VOL REPORT: TIME TO REFOCUS
Vols Prepare For ‘Biggest’ Scrimmage of Preseason
- ‘Sandwiched’ in between ‘a real good’ two-practice day and the second
scrimmage of preseason camp, Tennessee wasn’t looking for excuses as it
practiced Friday at Haslam Field.
“This was the
first practice that I felt like we didn’t come out here with the kind
of mindset we needed to get better as a team,” head coach Derek Dooley
said. “It’s pretty common now. We have a scrimmage tomorrow. We had a
real good two-a-day yesterday and last night. It was a little bit
sandwiched in the middle. Guys are a little hurt and tired.
doesn’t matter. You have to come ready to go. Mature professional
football players and mature professional football teams come out every
day. I told them that you can’t have bad days. You have to have good
days and you have to have great days, but you can’t have bad days. We
had a lot of guys that were good, but overall just not the mindset that
we need from a consistent standpoint. That’s the mark of a young team.”
One of the possible explanations for the Vols’ focus Friday could be increase of information as camp has gone on.
happens is as time goes, the multiples keep coming,” Dooley said. “They
keep growing. The plays get more. The formation adjustments get more.
The blitzes get more. The variables keep growing on you so the more
you’re thinking, the harder it gets. It’s easy to play fast day one.
There’s not a lot of stuff to think about. But as the game gets going,
more stuff goes in and you’re seeing more stuff. Trick plays start
showing up. It just starts taxing your brain.”
will have to be prepared for Saturday’s 5 p.m. practice at Neyland
Stadium when the Vols face what Dooley says is ‘probably the biggest
scrimmage’ of fall camp.
“We have really kind of
four scrimmages,” Dooley said. “The first is always full-eval
scrimmage. We make personnel decisions. The second one is long. There
are a lot of plays. The biggest thing is seeing how much improvement we
make from scrimmage one to scrimmage two. Now that you have two
scrimmages, you really tighten in on who you’re going to count on
“Scrimmage three is a lot more
situational, end-of-the-game stuff. The last one is really a mock game.
This is a big one. This is the longest one. It’s in the middle of camp.
This is when they’re hurting the most. We need a good performance out
D.T. HOLDS DOWN LT
left tackle Dallas Thomas has developed as much as any Vol since
arriving on campus in 2009. That’s been proven by his last two springs
alone, which have both concluded with coaching staff-given awards.
2010, Thomas was honored with the Harvey Robinson Award as UT’s
offensive surprise player of the spring practice period. Thomas
followed it up this past spring as one of UT’s Fourth Quarter
Off-Season Award recipients, which is presented to players who
consistently compete with the intangible values that provide the
foundation of the UT football program: attitude, discipline, toughness,
effort and team.
“Dallas has been a real steady
hand at left tackle. He’s matured a lot since the end of the season.
You saw signs of it really in the spring. It’s nice to have a left
tackle who has a calm, physical presence about him. He’s improved a lot
as have a lot of them upfront.”
With his spring award credentials and 13 starts under his belt, Thomas is using the opportunity to lead.
the older guy, you have to keep the younger guys’ heads focused,”
Thomas said. “We still have another scrimmage. You can’t dwell on that
last scrimmage game just because we might have had some ‘mess-up’ every
now and then. You just have to keep on pushing because we still have a
couple more opportunities before the next game.”
BREWING UP A SPOT
Brent Brewer is part of a bevy of talented defensive backs seeking
playing time this season. The mix includes a wealth of returnees
including Brewer, All-SEC pick Janzen Jackson, Prentiss Waggner,
Marsalis Teague and Eric Gordon. Brewer started the last six games at
safety as a freshman in 2010 after returning to football from a career
in pro baseball. During camp, Brewer has been working to solidify his
“He’s pretty steadied in at safety,” Dooley
said. “He needs to play better too. He’s only steady there because he’s
the best one at the position, but he has a lot of improvement to do.
He’s obviously a physical guy and he needs to trigger and play more
physical. He also has to be able to go hold up in space. He has a lot
of work to do but he’s been a pretty steady hand there at safety.”
Safety isn’t the only position Brewer is trying to be a steady hand at.
“I’m trying to help the younger players and become a leader,” Brewer said. “I am playing hard every down.”
WHO’S NUMBER 3?
sophomore wide receivers Justin Hunter and Da’Rick Rogers are currently
penciled in at the top two wideout spots on the depth chart, one of the
more enticing position battles is at the slot receiver.
has talked about Zach Rogers,” Dooley said. “He’s had a great camp.
He’s just one of those quiet, goes to work every day (guys). Vincent
Dallas and DeAnthony Arnett are showing some good things. They still
have a lot of development to do to understand playing receiver. But
they’ve shown a lot of reasons why we signed them.”
Head coach Derek Dooley
(On whether or not the Vols will be ready for Saturday’s scrimmage despite Friday’s mentality)
think they’ll be ready for the scrimmage. It’s pretty common. It’s
practice. The good news is this was the first time. I told them that.
I’ve been bragging on them, but it’s hard to brag on them today.”
(On where Tennessee’s offense is)
dialed it back some and we played better because of it. We have to find
that happy-medium between quarterback and coaches and that’s going to
be constantly evolving. As coaches we’re always going to want to push
more, but we can’t push so much that the guys can’t go out there and
perform. It’s easily said, but it’s tricky when you’re trying to shape
a game plan.”
(On who has impressed at punt returner)
Lane and Tom Smith have both done a good job back there. Devrin
(Young), we were counting on and he’s hurt. But both of them are very
capable. We’ll just see how camp goes. Those are the two main ones out
of the freshmen class that have been working back there.”
(On sophomore quarterback Tyler Bray’s leadership skills)
am really not concerned about his vocal leadership skills. I’m more
concerned about his vocal call the play and run the play skills. His
leadership is going to be based on his ability to perform and run the
offense. It would suit me if he doesn’t say one word to anybody and he
does everything right from the time we give him the play until the
whistle blows. If he does that, he doesn’t have to say anything
vocally. You can’t be a leader if you don’t take care of your business.”
Sophomore defensive back Brent Brewer
(On his expectations for the second scrimmage)
working on) the speed of the game, it’s a little fast for me. I want to
get my legs back under me, reading the pass, reading the line, the
perimeter and beat those middle linebackers, beat those Sam-backers and
trying to get over the top of those safeties.”