Full Transcript: Wednesday Pruitt Presser – Vols Showing Great Effort & Intensity as Georgia Prep Continues

Tennessee Head Coach Jeremy Pruitt walks down the sideline during a game between Tennessee and Missouri at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, Tenn. on Saturday, Oct. 3, 2020.

No. 14/12 Tennessee has begun its final preparations for its top 15 showdown between the hedges against No. 3/3 Georgia on Saturday afternoon.

Vols’ head coach Jeremy Pruitt was impressed with the team’s effort and intensity at practice this week as the Vols’ look to notch a top 10 win on Saturday in Athens.

Saturday’s contest will be broadcast nationally by CBS at 3:30 p.m. ET. Fans can also listen to the game on the Vol Network (FM-107.7 & FM-99.1 in Knoxville).

Full Video Transcript Below

Opening statement…
“Had another good day at practice. Great weather out there. I mean how can you not want to go out there and work hard at practice with the way the weather is right now. I thought our guys had a lot of energy. (We’re) just really focusing on the details this week, still doing a lot of good on good. We’ve got a lot of guys that we’re still bringing along, but I thought the effort and intensity was good out there. We’ve got to put two more good days together to get ready for Saturday.”

On how the weather on Saturday could affect the game…
“We just worry about the things that we can control and take advantage of. Today was a great day to go out there and get better and I think our team did that. If it rains Saturday, it’ll be wet on both sides. We’ll just go play ball.”

On where freshman DB Key Lawrence is in his development…
“Keshawn is a guy that was affected really by the fact that we had a lot of people out during fall camp. We started him off at safety and there was a run there probably for two weeks that we didn’t have any corners. So, we moved him to corner, and he’s done a really good job at it and we don’t want to move him back again. So, he’s doing a nice job. He continues to work hard at practice, brings a great attitude every single day. He’s very coachable, got really good ball skills, plays with toughness, so we’re excited about him and as long as he keeps working like that, he’ll obviously get an opportunity to play a bigger role on our team as the season goes.”

On where he’s seen LBs Jeremy Banks and Quavaris Crouch improve so far…
“It’s interesting with both of these guys not having spring ball. For linebacker, you’ve got to be the signal caller, so being in there, the communication part between the defensive line, the secondary, setting the front, setting the blitzes, making sure we’re in the right call from the secondary standpoint. We put a lot on them. If you just go, ‘go get the ball’, they both do a really nice job at that. They’re going to continue to progress and improve every week because, I mean they live over here. There’s probably not a day that hadn’t went by over the last three months that I don’t see them sitting in a room together with Henry (To’o To’o) and the other linebackers, and them just in there coaching each other up. When you put as much time and effort into it as they have, they’re going to continue to get better.”

On freshman Dee Beckwith’s progression…
“He’s participating on the scout team now. That’s the next step. I saw him make a really good run out there today. As we go, that’s the next step with him. Sunday night, we are going to have a big scrimmage for the guys who aren’t playing a huge role on our team right now. There’s a lot of these guys that are plenty capable and based off circumstances, whether they were out for fall camp, they were injured or maybe they were just in quarantine and we had such small numbers that we didn’t get a chance at that time to practice threes and fours, and maybe it didn’t give them the opportunity. A lot of these guys are ready, and we need to get them out there and play some ball and we are going to do that on Sunday night when we get back.”

On defensive linemen Aubrey Solomon and Darel Middleton’s physical shape…
“They didn’t practice for a very long time. They’re both back, they’re working hard, and they have good attitudes. They’re kind of getting back into football shape and the movements that go with it. Can’t just sit there and not play this game and think it doesn’t affect you. Getting these guys back we will hopefully see improvement every week.”

On UGA freshman TE Darnell Washington and how to prepare for him…
“There’s no way to imitate that in practice, we don’t have anybody that big. We’re worried about us. In the last two weeks and the two weeks leading up to the first game we’ve got this thing crunched in here trying to work hard and get better. We have so many things that we need to improve on and that has really been our focus. We obviously know the talent there with Darnell and he’s actually playing really well for a freshman. He’s blocking well in the c-area, he’s made some really nice catches. He’s just a big man.”

On special teams and the challenges Georgia presents…
“They have good specialists. Really good in the return game. They blocked a punt against Arkansas, they’ve returned some kickoffs out there that were a player away from being a touchdown. They’ve got good speed on their team with size. If you’ve got size and speed, it gives you an opportunity to have good special teams and they do a nice job coaching them up. There’s not a weakness in their special teams. They are really sound and impressive over the first two games.”

-UT Athletics

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