Butch Jones won’t take anything for granted.
The third-year University of Tennessee coach wants to take full advantage of local interest in his program – emphasis on the word full – when the Volunteers open the 2015 season against Bowling Green on Saturday at Nissan Stadium (3 p.m., SEC Network). So he came right out and asked for it.
“We need a home field advantage, and Vol Nation has been outstanding,” Jones said Monday. “When we've asked them to respond, they've responded. When we've asked them to come and fill Neyland Stadium and have 40,000-plus for an open practice, they've responded.
“We need Vol Nation to respond to make this a home field advantage. We need to sell this football game out. Team 119 is calling on our fans to do this, because when you take a home venue, when you take a home game off your campus, one of the things, as your football team, that's critical in college football is the home field advantage.”
Roughly 10,000 seats – all in the upper deck – remain available for Tennessee’s fifth appearance at the home of the Tennessee Titans.
The Volunteers lost the 2010 Music City Bowl to North Carolina, 30-27 in double overtime. They played their twice in 2002 – a 47-7 victory over Wyoming in the opener and a 24-0 victory over Vanderbilt in the final game of the regular season (it was a Vanderbilt home game). Vanderbilt also moved the 2000 matchup there and Tennessee win 28-26.
“When (we) get on the bus to go over to Nashville, everyone has a concrete job description, and being able to execute their assignment [is critical],” Jones said. “I know our players are looking forward to playing in Nissan Stadium and playing in Nashville.”
Now he’s put the responsibility on UT fans to make sure that all seats are sold.
Holly Warlick has signed a one-year contract extension that includes a raise in “the $100,000 range” and one additional year in charge of the University of Tennessee women’s basketball program.
The Knoxville News Sentinel confirmed the deal Thursday with a university spokesperson, who added that the pact still requires final approval from university administration, which likely will be next week.
It means Warlick, who is 86-20 in three years as Lady Vols coach, is under contract for the next four seasons. Her teams have won or shared two SEC regular season titles (2013, 2015) and won one SEC tournament championship (2014). Last season UT went 30-6 and reached the NCAA Tournament Elite Eight.
Warlick’s assistants also will receive pay increases.
Pig Howard, the University of Tennessee’s leading receiver in 2014, has been suspended for the 2015 opener.
Coach Butch Jones announced the punishment Thursday, nine days before the Volunteers face Bowling Green at Nissan Stadium, and indicated that it could have been worse.
“This isn't something that just occurred, this is something that dates back many months,” Jones said. “However, to Alton's credit, I like the way he's approached training camp. He's had the best training camp he's had since we've been here. I'm appreciative of his efforts, but he will miss the Bowling Green game.”
Howard, a 5-foot-8, 180-pound senior out of Orlando, Fla., has played 34 games in his college career (19 starts) and has caught at least one pass in each of the last 33. He finished last season with 54 receptions for 618 yards and a touchdown. He also ran the ball 15 times for 96 yards and two touchdowns.
(Photo: Getty Images)
It’s not that Jauan Jennings doesn’t think he can play quarterback.
It’s that the former Blackman High School star, now a freshman at the University of Tennessee wanted to play right away. That was not going to happen.
So with the start of preseason camp he switched to wide receiver and the early results have been promising.
“(His transition) has exceeded our expectations right away,” Tennessee coach Butch Jones said, according to the Knoxville News Sentinel. “Usually there is a learning curve. ... That has not affected Jauan.”
The Volunteers’ top three receivers all are proven veterans, seniors Pig Howard and Von Pearson and junior Marquez North. Those three will need a break from time to time, though, particularly in the up-tempo offense Jones and his staff prefer.
On the other hand, barring injury, Josh Dobbs will be the one who takes all the snaps at quarterback. For Jennings, therefore, it simply was a matter of opportunity.
“I thought I could play this year,” he said, according to the News Sentinel. “Josh Dobbs, he’s earned the position. I didn’t want to sit down on the sidelines. I wanted to explore my talents and see what I could do. I didn’t play until I got here, I never played receiver before but with my talent and skill set, it kind of is natural.
“... I knew in the back of my mind I wasn’t going to play unless I made the transition. Just talking with Coach Jones, we talked about it and I finally was just like, ‘Let’s just go ahead and do it.’ ”
Southeastern Conference coaches expect Derek Barnett to pick up this season right where he left off the last one.
The defensive end out of Brentwood Academy was one of four University of Tennessee players named to the coaches’ preseason All-SEC team, released by the conference office Tuesday.
Barnett was a 2014 All-SEC second-team selection as a true freshman (he also was second-team All-SEC by the Associated Press) when he played all 13 games (10 starts) and set program records for sacks (10) and tackles for loss (20.5) by a freshman. His 72 tackles were the most in the conference by a freshman.
Linebacker Curt Maggitt was named to the first team, defensive back Cameron Sutton joined Barnett on the second team and quarterback Joshua Dobbs made the third team.
