Tennessee football to honor Pat Summitt with helmet decals

30 August 2016, 03:28 | Isaac Mcdaniel

Tennessee football to honor Pat Summitt with helmet decals

Appalachian State quarterback Taylor Lamb throws a pass during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Clemson in Clemson S.C

I think our biggest challenge is for our younger players to understand that the habits that they develop in practice are the habits they are going to have in a game.

"We're going to do some things different on third down", Jones said. The East division could very well come down to that three-game stretch and if the offense continues to play conservatively, the Volunteers could lose all three before hosting the Crimson Tide.

The Mountaineers arrive having won 17 of their last 19 games and 17 starters return from the team that beat OH in the 2015 Raycom Media Camellia Bowl. We've practiced it, we've stressed it. Then, when you get to the game, it becomes habitual. Or the defense or the kicking game, whatever it may be.

"If you look at the quality of opponents that we have before our bye week (Oct. 22)", Jones said, "it's one of the toughest schedules in the conference".

The talk of Tennessee this week is not just the opener, but next week's Battle At Bristol, when the Vols play Virginia Tech at the fabled racetrack with a crowd in excess of 100,000 expected to be on hand. Finishing short of Atlanta and the SEC championship game would be a letdown.

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Jones said he and his staff have tried to simulate as many late-game situations in the preseason as possible. I think they have really good confidence.

The Vols believe added depth and more player rotations have helped answer those questions even before the season starts. Shoop declared this offseason, "nobody will run the football on Tennessee".

The combination of not taking enough chances in the passing game (Josh Dobbs had 5.9 yards per attempt) and the defense having trouble getting off the field (the unit gave up 75% on fourth down conversions as well as 23 red zone touchdowns) played a part in their woes against good team, which they'll have to rectify if they expect to have a breakthrough 2016. There's been times where we've had guys out there who have already played 60 snaps and it's hard to have Superman efforts and close the drive out if you've been out there 60 snaps. After going 7-6 in 2014, the Vols finished 9-4 previous year and closed with a six-game winning streak.

Bottomless Apps Appalachian State coach Scott Satterfield says the Vols are better than Clemson and describes prepping for Bob Shoop's defense as "annoying", which, hey, man, we get it, we hate our job, too.

Grant Ramey covers Tennessee basketball and Tennessee athletics for the Knoxville News Sentinel.

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