KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — There are 24 defensive backs listed on the Tennessee football roster. Nearly half have four or more years of college football experience.

Those guys have the game reps and with it comes the ability to snap in a lot easier. It also lends a hand to strengthening an area the secondary has lacked: consistency.

“The more players that have experience and have proven it on the field gives you a chance to be more consistent as a secondary. That would be the first thing,” said Vol secondary coach Willie Martinez, “Seeing the small things in practice, doing the things that matter, the fundamentals, the technique, the footwork that needs to happen on a third down or a fourth down. If you can show it consistently in the practice, then it will show up on game day. That is where the experience comes in.”

Maintaining that consistency among the secondary will be necessary as the room looks to improve on their showing last season as the third-worst passing defense in the SEC.

“You have to do it in practice. You have to see it over and over where they’re actually doing it in practice where it builds some confidence. Creating good habits. That’s where I think it’s going to show up in games,” Martinez said.

Now in his fifth year with the Vols, Warren Burrell added that with the years of experience lying inside the secondary, the focus can shift off the little things and onto just playing football.