Tiny Richardson guarantees the W
Butch Jones heard the complaints from Alabama’s A.J. McCarron about Jones referring to Alabama as ‘the red team’, but he’s not taking anything back.
Jones called Alabama by name only once last week to the media during game-week preparations for the Tide. Instead, Jones and his players referred to Alabama as ‘the red team’. Jones argued that the name Alabama beats some teams before they step on the field.
After Alabama disposed of Tennessee 45-10 on Saturday, Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron said he took Jones’ comments as a slight.
“I don’t think we’re just anybody,” McCarron said. “We won two national championships in a row and we’re undefeated right now. So we’re not just anybody.
“I felt disrespected,” McCarron continued. “To say we don’t deserve the respect of calling us Alabama and calling us ‘red team’ and for their head coach to come out and say they can play against anybody.”
But despite what McCarron may believe, Jones’ job is to make his team believe they can play against anybody.
“I have to prepare our football team,” Jones said. “It’s part of them understanding that it’s a great rivalry.”
On Monday, Jones was given an opportunity to take back his comments. But Jones didn’t do so, instead doubling down on his belief that the name Alabama plays a heavy hand in the outcome of games.
“I think when you go play Alabama, the name Alabama gives them 14 points already because of the respect that people have,” Jones said.
Jones did make sure to clear one thing up on Monday. Nothing he said last week was meant as a slight towards Alabama. In fact, it was just the opposite.
“I said it last week and I’ll continue to say it,” Jones said. “I respect their football program and what they’ve done as much or more than anyone in the country.”
Tennessee may have been beat down on the scoreboard on Saturday, but they left Tuscaloosa relatively healthy physically.
Quarterback Justin Worley left the game early with a hand injury. Jones said he believed the re-aggravation occurred when Worley tackled Alabama defensive back Deion Blue after throwing his first interception.
“I will know more probably late tonight to tomorrow,” Jones said. “What I have been told is that it is day to day. Right now he is undergoing further examination. We are taking the approach that he will be available and playing. He was in the building this morning. We just have to take it one day at a time.”
Worley isn’t the only quarterback banged up. Freshman Nathan Peterman broke his hand at Florida in September, but his cast is off and Jones didn’t rule out a return Saturday at Missouri.
“He is back,” Jones said of Peterman. “Now he is rehabbing the strength and we will see how he progresses. There is a possibility by the end of the week he may be available as well. But you never know with the body and how it heals. He is back and he is rehabbing. So we will see how he continues to rehab and how it affects him moving forward.”
The most critical injury the Vols suffered during the game came when starting safety Brian Randolph banged up his shoulder in the first half. His replacement, Byron Moore, later went down.
Jones said on Monday that both players are expected to be ready to play on Saturday, but freshman Jalen Reeves-Maybin will get some reps at safety as a precaution. Reeves-Maybin, who has been a special teams star for the Vols this season, moved to linebacker from the secondary after enrolling in January.
Tiny Making Promises
Following what was perhaps his best performance of the season on Saturday at Alabama, Tennessee left tackle Antonio ‘Tiny’ Richardson guaranteed a win over No. 9 Missouri.
“Like I said snap and clear. That’s all we’ve got to do,” Richardson said. “And we’ll beat Missouri. I promise you that.”
Richardson wasn’t just feeling confident coming off a game in which he dominated Alabama’s Adrian Hubbard and Jeoffery Pagan. He has faith in his teammates as well.
“I’m confident in my teammates,” Richardson said. “All we have is each other. That’s all we need.”
Missouri isn’t the only game remaining on the schedule in which Richardson has promised a Vol victory. Earlier this summer at SEC media days, Richardson guaranteed a win over Vanderbilt.
“We’re Tennessee and us losing to Vanderbilt, that happens every so often,” Richardson said. “But that’s not happening again. I’m promising.”
The Vols face Vanderbilt on November 23 at Neyland Stadium.
Jones knows Missouri quarterback Maty Mauk and his family well. Mauk’s brother, Ben, played quarterback for Jones and his staff at Cincinnati. In fact, had Maty not signed with Missouri, it was very likely he would have signed with Jones and the Bearcats.
“Well we were engaged in a great recruiting battle” Jones said. “Maty Mauk’s a winner. He’s the son of a football coach, so he’s a gym rat. He grew up with a football in his hand since the day he was born. I’d said he’s a winner and he’s a playmaker. He’s a very, very talented quarterback.”
Mauk was the backup for the Tigers for most of the season. He was thrown into the fire during the Tigers’ upset win at Georgia after starter James Franklin was injured in the second half. He then led the Tigers to a win over Florida last week, before a heartbreaking 27-24 loss to South Carolina in double overtime on Saturday.
Mauk, like seemingly every quarterback the Vols have faced this season, has the ability to run the ball as well as throw it.
“The thing that concerns me most about him is that he’s able to improvise,” Jones said. He’s able to take a bad play and turn it into a big play. He’s able to scramble and move around. He throws exceptionally well out of the pocket, and he’s got a little bit of swagger to him. That’s Maty Mauk.”
image via utsports.com