UT freshmen early enrollees trying to juggle new responsibilities in whirlwind practices

University of Tennessee head football coach Butch Jones conducts his first spring practice at Haslam Field on Saturday, March 9, 2013. (AMY SMOTHERMAN BURGESS/NEWS SENTINEL)

Photo by Amy Smotherman Burgess

University of Tennessee head football coach Butch Jones conducts his first spring practice at Haslam Field on Saturday, March 9, 2013. (AMY SMOTHERMAN BURGESS/NEWS SENTINEL)

Highlights from practice two - March 12, 2013

Evan Woodbery on the Vols' second practice

Evan Woodbery on the Vols' second practice

It’s been a long two days for some of the freshman early enrollees in Tennessee’s spring football camp.

Unlike newcomers who arrive in summer with a dozen or more classmates, the inexperience of the spring freshmen stand out.

“We have to keep in perspective that they should still be in high school,” coach Butch Jones said Tuesday after the second day of spring practice.

Receiver Paul Harris, defensive end Corey Vereen and cornerback Lemond Johnson all are true freshman. Cornerback Riyahd Jones is a new arrival via junior college. Freshman safety Jalen Reeves-Maybin is sitting out spring football after a shoulder injury.

Harris in particular has taken his fair share of intense coaching from receivers coach Zach Azzanni.

“Come August, they will reap the benefits and rewards of enrolling early,” Jones said. “Right now, you have to be patient. Everything is accelerated and football is just a small part of it. They are in a new setting, they have new friends, they are taking college classes. There are so many things around them, and it’s not just doing football.”

Considering all that, Jones said, “They’re doing a great job.

*

Jones said the football program is on a run of “momentum” that will cause the rest of the college football world to take notice.

Perhaps alluding to a recent run of success on the recruiting trail, or the good feelings that coincided with the start of spring practice on Saturday, Jones said he felt optimistic about the future and thought the “sleeping giant” of UT football was about to wake up.

“I think people around the country understand what we have here,” Jones said after practice Tuesday morning. “They’ve been waiting for Tennessee to wake up. And now we’re waking up.”

*

Jones said he told his team the first “real football” practice begins on Thursday, when UT practices for the first time in full pads.

A situational scrimmage is tentatively scheduled for Saturday.

“We have a long way to go and I’m very impatient,” Jones said. “We have to come out Thursday with a great sense of urgency.”

*

Sophomore Justin King spent most of his freshman year as a fullback and — perhaps unexpectedly — an occasional Wildcat quarterback. He even gained 18 yards on a run in a game against Akron last September.

The new staff has sent King to tight end in practice, a move that he’s taken in stride. From the moment he arrived at UT, flexibility has been his role.

“I’m a team player so I’m not really trying to find anything that I want to be specific on,” King said. “Whatever the coaches want me to do, I want to do it, period.”

*

Riyahd Jones, a Columbus, Ga., native said fans familiar with his sense of humor on Twitter might not recognize his demeanor on the field.

“When the pads come on, that’s when you’re all going to see a beast,” he said. “I’m just getting started.”

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

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

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Comments » 13

voloffaith writes:

Nah ...say it taint so that I am the _ _ _ _ _ poster....naw I won't do it....anyway freshmen and Juco getting feet wet is nothing new...except to them.

emailnodata (Inactive) writes:

I think it helps kids being in a sport. Gives them some structure.

Knowing coaches, they will give these young men a great idea of the work in front of them...makes the weight room and conditioning have an entirely new meaning.

SCVFL writes:

Coach Jones is making some bold statements about "waking up". Oh, how a want to believe him.
Don't get me wrong, I am 110% behind him and his staff. I think he is doing a lot of good things. I think clinging to "traditions", bringing in ex-players, etc. is all pulling the right strings, but with the current talent and the schedule ahead, I am just not seeing it.
I hope and pray that I am wrong.
Go Big RNG...VFL(VOL FAN for LIFE)

6972 writes:

I'm optismistic. I think BJ and staff can coach these guys. I look at the 2013 schedule and I have to remind myself it is a schedule written by the Devil himself. It's a schedule from Hades. Go Vols.

vol49 writes:

in response to 6972:

I'm optismistic. I think BJ and staff can coach these guys. I look at the 2013 schedule and I have to remind myself it is a schedule written by the Devil himself. It's a schedule from Hades. Go Vols.

lol. maybe i need to send my ex down to talk to her dad. GBO!

VolinCalif writes:

Yea 72. We had our chance last year. Dooley shhowe how wet behind the earsw he was when he tr ied to change too many things at one time. But this team isn't short on anything as I can see. Ssure we could use a better runner but these would make any traveling squad. We need to stay Optomistic so here we go again Vols 8-
4
Go Vols

OK 9-5 I count the O/W

jack4444 writes:

It's going to be the most physical spring at UT in years.

Lizardgrad89 writes:

in response to VolinCalif:

Yea 72. We had our chance last year. Dooley shhowe how wet behind the earsw he was when he tr ied to change too many things at one time. But this team isn't short on anything as I can see. Ssure we could use a better runner but these would make any traveling squad. We need to stay Optomistic so here we go again Vols 8-
4
Go Vols

OK 9-5 I count the O/W

Optimism is great but lets not lose our heads.

Zero pass rushers, slow secondary, weak linebackers, brand new passing game and an Oline that can't run block to save their lives doesn't add up to 8-4 in the SEC. Maybe 4-8, if you scheduled some weak OOC teams.

gerwmor writes:

in response to Lizardgrad89:

Optimism is great but lets not lose our heads.

Zero pass rushers, slow secondary, weak linebackers, brand new passing game and an Oline that can't run block to save their lives doesn't add up to 8-4 in the SEC. Maybe 4-8, if you scheduled some weak OOC teams.

And a year ago, there was no way Texas A&M would survive in the big boy conference, beat Bama, and have a 3 star QB win the HT. After the past several years, we get your point. Too bad you are missing the greatest thing in the world about college football--a team like Bama can go from Mike Price yelling "the tide is rolling" from a cheap motel room to being the big dog again in six years. Your loss.

VolGrad writes:

Riyahd Jones gets some swag for the office: http://www.utsports.com/sports/m-foot...

Go Vols!

pdhuff#552644 writes:

in response to Lizardgrad89:

Optimism is great but lets not lose our heads.

Zero pass rushers, slow secondary, weak linebackers, brand new passing game and an Oline that can't run block to save their lives doesn't add up to 8-4 in the SEC. Maybe 4-8, if you scheduled some weak OOC teams.

Quite a compliment to call that secondary "slow".

LOL

Olddogsrule writes:

in response to 6972:

I'm optismistic. I think BJ and staff can coach these guys. I look at the 2013 schedule and I have to remind myself it is a schedule written by the Devil himself. It's a schedule from Hades. Go Vols.

Oh yes! Schedule from he!!. howzit go? keep on movin' an you might get out before the devil knows your there?

That's what CBJs talking about when he talks about 'momentum' ...

Olddogsrule writes:

in response to Lizardgrad89:

Optimism is great but lets not lose our heads.

Zero pass rushers, slow secondary, weak linebackers, brand new passing game and an Oline that can't run block to save their lives doesn't add up to 8-4 in the SEC. Maybe 4-8, if you scheduled some weak OOC teams.

lizzards, being cold blooded, think rather slow til the weather warms up.

The Volunteer Offensive Line is going to blow up yor nasty little swamp!

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