The start of the 2021 college football season is now one day closer. It begins in three days, and the Tennessee Vols are almost at under a week out from their opener against the Bowling Green Falcons. Plenty of national college football news hit the nation yesterday with the new Pac-12, ACC and Big Ten alliance to counter the SEC’s power. There was lots of UT news as well.
Our morning update on Rocky Top leads with the preseason Coaches All-SEC football team for 2021. Multiple Vols made the teams, and we’ll name each one and whether or not they made first team, second team or third team.
We’ll continue with our football coverage by recapping an interview with one of the coordinators and a media session with three of the players. There is also news surrounding the addition of an assistant coach in another sport. So we’ve got plenty to address. Let’s start with the SEC news.
Three Vols make Coaches Preseason All-SEC – SECSports
Offensive lineman Cade Mays, punter Paxton Brooks and defensive back Alontae Taylor were the three Tennessee Vols football players named to the 2021 preseason Coaches All-SEC football team. Mays earned first team, Brooks earned second team and Taylor earned third team.
"Alabama placed a league-leading 15 representatives on the 2021 Preseason Coaches All-Southeastern Conference Football Team, the SEC announced Tuesday. Georgia was second with 11 representatives, while Auburn had nine.Eleven schools had at least one First Team All-SEC representative, including a conference-best seven from Alabama."
Tim Banks speaks after Tuesday practice – Grant Ramey, GoVols247
In his first season as Tennessee football’s defensive coordinator, Tim Banks has some major challenges, particularly at linebacker. As he spoke with the media Tuesday, he discussed some of the things the defense is doing well. Here’s a bit of what he said.
"“I think at the end of the day we’re doing a better job of understanding our fits and responsibilities within every package that we have. Now, exactly which package we run the most will determine what we’re playing, what they present, the challenges we have. At the end of the day I think for us right now, we’re just doing a better job overall executing and playing extremely hard.”"
Defensive players meet with media – Brent Hubbs, VolQuest
Along with Tim Banks, the Tennessee Vols football team had two secondary players speak on Tuesday in Alontae Taylor and Jaylen McCollough, and they also had a defensive lineman speak in Omari Thomas. Taylor talked about how ready he is for the opener. Here’s a bit of what he said.
"“We’re just excited to have Vol Nation out there. We’re excited to have the traditional things going again, such as the Vol Walk and running out of the Power T. We are all excited about that. We aren’t worried about last season and how it ended. We have a lot of confidence in this staff, in our players (and) we’re ready to go compete and show the world what we have been working on the past couple months with this new staff.”"
McCollough, meanwhile, described the preparation for the season under the new coaching staff. This is how he described it.
"“We have been very urgent as far as our preparation, just honing in on stuff that will put us in position to win and be successful. Not only on Bowling Green, but as the University of Tennessee just focusing in on us and the stuff we need to accomplish in order to be where we want to be.”"
Finally, Thomas talked about his development up front. He praised one coach in particular and the staff as a whole in helping him improve. Here’s what he said on that front.
"“I feel like I have been able to grow since last season going through the spring and actually getting an offseason, I was able to work on my craft. Coming in, having a coach like coach (Rodney) Garner who pushes me every day to get me better and tells me what I need to work on, he wants me to be a better player than I was last year. I think I have grown and will continue to grow through the season.”"
Swimming and Diving adds new assistant – UTSports
Michael Wright has returned home. The Tennessee Vols diving program named Wright, who was an SEC champion and All-American for UT from 2009 to 2011, as an assistant diving coach Wednesday for the 2021-2022 season.
"Prior to Tennessee, Wright helped Indian River State College to back-to-back NJCAA Championships by sweeping the one- and three-meter events in 2007 and 2008. He was inducted into the NJCAA Hall of Fame in 2015."