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Vols’ Brown feels little pressure

Vols’ Brown feels little pressure

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KNOXVILLE (AP) — Chris Brown thinks some of his Tennessee teammates need to lighten up.
“It’s fun. It’s a game. You need to go out there and have fun,” the senior tight end said. “I think a lot of times people take it for granted what you’re doing and what you could be doing.
“It’s football. It’s not something that’s life or death,” he said.
Brown worries the Volunteers (4-3, 2-2 Southeastern Conference) may be caving into pressure that comes from playing in a balanced SEC where every game is huge and a team can sneak up on another team on any given day. Pressure that comes from a Tennessee football program that’s expected to win games and compete for conference championships.
Don’t accuse Brown of being too soft or having a poor attitude; he knows there are times that call for a serious attitude, but his relaxed attitude serves him well on the field.
He’s already got five touchdowns for the season, trailing only Erik Ainge’s 13 passing TDs and Arian Foster’s eight rushing. He can block anywhere on the field his coaches put him.
He’s also considered among the leaders of the team and has served as a game captain in several games this season.
Brown said Foster, the senior running back, also knows how to have fun on the field. Foster gets excited after a big play or touchdown, pumping his fists in the air or jumping up and down.
Besides his eight touchdowns, Foster’s also got 748 offensive yards: 625 rushing and 123 receiving. That’s more combined yardage than any other tailback or receiver, who usually play a little at both positions.
That’s no coincidence, said Brown.
“I think we need to relax a lot more. A lot of people are tense. A lot of people aren’t just out there having fun playing football. They’re worried about making mistakes. They’re worried about doing things that don’t help themselves,” Brown said.
Those worries became realities in Tennessee’s 41-17 loss at Alabama. The Tennessee defense committed six penalties which kept alive five Crimson Tide drives worth a combined 27 points. The offense killed two drives with penalties and turned the ball over twice.
Combine the ’Bama loss with a 59-20 loss to Florida in September, and the Vols have allowed their two top enemies to score exactly 100 points on them this season.
Even defensive coordinator John Chavis, known more for his seriousness on the practice field than his sense of humor, admits it’s going to take a little humor to get past the losses.
“I know we’re not playing as well as we need to play right now, but I’m going to dang sure be upbeat. I’m not going to let that translate into how I respond to the players because I think if you do you’re going to create more problems,” he said. “I’m not going to walk around and think the sky is falling.”
Ainge took advantage of a rare Monday off — coaches convened practice a day early in an attempt to put the Tide loss behind them — to catch a movie with his girlfriend and just “hung out for a day.” Of course, he also visited the film room at the Vols’ practice facility.
“At a time like this, it doesn’t hurt to be serious. This isn’t you’re 6-0, let’s go laugh and joke around and have fun in practice. This is let’s go out there with one thing in mind and that’s getting better today,” he said.
Brown thinks returning to Neyland Stadium to face No. 15 South Carolina on Saturday as part of a four-game home stand will help some of the younger guys whose confidence has suffered after a few tough road losses.
Having 107,000 fans wearing your team colors and cheering for you can do wonders for morale, he said.
“Playing in front of 107,000 people, a lot of people don’t have that luxury that we have and I think we take it for granted a lot.”

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