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Competition still reigns among Tennessee Vols LBs

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Tennessee’s linebackers have had every chance to improve their standing heading into summer workouts.

Start with Jeremiah Telander. The sophomore has been a go-to player throughout spring camp

“Any chance that I have the opportunity to step on the field, I can’t take it for granted,” Telander said. “With people being hurt, a lot of us have to step up, and that’s a huge opportunity for me to continue to get better.” 

When asked what he focused on to improve this spring, Telander said, “I wanted to just get better in all areas of my game, whether it was using my hands when blitzing, being fit in my run gaps or pass coverage. 

“I was actually watching last year’s spring game before today’s game, and just watching all the linebackers from then until now, we have all just improved so much. I want to continue to build on this throughout the summer and into fall camp.” 

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The Vols will be led by coach William Inge this season. Inge, who left Washington as its co-defensive coordinator in February, took over for Brian Jean Mary, who left the Vols to assume the linebacker coaching position at Michigan.

I know that he has what it takes to win a championship,” Telander said. “He’s done a great job these last four to five weeks really getting our linebackers together and building chemistry within the room. He’s done a great job, and I’m excited to see where he can lead our group.” 

When asked about what his development has been like during spring camp, linebacker Edwin Spillman said, “It’s been really fun. I’ve really just been learning from my mistakes. When I have guys like (Jeremiah) Telander, (Keenan Pili) and Arion (Carter), everybody in the linebacker room is helping me out with remembering the plays. 

“It’s been super helpful with guys like that to help me when I’m struggling.”

Struggling? There’s not much room for that now that the Vols have found some much needed depth at linebacker. 

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