Sal Sunseri on UT defense: They have given me everything they have

The transition on defense is far from complete, but time is still on Sal Sunseri's side.

Tennessee has only gone through six practices with its new defensive coordinator and the new approach he's brought with him.

That leaves him nine more in spring camp after the morning workout on Wednesday, and he was quick to point out that 27 of them would follow in the fall as he met with the media for the first time since practice resumed.

"They’ve responded, they’ve done a lot of good things, they’re trying to work hard," Sunseri said. "It’s a lot of new language for them, but they have given me everything they have. I’m extremely pleased with their effort, I’m extremely pleased with the way that they’re trying to come learn it.

"Are they going to learn it overnight? No, they’re not. We’re going to keep on working."

The next chance for the Vols to do it on the field is a big one in terms of personnel evaluation, and the scrimmage slated for Friday morning will also provide an early barometer of the progress they've made absorbing Sunseri's system.

That will start with the basics of simply lining up correctly, but after that Sunseri indicated he'll be looking for something that's not necessarily a part of the playbook as he tries to get a gauge on the toughness of his first unit at UT.

"these guys have come in here, they’ve bought in, they want to get better, they want to go out and play like a champion," Sunseri said. "My whole thing is if you go out and you put your product on the field and your name is on the back, I want toughness, I want discipline and I want you to act like a pro."

For more on Sunseri's transition and preparations for Friday's scrimmage, check back to http://www.govolsxtra.com, pick up Thursday's News Sentinel or follow @Vols_Beat on Twitter.

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Comments » 99

BigBadVol writes:

Man I like coach Sunseri! It's about time we hear good things about the player's attitude being positive.

clvolfan writes:

Believe we have our first good DC after Chavis.Looks as if he will put the player where he fits best,and not where they want to put him.

jt45 writes:

I like the confidence coach Sunseri is sharing publicly, I think the players will buy into his system even more because of it. Its going to be interesting to see how much improvement this years defense shows under a new coach and system.

Dalton writes:

Potential force of nature coach..which are coaches that bring attitude and success with them...Saban, Belicheck and Parcells are examples...Sal could be unique in that he can be likable

givehim6 writes:

Think UT's Defences are going to start looking like the way they did under Chief, we will find out this fall. I'v heard to win championships you got to have a good D.

Vol-N-Fl writes:

Praise in public, berate in private. Good management skills.

GO VOLS!!

ROCKYTOPBRAD writes:

Hey Derek Doofas take a note. Maby if you use positive reinforcement and not so much public humiliation your players would like you and not want to leave.

PUL4VOLS writes:

Toughness, he wants and Discipline. With those two and some outstanding coaching I believe we will see real quality defense being played and I hope we see some headknocking linebackers and everyone who will make tackles instead of hit at ball carriers. GO BIG ORANGE!

FearTheVols1252 writes:

in response to ROCKYTOPBRAD:

Hey Derek Doofas take a note. Maby if you use positive reinforcement and not so much public humiliation your players would like you and not want to leave.

I got to admit... Dooley hasn't been as bad about berating players thus far in 2012. Perhaps Hart had a little come-to-Jesus with him about that.

FearTheVols1252 writes:

Regardless of the schematic comparison's between Sunseri and Wilcox (i.e. who's better), all the media outlets keep talking about how well the players respond to Sunseri. Never heard that with Wilcox. Hopefully that translates to a new level of effort, energy and enthusiasm on the field that we've been lacking for several years.

agentorange writes:

Act like a pro and kick somebody's a-- while you're at it, please. I'd like to see somebody sack the GD quarterback this year. Seems like we haven't had a pass rusher in a while.

dynasty101 writes:

in response to jt45:

I like the confidence coach Sunseri is sharing publicly, I think the players will buy into his system even more because of it. Its going to be interesting to see how much improvement this years defense shows under a new coach and system.

Exactly. That confidence is the first thing I noticed. In reality it(defense) is probably a complete mess at the moment. But I love his approach.

ReVolver writes:

My opinion on Dooley criticizing players in public:
I generally like it, as long as he also points out the positives.

Less coach speak and more accountability for the players is one of the things I really like about Dooley. Don't need to be coddling them, need to be treating them like men. That includes being able to handle and overcome criticism.

