Defense proud of stand against offense in Tennessee Drill

Tennessee Vols take part in the Tennessee Drill during their first day of practice in pads

One-and-done didn't sit too well with Demonte' Bolden.

As a senior, the defensive tackle only had to go one-on-one with offensive linemen once in the traditional Tennessee Drill.

But with his teammates and coaches circled around, Bolden couldn't abide his first performance.

On his second chance, he delivered one of the highlights of Wednesday's first practice in pads and helped set the tone for his fellow defensive linemen.

"Demonte's the strongest D-tackle, and Jacques's (McClendon) the strongest offensive guard," said defensive tackle Dan Williams. "It's fun to see, fun to watch every time."

This time, Bolden emerged as the victor against his fellow Chattanooga native, to hoots and hollers from a fired-up defense.

All told, Wednesday was a pretty good day for Tennessee's defensive line, and tackles in particular.

Walter Fisher, Victor Thomas, Bolden and Williams all made their share of plays, much to the delight of linebacker Rico McCoy.

"Those guys were fighting hard," McCoy said. "It's a pride thing. The media talks about the defense all the time, the D-tackles and the linebackers. We have stuff to prove. We have to become a better unit. Guys were working on that today in the board drill."

And showing off a bit, too.

Aside from the roars - and backslaps -that went up every time a defensive player bettered his offensive counterpart, UT's defensive linemen showed improvement from last season.

Williams said it was particularly evident in the way defensive linemen used their hands.

"I think it's showing early that we've improved on our hands versus those big strong offensive linemen we have," he said.

Bolden also said those same offensive linemen have helped UT's defensive linemen get better during spring practice and fall camp.

"Like they say, I think we've got the best O-line in the SEC," Bolden said. "We only gave up four sacks last year. In order for the defense to get better, we've got to play the best."

Victor Thomas impressed Bolden, and Williams pointed to Thomas, Donald Langley and Chase Nelson as having made strides in the offseason.

And while Nelson was slowed with a sprained knee, Williams is still pleased with his fellow tackles' efforts.

"You can really tell a difference," Williams said. "Guys are firing off the ball, holding their own. Last year, a couple times big Ramon (Foster) or Jacques McClendon would throw them off the line. They're holding their own now. They're not there yet, but they've shown they're willing to help the team out this year."

That's a good sign for the Vols, who still lack depth behind behind Bolden, Williams and Fisher.

UT coach Phillip Fulmer said he would like to play five tackles and five ends this fall.

But for all the excitement Wednesday's first day in full pads provided, the novelty of full contact is all but over. And Saturday's first major preseason scrimmage is the next big step.

"The excitement is out of the way for the most part," McCoy said. "Now you can work on the basics, the techniques of every position. You can focus on the things that really add up."

Drew Edwards covers University of Tennessee football. He may be reached at 865-342-6274.

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Comments » 134

DennisVols writes:

Good News for UT
The bad for UF

rockytopjeff writes:

I think we have a hunger we have been missing for a long time, I have a good feeling about this year guys!!!

Jamey1210 writes:


Jamey1210 writes:

Just wanted to be 1st once. But I did read the article before I Posted.
here is another article on today's practice.

smokey90 writes:

Go D! Be sure no one gets hurt. Especially before the season. I know we are thin, but they are very motivated, which is exciting. Go Vols, no matter what you are my team.

Jamey1210 writes:

What I love about this team is it sounds like the Offense and defense get along. You can have a great competition with your friends. To me the last few years Sr's did not talk to freshman and Defense did not talk to offense. I think we have the team concept with a true goal this year. I am not saying we will go undefeated but will say I am already more proud of this team than I have been since the 98 NC's. Alot to say but while reading I think they have a maturity that I have not seen in a while. I think that we our fortunate to have leaders that are good people this year. We will see. Go vols.

gobigorange writes:

Offense wins games ; Defense wins championships

gobigorange writes:

TommyJack was questioning my typing skills earlier just wanted to let him know i had a abroken arm and just got the cast off yesterday. It is hard to type one handed. GO VOLS!

cobbwebb writes:

well said jamey

AlWilson writes:

SHHHHH! Accordind to the media we are the third best team in the east. I'm loving the fact that we aren't getting any respect and we are just going about our business. Almost time to break some hearts in Gainesville & Athens.

Colliervol writes:

With all due respect to Demonte, I'm tired of hearing him talk it. I want to see him walk it. On every play. Time to stand up and be the player everybody thought he was when he came out of high school.

TommyJack writes:

Gobigorange: I did? Sorry. Glad you're better.

pdhuff#552644 writes:

McCoy - "We have stuff to prove".

Preach on , brotherman, make the heathern believe! Show us that the road to the Grail (SEC Champs) can be re-opened after many, many years of not making the grade.

We await, along with the Bruins.

xvolx writes:

this is the same defense that gave up 18 points to the #2 offense in the spring. that wont cut it in the sec. i will have to see better results than that.

gobigorange writes:

Not a problem TJ. THNX!

