Jones says freshmen WRs impressive on day 2 of camp

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (UT release) -- Saturday's second day of Tennessee football training camp showed that the players would respond strongly to critiques and the video breakdown from the first practice.

Head coach Butch Jones noted that the freshman wide receivers stood out as a group on Saturday, a promising sign for a team that looks to replace a 2012 receiving corps that is now in the NFL.

"I was very encouraged by the freshman wide receivers," Jones said. "I think they improved our football team."

Jones had praise for the freshman receivers, saying that they have digested the playbook and are adapting well to the speed of college football.

"They've really added a competitive component to the offense, which is greatly needed," he said.

The team as a whole returned to the field ready and composed, showing improvement from a grueling first day.

"We challenged them and this group is extremely prideful." Jones said. "It was an okay practice, but our standard here is a little bit more. I like the way we came back and we battled."

Some of the young wideouts' counterparts also had a strong showing on day two, as the return of Brian Randolph and safety battle between Byron Moore and LaDarrell McNeil reflect the depth in middle of the UT secondary.

"It is a battle," Jones said. "First of all, getting Brian Randolph back, you can see the recovery from spring ball to now. He's quicker, he's stronger. With McNeil and Byron, there's just day-to-day competition. Competition is healthy, but it also helps us in the special teams game as well."

IT'S GO OR GO HOME

In his last season for the Volunteers, redshirt senior Daniel Hood knows that "it's go or go home," and with that mentality, Hood hopes to have his most successful season yet.

After playing in all 12 games last year, the Knoxville native has made the most out of his offseason, becoming stronger and more confident with the help of strength and conditioning director Dave Lawson and the new programs he has implemented with Team 117.

"It feels great," said Hood, who made seven tackles in 2012. "I feel just more confident because of all the offseason workouts we had with Coach Lawson. The whole program was built around building confidence in people and you know, when we did the things we did, you can't come out not confident."

With day two of training camp complete, Hood is pleased to see how well the defense as a whole has performed, not only in camp but in the offseason as well.

"The thing about this defense I've seen lately is everybody has been playing well together," he said, "it's not just one person doing everything."

Teamwork such as that has Hood hoping that in his last go-around, the Volunteer defense will improve immensely from years past.

"Honestly," said Hood, "with the way they're coaching and the way they're teaching everything, I think it'd be a shame if we finished anywhere else out of the top 20 in defense."


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