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Tennessee’s coaches during the bye week: “It was very critical”

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Tennessee’s bye week was far from a coronation just because the Vols beat Florida. The season is just a month old.

Despite how monumental the Florida win was, it was, after all, just one win and the Vols have another ranked, SEC opponent coming up this week. No. 25 LSU is coming up and the Tigers won’t begin the game in Baton Rouge, La., by congratulating the Vols on their big win against the Gators.

Moreover, the Vols should have beaten Florida. Tennessee was better and that showed throughout the game until the Gators stormed to close the game, which was certainly partially the Vols’ fault.

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The Vols won 38-33, but the celebration was short-lived, especially with a trip to LSU coming up on Saturday.

“It was very critical,” Tennessee defensive lineman Bryson Eason said of film study during the off week. “We have a lot of things to work on, a lot of things to get better with. It was critical, not so much praise so we can keep a level head and just keep getting better.”

Tennessee DL Bryson Eason

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Eason deserves plenty of praise for his willingness to adapt to help the Vols’ offense. He began his career at middle linebacker, moved to defensive end and is now playing defensive tackle. 

Since making the move, Eason has continued to grow. The sophomore had two tackles against Ball State in the season-opening game for Tennessee, had a tackle against Pitt, recorded his first sack and had two tackles against Akron and registered four tackles against Florida. Steadily, Eason is improving. How might that help him when the Vols take on LSU?

“It gives me a lot of confidence,” Eason said. “It feels good just to know (defensive line coach Rodney Garner) trusts me to put me in that situation. Confidence wise, I just want to continue to get better. This position is kind of new for me, but just to keep getting better and learn all the techniques. Play vertical, play fast and just play for the guys on the field is really what it is all about for me.”

Playing defensive tackle is much different than playing linebacker or even defensive end. There’s more banging and more physical contact up front. Eason is fine with that.

“What surprised me is how physical I am personally,” the sophomore said. “I thought it was going to be a little more banging, more rough and tough on the inside, playing against the guards and center, things like that. 

“Personally, I feel like I have been handling it well and holding my own. That is really what I take pride in, holding my own. I am playing for the Power T and playing for my brothers next to me. You know what I am saying, giving my best foot forward.”

So far, so good.

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