This is the 13th year SEC coaches have voted on preseason all-conference teams. They were not allowed to vote for players from their own programs.
PRESEASON COACHES ALL-SEC TEAMS
QB: Dak Prescott, Mississippi State
RB: Nick Chubb, Georgia
RB: Leonard Fournette, LSU
WR: Pharoh Cooper, South Carolina
WR: Laquon Treadwell, Ole Miss
TE: Evan Engram, Ole Miss
OL: Cam Robinson, Alabama
OL: Laremy Tunsil, Ole Miss
OL: Vadal Alexander, LSU
OL: John Theus, Georgia
C: Mike Matthews, Texas A&M
AP: Pharoh Cooper, South Carolina
QB: Maty Mauk, Missouri
RB: Derrick Henry, Alabama
RB: Alex Collins, Arkansas
WR: D'haquille Williams, Auburn
WR: Malcolm Mitchell, Georgia
TE: Hunter Henry, Arkansas
OL: Germain Ifedi, Texas A&M
OL: Dan Skipper, Arkansas
OL: Denver Kirkland, Arkansas
OL: Greg Pyke, Georgia
C: Ryan Kelly, Alabama
AP: Leonard Fournette, LSU
QB: Jeremy Johnson, Auburn *
QB: Joshua Dobbs, Tennessee *
RB: Jonathan Williams, Arkansas
RB: Russell Hansbrough, Missouri
RB: Kelvin Taylor, Florida
WR: Demarcus Robinson, Florida *
WR: Travin Dural, LSU *
WR: Josh Reynolds, Texas A&M *
TE: O.J. Howard, Alabama
OL: Sebastian Tretola, Arkansas
OL: Alex Kozan, Auburn
OL: Devonte Dazney, Auburn
OL: Brandon Shell, South Carolina *
OL: Jordan Swindle, Kentucky *
C: Evan Boehm, Missouri
AP: Speedy Noil, Texas A&M
DL: Robert Nkemdiche, Ole Miss
DL: A'Shawn Robinson, Alabama
DL: Myles Garrett, Texas A&M
DL: Chris Jones, Mississippi State
LB: Reggie Ragland, Alabama
LB: Jordan Jenkins, Georgia
LB: Curt Maggitt, Tennessee
DB: Vernon Hargreaves, Florida
DB: Cyrus Jones, Alabama
DB: Jonathan Jones, Auburn
DB: Jalen Mills, LSU
DL: Jonathan Bullard, Florida
DL: Derek Barnett, Tennessee
DL: Jonathan Allen, Alabama
DL: Montravius Adams, Auburn
LB: Kendell Beckwith, LSU
LB: Antonio Morrison, Florida
LB: Kentrell Brothers, Missouri
DB: Tony Conner, Ole Miss (117)
DB: Cameron Sutton, Tennessee
DB: Will Redmond, Mississippi State
DB: Tre'Davious White, LSU
DB: Tony Conner, Ole Miss
DL: Carl Lawson, Auburn
DL: Davon Godchaux, LSU
DL: Caleb Azubike, Vanderbilt
DL: Ryan Brown, Mississippi State
LB: Leonard Floyd, Georgia
LB: Cassanova McKinzy, Auburn
LB: Lorenzo Carter, Georgia
DB: A.J. Stamps, Kentucky
DB: Eddie Jackson, Alabama
DB: Rohan Gaines, Arkansas
DB: Johnathan Ford, Auburn
DB: Trae Elston, Ole Miss
P: JK Scott, Alabama
PK: Marshall Morgan, Georgia
RS: Pharoh Cooper, South Carolina
P: Jamie Keehn, LSU
PK: Austin MacGinnis, Kentucky
RS: Leonard Fournette, LSU *
RS: Isaiah McKenzie, Georgia *
P: Drew Kaser, Texas A&M
PK: Elliott Fry, South Carolina
RS: Darrius Sims, Vanderbilt
RS: Speedy Noil, Texas A&M
(Photo: Getty Images)
Pat Summitt plans to remain head coach emeritus of the University of Tennessee women’s basketball team for at least one more season.
The Knoxville News Sentinel reported Monday that the sport’s all-time winningest coach will sign a one-year contract that is virtually identical to others that she has had since she stepped down as Lady Vols coach in April 2012. That is expected to happen within the next two weeks.
From the News Sentinel:
Summitt's contract last year provided a salary of $75,000 and complementary season tickets and parking passes to UT sporting events.
Summitt continues to receive a monthly stipend as part of the state's pension system. Last summer, the News Sentinel reported that Summitt receives $15,000 per month.
She coached the Lady Vols for 38 seasons and won eight national championships. She retired months after she was diagnosed with early onset dementia Alzheimer's type.
The University of Tennessee has nowhere to go but up.
Unless it drops out of college football’s two primary rankings, that is.
