Fall camp: Joey Halzle details Tennessee’s quarterbacks

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Tennessee practiced for the second time during fall training camp Tuesday at Haslam Field.

The Vols will open its season against Ball State at Neyland Stadium. Kickoff is slated for 7 p.m. EDT and SEC Network will televise the season-opening matchup.

Watch: Tennessee’s quarterbacks coach Joey Halzle discusses fall camp following second practice

PHOTOS: Bru McCoy debuts with Tennessee during fall training camp

Following Tuesday’s practice, second-year quarterbacks coach Joey Halzle met with media.

Halzle discussed Tennessee’s quarterback unit, consisting of redshirt senior Hendon Hooker, redshirt senior Joe Milton III and freshman Tayven Jackson.

Below is a transcript provided by the University of Tennessee of Halzle’s media availability following the Vols’ second fall training camp practice.

On what improvements he has seen from Joe Milton III since last year

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“We’ve worked all offseason on touch throws across the middle and pressing our vertical run game. He has done a great job doing that. He is touching up balls all over the field. We all know he has the absolute howitzer of an arm, so we have worked on having him touch up the ball, work windows and working that aspect of his game. We know he has the other shot in his bag already.”

On his first impression of Hendon Hooker once he arrived in Knoxville

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“When we first got here, I watched every clip that every quarterback that was on campus had from game film. Hendon was clearly very talented. I was excited for the opportunity to work with him. With what everybody said about him, he was a great guy. Starting to work with him when we first got here in February, March and then into spring ball, Hendon was a guy who was way too far in the business model, meaning that nothing was fun. Everything was serious. That wasn’t his best way to play. For some guys it is. It is not for him. We had to spend a long time working on having him really just enjoy the game while working hard. Working hard doesn’t mean serious all of the time, though. He is fun. He is enjoying himself and enjoying his time out on the field. That is what has allowed his talent to now take over again. He’s not tightening himself up with his own mind.”

On how much Tayven Jackson benefits from watching Hendon Hooker and Joe Milton III

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“That is huge for a young quarterback, because he has two guys above him that are not just in the building doing what they need to do every day, but guys who have also played. They can talk to, ‘This is what it’s like on gameday. This is how you have to prepare.’ That’s so uncommon, and that’s a huge benefit that he is getting coming in. He can just sit and listen to these guys talk, get stuff from them, and they are both very positive with him. They’re not beating him down. They kind of rib at him sometimes like you would with a little brother, but it’s all positive. It speaks, again, to the culture that we not only have in this building, but specifically in that room.”

On if there were times last season where Hendon Hooker was too protective of the ball

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“Maybe early, but as the season went on, no. He was just extremely intelligent with the football. He made good decisions. I said it the first day that I ever came out here. I don’t want a guy that comes out and plays carefully. If you’re going to play in this offense for us, you’re going to rip the football every single time you get an opportunity—not stupidly, not recklessly, but extremely aggressive. Hendon does a beautiful job of walking the aggressive-to-reckless line, but always with intelligence on it.”

On the uniqueness of Hendon Hooker and Joe Milton III's relationship

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“Kind of two answers. One, it’s extremely rare to have that kind of dynamic. But two, it really speaks to what Coach Heupel has built here culture-wise. I know I’ve said that a couple times in here already, but it’s the truth that these guys all understand that we’re all trying to get something bigger, and everyone has a role. Right now, you think you know what your role is, but you have no idea after that first snap what everybody on this football team’s role is going to be. Everyone’s just working the same way and working in a really positive way.”

On what allowed him to notice that Hendon Hooker's play improved when he was having fun, as opposed to having a business-minded approach

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“Because he was exclusively business-minded when we got here. Everything about him was tight … This is an extremely talented athlete that’s not showcasing any of his athleticism. We had to just bend that mind a little bit and work on his mind every single day to, ‘Yes. This is football, this is fun. You have to be serious, but you have to do it in a fun way.’ (Having fun) doesn’t mean not paying attention. It doesn’t mean being completely goofy out there on the field, and not having a mindset that we have something to go do. But there’s a way to do it in which you can still enjoy the game that you’re playing. When he started doing that, he started loosening up, and that’s when you saw the growth in Hendon last year. I noticed that being serious every single moment of his life didn’t work for him. I watched him when he was messing around playing basketball. He’d get a big smile on his face, and nobody could guard him. I told him last year in the summer, ‘I want you to play football like you play basketball.’ Because when he plays basketball, he knows he’s the best player on the court.”

On what challenge he has for Tayven Jackson as he progresses through his first fall camp

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“For Tayven, he’s obviously an elite athlete. It’s just fun to watch him do athletic things every day. Some things that you wouldn’t normally coach, he can do it and you’re like, ‘oh wow, that’s pretty cool.’ It’s really for any young quarterback, the biggest thing—and I had a conversation on the field with the guys today—is just being able to reset. You make a bad play, you’re going to. It’s expected. You’re a true freshman. You miss a read, you miss a protection, you miss something like that, awesome. Reset and go play the next play. That’s the biggest thing with a young quarterback. You have to make sure that they’re not living in the past all the time, because they’re used to being the one that is the big dog.”

On what was the point of emphasis for Tayven Jackson after going through spring practice

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“Two things with him. One, was his going from, ‘OK, I’m learning and I’m watching the teaching tape and all the intro stuff,’ to really diving into the tape, ‘Alright, this is really like the intricacies of what we’re doing. This is how to really play in it.’ As opposed to just, ‘This is what the play is.’ That was the biggest challenge we had for him, was make sure you can come out on August 1 and operate like an upperclassman. That’s what the challenge was for him. We’ve seen that growth from spring. Obviously, he’s still young and he’s still got areas that he needs to grow in, but he’s doing more and more of the, ‘alright, I’m going to see it. I’m going to cut it loose. I’m going to go play fast.’ That’s been the biggest thing for him.”

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Story originally appeared on Vols Wire