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October 2, 2013Starting practice earlier on Wednesday afternoon as Saturday's "Smokey Gray" showdown with visiting Georgia looms inside Neyland Stadium, Butch Jones wasted no time in corralling his players to send an early message.
"We've got to be better today, we've got to get better today," Jones barked. "Habit restarts today. Practice good habits. Make good habits. Everyone do his job!"
Players broke from Jones' message, raced to one end of the field and then sprinted with great spirit back toward the Steam Plant to begin stretching exercises and then work into individual drills in advance of team work.
"Seniors, you've only got 21 regular-season practices left in your careers. What are you going to do?" Jones asked via microphone.
Curt Maggitt continued to work largely with the Vols' scout team and isn't anyone that players and coaches are talking about returning this weekend or anytime soon. However, Trevarris Saulsberry, coming back from a knee injury suffered at Oregon, worked out alongside Ryan Jenkins in the "black hole" and appeared to be working his way back closer to being a practice participant.
So, too, did Devrin Young, who's donned a helmet this week and while not a full practice participant, Young has been logging extra work and catching passes and kicks as he works back from a broken bone that required surgery.
Rajion Neal remained in green and questions loom about the availability of Marlin Lane, whose injury may have been more than a simple ankle sprain and continues to be a concern. Corey Vereen continues to improve and carve a greater role as Tennessee's speed rush improves.
Johnathon Johnson also continued to return from a high ankle sprain, a move that can be key for the Vols in special teams and in the slot position on offense.
University of Tennessee students are responding to Jones' wishes for greater turnout; by Wednesday afternoon students had picked up more than 9,000 tickets in advance of the contest. And remember, sixth-ranked Georgia, coming off an 11-win season, a win against LSU last week and an SEC Championship Game appearance, returned several thousand tickets to the UT box office.
VolQuest.com will tweet and post notes immediately following today's post-practice comments --- and will do so each day of practice. Additionally we will have a variety of content items this evening, more Wednesday including the matchup piece and recruiting roundup and have podcast and predictions on Friday. Staff twitter handles are: @VolQuest_Rivals, @VolQuest_Paul, @VolQuest_Rob, @AustinPriceless, @John_BriceVQ and special contributor @GrantRamey.