Editor’s Note: Jordan Black is a graduate of Morristown East High School and is currently in his third year as a student trainer with the Tennessee football program. This is his journal on Tennessee’s preparation for Oregon this week.
KNOXVILLE — As Coach Jones would say, “To be successful in the SEC you’ve got to live it, love it, and like it.”
Throughout the Neyland-Thompson Sports Complex this week, the Oregon-Virginia game is constantly being replayed on several 90-inch televisions. It’s Oregon week, something Team 117 has been looking forward to since Oregon last came here in 2010 and beat us 48-13, under the reigns of former coach Derek Dooley.
Times have changed now with Coach Butch Jones at the helm, who has brought positive vibes and optimism in everything he does. The first two weeks of the Butch Jones era went as planned, beating Austin Peay and Western Kentucky pretty soundly.
However, now we must travel to the Pacific Northwest to take on the No. 2 team in the country, which has an extremely fast paced offense that has scored 125 points in two games and a defense that has only given up 13 points.
This week there seems to be more focus and excitement than the previous two weeks. The players seem to have an “us against the world” mentality going into the game and that has shown during practice.
The excitement level is definitely seen on the practice field, in the training room and in the weight room.
During practice, there are sounds or music played in certain situations. These sounds vary from Oregon’s fight song, duck calls, country music, crying babies, sirens and several more random noises. The idea behind this is to prepare our team for anything that comes our way and to remain focused at all times.
Everyone on the outside is projecting Oregon to take care of business and beat us. The last spread I saw had us as 27-point underdogs.
However, based on the work the coaches and players are putting in on the practice field, I know the players and coaches expect to go to Oregon and pick up our third win of the season, and I expect nothing less.
Throughout my three-year journey of working with the University of Tennessee’s sports medicine, I have had the luxury of traveling to every game except for one. I’ve been to Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Vanderbilt, South Carolina, Atlanta, Arkansas and Mississippi State, but this Oregon trip is the one game I have been looking forward to the most out of all those trips.
I believe something special could happen out in Eugene this Saturday. While I am not predicting the score, this team under Coach Jones seems to have bought in more so than any of the previous two years. I believe this team is building a foundation for the future, and it takes every brick in the program to succeed and get to our ultimate goal.
For pictures and updates from Oregon follow me on twitter @jb4vols – Go Vols!