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Tennessee Football: Vol QB Joe Milton III Leads Through Service

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Tennessee quarterback Joe Milton III may be the Vols’ field general, but he still feels as if it’s as important to give as to guide.

“I am still a server,” the senior said. “I may be the leader on the team, but I am still going to serve every day. I still have to get the guys to understand the game plan and understand how I see it. I feel comfortable with the game plan, feel comfortable with the play book and feel comfortable playing right now in this offense. So, I feel great.”

Server or not, Milton has to be more of a leader than he was last season when he was backing up former UT star Hendon Hooker before he suffered a season-ending injury in November against South Carolina. There was no question that Hooker was the Vols’ leader last season. Now, Milton has been forced to step into that role. By all accounts, he’s handled it well.

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“It’s really been since bowl prep last year when it was very clear at that point, with Hendon’s (Hooker) injury and everything, it was his team to take over,” Tennessee offensive coordinator Joey Halzle said. “He didn’t shy away from it, but he also didn’t become fake and change the way he was. He was just him with a dedicated and new spirit about it. He just said, ‘alright, I’m responsible for this unit now and I got to make sure that it’s going the way it needs to go.'”

So is Milton happy with the progress that Tennessee’s offensive unit has made under his watch?

“Absolutely,” he said during the Vols’ press conference on Thursday. “I preach to those guys, you have to get better every day.”

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Milton is considered a team favorite amongst the Vols other players. He’s outgoing and beloved by his teammates. However, that wasn’t always the case when he transferred from Michigan in 2021. No, Milton wasn’t disliked; he just wasn’t very known. 

“I think sometimes you have to be a little intrinsically focused, because you are just trying to learn and give yourself a chance to go get on the field where it almost feels you don’t have time to do that part of it,” Halzle said. “Playing that position is a huge part of having everyone bought into you as a person as opposed to just you as a player. 

“As he’s gotten more comfortable here, more comfortable in his role, it’s really as his understanding of his offense has grown and grown where he’s not worried about that part of it. He’s been able to put some energy, put a lot of his energy towards bringing the next group of guys along and making sure he’s got that type of real relationship with his fellow team.”

Based on offseason reviews, if Milton is a server, he deserves a significant tip.

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