It only took one game for Tennessee to show just how much his linebacker has improved over the offseason. There were spring training days in March and April where the Vols were fortunate to have five players available for this position, but after a few additions and returns of players due to injuries and suspension, they have played regular snaps with four linebackers last week. -opening victory against Bowling Green. Juwan mitchell and Jérémy Banks started and Aaron Beasley and Solon Page III also played a lot after entering the game in Tennessee’s third defensive series, and the two pairs played very similar numbers of snaps.
Defensive coordinator Tim banks after practice on Tuesday morning, the rotation could continue, provided these players earn their playing time during the week.
The four linebackers didn’t have the biggest nighttime scoring in the box, but Banks was mostly happy with the way each of them played. Jérémy Banks, Beasley and Page each landed three tackles, Banks recording a loss tackle on Bowling Green’s second possession of the second half and Beasley combining with Nickel Theo Jackson on another tackle for the loss. Mitchell, the transfer from Texas, had no tackles, but that wasn’t necessarily indicative of his performance.
Mitchell’s tandem top and Jérémy Banks is the better tandem for a reason and looked more confident than Beasley and Page in the first game, but Tim banks suggested the rotation isn’t going anywhere, so it wouldn’t be a surprise for Beasley and Page to have opportunities on Saturday against Pittsburgh (noon, ESPN).
“We would like to play against as many guys as possible, based on the guys who earned this opportunity,” Banks said. “I thought, again, these guys were tough. Again, I think they’ll be the first to tell you that they left some games out there on the pitch. We’re working really hard to make sure that when the opportunity comes up again we can take advantage of it, but ultimately I think these guys did a good job and we’ll continue to play as many guys in terms of how much they earn.
“If they win it, they play. If they don’t, they won’t. And these guys won that opportunity last week and they’ll keep working to try and get that same opportunity this week.
The Vols also turned heavily on the defensive line with 11 players in action up front, while the only rotating secondary came around the corner with Kenneth George Jr. occasionally spelling starters Alontae taylor and Warren burrell.
Mitchell led Texas in tackles in 2020 before being transferred to Tennessee this offseason, and while he didn’t record any tackles against Bowling Green, Banks said that didn’t mean he played badly at. his debut for Flights.
“Ju played hard,” said the coordinator. “I know he didn’t have that much production, but in the end he did his job. I thought he was in command of the defense, that he was doing a great job making sure the front was properly aligned. He had no MA running through my head at the time, so overall I think he played a solid game.
In addition to his TFL in the third quarter, Jérémy Banks had a good play on Bowling Green’s first possession, quickly pulling a gap to make the tackle on a third and 2-point play, and the Vols expect more of him to move forward.
“Jeremy is playing hard man he really does” Tim banks noted. “He’s a guy who sees the ball. He’s starting to figure out a bit schematically what we’re trying to do, and as he continues to grow through the system I think you’ll start to see even more flashes because he’s definitely athletic, he definitely want it. But he’s obviously a work in progress, and he knows it, but I was happy with the way he played.