Defense looks to 'wreak havoc' with pass rush

Amy Smotherman Burgess/News Sentinel
University of Tennessee lineman Jacques Smith, left, and Dontavis Sapp during preseason training camp drills at Haslam Field on Saturday.

Photo by Amy Smotherman Burgess

Amy Smotherman Burgess/News Sentinel University of Tennessee lineman Jacques Smith, left, and Dontavis Sapp during preseason training camp drills at Haslam Field on Saturday.

Vols practice, Sunday, Aug. 4

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Seventeen.

It’s a wince-worthy number every Tennessee defender should know: The team’s total number of sacks in 12 games last season.

The average came to 1.42 per game. That ranked 98th in the country.

Junior Jacques Smith knows the numbers. He’s also ready to move past them. The Ooltewah native played JACK linebacker in last season’s listless 3-4 defense, but is shifting back to his natural spot at defensive end in new defensive coordinator John Jancek’s 4-3 defense.

“It’s all simple,” Smith said. “We go out there, we get the call — it’s only one call — and then we’re going and we can do whatever we want.”

That’s a far cry from last year’s convoluted 3-4.

Smith said new defensive line coach Steve Stripling has brought clarity to the Vols’ pass rush. That clarity, he believes, will bring results.

“It works for our defensive line’s personality,” Smith said. “You’re going to see us get off the quarterback a lot. I’m telling you, we’re going to wreak havoc on some of them.”

Smith said the 2012 defense wasn’t able to “pin its ears back and go,” while Jancek’s simplified system promotes an unhindered attack.

“That’s something that this defense allows you to do,” he said. “You can tell by the statistics of this staff.”

Two years ago at Cincinnati, Jancek and Stripling spearheaded a defense that ranked second in the country with 46 sacks.

This year, Smith thinks defensive tackle Daniel McCullers, all 351 pounds of him, will be able to take up two defenders, allowing Smith to rush off the edge, while linemen Corey Miller and Maurice Couch penetrate the B-gap.

“I think the defense, as a whole, will have a lot of sacks,” Smith said.

Dialing in:Sunday’s practice was the Vols’ first of the preseason with shoulder pads, and began with one-on-one battles encircled by cheering orange and white. Jones said the hitting drills are a tool to ratchet up practice from the jump when he sees a player who “isn’t dialed in.”

Meredith still out:Redshirt freshman tight end Justin Meredith continues to reside on the sidelines. Jones said his lingering hamstring injury is to blame and there is no timetable for his return.

Early returns:Like birds migrating in unison, a flock of Vols began Sunday’s practice by heading toward the far end zone to field punts. Among them: wideouts Devrin Young, Alton “Pig” Howard, Vincent Dallas, Josh Smith, Marquez North, Johnathon Johnson, Tyler Drummer and Jacob Carter; running backs Marlin Lane and Reggie Juin; and defensive back Tino Thomas.

“We in no way, shape or form, at all, really know who our punt returner is right now,” Jones said.

Practice makes perfect:The Vols are scheduled to hit Haslam Field at 4:30 p.m. on Monday for their fourth practice in as many days. A day off still rests three days away on Thursday. Practices will be held under the lights Tuesday and Wednesday. The open practice at Neyland Stadium on August 17 will start at 6:50 p.m.

“Our bodies are starting to get sore and this is now where the mental toughness, the grind of training camp, is going to kick in,” Jones said.

The Vol whispererJones, or at least his vocal cords, could probably use a day off at this point. The 45-year-old sounds like Tom Waits with a whistle after just a few days on the field.

“Everyone I talk to is recommending some ailment,” Jones said.

The hoarse throat isn’t uncommon, but Jones admitted that this preseason is particularly raspy. He’ll return to using a microphone as much as possible from now on at practice.

Brendan F. Quinn covers Tennessee football and men’s basketball. Follow him at Twitter.com/BFQuinn.

© 2013 govolsxtra.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Comments » 17

MooseandSquirrelVol writes:

A good pass rush will make the secondary much much better.

VolGrad writes:

A sack covers a multitude of sins..., or something like that.

Go Vols!

