Transcript: Vols DL Matthew Butler Kentucky Week Avail

Vols DL Matthew Butler / Credit: UT Athletics

Matthew Butler, DL – Sr.

On what defensive line coach Jimmy Brumbaugh has meant to his game…

“Coach Brumbaugh, like I said before, he’s very meticulous. He’s very high attention to detail, just like I am. Early in my career it was almost to a fault, focusing too much on the details and not just going out and playing ball. Coach Brumbaugh has really come at me, as far from a coaching perspective – and come at all of us – as far as a coaching perspective with that good balance of going out and playing ball. It’s a violent sport, especially for a defensive lineman to where you’re making contact with another opposing player every snap, and then also having a high intensity to details so that you can be the best athlete that you can be.”

On how he feels like he’s improved from his freshman year to now…

“Exponentially. You know, I came in as a freshman probably about 20 pounds lighter than I am now. Little bit of a different role, different defense, but now I have more of an understanding of the game. I’m able to kind of use all these moves I have in my head and actually know when and how to execute them rather than just going out and doing them haphazardly. I’ve become more of a student of the game, a cerebral player, knowing what’s in front of me rather than just lining up and playing. But it’s a good balance because I can still line up and play. Maybe I don’t really understand what’s in front of me if the opposing offense is doing something outside of their normal personnel or whatever the case may be, so it’s a good balance and that’s due to coaching, that’s due to a lot of work that I’ve done on myself, that’s due to watching a lot of football. Like I said, I’ve grown exponentially.”

On facing a run heavy attack like Kentucky as opposed to a balanced or pass heavy offense…

“It’s actually a little bit more different than you think just because although they have a good running back who has racked up a lot of yards in his career, they also have a quarterback, just like last year, who can run the ball – who’s fast, athletic, can run the ball, pass the ball a little bit as well. I would say in some ways we take the same approach as we did last year, as a defensive line being able to plug those interior gaps, get off blocks, to set edges and have contain, and just be ready to run for sure because if you can bounce it outside the sideline is our friend (to help) make those tackles just like we did a good bit last year and like we want to do every game because it’s the SEC. It’s a run first league.”

On the impact of getting Shawn Shamburger back and having Bryce Thompson healthy…

“Those are two guys who have been in our program for awhile and who are also very talented guys, so when you have that level of talent and you have that level of experience and then you can also add a level of leadership because they have that talent and experience and outspokenness, it’s a great thing. It really galvanizes our defense in a lot of ways. We’re the guys in front of them but we can all kind of work together with all of our pieces. If we get tired, we have great subs. If they get tired, they have great subs. We have all our pieces, and nobody has to play a million snaps or play out of position. It’s really a good feeling going into the week.”

On how facing a running quarterback affects a defense…

“It might affect a little bit of personnel. You might have a couple of checks here and there, but having a run-oriented quarterback, or maybe having a run-oriented offense, is kind of one and the same as far as your approach going into the week. Playing in the SEC, where even if you do have more of a balanced attack like we had in weeks passed or even more of a slightly pass heavy attack like we had in weeks passed, you’re still going against good running backs with big offensive lines who are willing and able to go downhill. So, the approach doesn’t change too much, but a few personnel’s, a few checks and still put yourself in a good position to win the ball game.”

On walking the line of focusing on the details but also going out and playing without thinking too much…

“I mean, with everything comes balance and that balance isn’t always going to be a straight line. Maybe you don’t follow that perfect balance every day, but you learn to adjust, you learn to kind of adhere to whatever circumstances have been placed upon you. I’m not going to act like I have life figured out all the way, but you just find that balance of the details and living. You find that balance of the details and balling. You ain’t got to walk it straight, you know? It might be a narrow path, it might be wider in some places, but you kind of just find that balance day-by-day rather than just this one balance that you walk down the whole time. I hope that makes sense.”

On if he likes the challenge of facing a run-oriented offense…

“I like football. Last year, we were able to get a few sacks versus a run heavy team in Kentucky, so that’s awesome. We also stopped the run well enough to win the game. This year we want to compound on that. Stop the run even better even though they have some different personnel and different guys. But ultimately, no matter whether they pass the ball 48 times a game or run the ball 60 times a game, we’re just trying to go out there and play some good football and win the ball game.”

-UT Athletics

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