Tennessee Vols morning report: Kelsey Pope, WRs talk fall camp

Tennessee fans cheer during an SEC football game between Tennessee and Ole Miss at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, Tenn. on Saturday, Oct. 16, 2021.Kns Tennessee Ole Miss Football
Tennessee fans cheer during an SEC football game between Tennessee and Ole Miss at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, Tenn. on Saturday, Oct. 16, 2021.Kns Tennessee Ole Miss Football /

Happy Friday. Opening day for the Tennessee Vols football team is less than three weeks away, and opening day for college football in general is just over two weeks away. The excitement is brewing all across the nation and continues to do so for UT.

Our morning update on Rocky Top leads with more preseason coverage. Wide receivers was the focus Thursday, and we’ve got an interview with three players at that position along with the position coach to bring you.

Beyond football, the Lady Vols have multiple stories too, including four women’s sports unveiling new alternate uniforms and another update to scheduling in women’s basketball. We’ll close with baseball news surrounding an assistant coach. Let’s start, though, with the football news.

Kelsey Pope talks fall camp – Dan Harralson, VolsWire.com

The one new assistant coach on this year’s Tennessee Vols football team, Kelsey Pope, spoke with the media Thursday. He discussed receivers stepping up beyond Cedric Tillman, particularly at wideout. Here’s a bit of what he said.

"“Jalin Hyatt seems like a different guy mentally. Physically he’s gained about 8-10 pounds. But the competitiveness that he showed last year, he’s channeling it in a different direction (now).…Squirrel White has been phenomenal. Chas Nimrod has been a pleasant surprise, along with the guys that were already here. Ramel Keyton has had a really good camp.…Jimmy Calloway has been another one that has stood out in this camp.”"

Three receivers discuss fall camp – Brent Hubbs, VolQuest.com

In addition to Kelsey Pope, Tennessee Vols football wide receivers Jalin Hyatt, Walker Merrill and Ramel Keyton spoke with the media Thursday. Hyatt talked about his different mindset this offseason, which the coaches have touted, and how it developed. Here’s a bit of what he said.

"“I just wanted to have better seasons for me. I felt last season, that wasn’t what I do as far as when I play, and not only that, I want to do well for my teammates. They’re always there. I love every guy here.”"

Merrill compared how he has been in camp this year to last year. This is the main difference he described between the two.

"“Physically, I’d say I feel a lot better than I did last year. I really took the weight room seriously, and I could see changes in my body from this year to last year.”"

Keyton talked about the importance of another wideout like him to step up on the other side of the field to help out Cedric Tillman. This is how he explained it.

"“You can’t just have one person because they’re going to lock in on (Tillman),  so we’ve got to be able to step up and take part of the pressure off Ced, so now, we can open up the field. We can do things all around the field, so the defense has got to stay true to everybody.”"

Lady Vols release “Summitt Blue” uniformsGregory Raucoules, WATE

Four Tennessee Lady Vols teams will wear alternate blue uniforms that go with the Lady Vols logo this year, known as “Summitt Blue” uniforms to honor the legacy of Pat Summitt. Tennessee soccer and Tennessee volleyball released their uniforms Thursday. The women’s basketball and softball programs will release their uniforms later in the academic year.

"The Lady Vols’ blue accent color first appeared in 1968 when then-Lady Vols head coach Joan Cronan was unable to find a company that offered an orange uniform, instead opting for Columbia blue uniforms with orange lettering worn when the Lady Vols played at home. The men’s basketball team has also previously worn blue."

Women’s basketball non-conference schedule releasedMaria M. Cornelius, GoVols247

On Thursday, the Tennessee Lady Vols released their full non-conference schedule with dates. You can see the list here on UTSports.

"Five of the 10 non-conference opponents Tennessee is guaranteed to play are preseason top 15, and Ohio State seems under-ranked at No. 15. The Lady Vols have the potential to meet three more ranked teams in the Bahamas."

Josh Elander promoted to associate head coach – UTSports

After spending five years as an assistant coach and a recruiting coordinator, Tennessee Vols baseball staff member Josh Elander has been promoted by Tony Vitello to associate head coach. Elander’s primary work has been with hitters and catchers.

"Since his arrival, Elander has played an integral part in helping UT sign four top-15 recruiting classes. The Vols brought in the fifth-ranked class in 2018, the seventh-ranked class in 2019, the 11th-ranked class in 2020 and the sixth-ranked class in 2021, according to Perfect Game."