Tennessee Vols morning report: Joe Osovet named TE coach

Jeremy Pruitt naming Joe Osovet the Tennessee Vols football tight ends coach leads our Volunteers news for Friday, Jan. 31, 2020.

The end of January is here, and the Tennessee Vols are set to enter the weekend with a ton of news surrounding the program. That is particularly the case for football, which is supposed to be in the offseason.

Well, our morning update on Rocky Top doesn’t still has a ton of football news. One is about a staff hire that occurred as we were putting this together, and a second just makes another confirmed staff hire official. However, we also have to recap a player receiving recognition Thursday night.

In addition to football news, we have a men’s basketball media session to get to along with the postgame from a women’s basketball matchup. Then there are more honors to cover in cross country along with a preview of a men’s tennis event and an update on a track and field event happening. So lots of stuff is going on. Let’s start with the football news.

Joe Osovet promoted to tight ends coach – Dan Harralson, VolsWire.com

After two years in an off-field role, Jeremy Pruitt has promoted Tennessee Vols Director of Programming for Football Joe Osovet to tight ends coach. With the departure of Kevin Sherrer, Pruitt still had a staff vacancy to fill, and Osovet taking that role means Brian Niedermeyer, who did have the role, will likely move over to the defensive side of the ball.

Osovet came to Tennessee in Feb. 2018 from ASA College where he served as head coach. He held a position of Player Development for Tennessee in 2018 during Jeremy Pruitt’s first season as the Vols’ head coach.

Jay Graham hire made official – WBIR

We already knew this was happened, but Jeremy Pruitt confirmed Tennessee football’s hire of Jay Graham as running backs coach on Thursday. Pruitt touted his proven success and their experience working together.

“I’m excited to welcome Jay Graham back to Tennessee,” head coach Jeremy Pruitt said. “He is one of the best assistant coaches in the country, and his track record for developing running backs speaks for itself, as you can see several of the young men he has coached playing on Sundays.”

Trey Smith receives Fritz Pollard Trophy – FritzPollard.org

At the 15th annual Johnnie L. Cochran Salute to Excellence Awards Thursday night in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Tennessee football offensive lineman Trey Smith was honored by the Fritz Pollard Alliance (FPA) with the first ever Fritz Pollard Trophy. The trophy honors players for off and on the field accomplishments. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell was in attendance for the event.

The FPA exists to champion diversity in the National Football League (“NFL”) through education and providing its membership with resources that will help them succeed at every level of the game.

Rick Barnes speaks with media ahead of practice – Sports Radio WNML

On Thursday, Tennessee Vols men’s basketball head coach Rick Barnes spoke with reporters ahead of practice. He discussed his confidence in the SEC handling his issue with officials in Tuesday’s loss to the Texas A&M Aggies. Here is a bit of what he said about UT’s Saturday opponent, the Mississippi State Bulldogs.

“I think right now they’re arguably the hottest team in the league. They can score. You can go back and look, when they’re scoring in the 80s, they win. They’re a different team like most teams when they’re scoring. They get going and they can do a lot of different things.”

Kellie Harper recaps win at Vanderbilt – Maria Cornelius, GoVols247

In their final game before a brutal five-game stretch against all top 25 RPI teams, the No. 22 ranked Tennessee Lady Vols improved to 17-4 and 7-1 in the SEC with a 78-69 win over the Vanderbilt Commodores on the road Thursday night. Here’s a bit of what Kellie Harper said about the win.

“That was a really tough win for us to get. I’m really proud of our team. We expected this to be a battle, and I think our players can feel good about this one going home.”

Cross Country earns USTFCCCA All-Academic Honors – ustfccca.org

Both the men’s and women’s Tennessee Vols cross country programs earned All-Academic Team awards from the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA). Meanwhile, three women’s cross country athletes earned All-Academic Individual recognition: Megan Murray, Sydney Seymour and Katie Thronson.

We saw some incredible performances from student-athletes in each venue during the 2019 season. You can’t have one without the other to complete the student-athlete experience.

Men’s tennis gets set for double-header – UTSports

After losing in the finals during last weeks ITA Kick-Off Weekend, the No. 16 ranked Tennessee Vols men’s tennis team is back home for a double-header Friday. They will face the Georgia Bulldogs at noon ET and the Mercer Bears at 4 p.m. ET.

The Vols (6-1) enter the weekend after suffering their first loss of the season to then No. 18 Columbia, 4-2. Columbia was the third ranked opponent UT had faced in its first seven matches, and the Vols currently hold a 2-1 record vs. such opponents.

Track and Field continues Texas Tech Invite – TexasTech.com

On the first day of the Texas Tech Invitational, Tennessee junior Kiara Rhodes came in second in the Overall Women’s Pentathlon finishing in the top five in four of five events. Freshman Yariel Soto competed in four events, coming in first in the Men’s Heptathlon 60m and third in the Men’s Heptathlon Long Jump. The meet continues Friday and will last through Saturday.