Tennessee Vols morning report: 2022-23 athletics season begins

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 /

Fall sports are set to begin for the Tennessee Vols. The first game, match or outing of any sport for the 2022-23 school year is today, in soccer, and football season starts at UT in exactly two weeks. Simply put, it’s an exciting time for fans in Big Orange Country.

Our morning update on Rocky Top leads with more coverage of both sports. We’ll talk on the soccer opener along with more soccer preseason news, including the SEC and other outlets recognizing soccer players in the preseason.

In addition to that we’ve got plenty of Tennessee Vols football news to cover, as another press conference after practice took place Wednesday. Also, there is more news about the women’s basketball program for us to touch on. Let’s start with football.

Mike Ekeler discusses special teams, outside linebackers – Jack Foster, SI.com

The 14th practice of fall camp for the Tennessee Vols football team took place Wednesday. Afterward, outside linebacker and special teams coach Mike Ekeler spoke with the media. Australian punter Jackson Ross is now officially with the program. Here’s a bit of what Ekeler said about the return game.

"“We’ve got a ton of guys on punt return. We’ve got Tre Flowers. We’ve had Dee Wiliams. Kickoff return, Jimmy Holiday. We’ve got (Dylan) Sampson back there. We’ve got Doneiko (Slaughter). We’ve got a bunch of guys. A lot of guys that are capable. Really excited about it. Velus (Jones Jr.) is a hard guy to replace, but we’re going to do it by committee.”"

Women’s basketball full schedule released – Maria M. Cornelius, GoVols247

After teasing the public with their home slate and their overall brutal non-conference slate, the Tennessee Lady Vols basketball team finally released their full schedule Wednesday. The three SEC teams they play twice will be the Vanderbilt Commodores, Florida Gators and Ole Miss Rebels.

"The Lady Vols will open SEC play at Florida – which has added Texas transfer Aliyah Matharu and Purdue transfer Ra Shaya Kyle – on Thursday, Dec. 29, 2022, and then host Alabama on Sunday, Jan. 1, 2023. The highly anticipated matchup with South Carolina will be on Senior Day for Tennessee on Thursday, Feb. 23, in Knoxville. The regular season concludes at Kentucky on Sunday, Feb. 26."

Soccer opens season vs. North Carolina – UTSports

Joe Kirt’s first official match as head coach of the Tennessee Lady Vols soccer program takes place Thursday with a huge matchup. No. 11 ranked UT will visit the No. 10 ranked North Carolina Tar Heels. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. ET, and the match can be streamed on ACC Network Extra.

"Tennessee is coming off two exhibition wins, having taken a 3-0 decision over #16 Notre Dame and a 5-1 victory over Dayton. UNC also picked up two preseason wins, shutting out VCU and #3 BYU with scores of 5-0 and 2-0, respectively."

Six Lady Vols on preseason watch list – SECSports

Abbey Burdette, Mackenzie George, Taylor Huff, Lawson Renie, Lindsey Romig and Jaida Thomas rounded out the Tennessee Lady Vols soccer players on the Southeastern Conference Preseason Watch List. This came out a day after UT was picked to win the league.

"The SEC returns 58 percent (18 of 31) of the players that earned first or second team All-SEC honors last season. Eight first team selections return for the 2022 campaign. Included in the group of returners are 2021 first team All-America Ashley Orkus (Ole Miss) and second team All-America Jaida Thomas (Tennessee)."

Two Lady Vols another watch list – UnitedSoccerCoaches

In addition to making the SEC Preseason Watch List, Mackenzie George and Jaida Thomas also made the United Soccer Coaches watch list of forwards for 2022. They follow fellow Tennessee Lady Vol Taylor Huff, who was on the outlet’s watch list for midfielders.

"The lists are being released for the first time this season by the Division I All-America Committees to promote college soccer leading up to the official start date for the regular season later this month. The lists include United Soccer Coaches All-Americans and first or second team All-Region players from 2021, who are scheduled to return for the 2022 season."