It's the same thing some whiners called 'making excuses' last year...its called holding people accountable.

crappieking writes:

in response to doesitmatter:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

You are an idiot troll. The End.

FearTheVols1252 writes:

in response to ReVolver:

My opinion on Dooley criticizing players in public:
I generally like it, as long as he also points out the positives.

Less coach speak and more accountability for the players is one of the things I really like about Dooley. Don't need to be coddling them, need to be treating them like men. That includes being able to handle and overcome criticism.

It's the same thing some whiners called 'making excuses' last year...its called holding people accountable.

I agree to a certain point. Accountability is great, but beating them up all the time in the public eye is not constructive nor conducive to team building.

mountainbrook writes:

in response to FearTheVols1252:

I got to admit... Dooley hasn't been as bad about berating players thus far in 2012. Perhaps Hart had a little come-to-Jesus with him about that.

It also might have something to do with the fact that he's not coaching so many of Fulmer's and Kiffin's poor recruits anymore.

mountainbrook writes:

in response to doesitmatter:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Translation: doesitmatter = One Trick Pony. I guess its easier than thinking with your limited abilities.

volpreacher writes:

in response to agentorange:

Act like a pro and kick somebody's a-- while you're at it, please. I'd like to see somebody sack the GD quarterback this year. Seems like we haven't had a pass rusher in a while.

I'd like to see you post something without using the Lord's name in vain.

tennrich1 writes:

in response to mountainbrook:

It also might have something to do with the fact that he's not coaching so many of Fulmer's and Kiffin's poor recruits anymore.

This is my leanings as well...Did we every think of the possibility he doesnt have as much to be critical about....I agree with you mountainbrook....

gc_scvol writes:

in response to doesitmatter:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Identity Crisis? You think really hard now, and you'll figure it out!

tennrich1 writes:

in response to volpreacher:

I'd like to see you post something without using the Lord's name in vain.

Volpreacher, what's in the well comes up in the bucket!

lomas98 writes:

in response to FearTheVols1252:

I got to admit... Dooley hasn't been as bad about berating players thus far in 2012. Perhaps Hart had a little come-to-Jesus with him about that.

He did say before the very first practice that he would probably not like what he saw the next day. He doesn't have to be over the top positive and just spin into coach speak, but alrady thinking negative publicly before the first practice can't help the players getting motivated to go out there. We all know the first practices in any level of sports are not going to be great...doesn't mean you have to be gloom and doom before it happens.

drwut70 writes:

When I played (too many years ago) coach always reminded us not to pay attention to what he said to those outside of our team (media and yes even fans) - but only what he said to us. I bet that hasn't changed a lot for most coaches and their staff.

voloffaith writes:

in response to tennrich1:

Volpreacher, what's in the well comes up in the bucket!

you mean like,"out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks"

On topic, plenty of practice man...I mean we're talking practice man...man...practice....

VolsLegacy1970 writes:

in response to mountainbrook:

Translation: doesitmatter = One Trick Pony. I guess its easier than thinking with your limited abilities.

Where do you people come from? You are obviously trouble makers. You are definately not Tennessee fans or any other college sports fan. Mature adults just don't blog these sort of false, negative comments to stir up strife. My Lord...son, get a life!

VolsLegacy1970 writes:

My last comment was in response to: Translation: these guys are so far BELOW what I left...I can't believe I left Bama for this group of kiddies. by doesitmatter.

orangecountyvols writes:

in response to ROCKYTOPBRAD:

Hey Derek Doofas take a note. Maby if you use positive reinforcement and not so much public humiliation your players would like you and not want to leave.

Hey Doofus yourself,

Everytime there is a topic, Vol fans always look forward to the news. Then too, we know a troll or whiny/griper individual will soon find his way to the site.

So the as usual whiny award goes to you. You earned it. You were 'first' as they say.............

RockVegas writes:

I hope coach Sal can get this group to play hard,he's been at Bama so I know he can get them to believe in his system.Play tough hard nose football,that's it.I didn't think our last DC was cut out for the job,and he wasn't,I wish he would have left a year sooner.Tennessee needs real SEC coaches and not people who come in and think they can coach when they are too far in over their head,and that's from top to bottom.....GBO.

jt45 writes:

in response to gc_scvol:

Identity Crisis? You think really hard now, and you'll figure it out!

