Malik Jackson, Vols look to add more hits for Tyler Wilson

Malik Jackson on defense

Sitting his hotel room hours before a game against a ranked opponent, Malik Jackson snuck in a little advance scouting.

The Tennessee defensive tackle wasn't going out of his way to look past South Carolina leading up to kickoff two weeks ago, nor was he trying to look ahead to Arkansas.

But with another lineman with him and the television tuned in on the high-powered passing attack, Jackson saw something that clearly stuck with him when the time arrived to really start preparing for a meeting with the No. 8 Razorbacks and quarterback Tyler Wilson on Saturday (TV: ESPN2, 6 p.m.).

"I remember — me and Corey Miller were watching the Arkansas-Vanderbilt game," Jackson said. "(Wilson) got hit a lot in that game."

When the time came to pop in another film of the Razorbacks (8-1, 4-1 SEC) this week to more seriously break them down, Jackson saw the same thing he had previously noted.

Wilson has taken some punishment in the pocket and Arkansas has been susceptible to sacks this season, having allowed 18. But the trick for the Vols (4-5, 0-5) is finding a way to use that pressure to slow down the highest-scoring offense in the conference, which even the teams that have battered Wilson have struggled to actually do.

"It starts with us, just rushing, getting our rush games together and affecting the quarterback and giving some help to the defensive backs there," Jackson said. "Then they've got to cover the receivers to give us some time to work. You know, we've got to work together as a defense. Go out there, come together this week and come out and hit really hard, run around fast and have a good game.

"Watching the film, (Wilson) takes his time and goes through his reads. I don't really see him standing back there with a clock. ... You know, he really goes back there, goes through his progression, looks at the defense, he's a really smart guy and he takes his time with the ball. The longer he holds it, the better it is for us."

The other alternative is forcing Wilson to get the ball out sooner than he'd prefer, collapsing the pocket, getting in his face and making him rush to a decision. If he's allowed to hang in the pocket for an extended period of time, that likely will favor the Razorbacks with their talented group of wide receivers against a UT secondary that continues to tinker with personnel deep into the season.

But whether it's through sticky work from the defensive backs allowing the linemen time to work or a tenacious pass rush that limits the exposure in coverage, the Vols would seem to be better off if the linebackers weren't needed as part of the formula to get after Wilson.

"That will be huge," defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox said. "Any time you can generate a four-man pass rush, that's the best pass defense you've got. I thought our guys over the last couple weeks have gotten better and better and got after the quarterbacks a few times.

"We blitzed some, and we've got to do some things in terms of the pressure game to force the issue on the quarterback. We'll see — this is going to be a great challenge. This is a more talented, sophisticated offense, and it'll be a challenge. We'll see what happens."

Change of Venue: The Vols changed up the practice venue again before hitting the road for a game, working out Thursday morning at Neyland Stadium and cranking up the volume to prepare for the crowd noise at Arkansas.

True freshman quarterback Justin Worley seemed to have some communication issues at times over his first two starts, and both of those came at home. So dealing with the hostile situation and delivering the calls in the huddle and at the line of scrimmage has obviously been a point of emphasis.

"He was a lot better," UT coach Derek Dooley said earlier in the week. "He's going to have to be like a veteran on the road, it's going to be loud, hostile, different guys coming at you, so that's important.

"What happens is, when we're in rhythm, we play well on offense. When we get out of rhythm, that's when things start going bad."

Bumps and Bruises: Starting linebacker Austin Johnson (elbow) was again practicing in a green, non-contact jersey with a brace on his right arm.

Tight end Mychal Rivera (foot) took his green jersey off for the first time this week. Both players are expected to play against the Razorbacks.

Sticking Around: The traveling party will apparently be a little lighter for UT this weekend. The Pride of the Southland Marching Band won't be making the trip.

According to school spokesman Jimmy Stanton, the band was budgeted by the athletic department to appear with the Vols at Razorback Stadium but elected not to travel. He indicated the decision was up to the band program and not made by officials in the athletic department.