DwayneElizondoMountainDewHerbertCamacho writes:

I actually believe Smith. UT's lack of skill players on Offense and last year's horrible defense (I told you Sunseri was overrated when he was hired) has pretty much destroyed expectations for what should be a decent defensive group. Don't get me wrong, they won't be world beaters by any stretch, but will probably be much more capable than last year's squad simply because they are moving to a system that suits them much better. I'm not sold on John Jancek at all(Dooley's 2011 squad hung 45 on his D and then Duke ran up 34 points on Cincy in the 2012 Belk Bowl), but at least he has coordinated a defense in the past and works well with Coach Jones. We'll see, but I wouldn't predict that Jancek remains long in the SEC. Defense is the life-blood of SEC success and I'm not sure if the guy is ready for prime-time. Of course, I'm not ready for prime-time, but nobody is paying me hundreds of thousands of dollars to coach UT's defense either, so it works out.

Will a moderately good defense make up for an inconsistent passing game and what is looking like a group of mediocre RBs? I think it will even out and UT will do better than 5-7. In fact, I think UT has the talent to go 7-5 even with the schedule that we have (go cream puffs!!)

pms151 writes:

There is no way that voice is going to get any better with this team and that schedule. Touch up on your signing Butch!

antonio14313 writes:

Getting to the QB by using only the front 4 would be wonderful!

go vols!

t

Orange_Beach writes:

in response to NINEwillstillbesofine:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I'm with you, this outfit couldn't stop Vandy a few months ago and now they are going to "Wreak Havoc". This is classic journalism in it infancy.

SummittsCourt writes:

in response to NINEwillstillbesofine:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Sounds like someone is getting scared. UT may not be on top right now, but that is going to change and you will disappear as you are only a but wipe who only shows up when things are going your way.

usafvol writes:

in response to Orange_Beach:

I'm with you, this outfit couldn't stop Vandy a few months ago and now they are going to "Wreak Havoc". This is classic journalism in it infancy.

I doubt we have as many wins as the gators will have arrests..

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to usafvol:

I doubt we have as many wins as the gators will have arrests..

Wouldn't that be nice? 12 and 0 baby! 13 with an NC
That's all we can get in wins...Florida sets a high standard.

FearTheVols1252 writes:

in response to Orange_Beach:

I'm with you, this outfit couldn't stop Vandy a few months ago and now they are going to "Wreak Havoc". This is classic journalism in it infancy.

How I love irony… particularly when trolls spend their days on opposing teams forums, and then have the audacity to use words like ‘infancy’.

ElizabethtonvolnNC writes:

in response to NINEwillstillbesofine:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

As they used to refer to you back in your Florida days "Hey, what's up Kar!?"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uEO_28...

Tonkin1 writes:

I am starting to think very Positive this year after many non-positive starters. I never liked Dooley. Tough Schedule this year.

Vol43 writes:

in response to NINEwillstillbesofine:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

This must be gatorbait88. Poor DA lives and works in Knoxville. Works graveyard shift and has to drive Alcoa highway. Afraid he's gonna end up being road kill some day. Posts his drivel in the wee hours. It would be the equivalent of me having to live and work in Gainesville, that stench hole of the south. Enjoy your life in K town.

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

Simple = Results..

RockyMtnVol writes:

That's ok, let Vandy have their day in the sun, they did beat UT, but come November, I believe havoc might be an understatement. I hope CBJ, keeps the foot on the gas until the clock reads 00:01 in the 4th and the Vandy faitful have loaded up in their Volvos and cried over a glass of wine. 2012 Win was a gift from CDD, CBJ will not be out coached by Franklin and This team will not be out played by Vandy...UT still has the superior athletes. After the game all you Vandy fans can go back to comparing your ACT scores with UT....all will be right with the world.

Go Vols!!!

Witch_Doctors writes:

Witch Doctor pretty sure one of Witch Doctors co workers will get to see this pass rush first hand as Witch Doctor blitz thru conference room for a sack! Witch Doctor getting excited for some football!
Bones never lie.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to Witch_Doctors:

Witch Doctor pretty sure one of Witch Doctors co workers will get to see this pass rush first hand as Witch Doctor blitz thru conference room for a sack! Witch Doctor getting excited for some football!
Bones never lie.

Dang don't hurt anybody much.

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