Devrin Young Like A ‘Toy’ For Vols’ Offense
Taking full advantage of his opportunities this spring, Tennessee sophomore tailback Devrin Young has impressed out of the backfield and become like a ‘toy’ for the Vols’ offense.
“There are a lot of things you can do with him,” offensive coordinator Jim Chaney said after Wednesday morning’s practice inside the Neyland-Thompson Sports Center. “He’s like that toy you had as a kid. He has a lot of physical abilities and a lot of skill level. It’s fun to watch him grow, mature and understand a little bit more. He can assume a few more roles, but I think he’s had a very good spring for us.”
Young spent his rookie season at Tennessee primarily in a specialist role. The Bearden, Tenn., product finished third on the team with 756 all-purpose yards, including 628 on kickoff returns marking the fifth-most in a single-season in UT history.
“I know Coach Dooley has giant plans for him especially,” Chaney said. “There’s no question about that. From the offensive side of it, he’s played exceptionally well for us playing tailback. We’re really pleased to have him out there.”
Between the two scrimmages this spring, Young rushed 15 times for 95 yards and a touchdown, sporting the team’s highest average yards per carry with 6.3.
“He’s going to have the opportunity,” running backs coach Jay Graham said of Young’s ability to play running back in the SEC. “I think it is important for us to put him in situations that he can be successful and we can use him the way we want to use him.”
That may include pass protection, as the Vols haven’t limited Young to specific plays.
“We just put them out there and let them play,” Chaney said. “If they get stuck in a protection having to block a 260-pounder, so be it. Grow up and be a man. He’s had to do that on several occasions and we’ve been pleased with how he’s performed.”
With his sights on making the most of his career as a Vol, Young takes the same mindset into every play.
“The coaches are really looking to me to make big plays,” Young said. “I feel like as long as I can make a play almost every other time I’m in, I feel like I’m being pretty consistent. That’s what I’m shooting for every time, to make some sort of play.”
Tennessee defensive coordinator Sal Sunseri expects and demands the most out of his defense, even when the Vols aren’t on his watch.
“If you are going to be a great football player – and I don’t care about what level of football you are at – once you get done with your academics, instead of sitting around and playing on Xbox go study people who you know that are good football players, especially yourself and see what you need to do to become and better football player,” Sunseri said.
“The only way you become great is if you study yourself and you become perfect in your techniques. So, these guys right now are finding out that since they have been doing this it (there are) less mistakes.”
Sunseri only expects of his players the same standards that he holds to himself – and has since he was in their shoes.
“I studied every night,” Sunseri said. “Here is what I did. I used to have a projector in my room and every night when I would come home I would take two rolls of film. I would watch my opponent because if you watch your opponent and you know what they are doing on certain things you become better football players.
“You are anticipating the plays, you know how to do it, how to react and you put yourself though calls. I want our players to understand the concept of the defense that we are running and what are the responsibilities that they need to do.”
The Vols have heard Sunseri loud and clear, and have taken it upon themselves to emulate their defensive coordinator.
“These kids are coming over here, they are coming in packs and they are watching tape on their own,” Sunseri said. “They are doing what they need to do to become better football players. That is what is so exciting about them, when they come in packs because the game is starting to become very important to them. They want to be successful on the field and off the field.”
Saturday’s DISH Orange and White Game will provide Vols’ fans their first glimpse at Tennessee’s new defense.
Day by day, the Vols are working hard to impress the Big Orange fans not only Saturday, but when they kick-off the 2012 season at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta against North Carolina State on Friday, Aug. 31.
“That stadium is coming to see a product,” Sunseri said. “That product we want to put on the field is a product of champions, a product of professionals; so that when everybody leaves that stadium they know that they are happy they are a part of Tennessee football.”
DISH O&W GAME SET FOR APRIL 21
The DISH Orange & White Game will take place on Saturday, April 21 with a 2:30 p.m., kickoff. Admission and parking will be free for all fans. In addition to free admission to the game, Fan Appreciation Day will feature an autograph signing with head coach Derek Dooley, assistant coaches and Vol players. The signing, held in recent years at Haslam Field, will be held on the field at Neyland Stadium from 12:15-1:15 p.m.
OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR JIM CHANEY
(On Marlin Lane)
“I was real proud of Marlin. The first scrimmage, I don’t think Marlin was pleased with how he played. All week he prepared very well and he was very successful this past scrimmage. He was more of the physical, downhill running back that we expect to have.”
(On Jay Graham)
“Jay has done a heck of a job with those guys. I think they understand the direction we’re trying to go. I think what’s been very clear to those kids is what they have to work on day in and day out. Jay does a very good job of giving them specific things to get better at day-to-day.”