Your asking an awful lot from that one, thinking isn't something he's known for.

antonio14313 writes:

i can't wait till september!!! go vols.

t

Volunteer-Varmint writes:

in response to doesitmatter:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Quick, someone grab the shovels. He's dug himself out again! Get a life bubba!

GreeneVol writes:

I'm not getting my hopes up for a top 10 defense this fall...that would only be possible after about three years' of top-notch recruiting, development & coaching - the SAME system that is. Just hoping they can keep us in the game and our offense outscore the other team's. Not pessimistic, just trying to be a realist here.

papavol writes:

in response to BigBadVol:

Man I like coach Sunseri! It's about time we hear good things about the player's attitude being positive.

You said it! It's so refreshing to hear something positive for a change. So many articles about different players stepping up. I'm certainly excited about the possibilities with this team. I think this is the year that we become nationally relevant again.

volsfanntn11 writes:

keep up the good work SAL! Lets not get into this he said stuff! And put players where they can play and not where"previous coaches" wanted them to play! .... I think this year our DEFENSE will be back to the SMASH MOUTH FOOTBALL.... we are custom too!.....every DEFENSIVE POSITION is gonna be coached by a new coach! That means more 1 on 1 with the players and not 1 coach .....coaching 2 or 3 different positions! So long to the coaches who left us....just wait till August 30th in the Ga. Dome .......SAL will show everybody around the country that Dooley picked the right guy!....best of luck to all the players and staff.....GO BIG ORANGE....VOL FOR LIFE!

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

I can see the reality creeping in the locker room..This guy ain't no pushover like Wilcox was, we perform at a high level or it's pine city..GBO!

pingkr62 writes:

My first impression is the new defensive staff has brought in a new system and the players are enthusiastic about it. I felt like the defense played fairly well last year, but needed that intangible "kick" to get them over the top. Maybe Coach Sunseri is that "kick" Now, if we can get the offensive line going, and can generate some sort of running game, Tennessee will be a team that will gain some respect nationally. G.B.O.!!!

jobrando#216494 writes:

I think CDD has decided not good to bash in public.

BufordTJustice writes:

Quite refreshing to hear a coach not trash his players to the public. Sounds like Sunseri is man enough to take ownership of his product, inlike Barbara's baby.

Volunteer-Varmint writes:

in response to volpreacher:

I'd like to see you post something without using the Lord's name in vain.

Amen to that. What does this type language actually add to your post?

Oh yeah, your insecurity and maturity levels.

asleep#212036 writes:

in response to givehim6:

Think UT's Defences are going to start looking like the way they did under Chief, we will find out this fall. I'v heard to win championships you got to have a good D.

Two issues with our defenses under Chavis: first, he tended to play back on third down to prevent the big play, and second, his pro-style defenses were predicated on a dominant defensive line. Due to the first issue we had trouble getting our defense off the field at times, especially against sophisticated offenses, like Spurrier's at Florida. The second issue meant that his defense was much better in some years than others, all depending on the D-line talent. In the NFL, after which his defense was patterned, that's no big deal - you just keep signing proven D-linemen. In college, uh, that was a problem as some years were more lean than others, especially Fulmer's last couple. Sunseri's 3-4 requires fewer great D-linemen and only needs one real stud LB. And it appears from his last few years at Bama, he is aggressive all the time, every play. No prevent defenses, no loose zones or lining up 10 yards off the ball in the secondary, no "dime" packages, etc.... He's a Sabanite and a real one who coached on the field, not like DD. I'm hoping the two of them jell and we can claw our way back (over time) to the SEC elite. It starts with being able to compete in the East. If Sunseri's defense can make any strides at all, Bray and the offense should have us doing that this year. If not, DD may be on the road and I don't mean recruiting. Go Vols!!!

VolsLegacy1970 writes:

in response to GreeneVol:

I'm not getting my hopes up for a top 10 defense this fall...that would only be possible after about three years' of top-notch recruiting, development & coaching - the SAME system that is. Just hoping they can keep us in the game and our offense outscore the other team's. Not pessimistic, just trying to be a realist here.

