Originally posted on Fox Sports Tennessee  |  By SCOUT.COM  |  Last updated 10/23/13
By Riley Blevins InsideTennessee.com Tennessee players scattered into lines covering the practice field just as they do every day. Once the lines were uniform, Butch Jones whistle shrieked. Red! players shouted in unison. The whistle blared again. Red! As players faced the media post-practice Tuesday, they discussed their upcoming game against the red team. Not Alabama. I give the red team their credit, wideout Alton Howard said. Theyre a great football team. Jones talks constantly about the importance of the mental aspects of football, saying Monday that the game rewards those who are mentally conditioned. This is his latest ploy. Despite its No. 1 ranking, despite the gaudy statistics, despite the bursting trophy cases, Alabama is still a football team. They buckle their helmets, lace their cleats and crack shoulder pads each week just like the Vols. You know what they bring to the table, you know how good they are, Corey Miller said. Even though theyre a great team theyre a team just like we are. Jones doesnt want his players to gawk at Alabamas godly reputation. If you do, the game is already lost. Hence red. Mentally just by their name, when teams hear their name, theyre mentally beat already, Howard told IT. We got warriors on our team as well, its just going to be time to go to war. Tennessee players may be trying to temporarily forget Alabamas name and associated prestige, but theyre not trying to forget about the rivalry. Everything, Miller said when asked about the importance of the Alabama game. Its one of those teams you just dont like, you never like and when they come up on the schedule you know what time it is. Dan the man Daniel McCullers name is hollered over loud speakers during practice seemingly as much as hip-hop music. Jones challenges the Vols sedan-sized nose tackle with his trusty microphone each practice, calling him out for complacency and laziness. McCullers drew rare praise from Jones on Monday after logging a career best game. The 351-pounder tallied six tackles, including 2.5 for a loss against South Carolina. McCullers had a noticeable pep to his get off throughout the entire contest. Corey Miller said the improvement was because McCullers was playing angry. Dan has it in him. Hes always had it in him. When he gets angry, I know I dont want to be around him, Miller said. I would hate to be an offensive lineman when hes angry. Thats what it is. Dan can do whatever Dan wants to do when he puts his mind to it. When he gets a little mad, you can see what he do. Miller wouldnt share what had McCullers angry Saturday, but it wasnt because he was being reluctant. I cant even tell you, Miller said with a grin. I dont want to ask him because he may get mad at me. Luckily for the Vols, its easy to make McCullers mad. You just gotta stay on him and talk trash to him, Miller said. Tell him hes not playing hard. Its as easy as that. Miller paused. He left out one important step in antagonizing McCullers. Then Im going to run far, Miller chuckled. Two-headed monster Rajion Neal and Marlin Lane emerged from the facility with an announcement. Well be doin our interviews together today, Neal said, walking step for step with Lane. Its only fitting. The Tennessee tailbacks have quietly emerged as a dangerous two-headed attack. Everyone needs a running mate. We do a great job running together, Neal said. Its not no he first or Im first, we try to feed off each other and both go. While Neal has commanded the baulk of the carries thus far, both backs have been equally effective. Neal is averaging 5.3 yards per carry. Lane is good for 5.9. Lanes longest run of the season was a 54-yard scamper. Neals is 53. Neal and Lane love the competition. We have the most fun going in after each other, you know, feeding off each other and seeing who can finish it, Neal said. Its exciting. The two backs compete each and every practice, but it always stays friendly. Its partly because of their longstanding relationship. Lane first met Neal at a recruiting camp when he was just a sophomore in high school. He says the bond they share helps fuel both the competition and their on-the-field success. We just push each other. We compete at practice. Sometimes Ill send him a text during the week saying, What you think about 100 apiece this game? Lane said. We just keep pushing each other. Its always friendly. Simple yet smart Alabama has ruled the college football landscape for the last several years, habitually making top-ranked schools look like Pop Warner foes. But theyre not doing it by out-confusing anyone. Alabamas schemes are simple. Their execution is just flawless. Its not confusing at all. They just line up and say come at us and try to beat us, JaWuan James said when asked about what makes Alabamas defense so strong. They think theyre man is better than the man across the line. You just got to go out there and play football. They know theyre scheme, theyve been in it for a long time. You know, coach (Kirby) Smart does a good job with them and theyre all discipline football players.
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