guys. He’s making sure that his body is right because he knows tough SEC football. We just prepare for each week the right way.”


On how the defensive line is looking to increase its pass rushing:

“As far as the last game, Georgia does have a good line. They pass protected well and they also have seven-man protections and bigger guys. We just need to have better execution with the one-on-ones. We might get two one-on-ones on the ends or two one-on-ones on the inside. We need to capitalize on those. Even if it’s not a one-on-one, just pushing the pocket, get in the quarterback’s face. Like I said, it’s not all about just sacking the guy – getting hands up, stopping coverages, and getting a hit on him – something to that extent just to affect the quarterback.”


Senior DB Nigel Warrior

On the energy he saw from the team against Georgia:

“I feel like we came out of our shell more. I think more of the players, my teammates, we opened up a little bit. We played with more heart. That brought out more personality. If you looked on the sideline, you could see people jumping around. On the field, you could see more personality, screaming, talking to each other, communication. It was all there.”


On how he feels the defense has been adjusting throughout the game:

“I think we’re adjusting pretty well. In the first half of last week, I think we adjusted pretty well. Now, we just have to take it from the first half to the second. I think we adjusted pretty well as a team. We just have to make those changes as the game goes on. We have to see them and communicate them and let everybody know, ‘This is what’s happening.’ Take it for a whole 60 minutes, or however long a game goes.”


On what was going through his mind while watching Jauan Jennings carrying defenders on Saturday:

“We’re playing ball. When I saw that I was like, ‘We’re really out here playing football.’ We’re playing as one. We’re playing as a team. Everybody’s playing their heart out and playing with some passion. Those things like that, that you really don’t see, those are the things that really get everybody up and out of their seats.”


On how important it is for the defense to generate a good pass rush:

“I think the pass rush helps us a lot. What our coaches always say is: ‘A good pass rush is a good back-end defense and a good back-end defense is a good pass rush.’ I think the pass rush helps us out a lot. It helps us break down from running around a lot. When the quarterback breaks the pocket, I think that it helps with us not having to run around so much and actually having to chase a receiver. With all the time that a quarterback could have, with the pass rush knocking it down, I think it really helps us a lot.”


On if he likes the team’s talent level:

“I love the talent level. It isn’t about the talent. It’s just about us getting to who we are and knowing who we are in order to win games. That’s all it is.”


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