Vols vs Indiana - Tax Slayer Bowl
#55 Brandon Kennedy for the Tennessee volunteers facing Indiana in the 2020 Tax Slayer Bowl.

Last week, Tennessee received a second bye week when its matchup against Texas A&M was postponed. Looking back at this past week, multiple Vols players shared their impressions this Tuesday as they continue to get ready for Auburn.

Sixth-year senior Brandon Kennedy was the first to talk about shared his impressions of the bye week.

“It’s been big for us.” Kennedy said. “This week, when we didn’t play, fundamentals were a big part for us. We were able to get back to the basics and bring some of the young guys along. Those were two things we were able to work on this bye week.”

He also shared what the week meant especially for the offensive line.

“Any time you have a week like this,” Kennedy said. “You have time to talk about some of the things that you wouldn’t be able to talk about in a normal week, such as technique and how the guy next to you works. It was a great week to do that and we kind of got back to the fundamentals.”

Also, Kennedy talked about his plans for the future.

“After the season, when my career ends,” Kennedy said. “I think I want to get a doctorate in sports psychology. That’s kind of the thing that I want to work towards. I love consulting with athletes and doing those things. I’ve been fortunate enough to have an internship here at the University of Tennessee with Dr. Joe Whitney. We were able to work through different scenarios, as far as helping athletes. I kind of just pick his brain. That’s what I’ve been doing throughout the season. It’s been great and I’m fortunate to be able to have that opportunity.”

Transfer Velus Jones Jr.’s first season in Knoxville has not been a very successful team season on Rocky Top, but Jones is not deterred.

“My Tennessee experience has been a great experience.” Jones said. “Bonding with my brothers, my teammates, the offense, the QBs, it’s been a great experience. There’s nothing like SEC football. This is something I’ve dreamed about ever since I was a kid coming up, just making dreams realities, so it’s been a great experience. We’ve been blessed to have fans at the stadiums due to COVID, so I can’t complain. I’m just blessed to be here.”

Helping his transition, Jones has been coached by a familiar face in Tennessee coach/alum and former USC coach Tee Martin

“Tee (Martin) was my former coach at the University of Southern California.” Jones said. “It was big on my decision, but not only that, knowing the history of Coach (Jeremy) Pruitt and what he’s done in his time being a coach and his accomplishments, then Jim Chaney as well. Also, the absence of the two top receivers that left for the draft. That played a big role for me coming here as well.”

Looking toward the other side of the ball, Linebacker Deandre Johnson talked about the Vols’ ability to get pressure on the quarterback.

“I feel like we are improving each week,” Johnson said. “It is definitely something we have to get better at and there are things we can get greater at, but we are pretty decent. The same thing is with me, I think I am improving, but I am never satisfied because there is always work to be done and always room to get better, so I am never satisfied.”

Wrapping up last week’s postponement, Johnson saw both positives and negatives in the situation.

“I was disappointed at first,” Johnson said. “I was looking forward to that game and guys were motivated to play, we just had to get back fresh and recover, so it was a good and bad thing but it all worked out.”

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