So UT will open the season as the top 25’s version of Miss Congeniality. Even that, though, is noteworthy given the difficulty the program has had in recent years turning the heads of voters.
From the UT athletics department:
The Volunteers last appeared in the AP Poll on Sept. 12, 2012 when it was listed at No. 23. Sunday's announcement marks UT's first appearance in the preseason edition of the AP poll since the 2008 season and its 39th appearance in the poll all-time. That year, Tennessee began the year in the No. 18 spot.
The season-opener against Bowling Green on Sept. 5 now stands as the first time since 2008 that the Volunteers will take the field while ranked simultaneously in both major college football polls.
Tennessee is the last of eight SEC programs among the AP’s preseason top 25, led by No. 3 Alabama. Mississippi State and Texas A&M are the first two among ‘others receiving votes.’
There was never a question about who was the University of Tennessee’s starting quarterback this season.
Now, three weeks before the 2015 opener, the order behind Josh Dobbs is set.
Coach Butch Jones said late last week that freshman Quinten Dormady is the backup and the Sheririon Jones, another freshman, is third in line. That order, apparently, already has been evident in workouts -- and when players began to participate in them.
“You have to pick your spots in order to get him reps but (Dormady) has gained some very valuable repetitions,” Jones said Friday. “It is amazing with him to see the progress that he made in spring ball and the confidence that he gained and really be able to continue to grow on that.
“He's playing at a high level right now. He's playing with a lot of confidence right now. He will play and we have to make sure that he is ready to go.”
Dormady (6-foot-4, 216 pounds) is a coach’s son out of Boerne, Texas and a widely rated as one of the top 15 overall quarterbacks in the 2015 signing class. He enrolled early at UT and took part in spring drills.
Jones (6-foot-2, 208 pounds) is a high school All-American from Rancho Verde, Calif., who was widely rated as a top 10 overall quarterback prospect. He arrived in Knoxville during the summer.
“Out of both freshmen quarterbacks, there has been a willingness to learn,” Dobbs said, according to the Chattanooga Times Free Press. “They both came in – we know they came in at different times – and wanted to understand the offense. They embraced the mindset, as we talk about, getting one percent better every day.
“The biggest thing is reps. (Dormady) has more reps than (Jones). They're both growing every day and getting better every day.”
Kyle Phillips is quickly earning his stripes at the University of Tennessee as evidenced by the fact that the he became this year’s first true freshman to have the black stripe removed from his helmet.
The defensive end out of Hillsboro had his pulled Monday, less than a week since the start of camp.
"I have been very, very proud of Kyle Phillips," coach Butch Jones said. "He gets better every single day. He has a motor. He has actually made our training clips about three times during this camp in terms of effort, swarming to the football and running to the football. He is a young man who is getting more and more confident.”
When Jones arrived he and his staff added black stripes to the helmets of all first-year players for the start of preseason practices. Those players earn the right to have those stripes removed with on-field performance and off-field work, as judged by coaches and teammates.
Running back Alvin Kamara, a third-year sophomore, was the first player to have his stripe removed this season.
Phillips, a consensus top 10 recruit in the state last year, was the second. He enrolled at UT in January but was unable to take part in spring football.
"When you look at it, he is coming off of surgery and didn't have spring football,” Jones said. “He comes in here and is being mentored by our older players. I have been really, really excited. I know we are all excited about Kyle Phillips. It's his work ethic, his attitude, his demeanor, his style of play. He continues to get better and better."
Last year two other Nashville-area players, running back Jalen Hurd (Beech High School) and defensive end Derek Barnett (Brentwood Academy), were among the first freshman to have their black stripes removed.
Von Pearson might have been gone.
The University of Tennessee wide receiver showed Saturday, however, that he had not forgotten during a four-month suspension from the school.
“That's what I was waiting to see, was his recall, and it was very, very good,” coach Butch Jones said Saturday. “Von did a very good job of taking the mental reps that he needed, but also our players, talking with him, with the new things, the new install. I thought Von's recall and retention from the spring was very good.”
Pearson’s suspension was lifted Friday after Knoxville police said he would not be charged in relation to an alleged sexual assault. He was suspended in April when the accusations were made and remained sidelined when preseason camp commenced last week.
He is now eligible to re-enroll in school and can begin fall classes on schedule, Aug. 19.
“To his credit, he's in very good shape,” Jones said. “You could tell, just with the football endurance, that he's worked at it. We were able to get him routes on air and get him some mental repetitions, then after practice get some more. We'll know a little bit more when he's able to put the pads on and finish the acclimation period. For what I could of the work that he got in (Saturday), I was very pleased with his endurance."
Pearson was the Volunteers’ second leading receiver in 2014 with 38 receptions for 393 yards in 11 games. His five touchdowns were third on the team.
"Von's the old Von," receiver Josh Smith said. "I love him. He's my brother and I love having him out there ... I think that's fun to have him back, so I'm excited."
POSTDATA: WARRANTY DEEDS