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Drinkwitz previews spring game and recaps the progress from the spring

Eliah Drinkwitz met with the media just three days before his team hits the field at the Devine indoor facility.

Syndication: The Knoxville News-Sentinel Saul Young/News Sentinel / USA TODAY NETWORK

Here are some notes and quotes from coach Eliah Drinkwitz’s press conference today:

  • “Obviously, with the announcement of the spring game not being open to the public, we just felt that with the potential of the weather being so cold, we still needed to get some good work in. We’ll still have all the players’ parents come in for parents weekend and we’ll still have all of our football alumni.” On moving Saturday’s spring game to the Devine indoor facility
  • Drinkwitz congratulated and wished good luck to the men’s basketball, women’s basketball, softball and wrestling teams for their recent success.
  • “Our defense is clearly ahead of our offense, which is the way it’s supposed to be. With the guys that we had coming back and the way that they play, they’ve been able to dominate the line of scrimmage. The challenge for them is to not get complacent.” On who has been winning thus far in camp
  • “Ennis Rakestraw has done a nice job of being focused and you can tell he’s determined to accomplish what he wants to accomplish. Jayden Jernigan on the defense line has continued to change his body in a positive way, and I think JC (Jaylon Carlies) has done a nice job of being intentional in practice. Triston Newson has had an outstanding spring, and he was a big player today multiple times on defense and special teams.” On who has stood out during camp...
  • “I think Mookie Cooper has been offensive player of the day multiple times, and Nate Peat has really come back and been focused on doing the little things right and being more comfortable in the system. Jake Garcia had his best day of practice yesterday, and then Theo Wease is continuing to make plays and pop when his opportunity is called.” ...Continued
  • “Part of the reason that we go early in the spring is so that we can utilize April walk-throughs and summer access to really sharpen what we feel like we are going to be good at. In theory, we should be able to reinstall this offense three times; once in spring, once in summer and once in fall.”
  • “Theo [Wease] might be the best trash-talker from the wide receivers. That’s really stood out to me, he really talks a lot of trash. He’s made some big-time catches.”
  • “I think Nate [Peat] is becoming more and more comfortable with this system and taking the pressure off himself that every play is not a clip that he’s going to have to try to sell himself to a GM with.”
  • “I think Kirby’s offense does a nice job of utilizing our running backs in a lot of different positions and gave him [Peat] a lot of opportunities yesterday.”
  • “We’ll have an open scrimmage in August and we’re still gonna do a merchandise tent sale sometime in April and have a Fan Day then.” On how the program will maintain fan interaction with the spring game being closed to the public
  • “We haven’t been consistent enough snapping the football, we haven’t been consistent enough with playing physical behind our pads with the correct pad level. That’s a position that we’ve got to be open to moving other guys around to see who can snap.” On the competing at center