(utsports.com) KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee has put its disappointing season-opening loss to Georgia State in the rearview mirror and turned its full attention to this Saturday’s matchup against BYU.
The Vols started the week with a solid practice on Monday and will look to carry that focus and motivation into the rest of this week’s practices at Haslam Field and Saturday’s contest against the Cougars inside Neyland Stadium.
“I didn’t sign up for a one-game fight,” redshirt senior Jauan Jennings said. “This is a 12-game fight. That’s what we’re going to do each and every week from here on out. That’s all we’ve got to do, prepare and focus on one game at a time.”
Jennings led the Vols with seven catches for 108 yards and a touchdown in the season-opener, but he acknowledged that he needs to do more for his team as one of the leaders.
“I feel like this team wasn’t juiced up on the sideline and as a leader I take full responsibility for that,” Jennings said. “I’ve got to be out there, and I’ve got to be in their heads, in their ears 24-7. As a leader, I admit that I did not do that. This week and here on out, that’s what I’m going to focus on doing – making sure that this team knows that we’ve got a lot of fight left in us and we’re not going to give up.”
“As a leader, I’ve just come out each and every day fired up. I want to let these guys know that what happened last weekend is unacceptable, and it won’t happen again. We continue to prepare for this weekend and, as a leader, I just made sure I keep their heads up.”
Jennings is one of the veteran players on the roster. He has seen it all in his time on Rocky Top, from missing 11 games with an injury in 2017 to catching a game-winning Hail Mary at Georgia in 2016 to leading the Vols to an upset at Auburn in 2018. He even has thrown two touchdown passes (in 2015 and 2016) and recorded an interception.
He needs just six more receptions to become the 22nd Vol with 100 career catches. The Murfreesboro, Tenn., native has 94 receptions for 1,292 yards and 11 touchdowns over his 38-game career.
Jennings said he liked the fight the Vols showed in practice on Monday night.
“We’ve responded well,” Jennings noted. “These guys are hungry. I’m hungry. We’re all hungry. We can’t wait to get back on Saturday and show how much we’ve prepared for this game.”