Back to practice after their second SEC loss of the season, the Volunteers focused on positive mentalities.
Starting quarterback Tyler Bray said that no one was down emotionally or mentally during practice on Tuesday, regardless of the disappointing 51-44 loss to Georgia on Saturday.
"I remember everyone being really down after the Florida game. No one really wanted to be out there and no one really wanted to practice. This week, everyone is just trying to move forward and move on to the next one," Bray said.
Head coach Derek Dooley said the goal of the practice was to give each player and unit a defined objective.
"It is so important that these guys learn how to have a purpose every day," Dooley said. "I told them, everything happens before it happens. You have a goal, you know what the challenges are to reach that goal and then you prepare to do certain things to overcome those challenges. If we can all stay focused on defining a purpose for this week then we will come out of it a lot better football team."
The losses have meant leadership strains for many of the players, but Dooley said he felt the team was handling the adversity well.
"We haven't had any problems. There hasn't been any negativity, really in any game," he said. "No negativity, no finger-pointing, no complaining, that is not the issue. We just have to learn how to execute in crunch time."
Dooley also commented on the recent trend of high-scoring games, specifically in the SEC.
"Offenses are doing a lot, tempo is moving, the rules help them out a little bit and quarterbacks are playing good," Dooley said. "In this league, you are seeing a lot of good quarterback play which is generally an indicator of scoring points. You look and Georgia's guy is playing great, Florida's guy is playing great, Alabama's guy is playing great, South Carolina's guy is doing what he needs to do. Quarterbacks are playing good."
Post-practice Bray said he was and is working on finishing strong.
"For me, personally, just throwing the ball away," Bray said. "There were times in the Georgia game that I forced it and it cost us the game."
Junior wide receiver Justin Hunter said it was important to him that Bray was not discouraged after the Georgia loss. He said he went to Bray after the game.
"I'm one of his best friends," Hunter said. "I talk to him and make sure he's alright. I don't want him to keep his head down or anything like that."
Hunter added that, overall, the team is both satisfied and disappointed by the outcome of the game.
"After the game, we were proud of ourselves. We were sad at the same time that we lost," Hunter said. "We know that we gave it our all so we were kind of satisfied, but not at the same time."