Orange and White Game offers road map for summer improvement

Photos by AMY SMOTHERMAN BURGESS/NEWS SENTINEL
Members of the Tennessee defense celebrate while the band plays “Rocky Top” at the conclusion of the Orange and White Game at Neyland Stadium on Saturday.

Photo by Amy Smotherman Burgess

Photos by AMY SMOTHERMAN BURGESS/NEWS SENTINEL Members of the Tennessee defense celebrate while the band plays “Rocky Top” at the conclusion of the Orange and White Game at Neyland Stadium on Saturday.

Moments after the final snap of Tennessee’s Orange and White Game at Neyland Stadium on Saturday, coach Butch Jones pulled his two quarterbacks aside.

“He said he’s handing the team over to us,” said junior Justin Worley.

Worley and fellow quarterback Nathan Peterman have their work cut out for them.

Saturday’s spring exhibition — played in front of an announced crowd of 61,076 for the second highest spring game attendance in Vol history — offered some big plays on offense and some big stops on defense, but also plenty of mistakes that will need to be corrected by players on their own this summer.

The Orange team — made up of defensive players — beat the White squad 95-71, amassing points with sacks, pass breakups and third-down stops.

After a lopsided first half, the offense pulled close late in the fourth quarter. But walk-on quarterback Tyler Page was intercepted by walk-on defensive back Max Arnold, who was untouched on a 62-yard sprint to the end zone.

The entire defensive team ran to the end zone and officials, perhaps taking a cue from Jones, chose not to toss a flag.

Jones hovered behind the line of scrimmage for most of Saturday’s scrimmage, but NCAA rules will strictly limit how much instructional time he can spend with his team this summer.

That’s where Worley and Peterman come in. Without team leaders, the player-organized workouts that define the summer tend to be haphazard or disorganized, and Jones has said repeatedly that this team can’t afford to take a step back between now and the start of fall camp in August.

What can the Vols work on this summer? “Everything,” Jones said. “Everything needs to be worked on.”

Even so, the afternoon had enough highlights to sustain the team through the dog days of summer.

Redshirt freshman running back Alden Hill (18 carries, 101 yards) cemented his spot as the spring’s most surprising story. Worley and Peterman combined for 221 yards and threw only one interception in 41 attempts. Michael Palardy hit two long field goals, including a 52-yarder that hit the crossbar and bounced between the uprights.

On defense, the Vols were credited with nine sacks (although the quarterbacks were at a disadvantage because they could not be hit and were whistled down by contact). Freshman Corey Vereen had four of the big plays.

Brian Randolph made a leaping interception of Worley and returned it 37 yards before an offensive lineman wrestled him down.

“I was very encouraged by a lot of what I saw,” Jones said.

But ...?

“But obviously there is a lot of work that needs to be done over the next couple of months.”

On offense, Jones said the quarterbacks can develop “trust and timing” with receivers and backs.

“My mind keeps going back to what Peyton Manning said (when he visited the team last week),” Peterman said.

Manning told players that summer was essential for perfecting precise route-running so that both quarterback and receiver know each other’s next step.

As leaders, Jones wants to see his quarterbacks develop into “alpha males.” Worley said Jones will sometimes pop into the quarterbacks meeting room and write “LEADERSHIP” on the dry-erase board.

“Last year we were really more of a coach-led team and we didn’t have any real leaders,” said defensive back Justin Coleman. “It’s hard to let your teammate down, so you have to give it your all.”

Jones wants to go even faster in August, which means both sides of the ball must be prepared to contend with the pace on hot summer afternoons.

“We have to be in game condition, and we aren’t in game condition in any form,” Jones said. “Our tempo has to increase — our physicality and our overall endurance.”

The good news? Jones thinks they can do it.

“I can feel this football team growing closer and closer together, but we have to get a lot better over the summer months,” he said.

Evan Woodbery covers Tennessee football. Follow him at www.Twitter.com/TennesseeBeat.

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Comments » 32

Voltman writes:

in response to notfunanymore:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Troll!!!! Youve already posted this on at least one other topic. Why dont you go get yourself out of bed and smell the fresh air outside.

GainesvilleVol1 writes:

Now just stay healthy and out of the news for the summer. While I don't see much of a chance to compete for the East, I have hope in an improved team effort, and perhaps a suprise or two along the way. Gonna be a long hot summer, I'd just about as soon watch grass grow as watch baseball, so I'll just have to be patient along with all the rest of Vol Nation.

