Cade Mays vs Missouri

Tennessee offensive lineman Cade Mays (68) runs on the field during the first quarter during a game between Tennessee and Missouri at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, Tenn. on Saturday, Oct. 3, 2020.

The Tennessee Volunteers improved to 2-0 with a win against Missouri on Saturday, rushing for over 230 yards and controlling the line of scrimmage in a 35-12 blowout. Coach Pruitt talked about how the Vols can improve with more hard work and effort ahead of their matchup with third-ranked Georgia.

“We have been focused this week and have continued to work hard, we really went back and tried to look at things from a more technical standpoint,” Pruitt said. “We’ve had a really good week so far.”

Teams usually make a big jump between games one and two as players begin to settle in to the season. Coach Pruitt noted this but knows the Vols can continue to get better in many aspects as the season progresses.

“We improved running the football and we improved a lot on third downs,” Pruitt said. “But from a throwing game standpoint we did not protect the quarterback as well… defensively we still need to force more turnovers, and we are giving up too many explosive plays.”

The improvement in the run game can be attributed to the Tennessee offensive line, who controlled the line of scrimmage and bullied the Missouri front seven in all four quarters. Cade Mays made his Tennessee debut on the offensive line after being ruled eligible for play this season. 

“We played him at right tackle and at right guard, Cade hadn’t played in a football game since January and we didn’t know if we would get to play in one this year,” Pruitt said. “He’d probably like to be in a little better shape, but I know he’s happy to get to play and just like the rest of the guys he will only continue to get better as the season progresses.”

The Vols are looking to carry their momentum from a SEC best 7 game win streak dating back to last season. The win moved the Vols up to No. 14 in the country as their quest to return to the elites of the SEC continues. 

Their first real test this season will be this week against the third-ranked Georgia, a team Tennessee has not beaten since 2016. Coach Pruitt wants to see better intensity overall heading into this huge matchup.

“It’s about mental intensity and giving your all until the end of the play,” Pruitt said. “You can start a play and play pretty well for the first few seconds of the play, but it’s about finishing the play. … it can be the difference between a five yard run and a 20 yard run.”

In one of the best moments on Vol Calls tonight, coach Pruitt had to ask for a question to be repeated. 

“Can you say it again? I just got a text from Lane Kiffin,” Pruitt said through a laugh. “He’s playing Alabama this week so he’s having a good time”.

The Vols will travel to play No. 3 Georgia this Saturday Oct. 10 at 3:30 p.m. ET. The game has been chosen as the CBS SEC game of the week and will be televised nationally on Saturday afternoon. 

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