After final practice, Tennessee coaches urge players to be prepared for return from spring break

University of Tennessee wide receivers coach Zach Azzanni instructs players during the first spring football practice at Haslam Field on Saturday, March 9, 2013. (AMY SMOTHERMAN BURGESS/NEWS SENTINEL)

Photo by Amy Smotherman Burgess

University of Tennessee wide receivers coach Zach Azzanni instructs players during the first spring football practice at Haslam Field on Saturday, March 9, 2013. (AMY SMOTHERMAN BURGESS/NEWS SENTINEL)

With practice on hiatus and spring break starting this weekend, Tennessee coaches left players with a stern admonition before saying goodbye.

“This is going to be a test of the maturity of our football team,” said defensive coordinator John Jancek after Thursday’s final practice.

While the 10-day interruption in the spring practice calendar isn’t ideal, coaches said they hope to see little regression when the Vols next practice on April 2.

“We’re trying to teach them how to be big-time football players,” said receivers coach Zach Azzanni. “If you’re on the beach, you need to get up and run on the beach. You need to eat all your meals. On (April 2), we’ll be able to tell who was on spring break, and who was on spring break.”

Butch Jones set the tone for a physical final practice by calling out players -- playfully and sometimes not so playfully -- during the early stretching period.

(Check out Evan’s Eleven blog for complete post-practice observations from today).

While Azzanni said he thought his group “hit a wall” on Thursday, offensive coordinator Mike Bajakian said he was encouraged by the slow but steady progress.

“We always show them the good and the bad (video),” he said. “Now we’re getting to the point where we can show them as much good as bad.”

Evan Woodbery covers Tennessee football. Follow him on Twitter.

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Comments » 19

emailnodata (Inactive) writes:

Okay....
Why do you have spring practice with spring break in the middle of it?

This is ah honest question, not a criticism. Is this just a function of NCAA-mandated time periods conflicting with UT's academic schedule?

VolGrad writes:

"Tennessee coaches left players with a stern admonition before saying goodbye."

...and all of you going to the beach during spring break, just remember, we'll be there watching.

:)

Olddogsrule writes:

I don't see it as a bad thing. Now they all have 10 days to study the playbook and individual coaching points, work out the kinks, bruises, and improve fitness, then return ready for more.

givehim6 writes:

UT needs no off field trouble. I do not under stand why spring break is in the middle of spring practice, this is not the norm is it? I cant remember it being this way.

emailnodata (Inactive) writes:

in response to Olddogsrule:

I don't see it as a bad thing. Now they all have 10 days to study the playbook and individual coaching points, work out the kinks, bruises, and improve fitness, then return ready for more.

I'm guessing 10 days of drinking and getting as much female attention as they can possibly get.

Unless the modern young male is not what we were like in our day.

87and1dad writes:

in response to emailnodata:

Okay....
Why do you have spring practice with spring break in the middle of it?

This is ah honest question, not a criticism. Is this just a function of NCAA-mandated time periods conflicting with UT's academic schedule?

Each university picks when they will conduct spring drills, the NCAA tells you how many days you can practice over a 30 day period. So, UT decides... however, the university picks the time for spring break. Most schools break earlier in March than UT!

emailnodata (Inactive) writes:

in response to 87and1dad:

Each university picks when they will conduct spring drills, the NCAA tells you how many days you can practice over a 30 day period. So, UT decides... however, the university picks the time for spring break. Most schools break earlier in March than UT!

Yeah, that is what I was thinking.

I'd have hated a break when I played ball. It's like once you get into "practice mode" you don't want to lose it.

then again, these guys are 100 times the athlete that I was.

bUTch_please writes:

in response to Olddogsrule:

I don't see it as a bad thing. Now they all have 10 days to study the playbook and individual coaching points, work out the kinks, bruises, and improve fitness, then return ready for more.

That was my first impression as well. Makes sense to teach them "how-to-practice" then let them go on break to study the playbook for installs the last 2 weeks and get their legs back.

Coach Jones has shown he's nothing if not methodical. I'm certain this is also a small test to see who progresses though spring break and who blows it off. This will let the staff see who will be the summer leaders for development on the team and who isn't worth burning reps on.

OrangePride writes:

If you got to read the blog on the practice, it noted that Palardy hit 5 straight field goals including a pressure 5th from the hash. THAT is the result of coaching......something we had scant little of in the previous 3 years. BTW....anyone see that TWEET by Ainge trashing Dooley? Wow....that was harsh! Sounded like some of you'all here on the boards....lol. GO CBJ....we're all liking what we're hearing!!

62vol writes:

The coaching staff mentioned the practice/coaching time advantage that a bowl game gives to a team and that we did not get that time and there would be less time to install the new system. The mid-break helps lengthen the intro time for the new system and increases the amount of time that the players have in a more controlled conditioning environment. It makes it a little hard on the players but these are hard times.

This is the reason that they gave when the spring practice time was laid out.

UTvols33 writes:

in response to bUTch_please:

That was my first impression as well. Makes sense to teach them "how-to-practice" then let them go on break to study the playbook for installs the last 2 weeks and get their legs back.

Coach Jones has shown he's nothing if not methodical. I'm certain this is also a small test to see who progresses though spring break and who blows it off. This will let the staff see who will be the summer leaders for development on the team and who isn't worth burning reps on.

I was thinking the same thing. What you said.

Hounddog writes:

This is going to be a test of the maturity of our football team,” said defensive coordinator John Jancek after Thursday’s final practice

I NEVER REMEMBER OUR LAST DC being quoted! Glad to hear we have one engaged in the process.

The Hounddog

69grad writes:

I'm finally getting excited for a REAL "It's football time in Tennessee."

VolsFan82 writes:

The choice comes down to each player to not only define themselves as players but also as men. They can choose to engage in partying and fornication or they can take the path of responsibility and maturity. I hope that in 10 days those young men come back better than before, hungry and ready.

Show-me-your-TDs writes:

gives them time to soak it all in and to reflect

volgrog#210164 writes:

in response to Hounddog:

This is going to be a test of the maturity of our football team,” said defensive coordinator John Jancek after Thursday’s final practice

I NEVER REMEMBER OUR LAST DC being quoted! Glad to hear we have one engaged in the process.

The Hounddog

What he said would have been unintelligible.

Reminded me of Foghorn Leghorn.

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

in response to givehim6:

UT needs no off field trouble. I do not under stand why spring break is in the middle of spring practice, this is not the norm is it? I cant remember it being this way.

That is odd, but it will show this staff who has matured mentally and keeps their wits about them.

BigBadVol writes:

This staff fires me up. They understand the importance of coaching and playing at a big time program like TN. This will lead to a cultural change which will lead to a winning attitude. This staff needs 2 or 3 years and we will be highly competitive again. Say want you want, I don't care. JMHO.

volwr88 writes:

Any player who comes back totally out of shape and has gained a lot of weight will be telling the staff they don't have the maturity or dedication to play for Butch. Simple as that. All about choices.

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