Tennessee's 'mock game' Friday will cover several scenarios

Jones: 'We'll practice everything'

Tennessee's 'mock game' Friday will cover several scenarios

Photo by Adam Lau

UT practice from Thursday night

At some point on Friday afternoon, starting center James Stone will sustain a serious injury, be helped off the field and backup Mack Crowder will be forced into action.

A dire prediction for the upcoming “mock game” at Neyland Stadium?

Nope. Just one element of an elaborate script that Tennessee football coach Butch Jones plans to inflict on players during a final test run at Neyland Stadium.

A lengthy practice Thursday night likely was the last real evaluation period for coaches. Now the team will shift to preparation mode for the Aug. 31 opener against Austin Peay.

And Jones wants the Vols to be prepared for anything.

“The mock game is anything and everything that can occur at a football game — even the season,” Jones said. “We’ll practice everything.”

The depth chart for the season opener probably won’t be released until Monday. That includes the much-followed quarterback decision. Jones said he wants to sit down with each quarterback individually before making the news public.

Junior Justin Worley appears to have led throughout the camp, and it would be a major surprise if any of the other three quarterbacks — redshirt freshman Nathan Peterman, true freshman Riley Ferguson or true freshman Josh Dobbs — were able to unseat him.

Beyond quarterback, Jones acknowledged that many positions that have limited depth are already set by default.

“Some individuals will have to play, so you can see that we’re force-feeding them,” Jones said.

Some of that force-feeding will occur Friday, when Jones and his staff will go over game-day detail —even something as simple as where to run during halftime.

“We don’t assume anything,” he said.

Tennessee started classes on Wednesday, which is why the players were given a 48-hour break from the rigors of football. But that ended abruptly with Thursday’s practice, which went more than 20 periods and nearly three hours.

During the early stretch work, Jones had the players chant “AP” for Austin Peay, to signal the transition from training camp to game-week mode.

“We still got some prep work (on Thursday), but mentality-wise, guys are biting at the bit,” said Stone, who didn’t yet know that he would be injured as part of Friday’s plot line.

Although the position battles of camp are nearly decided, the mock game could present one last mental test. Jones loves situational drills, and he plans to add some new twists with only eight days until the Vols play for real.

“It will have every imaginable scenario,” he said. “We’ll practice pregame warm-ups. We’ll practice all the little game-management situations, all the small details. There’s a lot of mental repetitions involved.”

The Vols will also get some looks from the scout team giving some looks from Austin Peay.

“Every rep is a valuable rep,” Jones said.

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

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Comments » 24

Henley-Street-Bridge writes:

Which QB gets a red shirt this year. I'm thinking Josh Dobbs, since he has fewer arm tattoos than Ferguson, and may be a step behind him. Surely we won't need more than 3 qbs this year, and I like the idea of sneaking either Ferguson or Peterman in the game for a special play.

I think all 4 have played well though, it seems more practical to stagger Dobbs career a year to provide depth.

SouthPaVol writes:

As for who will red shirt, Dobbs has the tougher Academic schedule. Dobbs is smart and he could probably manage. Not sure if touch academics has made a difference in his progress.

A week ago, it looked as if Ferguson would have a shot at starting, and he might still before the year is out.

Since CBJ made the QBs live, Peterman has stepped it up. He likes to use his feet-- which is a good option, considering our inexperience at WR. Actually, I'd like to see an option or two next Saturday. Been a while since we have had a good running QB.

Bottom line, though, I think Whorley Bird gets the nod on Sat. Think at least two other QBs will play.

Could learn more about CBJ's red shirt intentions if we are up 6 TDs in the 3rd quarter--meaning, whether he plays the 4th QB or not. Go Vols!

eb502us#225637 writes:

I definitely like Jones's attention to detail.

It's a 180 degree turn from the "where do we line up as the clock is winding down" days of Dooley.

We many not have depth but the quality is there to surprise some teams this year and we will.

I still believe we would have won at least 8 games last year with a competent coaching staff.

Witch_Doctors writes:

Witch Doctor co workers are unaware that today they also will be participating in a mock game of Witch Doctor blitz's and conference room tackling. Witch Doctor cant believe we are a few days away from Football Time in Tennessee!
Go Vols!
Bones never lie.

