Last season, Trevor Daniel ranked No. 3 in the SEC — and 11th nationally — in punting, averaging 44.6 yards per boot.Tennessee’s punter pinned opponents inside the 20-yard line 28 times and recorded 21 kicks more than 50 yards.
So this spring, the Vols fifth-year senior is simply trying to tweak his game and avoid getting comfortable in his starting spot.
“I’ve kind of caught myself, I wouldn’t say being complacent, but not pushing myself like I should be,” Daniel said Thursday. “When there’s not as much competition to win the job, you can get kind of complacent, but I’m still trying to get better each and everyday.
“I want to help this team out as best as I can. My goal everyday is to just keep getting better. Don’t decline. I don’t want to get in a slump and turn into a terrible punter.”
After serving as Tennessee’s starter the last two seasons, the butterflies are gone for Daniel. He “feels comfortable out there,” is giving freshman punter Grayson Linde all his tips and believes “Butch Jones can trust me.”
He hasn’t set any special senior season goals just yet, but working with new strength and conditioning coordinator Rock Gullickon has added some flexibility to his leg this offseason.
Scott eager to mold young quarterbacks
A first year coordinator in the infancy of calling plays might want an experienced quarterback to lean on, but Larry Scott isn't most first year coordinators.
As Scott pushes his offensive unit through the first two weeks of spring practice, he likes the fact that he can mold these young quarterbacks into what he and quarterbacks coach Mike Canales want them to be.
"It's a great thing," Scott said Thursday. "You start with ground zero with anything and that's the fun part about it. You start with the foundation and that's what you really want to do with everyone's hard work and ideas. Cutting edge ideas on how we want to do it and build it. All we want to know is when we come out of spring, that we have built a strong foundation in which we can continue to build on during the summer and getting into fall camp."
And with that comes a delicate balancing act of trying to install new wrinkles to the offense without giving his young players to much that they can't handle."It's kind of a balance," Scott said.
"At the same time, where you want then to grasp things and get good, you want to challenge them mentally sometimes as well to be students of the game. To understand that the times you spend in the meeting room and out on the field isn't enough.
"Your preparation is critical. You have to mark out another 25 or 30 minutes a night in your dorm or in your apartment or come over after study hall and watch 15 or 20 more minutes of film."