I think that you are being very realistic, but a top 25 - 30 defense nationally and a top 5 SEC defense is surely conceivable. I think that we have the talent, the scheme, and the coaching to really get after some people and get some good pressure and penetration up front. I think Sentimore has the speed and strength to be a disruptor on the inside, and I think McCullers will develope in to that run-stopping, space-taking hoss every 3-4 needs in the middle. I am optimistic that our "D" will be formidable enough to keep us in most games until our offense gels. If both units play to their potentials then the sky's the limit, and we will compete for an SEC East title...and a possible BCS at-large bowl game...maybe the Sugar!!! I can't wait...anything less than 9 wins would and should be a disappointment for our men this year...GO BIG ORANGE!!! FIIGHT LIKE GENERAL NEYLANDS MEN DID FOR HIM!!! NEVER GIVE UP OR HOLD YOUR HEADS DOWN!!!

RoadTrip writes:

Coach Sal doesn't have to explain he has been there and done that. Instant credibility. This roster has craved leadership on and off the field. As bad as Dools' coaching choices and scheme decisions were the first two years it appears he has strongly improved that aspect. Now it comes down to team unity and game management. Encouraging.

volbob writes:

While the coach-speak is all well and good, it sure sounded like a read-between-the-lines thing. Obviously, he left a championship team for UT; however, it is also obvious that the level of talent he now has is well below that of his previous team...whatever position he coached. Long-term, he is a great upgrade; based on UT's current level of talent, however, it will likely be another work in progress to get back to the kind of defense UT once had. Someday UT will regain all aspects of the game that "we" had. Talent-wise, though, the defense will probably need a couple of years. Unfortunately, DD doesn't have the time left for the defense to mature into the new program. Whatever...it's still football! GBO

DwayneElizondoMountainDewHerbertCamacho writes:

I'm still not sold on Sunseri. He's never been a D-coordinator before, but it is SO freaking nice to have a coach that doesn't run the morale of our guys straight into the ground while making excuses for himself.

volnvette03 writes:

in response to FearTheVols1252:

I agree to a certain point. Accountability is great, but beating them up all the time in the public eye is not constructive nor conducive to team building.

A certain point is correct. However, if todays players what to make it at the pro level, then they better be ready for the microscope in both the media and coaches interviews. There is no mercy!

Clarkrm0706 writes:

in response to volpreacher:

I'd like to see you post something without using the Lord's name in vain.

How do you know he didn't say Gosh Da**?

TheVolSnake writes:

We keep looking better and better this year from what I can see from the net.

The D appears to be happy about the change to 3-4 which leads me to believe they have bought in to their new roles.

The O. Line has another year of experience and if they stabilize positions early will be strong both pass and run.

Regardless of rumors and bad media coverage and negative posts we have a great team this year and have good to great backups at nearly every position first time in at least 4 years so I see us very strong this year. I don’t think we will win the SEC but will be much improved over all and will have a winning record.

Dooley is the right man for the job. Yes he makes mistakes but he has stopped for the most part your biggest problem (off field troubles) and now has assembled a great coaching staff.

Everyone wants to forget he had less than two weeks to assemble his first coaching staff and keep the recruits, so to be frank he didn’t get the best coaches out there. To top that off he lost a lot of Key players and so far all those lost haven’t produced where they went, but the book is still open on some of them.

Go Vol’s

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

in response to Clarkrm0706:

How do you know he didn't say Gosh Da**?

You can't spell darn on here??

Clarkrm0706 writes:

in response to BIVOLAR_BEARE:

You can't spell darn on here??

Ha! O.k., You got me. Pretty funny. :)

Dougb-VFL writes:

in response to orangecountyvols:

Hey Doofus yourself,

Everytime there is a topic, Vol fans always look forward to the news. Then too, we know a troll or whiny/griper individual will soon find his way to the site.

So the as usual whiny award goes to you. You earned it. You were 'first' as they say.............

I just wish that people would leave Dooley alone.I get it,we had a couple bad years and the mildcats did beat us. Dooley is going to come through this year and some people will try to support him after he starts winning but I think it is unfair to blame all our woes on him because there were lots of factors that lead to our failures. I agree that the headcoach should be responsible but Dooley's situation was a hard one due to the runaway boy and when he chose to run. VFL

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