Tennessee Football Player Quotes From Fan Day

2018 Tennessee football team / Credit: WNML Staff

Shy Tuttle, Senior Defensive Tackle

On his thoughts about team photo day:
“It’s pretty cool. In 20 years, you can look down and see your old teammates and see how life has changed. It will bring back good memories.”

On relying on newcomers along the defensive line:
“We need everybody. This is the SEC, so you need second and third strings. It’s a football game. From my personal experience, anything can happen. Somebody could get injured, so everyone has to be locked in and ready to go. It’s a next-man-up mentality.”

On setting the example of buying into the new staff:
“Guys are coming from high school, and they aren’t used to practicing like this. Myself and the other older guys have to set a good example for them.”

On being healthy for the spring and summer:
“It was great. I am healthy and feeling good, and I’m ready for the season.”

Paul Bain, Redshirt Senior Defensive End

On what he wants once the season is over:
“In the long run, my dream is to still play in the NFL. I have a strong belief that God’s plan is for me to play in the NFL. I am never going to stray away from that, and I believe I have the ability to do so. When the dream is done, I eventually want to go into dentistry and enter my own practice.”

On his thoughts of Coach Pruitt:
“Coach Pruitt is honest, trustworthy, hardnosed. He is everything that you would look for in a coach. I love playing for him, and I love going to work for someone who loves the game as much as you love the game. I can genuinely tell as a player that he plays through us. I bet any amount of money that if he could come out and play with us he would do it in a heartbeat. I can say that for all of the coaches – Coach Rocker and the rest of the coaches. I have fun coming here every day and I love because they love it. They are just as invested as I am and that means a lot to me.”

On Coach Pruitt splitting time between position groups:
“He spends a great amount of time with each of the position groups. He is very meticulous, precise and invested in everyone to make sure that everyone does their technique right. He knows the right technique for every position and I mean every position. He knows what he wants, very descriptive and articulates to each position group what he is looking for.”

On the defensive line being leaders because of experience:
“Definitely, we need to be leaders because for the young people coming in they are still trying to come into their own grove and their own rhythm in the team. Especially when you are coming into a situation like this, it can be very shaky and very nerve racking for a young player. So, it is essential for older players like myself to help them and nurture them. It’s a lot of change coming from high school to here. You aren’t talking about playing with 15 to 18 year olds. You are talking about 18 to 23 year old grown men.”

Brandon Johnson, Junior Wide Receiver

On his overall performance last season and how he plans to approach this season:
“The past is in the past and football just comes down to football. Not too much has changed, I really just need to go out there and run the correct routes and play hard. That’s all I can do.”

On if there is anything he specifically worked hard at over the offseason:
“In particular, I wanted to work on my strength. And you can never catch enough balls. So just catching more balls and becoming more comfortable with the playbook is mainly what I focused on.”

On his improvement in strength over the offseason:
“I definitely feel like I got stronger. Coach Fitzgerald and his staff did a great job this summer, and I feel like we’re going to continue to improve throughout the fall.”

Daniel Bituli, Junior Linebacker

On becoming more of a vocal leader on defense:
“A lot of guys on this team take a lot of pride in Tennessee, so we’re just holding each other accountable. If I’m ever down there not doing what I’m supposed to be doing, they’ll do the same to me. That’s what we expect from each other.”

On how his role at MIKE linebacker has changed:
“It’s really all the same. I like how multiple we are, the coaches do a good job of moving me around a lot from MIKE and WILL. So I can’t really say that I’m just a MIKE because the coaches are moving us all around.”

On the transition between defensive systems:
”I love football, so the transition has been hard, but I’m enjoying every second of it. I played 3-4 in high school so I’m kind of familiar with the whole defensive scheme, but regarding football, I’m a football player, I’m here to play football and earn my education. I love the sport, so going in and being able to watch more film and stuff, those are all things I enjoy doing and things I don’t take for granted.”

On the competition at the linebacker position:
“The competition is good. We all want to push each other. Competition is good from the standpoint that everybody else at other positions is fighting for a spot as well. We want to keep that mentality all throughout camp and all throughout the season, just continue to push each other.”

Quart’e Sapp, Redshirt Junior Linebacker

On how different the fall feels from the spring and how much more comfortable the team is with everything:
“A little more comfortable because, obviously, we’ve prepared and changed the defense and are putting finishing touches rather than it being all new, so it’s a little bit more preparation. We know what’s about to happen. There’s definitely more confidence because we know what we’re doing. There’s more stuff that we’re putting in, more detail, more tedious things that we’re focusing on instead of just the overall picture of the defense

On the guys that were most vocal this summer during workouts and coming into camp:
“I wouldn’t say that anyone separated themselves from the group. All of the upperclassmen and even the whole team, we pride ourselves in all of us being leaders and basically coaching ourselves and policing ourselves. Everyone as a whole team has really done a great job policing each other.”

On what he thinks the team can accomplish this year despite being picked sixth in the east:

“I’m not really focused too far ahead. I’m just focused on one game at a time, and I’m pretty sure my teammates are as well. Just one game at a time. We’re preparing for West Virginia. That’s all we’re thinking about right now.”

On how this year differs from other years’ attitude, physicality and how practices are run:
“I don’t think it’s any change from the players’ standpoint of tackling a practice. We have to attack the practices the same, with the same attitude, same physicality, but the structure is a little bit different. Obviously, we have a different coaching staff but form the player’s standpoint we pretty much tackle everything the same way.”

Drew Richmond, Redshirt Junior Tackle

On working at left tackle this offseason:
“We have been working everywhere, and like I said, we are just seeing how the best five fit in.”

On Coach Friend’s intensity:
“Oh yeah, they say sometimes you take the personality of your coach, so it’s good that he is on us like that. Coach Friend wants us to have every detail hammered out. He is very detailed orientated.”

On learning a new system:
“We are just learning day by day, just trying to craft ourselves to be the best group and position we can be.”

On practicing in front of the fans:
“It’s good, but right now we are just focused on practicing. I’m happy the fans get to support us, but as far the players, we are at work.”

Austin Pope, Redshirt Sophomore Tight End

On his mindset for this season:
“I try to pride myself on being the toughest one out there. I try to be a leader out there like everyone else. I want guys to look for me in the fourth quarter and know that I am there.”

On a fresh start this season:
“Last season was obviously disappointing, but everybody feels like it is a fresh start. It is like a new beginning. This camp has been a confidence booster, and that is when you start playing to your best ability. I definitely think having a new start is going to be a confidence boost.”

On his goals for this season:
“For myself personally, I don’t have a set number of catches or touchdowns. I kind of just want to go out there and gel together, play together and make things happen. Whether I am getting the ball or making a block, whatever I am doing, I am just trying to do the best I can do for the team.”

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