GO VOLS!!!!

maddawg writes:

60000 people....good crowd. Of course they knew TN would win.

snowpeapod#263184 writes:

What I find amazing is that the first poster changes what should be a positive into a negative. And even more amazing is that the next two posters responded to it. Some day ya'll will learn that the best way to exterminate a troll is to ignore them and they'll go away.

Dscup441 writes:

Why don't some Tennessee fans just be patient. I see all the things coach Jones is doing with this program. I think he will be able to coach them up maybe struggle this year but he has promising players visiting the campus and committing. I have a patient problem as well but quit complaining and support the program and let his staff turn this thing around. Go Vols! from Greenville SC which is Clemson country. No other coach has brought former players back to fill welcome like coach Jones has done.

leedsvol2007 writes:

I started following Tennessee football watching highlight films the night before our Saturday high school football games as a high school player in Northern NJ.

Later I enrolled as a student in 1969 and had the good fortune to see many great teams during my four years in school and have thrilled with our highs and suffered with our lows since.

I went to the spring game yesterday and came away convinced that we as alumni and fans need to be realistic about where we are and where we need to go to contend for and hopefully win an SEC/National Championship.

First it looks like we have the coach and the staff to do it. They are enthusiastic, have a plan, and understand they have to energize the fan base, recruit better talent, and get our current players to play with enthusiasm, poise and correct technique.

If we want to get Tennessee back to the level of Neyland, Dickey, Majors, & Fulmer in their best years we have to understand it is unless we are very lucky it is going to be about a five year process.

That process is going to be get this group of players playing at a high level and winning all the games we against the teams that we are competitive with.

Then we have to have several back to back great recruiting classes and we have to get some difference makers in those classes.

Finally we as fans and alumni need to be satisfied with progress and not want to get new coaches each time we lose a game over the next couple of years.

Hopefully this team can be like Doug Dickey's first team. They finished at a 500 winning percentage, tied a great Alabama team and played their butts off. Dickey has said that team set the table for his later higher level of success.

From what I saw yesterday these kids look like they have the guts and character to do it.

If so it is going to be a good first step.

GoVols!

snowpeapod#263184 writes:

in response to leedsvol2007:

I started following Tennessee football watching highlight films the night before our Saturday high school football games as a high school player in Northern NJ.

Later I enrolled as a student in 1969 and had the good fortune to see many great teams during my four years in school and have thrilled with our highs and suffered with our lows since.

I went to the spring game yesterday and came away convinced that we as alumni and fans need to be realistic about where we are and where we need to go to contend for and hopefully win an SEC/National Championship.

First it looks like we have the coach and the staff to do it. They are enthusiastic, have a plan, and understand they have to energize the fan base, recruit better talent, and get our current players to play with enthusiasm, poise and correct technique.

If we want to get Tennessee back to the level of Neyland, Dickey, Majors, & Fulmer in their best years we have to understand it is unless we are very lucky it is going to be about a five year process.

That process is going to be get this group of players playing at a high level and winning all the games we against the teams that we are competitive with.

Then we have to have several back to back great recruiting classes and we have to get some difference makers in those classes.

Finally we as fans and alumni need to be satisfied with progress and not want to get new coaches each time we lose a game over the next couple of years.

Hopefully this team can be like Doug Dickey's first team. They finished at a 500 winning percentage, tied a great Alabama team and played their butts off. Dickey has said that team set the table for his later higher level of success.

From what I saw yesterday these kids look like they have the guts and character to do it.

If so it is going to be a good first step.

GoVols!

One of the most intelligent posts I've read on this site in a long time.

etu_vol_fan writes:

If we can get to 6-6 and a bowl game, then it will be a nice first year. Play the games and lets see what happens? I'm not ready to mail in this season as a rebuild. I've been a fan too long.

SouthPaVol writes:

in response to leedsvol2007:

I started following Tennessee football watching highlight films the night before our Saturday high school football games as a high school player in Northern NJ.

Later I enrolled as a student in 1969 and had the good fortune to see many great teams during my four years in school and have thrilled with our highs and suffered with our lows since.

I went to the spring game yesterday and came away convinced that we as alumni and fans need to be realistic about where we are and where we need to go to contend for and hopefully win an SEC/National Championship.

First it looks like we have the coach and the staff to do it. They are enthusiastic, have a plan, and understand they have to energize the fan base, recruit better talent, and get our current players to play with enthusiasm, poise and correct technique.

If we want to get Tennessee back to the level of Neyland, Dickey, Majors, & Fulmer in their best years we have to understand it is unless we are very lucky it is going to be about a five year process.