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Comments » 22

TNORANGEDOGDAD writes:

Would like to see us really use some real pressure on someone this season.

smokeybitesback writes:

Dang our band doesn't even want to watch this game..this season has just been full of bad luck..something good has to be coming to our vols.last years heart break with LSU and UNC was the worst and now all the injuries this season, we are due some good luck..GOOD LUCK SATURDAY..GO VOLS!!!!!!!!!

ProwlinAndGrowlinSmokeyDog writes:

As long as the offense generates some decent drives and avoids 3 and outs, the defense can stay fresh and keep the game reasonably close..A tired defense can't stop anybody, I don't care who you are.

Would love to see more blitz packages to put pressure on the QB..The Vols have blitzed more this year than last, and CJW is right when he says that can be our best pass defense..Makes the secondary's job a lot easier.

Smokey says let's skin some Razorbacks..He's gonna eat his share of pork between now and Saturday..

lomas98 writes:

First time I have seen the band decline a trip. Maybe they just don't want to watch.

pingkr62 writes:

Does anyone know how many true freshmen D/Linemen and linebackers, with the exception of Maggitt and Johnson, have played this season? I'm curious looking to next year. G.B.O.!!!!

CoverOrange writes:

in response to pingkr62:

Does anyone know how many true freshmen D/Linemen and linebackers, with the exception of Maggitt and Johnson, have played this season? I'm curious looking to next year. G.B.O.!!!!

Best I can discern only Justin Coleman and Brian Randolph are of the freshman defensive roster that have played along with Johnson and Maggitt. check UTSports.com for stats and box scores.

trubleoj#657755 writes:

Really? The "Pride" of the Southland Marching band does not have enough pride to go to a SEC game?
Disgraceful. So we gave the hogs back what, 80 more tickets for them to sell to their fans for this sold out game? I'll be there in their place. And I'll sing Rocky Top, with PRIDE, twice as loud as their lame a's could play it. Seriously, as a season ticket holder this is deeply disturbing to not bring our band to an SEC game. When was the last time UT band didn't go to a SEC game?

forkball writes:

Whoever made the band decision is a wimp.

pingkr62 writes:

in response to CoverOrange:

Best I can discern only Justin Coleman and Brian Randolph are of the freshman defensive roster that have played along with Johnson and Maggitt. check UTSports.com for stats and box scores.

Thanks!

underthehill writes:

in response to forkball:

Whoever made the band decision is a wimp.

I DO NOT believe this decision was made by the band..with our new overpaid athletic director and his useless cronies from Alabama joining him I think they either made or influenced this decision..another indication to me that the weaker the overall program at UT gets the stonger it makes the opposition..the band is a huge part of the attraction for fans to attend UT ball games..just as is the stadium and fans the band is a part of the atmosphere that those who attend want to be a part of ..we don't have a strong attraction for the football team at this point and the concession stand prices are a turnoff..UT needs the band..

underthehill writes:

in response to trubleoj#657755:

Really? The "Pride" of the Southland Marching band does not have enough pride to go to a SEC game?
Disgraceful. So we gave the hogs back what, 80 more tickets for them to sell to their fans for this sold out game? I'll be there in their place. And I'll sing Rocky Top, with PRIDE, twice as loud as their lame a's could play it. Seriously, as a season ticket holder this is deeply disturbing to not bring our band to an SEC game. When was the last time UT band didn't go to a SEC game?

Seriously ..do you really believe the BAND made this decision..the band members getting to travel to away games is one of the reasons for being in the band..do you have any idea how hard these students work for this perk..ask the band members if they wanted to go..

atributetoLombardiwasbanned writes:

in response to ProwlinAndGrowlinSmokeyDog:

As long as the offense generates some decent drives and avoids 3 and outs, the defense can stay fresh and keep the game reasonably close..A tired defense can't stop anybody, I don't care who you are.

Would love to see more blitz packages to put pressure on the QB..The Vols have blitzed more this year than last, and CJW is right when he says that can be our best pass defense..Makes the secondary's job a lot easier.

Smokey says let's skin some Razorbacks..He's gonna eat his share of pork between now and Saturday..

