Fresh mindset fuels Vols

Published 7:00 am Friday, October 27, 2023

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Set for its second SEC road trip in as many weeks, No. 21 Tennessee looks to mentally reset ahead of Saturday’s rivalry bout at Kentucky (7 p.m. ET, ESPN).

According to senior linebacker Aaron Beasley, the Vols (5-2, 2-2 SEC) are embracing a next-play, next-game mentality as they prepare for their upcoming road matchup against the Wildcats (5-2, 2-2 SEC). Coming off their second loss of the season at No. 11 Alabama, UT’s players and coaches are eager to get back on the field and execute at a higher level.

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“That is what we preach all the time: next play, snap and clear,” Beasley said Tuesday during Tennessee’s player availability. “In this case, it’s (the) next game we have to focus on. What is next, what is coming up? Which is Kentucky. I feel like it’s uber important that we do that. Forget about what happened last week, and just focus on how we get better this week.”

Beasley’s position coach, Brian Jean-Mary, was complimentary of Kentucky’s formidable rushing attack going into this weekend’s matchup. Wildcat senior Ray Davis Jr. leads the charge, ranking first in the SEC in rushing yards per game (111.57) and yards per carry (7.04).

“It’s one of the best rushing attacks in the country,” Jean-Mary said. “We thought (Davis) was one of the better running backs in the conference last year when he was at Vanderbilt, and he’s continued that over there at Kentucky. They have a big physical offensive line, great blocking and athletic tight ends. They present a real challenge for us by every measure you can imagine. They run the ball at a high clip, and they do it very well. It’s a perfect marriage of Ray Davis with their rushing attack, so it’s a big challenge for us. We have to do a great job of being in our gaps and getting off of blocks and tackling at a high level.”