After a 40-14 loss to West Virginia in Week 1, Tennessee bounced back at home, defeating ETSU 59-3.
Three Tennessee running backs combined for five rushing touchdowns and the Volunteer defense and special teams each added a touchdown of their own.
The Vols have another chance to register a complete performance against UTEP on Saturday before kicking off SEC play at home against Florida the following week.
Here’s what coach Jeremy Pruitt said during Wednesday’s SEC Coaches’ Teleconference:
On Josh Palmer becoming a complete player:
- He’s not played a lot of football, it’s new to him. He’s learning to play, to run routes. How to finish at the top of his routes, how to block. He plays special teams and works hard in practice. He’s getting better.
On players that come from Hurricane areas:
- We have a plan for everyone that may be impacted and we’ve done everything that the NCAA allows us to do and we are looking into that situation.
How have the LBs played so far, Kirland and Bituli:
- Both guys, not going thru spring are working off some rust. They are instinctive, they’ve improved each week. Improve in practice and I think they will continue to do that.
On his RBs, and unique skills there:
- I think it’s good to have guys with different skills. You got one guy that will run you over, another that will make you miss, I think it helps there.
Do you plan to play other QBs?:
- We have two QBs that are playing right now. Will is the next guy, we will redshirt JT. With Keller not here in the spring, we have to take advantage of the opportunities we have with him and Will continues to take reps.
On Guarantano’s progress and play after two weeks:
- I think he’s getting a better understanding of what we expect of him. He’s doing a good job of eliminating negative plays, he’s kept his poise and he’s playing within himself.
- Their QB is leading the team in rushing, he can extend plays. They have good skill players that can create explosive plays. Up front, when they get on the right people they get a good push. On defense, they give you a lot of different looks, especially on third down… They are similar to us. They have played some good teams and we’ve both made mistakes and that’s evident, on both teams.
They are two games into a new program, what have you done to get where you are today?:
- Every day our guys learn something different. The big thing is setting expectations and finding the right mindset you are looking for. The best teams and the best programs do it right all the time and that’s where we are trying to get to.
On Jeremy Banks:
- He’s a guy that practices hard. He likes football, he competes every day… He’s learning to protect the QBs, he has to continue to work on ball security. We are trying to find him a role on special teams… He has to learn to make guys miss in space… I think he’ll continue to improve as a player.
At center, how did that affect the line play?:
- Losing Brandon Kennedy was tough on him… He’ll bounce back, any time you lose a guy that has some experience, it’s going to have an effect… That’s something that our staff has tried to prepare for and something our guys played a little bit more consistent as the game went along. I think they are headed in the right direction.