Fall sports are just around the corner, and the Tennessee Vols continue to prepare for them in August. With that comes lots of news and lots of excitement, excitement that wasn’t there last year due to the COVID issues.
Our morning update on Rocky Top leads with news surrounding those sports, particularly football. Another practice was held Wednesday, and two players and a coach spoke afterward. We also have news on what an upcoming game on UT’s 2021 schedule will entail. The scoreboard at Neyland Stadium is a storyline as well.
Beyond football, though, women’s soccer is another fall sport, and that program held an exhibition Wednesday. That makes the start of fall sports feel more real than anything, and we’ll cover that as well. Let’s start with the football news.
Pittsburgh game renamed Johnny Majors Classic – Dan Harralson, VolsWire.com
When the Tennessee Vols football team hosts the Pitt Panthers on Saturday, Sept. 11, the game will honor the late Johnny Majors, who passed away in June of 2020 at age 85. Majors coached at both programs, spending 16 years at UT and two separate four-year stints at Pitt, from 1973 to 1976 and 1993 to 1996. He won a national title at Pitt in 1976.
"A native of Lynchburg, Tennessee, Majors played for the Vols from 1953-56. Tennessee and Pittsburgh will also play on Sept. 10, 2022, at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania."
Kamara on Neyland scoreboard – Mike Wilson, Knoxville News Sentinel
Jason Witten’s image has been taken off the Neyland Stadium scoreboard, and current New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara’s image was put in his place. Kamara’s image is up there with images of Robert Neyland and Al Wilson.
"Tennessee’s aim recently is to devote one panel to a former Vol currently in the NFL, UT spokesperson Tom Satkowiak told Knox News. UT also replaced the graphic of Wilson on Tuesday with a new version because it was damaged during a storm, Satkowiak said."
Kodi Burns speaks after practice – Grant Ramey, GoVols247
Another Tennessee Vols football practice was held Wednesday. Quarterback Brian Maurer was noticeably absent from it. Wide receivers coach Kodi Burns spoke afterward about his unit. Here’s a bit of what he said about the rotation depth.
"“Really any rotation, any position, you want to be as deep as you can be. It’s clear that we run uptempo offense, we play extremely fast. Not going to be a whole lot of time for substitutions. But you would like to be at least two deep at every single position. Three or four wideouts on the field every single play. So as deep as we can get. We obviously have to stay healthy. That’s a big key, a big part of it. But you want to be as deep as you can be.”"
Two freshmen speak after practice – Austin Price, VolQuest.com
In addition to Kodi Burns, Tennessee football freshman wide receiver Walker Merrill and freshman running back Jaylen Wright spoke with the media Wednesday. Merrill talked about the competition among the receivers. Here’s a bit of what he said.
"“We’ve got some great receivers. (Jimmy) Calloway and (Jalin) Hyatt are two really good receivers. I am just glad to be in the same spot as them, really just seeing how they play. I take away (things) from what they can do so that I can pull it to my game, but we’ve got some great receivers.”"
Wright said he molds his game after Alvin Kamara and talked about the offense and how it fits him. Here’s a bit of what he said.
"“I think this offense is very high-powered and very fast. I think we’ll catch a lot of teams off guard. The run game, I love the run game. I love the plays. It gets me open in space a lot. As far as everybody running back wise, I feel like we all are going to flourish in this offense.”"
Soccer ties Alabama in exhibition – UTSports
The first exhibition of the 2021 season for the Tennessee Lady Vols soccer team ended in a scoreless tie with the Alabama Crimson Tide. UT’s opener is set for Thursday, Aug. 19 against the Florida Gulf Coast Eagles.
"In total, 20 members of the UT squad made their way onto the field, including four freshmen making their Tennessee debuts. The game was the sole exhibition match of the 2021 season for both Alabama and Tennessee."