Tennessee Vols morning report: Tim Banks discusses defense ahead of opener

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 /

It’s one week away. The Tennessee Vols football team opens the season against the Ball State Cardinals in exactly seven days. However, college football fans and even SEC fans don’t have to wait that long, as games begin Saturday, including one involving the Vanderbilt Commodores.

With fall camp in the rearview mirror and a continued focus on the opener, our morning update on Rocky Top leads with another round of interviews on the football team. One coach and three players spoke with the media Wednesday.

There’s also more preseason football coverage involving another watch list that includes lots of UT players. We’ll close out with a soccer preview, as that’s season is already underway. However, let’s start with the football news.

Tim Banks discusses defense post fall camp – Patrick Brown, GoVols247

A day after Alex Golesh spoke with the media about the offense, Tennessee Vols football defensive coordinator Tim Banks held a press conference to talk about his side of the ball Wednesday. Here’s a bit of what he said.

"“Obviously, going through another spring, a summer, a lot of the base principles that we had in place, I think those guys really truly understand it. Now we’ve obviously got some new guys in the program that are kind of working their way through it, but if you wanted to say where we are now based on where we were a year ago, we’re definitely ahead and feel like we’re heading in the right direction.”"

Hendon Hooker, Trevon Flowers, Jimmy Holiday speak – Austin Price, VolQuest

In addition to Banks, Tennessee Vols football quarterback Hendon Hooker, defensive back Trevon Flowers and wide receiver/return specialist Jimmy Holiday all spoke with the media Wednesday. Hooker discussed his relationship with Josh Heupel. Here’s a bit of what he said.

"“From day one, coach Heupel came in with the attitude of: we want to win ball games and that’s what I’m here to do. As well as just being aggressive, so to speak, and what I mean by that is just having a mindset to just go out there and try to dominate.”"

Flowers talked about the areas he improved this offseason, admitting he wasn’t great last year. This is what he said on that front.

"“I just have to take the next step, I got to make more plays. My ball skills are good, I got to be able to show everybody my balls skills. Literally everything and every category I can improve. From tackling to being a leader, play-calling, to seeing formation and seeing what the offense likes to do.”"

Holiday talked about developing a level of comfort as a receiver, noting that he has already been a kickoff returner. Here is how he described that.

"“I’ve kind of just been taking it day-by-day, learning from the other guys like Cedric Tillman, Ramel Keyton, Princeton Fant, Jacob Warren, the guys that have been here and instilling the little things that they have been taught to do. I have kind of just been going up under their wing.”"

Eight Vols on Senior Bowl watch list – SeniorBowl.com

Jeremy Banks, Jerome Carvin, Princeton Fant, Trevon Flowers, Hendon Hooker, Cedric Tillman, Darnell Wright and Byron Young were all among the players selected to the Reese’s Senior Bowl Watch List. The Tennessee Vols football team is joined by five other schools with eight players on the list, and they are tied for ninth overall nationally.

"Every player on this list is eligible to participate in an all-star game as either a 2018 high school graduate or true four-year player (with five or more games played in three previous seasons).  This list does not include many true or redshirt juniors who could become eligible as December 2022 (or earlier) graduates."

Soccer to host Duke – UTSports

After losing on the road to the North Carolina Tar Heels last Thursday and tying the SMU Mustangs on Sunday, the No. 22 ranked Tennessee Lady Vols soccer team will face its third straight top five foe Thursday. UT will be looking for its first win of the Joe Kirt era, hosting the No. 5 ranked Duke Blue Devils.

"Duke is 2-0-0 on the season, most recently taking a 3-1 win over UNC Greensboro at home on Sunday. Tennessee will host Bowling Green for a 7 p.m. ET match on Wednesday, Aug. 31."