April 13, 2012
New look offensive front excites Sanders
Cleveland, Tennessee offensive lineman Austin Sanders has been a loyal Tennessee commitment. He pulled the trigger last August, but recently took a trip to Vanderbilt to check out the Commodores.
"I just wanted to take another visit to see what else is out there," Sanders said. "I'm not going get this chance back, but I'm done. I've talked to the (Tennessee) coaches and I told them what I had to think. Vandy is a good school, but I don't see it like I do Tennessee. I'm done with visits."
Sanders was in town last weekend to see the Vols scrimmage and he liked what he had to see up front.
"I liked it, but they can always improve," Sanders said. "They have a lot of athletes they can get the ball too in open space. I like the change of Dallas (Thomas) moving to guard and Antonio (Richardson) playing tackle. I think that really benefits the line as a whole."
Tennessee is focused on becoming a more complete offense this spring. They struggled to run the ball last season and they need that component back in their arsenal if they are going to be one of the top offenses in the SEC. Sanders noticed improvement and thinks new line coach Sam Pittman is paying dividends.
"I really think they ran the ball well," Sanders said. "I was watching every play very close and I think they ran the ball really effectively. They weren't busting big plays, but they were moving the line of scrimmage. They have worked really hard with coach Pittman. They have put in the time and effort and you can tell it's paying off."
Pittman and Sanders have become close and they talk frequently.
"He talks to me about how the guys are working in the weight room and how practice has been going," Sanders said. "He's a good coach. He's really truthful to me and he doesn't lie. He tells me what I need to work on and what my strengths are. If i'm going to really improve then I need him to push me and I think he does that."
As Sanders looks for improvement in his future team, he is working hard to improve his own game this spring. He's constantly trying to get bigger, faster, and stronger.
"I'm there every day," Sanders said. "I'm there before school and after school. I run as well. I'm just trying to become bigger and quicker. I think it's important to get more explosive coming off the ball and my hand placement. I have strength, but I want to get stronger."
Spring practice begins May 7 for Bradley Central. It's a day that Sanders has circled on his calendar.
"I can't wait," Sanders said. "Every time we strap up there is that nervous feeling. There is nothing to be nervous about, but it's one of those things that get the butterflies going. I just love to be out there playing. I'm excited to see what my team will look like this year."
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