Gonna eat all the "Tennessee Pride" pork sausage I can hold 'tween now and then!
Go Vols!

hikerdude writes:

I don't see any reason to expect that we will get any more pressure on the qb than we have in any other game this season. And, if we don't, Arkansas is going to seriously kick our butt.

Volunatic writes:

in response to trubleoj#657755:

Really? The "Pride" of the Southland Marching band does not have enough pride to go to a SEC game?
Disgraceful. So we gave the hogs back what, 80 more tickets for them to sell to their fans for this sold out game? I'll be there in their place. And I'll sing Rocky Top, with PRIDE, twice as loud as their lame a's could play it. Seriously, as a season ticket holder this is deeply disturbing to not bring our band to an SEC game. When was the last time UT band didn't go to a SEC game?

This article directly conflicts with earlier reports on the reason the POTSLMB will not be traveling to Arkansas.
The earlier reports from athletic dept officials said it WAS due to "budgetary constraints".
When I heard that, I looked at my ticket prices. I'm amazed that there could be such "budgetary constraints".
I'm not blaming the band on this one, even though UTAD is blaming them now.

Volunatic writes:

in response to underthehill:

Seriously ..do you really believe the BAND made this decision..the band members getting to travel to away games is one of the reasons for being in the band..do you have any idea how hard these students work for this perk..ask the band members if they wanted to go..

Very good point. I had a couple of friends who played in POTSLMB, and that was their attitude all the way. They were some of the staunchest Vol fans I knew.

Vol_USArmy_Soldier writes:

Sheesh! Even the Pride of Southland Band has rolled over. And the hits continue.

VOLliven2it writes:

I just want us to be all over the hogs with our defense. If we aren't Wilson will pick us apart. As for our offense, we cannot depend on it to put up a lot of points even though Ark.'s defense is not the best in the SEC. I would love to see us go there and play a complete game with few or no mistakes and see how we end up. But with no running game and I am sure we will try that, it does not feel good. If I was coach I would come out throwing and throw til we scored or they stopped us but look at me. Not a coach and sitting in front of a computer around lunch time. No matter the outcome I am behind them all the way and will be whatever happens the rest of this year. GO BIG ORANGE!

Jakevol writes:

Pressure, you want Pressure, watching them each week getting their butts kicked,,is Pressure. Is there some other good guys at the Frat House?
Go Vols.

MemphisHog writes:

Arkansas' offensive line is not a great one, but it has been improving in recent games. One thing Tyler Wilson has proven this year - something that Ryan Mallett never did - is that he is tough as nails. He does sometimes hold onto the ball too long, but pressure does not bother him as much as it did our former QB. Mallett would curl up in the fetal position; Wilson stands up and takes the hit as he throws the ball.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to underthehill:

I DO NOT believe this decision was made by the band..with our new overpaid athletic director and his useless cronies from Alabama joining him I think they either made or influenced this decision..another indication to me that the weaker the overall program at UT gets the stonger it makes the opposition..the band is a huge part of the attraction for fans to attend UT ball games..just as is the stadium and fans the band is a part of the atmosphere that those who attend want to be a part of ..we don't have a strong attraction for the football team at this point and the concession stand prices are a turnoff..UT needs the band..

Well, so far, the band hasn't declined to play at any HOME games, and I rather doubt they are much of a factor in how many people show up at OTHER people's stadiums. Still, having known many band members over the years, including my own sister who was a UT majorette, I know they generally love to travel to the away games and no question that they represent us well.

hcjournals#206623 writes:

The band is better than this....Disappointed...

threeough7 writes:

So much talk about the band not going to Arkansas. In my opinion but the band had every right not to go especially if the Athlectic department made a last minute change of the original agreement. It's a breach of the original agreement. By not taking the plane, made the trip much longer meaning students would miss school, and since a large portion of your kids are non music majors, this would be very difficult to coordinate with the teachers. As much as we all love Rocky Top at football games, there are higher priorities in life. If the athletic department wanted the band, they should of stuck with THEIR agreement!! Coming from a former member, QUIT BLAMING THE PEOPLE WHO UPHOLD YOUR TRADITIONS, and blame your athletic department!!!!

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