(On Justin Hunter playing Saturday)
“I think it encourages everybody when you get a good player back, getting on the field playing. It was fun to see him out there running around. It’s always good to see 11 on the field.”
(On what he wants to see in the Orange and White Game)
“I’d like for them to go out there and be physical and take care of the ball. After that, I’m good. Whatever Coach wants is a go. That’s what I’m into. From an offensive standpoint, I want us to continue right on the path we’ve been going on, demonstrating we want to hit somebody and hold on to the football.’
DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR SAL SUNSERI
(On A.J. Johnson)
“I am really happy with A.J. Johnson. He is his own person but the similarities would be in his size. He is a bigger guy that plays inside, he is a guy who is doing a lot of great things. Eventually I am also going to see him rush the passer. I am letting everybody know that. I am going to see it. That guy has the ability to make plays. I am going to stick him on the edge and see how he is going to rush the passer.”
(On Willie Bohannon)
“Willie Bo is a guy who has moved at SAM he has played JACK, he is playing a lot of different positions. He is very versatile. He is a guy who has come in and studied a lot, he had bought in, and I am really happy with Willie Bo.”
(On Herman Lathers)
“It had been unbelievable. The kid has had a great spring; he has been doing a great job. He had made a lot of plays. He was very productive in the last scrimmage. A healthy Herman Lathers is good for the University of Tennessee.”
(On UT’s defense this spring)
“We are right on track. We are doing a lot of good things. I am extremely excited about where these kids have come. We have challenged them mentally, we have challenged them physically, and they are learning how to deal with both. I am pleased with these kids. Am I satisfied? No. Am I ever going to be satisfied? Probably not.”
TIGHT ENDS/SPECIAL TEAMS COACH CHARLIE COINER)
(On the final week of spring practice)
“Credit to Coach Dooley, because he has had us give them one thing to get out of practice this week, and they need to be able to come to me at the end of this week and say, “That is what I got this week.” It can be anything from discipline, concentration, to seeing the defense better. They all have one thing they can work on. We want them to focus on one thing rather than be all over the place so we could definitely get one part accomplished. I’m excited about Saturday to split up the squad and get those competitive juices flowing. At the end of the week we want to be able to go down the checklist and at least be able to say that we have hit on everything at least one time. We want to be able to look at tapes this summer and be able to have a good teaching standpoint when we come back this summer.”
WIDE RECEIVERS COACH DARIN HINSHAW
(On Zach Rogers)
“Zach had a really good week last week and he has had a really good week this week. He is making plays and that is what we need him to continue to do. He knows the offense like the back of his hand. He understands when to get open he just has to keep fighting and go get that ball, he has to keep working on that. He is doing really good.”
(On Justin Hunter)
“When he first came in I thought he looked like a baby giraffe, tall and all over the place. And then their strength and they get custom to the offense and begin to understand how to run routes and how to understand levels. Justin has gotten better and better at that and his is continuing to blossom. With his injury last year we have a lot to overcome to get him ready for this season.”
(On Da’Rick Rogers)
“Da’Rick has done an unbelievable job at giving effort and blocking, something that he didn’t do a great job of. When Da’Rick wants to do something nobody can stop him, and Da’Rick made the decision this spring that he was going to go out there and give effort and block on every single snap, and give everything he’s got when he is on the field. He has done a great job at that.”
RUNNING BACKS COACH JAY GRAHAM
(On ball security)
“It’s a factor if you let it be. It’s a factor if you’re undisciplined on every carry, every time you touch the football. Whether you are just out here catching the ball pre-practice, you really have to concentrate and that is the way you can change some bad habits.”
(On being back at Tennessee)
“It feels great. It feels great to be back here on campus and just be a part of the place that has so much to do with the type of that I am. I just hope the guys that I coach understand that and how privileged they are to be here and continue to fight and focus on putting the best product on the field.”
DEFENSIVE LINE COACH JOHN PALERMO
(On communication on defense)
“A lot of what we do up front has to be communicated by the linebackers. When it comes to stunts and things of that nature, we have got to do a great job of communicating. We are not close to where we need to be but we will be.”
(On what the defensive line needs to work on)
“I think from what we do defensively, a lot of it is on their shoulders from the standpoint of studying, looking at tape when they have the opportunity to, getting with coaches when they have the opportunity to, to continue to learn.”
CORNERBACKS COACH DERRICK ANSLEY
(On Izauea Lanier)
“Izauea is an older guy. He played a lot last year. He is a junior college kid so he is a little more mature. He is playing the system he is not as consistent as you want but he is playing better at times then other people. He has potential to play big by getting his hands on people and playing with his size.”
(On press coverage)
“The main thing is they are starting to be more patient on the line, getting their eyes low, and having their feet under control. They are a lot better from when we first started but nowhere near where we need to be. “
Courtesy UT Media Relations