Members of the Tennessee football team met with the media on Tuesday afternoon to discuss the upcoming game against Georgia.
Brandon Kennedy has been a leader for this Vols team since he stepped on campus just over two years ago, anchoring the veteran offensive line. So, it should come as no shock that he’s been the one dealing out some advice to Cade Mays on how to handle the atmosphere in Athens on Saturday. Let’s not forget; Kennedy has already traveled to Alabama and faced his old teammates.
“My advice to him was that we watch film together, and he was in a similar offense, so things weren’t too different. I was here for him with anything he needed. With him coming from an SEC school to another, he knew what it was like. It was a lot of similarities, and that’s what we talked about.”
Kennedy talked about offering advice to Cade, especially about playing against a former team and especially ones he used to be teammates with.
“I think kinda of the main thing that Cade and the rest of us are trying to focus on is prepare for Georgia like they were just any other team. Like I said earlier, when we set out at the beginning of the season, we kinda wanted to be 1-0, so we didn’t want to put too much on one opponent and not the other. So we’ve just been focusing like it’s just any other opponent.”
Brandon Kennedy also knows what to expect from this Georgia defense on Saturday. The game will be won in the trenches.
“What I see out of Georgia’s defense is that they’re very physical upfront. Kind of like I said earlier, their nose and their two defensive ends are very physical in the run game. They also have a defensive end, no. 13 (Azeez Ojulari), he’s pretty good with his pass rush, and their linebackers have experience. Also, on the back end, I think they play very physical in the secondary as well. We’re just excited to have this opportunity to play Georgia.”
Henry To’oto’o knows Georgia will present many challenges for the defensive group, especially with their running back group.
“That’s what Georgia prides itself on. They want to run that rock. They’re going to do everything they can to get the running game going, and they have the team to do it. They have a great offensive line, obviously Zamir White, and all the backs that they have, so we just got to be honed in this week.”
Jeremy Banks and Quavaris Crouch have been great additions alongside To’oto’o, something he doesn’t take for granted. So, him being able to help his group with any questions they might have is only helping him in the long run.
“Like what I see and how I react to things. They ask me where I place my eyes. We kind of try to feed off each other, but mostly they just ask me about the playbook because I’ve been in there. You know JB (Jeremy Banks) was on the offensive side of the ball, and Q (Quavaris Crouch) was an outside linebacker, so Q had a good grasp of it, but just the little things that they try to ask me about, how the playbook is and just the schematics. You know they’re great football players. They both have tremendous instincts, so I try my best to help them out in the playbook.”
To’oto’o knows how good this defensive unit can be, but they haven’t t been at full strength yet. The progress they’ve made without certain guys gives Henry confidence in their ability, especially when they get everyone back to 100%.
“We can’t wait until we get everybody back, everybody 100% back. But we have the mentality of the next man up. We never look at the next man filling in somebody’s position to be a downer to the team. We believe that every single body on this team will contribute and will do the best that they can.”
The SEC leading rusher after two weeks is Tennessee running back Ty Chandler, so he definitely knew where to send the praise once he was asked the question.
“It’s a blessing, man, I got to thank god. Shoutout to my mama and shoutout to the offensive line. All those guys are doing a great job. I wanna be able to give back to them.”
Eric Gray and Ty Chandler complement each other very well as running backs, as shown on the field the previous two weeks. So when Chandler was asked about his teammate, it was almost like striking a match between the two.
“Great one-two punch. He’s a great running back himself, and he comes in the room ready to work every day, and that pushes me to be ready to work. I love being in the room with him; great dude on and off the field. Love having him in the running back room.”
These group of guys will lead the Vols into a monster game Saturday in Athens, with the hopes of pulling off the upset and making an early season statement.
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All images courtesy of Tennessee Athletic Communications