Butch Jones introduces motion drill a la Harlem Globetrotters

Tennessee head football coach Butch Jones holds practice on Haslam Field on Friday, August 2, 2013. 
  
 (SAUL YOUNG/NEWS SENTINEL)

Photo by Saul Young

Tennessee head football coach Butch Jones holds practice on Haslam Field on Friday, August 2, 2013. (SAUL YOUNG/NEWS SENTINEL)

One of the testiest practices of training camp started with a bit of whimsy.

Tennessee football coach Butch Jones, a pretty good basketball player growing up in Saugatuck, Mich., introduced a weaving passing drill Monday that is staple of basketball practices but is rarely seen on grass.

Jones cued “Sweet Georgia Brown” — the Harlem Globetrotters’ theme — and then set in a motion a drill in which three players flipped the ball back and forth as they wove down the field, calling each other’s first name before making the pass.

While some players found it funny, Jones kept a serious demeanor throughout.

“Not bad for the first time,” he said afterward.

Offensive coordinator Mike Bajakian said it was another injection of the unexpected into camp.

“It’s training camp and we want to change up the rhythm of things. You never want guys to get comfortable or get used to the routine,” he said.

Getting Psychological:“Psychological disposition” was Jones’ buzzword on Monday, and he didn’t like what he saw of it from his players.

One special teams drill in particular drew his ire, and he criticized players both collectively and individually, comparing them unfavorably with the Big East.

“I’ve never seen anything like this in my life,” he said at one point.

Kickers Impress:Michael Palardy, the senior starter at kicker, and redshirt freshman George Bullock connected on back-to-back field goals from about 51 yards out.

Bynum Aware:Linebacker Kenny Bynum intercepted a tipped pass during a team period, but Jones was even more impressed by Bynum’s situational awareness.

There were 10 seconds left in the game in this scenario and the offense was driving for a score. Bynum didn’t attempt to risk fumbling on a return and simply went to the turf. “Good job! Take a knee. The game’s over,” Jones said.

Justus Paying Off: Running backs coach Robert Gillespie said Maryland transfer Justus Pickett has been an incredibly mature presence in the backfield and an asset in the meeting room.

Pickett’s long shot NCAA waiver request to play immediately in 2013 is still pending. Otherwise, the Maryland transfer will sit out this year and be eligible in 2014.

Pickett had the black stripe torn off his helmet on Sunday. There are now five stripe-less newcomers — Pickett, cornerback Cameron Sutton, receiver Marquez North, offensive lineman Dylan Wiesman and defensive end Corey Vereen.

The stripes are torn off by a player’s “big brother” and symbolizes the player being accepted into the team family, Jones said.

Arm Fatigue Bothering Peterman: Tennessee has given regular rest to quarterbacks Justin Worley and Nathan Peterman, who are competing for the starting job.

Peterman in particular has grimaced in apparent discomfort during some drills.

Bajakian said managing arm fatigue during camp is an issue that every college and NFL team contends with.

“Everywhere I’ve been, quarterbacks are always dealing with arm weariness through the course of training camp,” he said. “You’ve just got to make sure you take the right measures — ice and pre-hab and preventive measures.”

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Comments » 10

10seVol85_Part_Deux writes:

I love this staff. Just hope they produce on the field the way I think they will.

west_tn_volfan writes:

in response to SAMA_BUCKS:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

There is good reason to think they will produce. This staff has won everywhere they've coached in the past so there is no reason to think they won't do the same here.

antonio14313 writes:

i like this coaching staff more and more each day! being a basketball player myself, i can appreciate the basketball drill being incorporated into football practice. it teaches ball control skills and hand/eye coordination, foot coordination, as well as strengthening the mind. like!

i also like how the staff is teaching not only how to play offense and defense, but how to play offense and defense in certain situations. like the interception with 10 seconds left, and downing the ball, as opposed to trying to gain more yardage, risking a fumble. play smart!

i believe UT is in good hands...

GO VOLS!

t

antonio14313 writes:

in response to SAMA_BUCKS:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

relax. this staff can't do worse than last year's staff...

go vols.

t

west_tn_volfan writes:

in response to SAMA_BUCKS:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

No, just the opposite. I don't base my expectations on one year. It's a process that takes time but I do expect a better coached team on the field this year. We are not without talent but we aren't where we need to be either. I believe we can have a decent season in the 6-6 to 7-5 range.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to SAMA_BUCKS:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Dang, dude! They can't win OR lose until they play a danged game! Everything most Vol fans hoped Jones and staff would do to this point, they have done. You can only take it one step at a time. We KNOW the Vols will likely have a hard time this year for all the reasons cited by many, but how can you not credit Jones and staff for what they HAVE ALREADY done? On that basis, why would you not think they could be better on the field as well? Further, why would you put down Vol fans for expecting--or hoping, if you prefer--the team to be better?

west_tn_volfan writes:

in response to SAMA_BUCKS:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

First of all, you don't know what you're talking about. Did I say I expected Fulmer to go 12-0 and win a NC every year? No! You brought that out of your sick imagination. Did I say I would be happy about UT going 6-6 or 7-5? No! I said it would be decent and considering where the program has been the last few years, it would be a decent start. You have no business calling anyone one a message board uninformed. I would imagine quite a few of us know every bit as much or more than you do about football. As far as Fulmer goes, get over it we are where we are and crying about the past doesn't change anything.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to SAMA_BUCKS:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

OK, it's all very well to be realistic. We are where we are and nothing can be done about the past. While it may be true that a well-coached team won't necessarily be a WINNING team, it is a cinch that a poorly-coached team WON'T win often. You start where you are with what you have and try to get better. What is so hard to understand about that!

rbwtn writes:

Do I hear an echo? I like the Coaching and beginning to understand what he's doing we have a Great Bunch of Serious kids which leads to Serious Winners! I'm Stoked and can't wait!

Rumblefish writes:

Reality is that we, as VOL fans, are going to have to give this coaching group TWO YEARS to see any improvement in the W/L column. This year's schedule is a beast, and with question marks at the skill positions...I don't see it being a very good year. Insert the incoming 2014 class...

We lose almost the entire offensive line, and have one hell of a recruiting class coming in. Don't see much improvement with 18 yr olds and an almost entirely new O-line.

Just my take on how patient we are going to have to be. Now, would anyone like Wednesday's Powerball #'s??? :)

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