123forVOLS writes:

It will be a struggle for sure after the first two games. That is why it is a toss up on whether to have a tough opponent or two cupcakes. Granted, A. P. might be a cupcake but not a really soft one and with the Petri-man at WKU, they cannot be taken for granted. Three qbs should be enough but with all having some question marks it is precarious. I am just ready to get it going. We will know soon into the season who the real qb will be. All I hear now is the offense needs true leadership. I am hoping they will have it.

IB4UT2 writes:

I am impressed with this team's attitude ad work. at the open practice, their bodies all looked much more muscular and ready for SEC play. BUT- we will see how this team handles the insanely tough schdule. I do think we will see a great step fwd, but there is a lot of ground to cover.

In 4 weeks we'll separate the men from the children. I'm confident we'll be proud of ths team and these coaches.

DeltaCharlie3 writes:

Genius. Nobody else in the country does this. Butch is cutting edge. I'm still shocked that someone who's briliant enough to hold a preseason live scrimmage, aka "mock game," actually got his doors blown off and was thoroughly out-coached by a Derrick Dooley outfit.

I'm predicting multiple national titles at UT for Butch.

licknpromise777#651578 writes:

Gotta love the situational drills..Good for the freshman progress especially the 2 minute drill..It's not a new concept;Bear Bryant did it in the 60's..My favorite Butch Jones moment was last years game tying drive by the Bearcats against Louisville..While Cards were busy celebrating victory on the sideline Cinncy drove 60 yards in 30 seconds on 3 plays to tie the game. Granted some of those passes Munchie threw were one in a million miracle catches but the look on Strongs face was priceless. Worth watching on you tube

Rock_E_Topp88 writes:

in response to DeltaCharlie3:

Genius. Nobody else in the country does this. Butch is cutting edge. I'm still shocked that someone who's briliant enough to hold a preseason live scrimmage, aka "mock game," actually got his doors blown off and was thoroughly out-coached by a Derrick Dooley outfit.

I'm predicting multiple national titles at UT for Butch.

You are nothing short of a slimeball. I hope you do not have children. If so, I pity them and your wife. What a role model..NOT. Go suck an egg, troll.

bUTch_please writes:

I'd pay a dollar to watch them practice the post-game victory celebration.
You know they will.

navarrebeachvol writes:

in response to Rock_E_Topp88:

You are nothing short of a slimeball. I hope you do not have children. If so, I pity them and your wife. What a role model..NOT. Go suck an egg, troll.

If he’s married (which I highly doubt), he’s a lousy husband. If he has kids (I sincerely hope not), he’s a lousy father. All is free time is spent on-line. He’s spent years on here obsessed with the Vols. I’d like to see a psychological profile done on some of these weirdoes….

usafvol writes:

in response to navarrebeachvol:

If he’s married (which I highly doubt), he’s a lousy husband. If he has kids (I sincerely hope not), he’s a lousy father. All is free time is spent on-line. He’s spent years on here obsessed with the Vols. I’d like to see a psychological profile done on some of these weirdoes….

Highly doubt he's married or even has a girlfriend. Wouldn't be surprised if he has a b/f.

orangecountyvols writes:

in response to navarrebeachvol:

If he’s married (which I highly doubt), he’s a lousy husband. If he has kids (I sincerely hope not), he’s a lousy father. All is free time is spent on-line. He’s spent years on here obsessed with the Vols. I’d like to see a psychological profile done on some of these weirdoes….

Navarre and Rock E,

Well said friends. It does make you wonder why some of these trolls set themselves up to be idiots, as obviously they are. Fact is, they are past the point of no return. They don't care.........the kid, Toddy and his Wilted Flowers 'partner', Seven ( another kid ) then the 8 and 9 trolls, along with............wait, cannot keep up with all the troll screen names anymore. ( Fortunately, there are scant few of them here. ) They do have the troll thing down pat, wouldn't you say? Safe bet is one of them sports about 5 screen names.

Once the season is underway, we Vol supporters will have our own game plan. Enjoy the games, win or lose. Ignore the idiots and then they'll be very frustrated when only they will be answering each other.

