Lessons come fast for Malone in preparation for first college season

Josh Malone learned quickly how much faster college football is than the high school game.

The moment occurred during a scrimmage early in the University of Tennessee’s fall camp, which concluded earlier this week.

“I caught the ball on the sidelines and I was running, I looked inside and saw A.J. Johnson coming full steam ahead,” Malone said, according to The Associated press. “I was like, 'A linebacker isn't supposed to get over here this fast.' That's what changed. The speed was just totally different. I expect it now.”

Even with that and other differences, the freshman out of Station Camp High School has caught on in a hurry – for the most part. He was one of the top performers in the Volunteers’ spring game and last week coach Butch Jones singled him out for his work in a closed scrimmage.

In between there were some rough spots, which teammates and coaches attributed to the typical growing pains for a player getting his first taste of college football.

“I think this camp has humbled him a bit in that regard,” wide receivers coach Zach Azzanni said. “Not that he wasn't humble, but (it) humbled his game a little bit, if that makes sense, forced him to work on some habits on the field that I think he's improved on.”

And it taught him to look for potential tacklers where he has not previously.