Tennessee tight end Jacob Warren is beginning to understand the gravity of what the Vols are accomplishing this season.
Warren told Off The Hook Sports during the Vol Report in September that it took time for the Florida win to settle in. Perhaps more used to the Vols’ newfound success, Warren seemed more comfortable making history than he was just a few, short weeks ago.
“That’s history, right?” Warren said on Sunday following the Vols’ 52-49 win over Alabama on Saturday. “Like we changed history. We hopefully changed the course of the program with that game…just being on social media, seeing all of the the (historical) stats of how long it’s been and the last time that Tennessee did this or put up this many points on that team or whatever it may be, it’s just been awesome to see and kind of just it makes me smile every time I’m on Twitter or something.
“I see the the video of the crowd rushing the field and just thinking back to where I was and how I felt in that moment. And yeah, it’s just awesome. I’m super excited that we were able to do it. And, you know, it’s not like we didn’t expect to. I think a lot of people didn’t expect us to, but a lot of people did believe that we were going to be able to go in there and do that. So it was great to make it happen.”
The Vols not only won; they overcame. It looked as if the game was going to slip away from Tennessee’s grasp in the fourth quarter when a fumbled exchange led to an Alabama touchdown return. The Vols suddenly trailed by a touchdown with under eight minutes remaining in game. It was hard not to think that things were going to end up poorly. Warren said last year’s Tennessee football team or any other he’s been a part of as a Vol probably wouldn’t have responded as well as Tennessee did on Saturday.
“In years past that would have defeated us,” Warren said. “That would have truly deflated our team…But that’s not how it was at all. We are all on the sidelines and understand that it was a mistake and understand that we shot ourselves in the foot and that all we can do is trust the defense and go out there and win.
“I think that’s one thing I appreciate about this team is that whatever’s going to happen is going to happen and there’s not much that we can we can do. I mean, obviously we control what we’re able to do, but just circumstances happen.”
Alabama had a chance to beat the Vols before missing a field goal on the Crimson Tide’s final offensive drive. Fate was on the Vols’ side as the kick sailed wide right, giving the Vols another chance. Warren wasn’t surprised.
“Like we tell people all week, we’re going to win the game,” Warren said. “We have full confidence in ourselves that we can go out and we can execute and we can put up a lot of points and we can win any game that we play.
“This one was special just because…there’s been so many times with that team that it’s either been out of hand or there’s been one point where where we chose to not finish. We chose to not fight back. Everyone knowing that we’re beyond that point maturity wise as a team, it was exciting because we know we’re going to hit that point.
“We’re going to get there, and then we’re going to be able to push through and we’re going to be able to go finish this game and win.”
Warren was in no hurry to leave the field after kicker Chase McGrath hit the game-winning field goal as time expired and fans charged the field.
“I stood on the field for 30, 40 minutes after the game, just, you know, taking pictures with people that were saying that it was the best day of their lives. I’m like, the best day of your life. What? Okay. All right. Maybe like your wedding or something or your kids being born? No, it’s the best day of my life. I was like, ‘Cool. Me too.’”
With the Alabama win in their back pocket, there could actually be better days ahead for the Vols. Let that sink in.