Offense starts fast in Vols’ second scrimmage

Published 4:48 pm Tuesday, August 22, 2023

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Led by sixth-year senior quarterback Joe Milton III, Tennessee’s up-tempo offense started fast with a touchdown on its first drive as the Volunteers wrapped up their second scrimmage of preseason camp on Wednesday in Neyland Stadium.

“He was really accurate with the football, really decisive and been a really good decision maker,” said head coach Josh Heupel of Milton. “(He’s) been in control of protections for the most part. We have continued to push their hand on that side of it.”

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Milton led Tennessee’s first-team offense down the field vs. the first-team defense, and the drive culminated with a Jaylen Wright touchdown run. Wright, who finished the 2022 campaign strong, has enjoyed an outstanding camp in his third season with the program. He was the Vols’ leading rusher last season with 875 yards on 146 carries and 10 scores.

“He’s been very intentional in his work,” said Heupel. “He’s continued to grow and just being able to have a championship mindset, be able to reset from play to play, play with passion, not playing just straight out of emotion. He’s been great with the young backs. He’s been a great leader (and) great teacher for those guys.

“On the football side of it, he’s a guy that early in his career, just wanted to run around everything and just use his speed to his advantage. He can still do all of those things, but he’s got really good vision. He understands blockers, he understands how to use them, he delivers double teams to the second level (and) he finds space. His vision on the back door cuts has grown, (and) he’s doing it at the right time. He’s playing at a really high level.”

The Vols shined in third-down defense, provided pass rush and forced a turnover late in the scrimmage.

“Third-down defense was really strong for the most part, and in overtime, I thought the defense did a great job,” Heupel said. “They played really good football in the overtime period, so all-in-all, a good day’s work.”

Thursday is an off day for UT, which returns to the practice field for back-to-back practices on Friday and Saturday at Haslam Field.

The Vols open the season on Sept. 2 against Virginia at Nissan Stadium in Nashville. Kickoff is set for 11 a.m. CT on ABC. The game is being presented by Nissan.

Tickets for the season opener in Nashville are on sale through the Nashville Sports Council and Nissan Stadium via