That process is going to be get this group of players playing at a high level and winning all the games we against the teams that we are competitive with.

Then we have to have several back to back great recruiting classes and we have to get some difference makers in those classes.

Finally we as fans and alumni need to be satisfied with progress and not want to get new coaches each time we lose a game over the next couple of years.

Hopefully this team can be like Doug Dickey's first team. They finished at a 500 winning percentage, tied a great Alabama team and played their butts off. Dickey has said that team set the table for his later higher level of success.

From what I saw yesterday these kids look like they have the guts and character to do it.

If so it is going to be a good first step.

GoVols!

I'm with you. Yesterday looked as if we are a step away from greatness. I saw promise, but only a seed of success. I think 3-4 freshmen will make an immediate impact.

CroKev writes:

Aw, what the heck. We've got several months with nothing to do other than to listen to weight-room rumors so here's my take on the 2013 season.

I figure we should win at least the following 7 games:
Austin Peay (H)
Western Kentucky (H)
S. Alabama (H)
Missouri (A)
Auburn (H)
Vandy (H)
Kentucky (H)

We played both of the following teams down to the wire last year at their fields so I think we have a shot:
Georgia (H)
S. Carolina (H)

These next 3 will be tough away games but we were tied or ahead of them at halftime in the last couple of years. I think Butch knows how to adjust at halftime and our guys will be in good shape based on the pace they are playing. Of course, our biggest problem once again in that regard will be depth:
Oregon (A)
Florida (A)
Alabama (A)

I feel a lot better about the defensive product we're going to put on the field this year but I'm concerned about the offense - particularly the WR's (not to mention the QB - whoever he may be - and I wouldn't bet that it has to be Worley and Peterman). Croom and North et al. (Blank, Howard, Young, etc.) could all prove me wrong though and that might be the difference maker in a couple of those games above.

Either way, I'll expect that we'll be in a position to win each Saturday.

OrangePride writes:

in response to leedsvol2007:

I started following Tennessee football watching highlight films the night before our Saturday high school football games as a high school player in Northern NJ.

Later I enrolled as a student in 1969 and had the good fortune to see many great teams during my four years in school and have thrilled with our highs and suffered with our lows since.

I went to the spring game yesterday and came away convinced that we as alumni and fans need to be realistic about where we are and where we need to go to contend for and hopefully win an SEC/National Championship.

First it looks like we have the coach and the staff to do it. They are enthusiastic, have a plan, and understand they have to energize the fan base, recruit better talent, and get our current players to play with enthusiasm, poise and correct technique.

If we want to get Tennessee back to the level of Neyland, Dickey, Majors, & Fulmer in their best years we have to understand it is unless we are very lucky it is going to be about a five year process.

That process is going to be get this group of players playing at a high level and winning all the games we against the teams that we are competitive with.

Then we have to have several back to back great recruiting classes and we have to get some difference makers in those classes.

Finally we as fans and alumni need to be satisfied with progress and not want to get new coaches each time we lose a game over the next couple of years.

Hopefully this team can be like Doug Dickey's first team. They finished at a 500 winning percentage, tied a great Alabama team and played their butts off. Dickey has said that team set the table for his later higher level of success.

From what I saw yesterday these kids look like they have the guts and character to do it.

If so it is going to be a good first step.

GoVols!

I'm also a Jersey guy who came to Tennessee for college in the 60's (although I finally moved here a few years ago)and have always bled orange. Could not agree more with your post. I know we all want championship level teams, or at least teams that are in that conversation. But we will need a few years to climb back up that ladder. Here is why I'm cautiously optimistic........look at the way this staff is recruiting. We are already in great shape for 2014 and have our eye on 2015 as well. Add into that mix the philosophy and championship experience of the staff and I think we see the possibility of great things down the road. PLUS....these guys really want to be here and have gone ALL IN for the orange. We all just need to stay supportive and hang together a little while longer. Thanks for the post. GO VOLS!!

Rumblefish writes:

1) The QB situation is glaringly bad. I hope one of these frosh coming in can do something.

2) Jones' stupid fist in the air on 3rd/4th down is just that...stupid. It didn't take, hardly anyone did it after the first series, and we ARE NOT the black panther party.

3) I hope Hill keeps this up! The combo btwn him and Neal should be great.

4) I didn't see much of the "hurry up" that they have supposedly been practicing on. A few glimpses here and there...but every team has that...aka "the two minute drill."

5) Nice to see some FG's being made. Palardy drilled a 52 yarder!

6) Great energy by the players on the field.

