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Tennessee football: For Joe Milton, Vols must let the past be

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They say having a short memory is crucial to playing quarterback. For Tennessee football signal caller Joe Milton III, that includes both the good and the bad.

Milton has certainly had his fair share of both since arriving on Rocky Top. However, even with the positives more recent for him, he’ll be the first to tell you it doesn’t matter.

“Whatever happened last year, we can’t go back and change it. We can’t go back and help it,” he said. “The only thing we can do now is get better as a team and improve the guys we have on our team now.

The negative memories for Milton are obvious. He lost lost his starting job to Hendon Hooker two games into the 2021 season due to an injury, which followed numerous missed deep balls.

There’s also the play against the Ole Miss Rebels that year, when he came back in and scrambled on the final play, running out the clock with UT needing a score. Even when he started again, last year at the Vanderbilt Commodores, he missed far too many throws.

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However, then came the Orange Bowl, in which he was named MVP after leading Tennessee football to a 31-14 win over the Clemson Tigers. He’s not dwelling on that either, acknowledging that he doesn’t even watch film from that game.

“That was in 2022,” he said. “I let that game be. I just try to get better everyday from now on. What happened is what happened.”

Milton’s improvement wasn’t just that game. He didn’t throw an interception at all last year and averaged over 13 yards per attempt. In fact, he still hasn’t thrown a pick with Tennessee football.

Obviously, anybody who has seen Milton can see he’s more comfortable in the offense now than he was. However, he has made it clear he isn’t satisfied.

“There’s obviously something in one of the plays that I probably don’t know, so I want to learn that so I can better understand my rules and understand what’s going on,” he said.

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