KNOXVILLE — If Tennessee defensive coordinator John Chavis had has his choice, he’d forgo Tennessee’s bye week. For him, a return to action would be the best remedy following Tennessee’s upset loss to UCLA on Monday night.
“I’d rather be playing,” said Chavis, who along with offensive coordinator Dave Clawson addressed the media for the first time since Monday’s game. “That’s what you do: You play. You get thrown off the horse, you get back on it.”
Head coach Phillip Fulmer welcomed the extra time to analyze game video.
“I think this is probably a good time for us,” Fulmer said. “We (can) stay mad a couple of days. ... We (don’t) have to turn our picture right to UAB.”
Chavis didn’t disguise his frustration with the outcome of Monday’s game.
“I don’t think my life will be defined by one ballgame,” he said. “I will tell you this. I am as disappointed as I’ve been, and I’ve worked slowly to get that out of my system. So are our players. They’re hurt, too. We all understand. We want to get this one behind us.”
But before looking forward, Chavis acknowledged the need to correct mistakes made in the season opener.
“You can’t make mistakes in tight ballgames, in crucial situations,” Chavis said. “I want you to understand, when I talk about mistakes, that’s my responsibility. That’s my job to make sure those things don’t happen.
“We let one get away that we should have won. And now we’ve got to learn from it.”
But first, Clawson said, the team has had to overcome a particularly “painful” defeat.
“There’s a recovery process,” Clawson said. “You put so much into preseason camp getting ready for that game. Losing at football, it really stings.”
Clawson said the offense overall was too inconsistent, but he said those problems typically crop up in the first game of a season.
“Those are the tough things about first games,” he said. “You’re not really sure what the identity of your team is yet and you’re trying to figure it out, and if you miscalculated it all, it hurts you.”
UConn series set
UT announced on Thursday a two-series with the University of Connecticut beginning in 2015.
Tennessee will travel to East Hartford at Rentschler Field on Sept. 26, 2015, and host the Huskies on Sept. 3, 2016, at Neyland Stadium.
Other nonconference games scheduled for the 2015 and 2016 seasons include a home game against Oklahoma on Sept. 12, 2015, and a visit to Nebraska on Sept. 10, 2016.
Poor punt placement
A noticeably peeved Fulmer critiqued punter Chad Cunningham for kicking the ball in the middle of the field as opposed to near a sideline during a drill in Thursday’s practice.
Fulmer wasn’t as critical when talking to reporters.
“He did fine,” Fulmer said. “I’d like to kick every one of them right on the sidelines, if we could’ve — out of bounds 40 yards down the field. We’re not there yet.”
Fulmer and Chavis praised the work of UT’s defensive line against UCLA, despite the lack of sacks from their front four.
“It was very encouraging,” Fulmer said. “(UCLA) threw the ball quick most of the time and moved the pocket on us quite a bit. I thought they played well. I thought they played well against the run, real well against the run, were active in the pass rush, batted a ball or two. Overall, they did good.”