7) Defense looked mean. Good hits, and they were throwing our own offensive guys all over the field. Gotta love a defense with a nasty attitude!

I am really doubting our offense's ability to put points on the board this season. Yes, the RB combo is great, but easily stopped by teams loading up the box with no fear of us going over the top on them...which TN cannot do this year.

givehim6 writes:

I'm not sure but I think it was MISS. ST. spring game I was watching,anyway the team was playing and the coachs wee on the field with the players yelling instructions out as they played. It looked so funny.

givehim6 writes:

My point is Miss st. a team talked about to be one of the better teams in the SEC west. at least first year coach Jones trust UT's guys to do summer drills on there own.

utvolfan1955 writes:

in response to southknoxrounder#1416834:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

not if they are idiots like you

snowpeapod#263184 writes:

in response to southknoxrounder#1416834:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

What the hell kind of a comment was that? UT recruits what they think are the best athletes. You're from West Knoxville I assume and it appears obvious that you need to get a life.

LSG410EC83 writes:

Went to the game and came away with a positive outlook. I did enjoy watching the hustle during the warm ups and the team spirit. Just all around looked more organized. Once the scrimmage did start, it did seems as if the defense had improved greatly. I hope this is true, if not, our offense needs a lot of work. Very impressed with Hill running the ball. He hits the hole like a back should do, instead of dancing on their toes in place hoping a hole will open. Thus far, looks like Worley was more comfortable. He still has quite a way to go though. Another thing I really liked is when the team came down to the band at the end of the scrimmage. This day seemed more like a game day than they have in the past couple of years during regular season. Really look forward to the fall. Realize we do have a long way and probably will not happen in one season, but, I do feel this team is now headed in the right direction. There was a couple of things I did not care for. One is when the guy came over the intercom telling the band to give him a break, they were trying to work on the field. If a band playing disrupts a team that much, they have more to work on than I give them credit. Also, the fist in the air thing. It was a big flop. If this tradition is to start, it will start after the team proves itself during the season, not during a scrimmage. Besides these little things, it was a great day. Just reemphasized that IT IS GREAT TO BE A TENNESSEE VOL. GO BIG ORANGE. Class of 83

snowpeapod#263184 writes:

in response to southknoxrounder#1416834:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

No, actually I have lived in Ohio since 1959 but my first 16 years were in Oak Ridge but I still bleed Orange through and through.

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

in response to southknoxrounder#1416834:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Dude, you know you crossed the line with that question..I don't think your an idiot, but that comment is definitely racist in nature. Here's a little dose of reality. Most D1 talent athletes are black (African American) playing football/basketball.

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

in response to southknoxrounder#1416834:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Here's a thought..Go back into your bunker and stay away from society..UT doesn't need your support or fans of that ilk..:) God loves you regardless..P;0ut

silicon28 writes:

in response to snowpeapod#263184:

What I find amazing is that the first poster changes what should be a positive into a negative. And even more amazing is that the next two posters responded to it. Some day ya'll will learn that the best way to exterminate a troll is to ignore them and they'll go away.

I could not agree any more with you here...
I call it the "stray cat rule." The more you feed them, the longer they will hang around... And it certainly applies with that guy...

voloffaith writes:

southedknoxrounder......newbie poster 3-2013....stoking the coals.....You are what ewe are......If you are serious,doubt it though, then apparently a racist by the nature of your question....said apparently....

MathMan1973 writes:

in response to snowpeapod#263184:

One of the most intelligent posts I've read on this site in a long time.

A good comment...However, will the majority of VOL fans be willing to wait for steady progress?

MathMan1973 writes:

in response to etu_vol_fan:

If we can get to 6-6 and a bowl game, then it will be a nice first year. Play the games and lets see what happens? I'm not ready to mail in this season as a rebuild. I've been a fan too long.

Note: Rebuild year will be a major accomplishment...

MathMan1973 writes:

in response to CroKev:

Aw, what the heck. We've got several months with nothing to do other than to listen to weight-room rumors so here's my take on the 2013 season.

I figure we should win at least the following 7 games:
Austin Peay (H)
Western Kentucky (H)
S. Alabama (H)
Missouri (A)
Auburn (H)
Vandy (H)
Kentucky (H)

We played both of the following teams down to the wire last year at their fields so I think we have a shot:
Georgia (H)
S. Carolina (H)

These next 3 will be tough away games but we were tied or ahead of them at halftime in the last couple of years. I think Butch knows how to adjust at halftime and our guys will be in good shape based on the pace they are playing. Of course, our biggest problem once again in that regard will be depth:
Oregon (A)
Florida (A)
Alabama (A)

I feel a lot better about the defensive product we're going to put on the field this year but I'm concerned about the offense - particularly the WR's (not to mention the QB - whoever he may be - and I wouldn't bet that it has to be Worley and Peterman). Croom and North et al. (Blank, Howard, Young, etc.) could all prove me wrong though and that might be the difference maker in a couple of those games above.