6972 writes:

The "mock" drills will soon now be the real thing. It's been a long time coming. As for the trolls, they would stump Sigmund Freud.

BigOrangeFreak writes:

I'm in Salem Oregon and want to go to the UT/Oregon game.

Anybody got cheap tickets? My wife and I want to go and hopefully pay back the Ducks for what they did to us in Neyland a few years ago. I know it's a helluva stretch, but if we win that game it would be one of the best upsets of the year. (And another great Tennessee win for the ages.)

beartn#223846 writes:

Hopefully, these reps on seemingly mundane things will prevent us lining up with 14 players on a crucial 4th down play.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to eb502us#225637:

I definitely like Jones's attention to detail.

It's a 180 degree turn from the "where do we line up as the clock is winding down" days of Dooley.

We many not have depth but the quality is there to surprise some teams this year and we will.

I still believe we would have won at least 8 games last year with a competent coaching staff.

I agree. This whole staff doesn't seem inclined to overlook any detail. The constant focus on the little things keeps everybody on their toes. Success in the little things brings confidence to deal with big things. While I don't expect the Vols to be world-beaters this year, or the next for that matter, I surely don't expect them to just look lost out there the way they have all too often in the last several years.

In fact, I hope Coach Martin can take a page from CBJ's book in this respect. The basketVols have not always displayed a high degree of awareness of game situations--time and score, fouls and time-outs, out-of-bounds offense and defense, etc.--and developing such an awareness might be the last piece that needs to fall in place for the roundballers to have a truly great season.

beartn#223846 writes:

<<I still believe we would have won at least 8 games last year with a competent coaching staff.
...>>

We did have a competent offensive staff last year. Saying that the defensive staff was incompetent is an insult to incompetent people. If Wilcox had stayed, Dooley would probably be coaching this year. That would have been good in the short run, but I think we are much better off with Jones in the long run.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to DeltaCharlie3:

Genius. Nobody else in the country does this. Butch is cutting edge. I'm still shocked that someone who's briliant enough to hold a preseason live scrimmage, aka "mock game," actually got his doors blown off and was thoroughly out-coached by a Derrick Dooley outfit.

I'm predicting multiple national titles at UT for Butch.

You know, at one time you seemed actually capable of making a cogent comment on occasion, but now you're just another jerk-troll. Maybe somebody hijacked your screen name, or maybe it's just your true nature coming out.

It's not that CBJ is inventing anything, or claiming to, it's just that the Vols clearly have not had anybody in some time who drills down into stuff the way CBJ and staff do. The players seem to be taking all of it very well. You might be surprised to see how much positive difference that makes.

RoadTrip writes:

It is soon to be big boy time. Over the course of this coming season and into the next, we will all learn how effective Butch & staff will be. Then the speculation will change to either admiration or despair. So far, admiration is leading. Let's hope it continues for a long, long time.

AthensVolGirl writes:

I've been aware in the past of "game-like" scrimmages held with "crowd sound" and other potential distractions, but I've never heard of creating these types of specific situations as prep for games. Granted, I'm a girl, and I never played football, so it's entirely possible this is standard practice, but it seems clear that if our previous coaches were doing this, they weren't doing it to the degree presented in this article.

I commend Coach Jones for doing everything he can to prepare his team - with veterans and freshmen alike - to react appropriately to the multitude of unknowns that come in a game.

VolGrad writes:

This mock game is a win-win scenario.

And this vid is just freaking hilarious: http://bit.ly/13L8eLZ

GBO! #RiseToTheTop

Witch_Doctors writes:

in response to VolGrad:

This mock game is a win-win scenario.

And this vid is just freaking hilarious: http://bit.ly/13L8eLZ

GBO! #RiseToTheTop

Witch Doctor say that is incredible! kudos Witch Doctor love the creativity. lol
Bones never lie.

TnOrange4Life writes:

Optimistically looking forward to a great season and the next and so on. I can only hope the Michigan and Mich.St. do well also. Not saying CBJ would bolt but Im sure it would rattle some thoughts if a coaching oportunity opened up there. I think our Vols will be right back in the mix with the elite very soon. GBO VFL

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