A day later, he offered some conclusions.
The offense didn’t commit any turnovers in team periods, which was great, but it also meant that the defense failed to force any.
The defense also didn’t “win first down,” which makes it harder to get the offense off the field later in the series.
“Being a great third down defense is a byproduct of winning on first-and-10, and we didn’t do that,” Jones said Sunday.
On offense, Jones said the Vols are still searching for playmakers.
“We’re having to play too perfect,” he said. “The game of football is comprised of big plays.”
After heavy morning rains cleared, the Vols practiced outdoors at Haslam Field on Sunday. They did significant special teams work, especially on the punt unit that has been Jones’ greatest point of emphasis.
Jones was hard on the second unit and backup punter Matt Darr, who he said needs to improve his “get-off time” from snap to punt.
Jones said Monday’s practice could be one of the most significant of the camp for Tennessee.
Why? The Vols are off on Tuesday and Wednesday to prepare players for the start of the fall semester. The team will also have a light schedule over the weekend to get their legs back and prepare for the game-week routine.
That leaves only a couple of practices remaining before the switch from camp mode to game-week mode.
“These practices are critical,” Jones said. “We have some individuals who have to learn how to push through when you’re mentally fatigued.”
Jones said veterans have helped push the young players, and he offered a few names when asked for examples of great leadership. Perhaps surprisingly, they were all linemen: On defense, Corey Miller, and Ja’Wuan James, James Stone and Alex Bullard on offense.
The key, Jones said, is that he doesn’t want young players merely trying to survive this month.
“We don’t want them to get through the practice,” he said. “We want them to attack the practice.”
Jones had no concrete update on the status of offensive lineman Dylan Wiesman, but the true freshman dressed out for Sunday’s practice (he spent most of the time in “The Hole,” with other injured players). Wiesman had to be helped off the field in Saturday’s scrimmage, but his injury does not appear severe.
Receiver Pig Howard wore a green non-contact jersey but still went through many of the drills.
Running back Marlin Lane, receiver Ryan Jenkins, tight end Alex Ellis and defensive back Michael Williams joined Wiesman in the injured players’ group.
Antonio “Tiny” Richardson joined midway through the media viewing session.
None of the injuries seem serious, and Jones has described most of them as “precautionary.”
Linebacker Curt Maggitt was back in the green jersey, so Saturday’s good news (when he was back in orange and white) may have been a false alarm.
Redshirt freshman receiver Jason Croom hasn’t locked up a starting job. Many thought he would do so quickly in camp after a solid spring season. While Jones said he’s pleased with Croom, he noted the 6-foot-5, 223-pound wideout needs more consistency.
“He has an imposing structure,” Jones said. “He needs to start playing big. When he runs the hitch, he needs to eat the ground up.”