Either way, I'll expect that we'll be in a position to win each Saturday.

With this thinking, why play the season...VOLS play / win National Championship...ROFL...

snowpeapod#263184 writes:

in response to MathMan1973:

A good comment...However, will the majority of VOL fans be willing to wait for steady progress?

The Vol fans who are realistic and think with their brain and not their heart probably will be willing to wait.As for the ones who think with their heart, very doubtful. They are the ones who complained when we went undefeated and won the National Championship that we didn't beat some teams by enough points. They'll never be satisfied.

gatorhator4eva writes:

an upset at oregon would prove to be huge momentum heading back east to gainesville.

Snapshot writes:

in response to Rumblefish:

1) The QB situation is glaringly bad. I hope one of these frosh coming in can do something.

2) Jones' stupid fist in the air on 3rd/4th down is just that...stupid. It didn't take, hardly anyone did it after the first series, and we ARE NOT the black panther party.

3) I hope Hill keeps this up! The combo btwn him and Neal should be great.

4) I didn't see much of the "hurry up" that they have supposedly been practicing on. A few glimpses here and there...but every team has that...aka "the two minute drill."

5) Nice to see some FG's being made. Palardy drilled a 52 yarder!

6) Great energy by the players on the field.

7) Defense looked mean. Good hits, and they were throwing our own offensive guys all over the field. Gotta love a defense with a nasty attitude!

I am really doubting our offense's ability to put points on the board this season. Yes, the RB combo is great, but easily stopped by teams loading up the box with no fear of us going over the top on them...which TN cannot do this year.

What do you mean you "didn't see much of the hurry up"? Did you actually see the game? At what point did you see the offense huddle before the snap? They didn't!

allvol8 writes:

in response to gatorhator4eva:

an upset at oregon would prove to be huge momentum heading back east to gainesville.

I agree! GBO!

ProfessionalHandicapper writes:

Anytime you have an experienced led OL you have a chance at wins. On the flip side anytime you have a new QB with no experience at changing plays or reading defenses at real speed you have a problem. I say the key will be if the defense can be very good and turnovers are low as well as kicking. I know that sounds like boring football, but without proven skill players you hope to run, hit quick passes and play defense. At least that elitist mentality seems to be gone. Hated seeing guys like Patterson get celebration penalties while trailing in games on the scoreboard, or throat slash signs from a QB, or seniors saying players had quit. I was not a troll, just couldnt stand the former regime. Waiting and watching on this one. Glad to see all those lame excuses gone.

CroKev writes:

in response to MathMan1973:

With this thinking, why play the season...VOLS play / win National Championship...ROFL...

If an 8-4 or 9-3 team can play for the NC, then I guess you're right...

johnlg00 writes:

in response to ProfessionalHandicapper:

Anytime you have an experienced led OL you have a chance at wins. On the flip side anytime you have a new QB with no experience at changing plays or reading defenses at real speed you have a problem. I say the key will be if the defense can be very good and turnovers are low as well as kicking. I know that sounds like boring football, but without proven skill players you hope to run, hit quick passes and play defense. At least that elitist mentality seems to be gone. Hated seeing guys like Patterson get celebration penalties while trailing in games on the scoreboard, or throat slash signs from a QB, or seniors saying players had quit. I was not a troll, just couldnt stand the former regime. Waiting and watching on this one. Glad to see all those lame excuses gone.

Easily the most civil post I've seen from you on here. "Boring" football that keeps an underdog team in games beats the heck out of "exciting" football that seems to shoot itself out of games as often as into them. If Jones accomplishes nothing else this coming season, he will be off to a GREAT start if we don't have so many games in which there was a feeling that the team didn't leave it all on the field. We can't expect the Vols to roll over anybody, but we CAN expect them not to BE rolled over so easily. Gotta say I'm with you on leaving the "me-me-me" stuff behind. Maybe it's just because I'm from the older generation but the posturing by too many of today's athletes doesn't sit well with me. I'm all in favor of having fun and looking like it, but I don't like all the forms that attitude sometimes takes these days. I'll take your word that you weren't really a troll, but as the late great Pres. Reagan said, "trust but verify"!

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