Bigger_Al writes:

How many of us wish that Robert Ayers could have squashed "Tuscaloosa John" Adams in the Tennessee Drill?

Sweeter than Sugar!

burntorangeVOLffle writes:

xvolx, if you are refering to the O&W game you do realize they played very vanilla defense (no blitzing and such) in that game so the fans couls get a taste of the new offense.

I dont expect the D to be great but if they can be above average and the O picks up quick, we could be in store for a good year.

gnm53108 writes:

Oh man,where to start.
Love the article.If this defense can get back to Tennessee standards,this year is gonna rock!We made the SECCG last year with,how do you put it pd,Subpar?
Amen gobigorange @1035.We can get to the Grail game(hope you dont mind,borrowed that pd)without steller defense but couldn't bring it home.This defense is looking awfully good.Love the attitude.
Where's them Bruins.

4114 writes:

gnm53108...Are you "brewing" any of the frost brewed orange-aid yet? Because them other bruins are in for some serious a** whuppin's from the men in Knoxville.

gnm53108 writes:

4114...Oh yea.Will have plenty on hand Sept 1.

alavol writes:

all I got to ask is beat Bama! Then all will be good south of the border. you guys are too positive. Be critial, keep your mouth shut and talk on the field. Agree, Bolden needs to show his stuff on the field. Congrats on his academics, though. Rest of you guys with grade trouble, listen to the coaches and study hard. Go Vols!

xvolx writes:

burntorange. I know what I saw. the d linemen could not get off a block. the lb s arm tackled. I have seen too many leads blown with the mustang defense. chavis needs to bring more to the table. these men are not ready for fla.. georgia doesnt impress me just because they beat the rainbow team from the big island. I will believe in them when they beat fla.

VolFanInAtl writes:

Wow this is pretty detailed coverage. Do other teams get this kind of coverage? I almost feel like I'm there.

b_neas writes:

If the DL can get a little pressure on the QB on their own and keep the other teams running game honest, this team will far excel 3rd in the east.

SemperVol writes:

Glad to see the unit caring about each other's performance. That will go a long way.

To me, it seems like if the defensive line can get pressure like we did ten years ago, and this years secondary are as successful as they've been touted, then that makes linebackers a less integral part of the defense. If a defense truly is dominant, the linebackers are the least essential unit. This leaves them free to run around wild and bust some skulls with reckless abandon like Al Wilson was able to do. Too much here in the recent past our linebackers were expected to handle the run game but were undersized to do so.

All this to say, I'm very excited. I want bear meat.

Vol13 writes:

Yawn. Same rah-rah BS we hear every year about this time.

99gator writes:


time to get y'all talking......

some predictions for the coming year.

in the revenge is sweet category....

tennessee over alabama
auburn over lsu
florida over georgia
georgia over tennessee

in the revenge is unsweet category

florida over tennessee
georgia over auburn
auburn over alabama

games of the week...winner in ()

1. alabama-clemson (clemson), tennessee-ucla (tenn)
2. florida-miami (fl), ole miss-wake forest (miss)
3. georgia-south carolina (ga), arkansas-texas (texas)
4. fl-tenn (fl), georgia-az state (az state), auburn-lsu (auburn)
5. auburn-tenn (auburn), georgia-bama (georgia)
6. (none....horrible week)
7. georgia-tenn (georgia), fl-lsu (fl)
8. (none.....another horrible week)
9. georgia-lsu (lsu), auburn-west virginia (wvu), tenn-bama (tenn)
10. florida-georgia (fl)
11. bama-lsu (lsu)
12. auburn-georgia (georgia)
13. none (the last horrible week)
14. bama-auburn (auburn), fl-fl state (fl), carolina-clemson (clemson), ga-ga tech (ga)

more to come.......

Greyback_Vol writes:

I'm really hoping this D-line will be improved this year. So far it's been positive news, which get me excited.

With all the experience the Gators have on their o-line, Sept. 20 will be the real measuring stick.

CoverOrange writes:

99, like some on here need a reason to blather.

Tngeoff, do you suspect Bolden was the one that told a UF player he wasn't going to rush on a extra point attempt? If'n its true, that is.

99gator writes:

expectations or goals for the coming season (IMO)

florida- sec title, possible national title
georgia- sec title, possible national title
tennessee- sec title, bowl upgrade, beat rivals
kentucky- go bowling
south carolina- be in position to make it to atlanta
vanderbilt- don't get embarrassed

auburn- sec title
lsu- sec title
bama- beat auburn
mississippi- go bowling
miss state- go bowling
arkansas- keep petrino from leaving in october.

TommyJack writes:

99: Er, uh, you forgot one in the revenge is UNsweet dept.....GA over FL. Just trying to be helpful.

orangebloodgmc writes:

Our DL has been the weakest link but its looking better all the time

99gator writes:

it will be over by september.....

georgia's dreams of being undefeated
tennessee's dream of making it back to atlanta
bama's dream that nick saban is the greatest coach of all time
florida's dream of not relying too heavily on tim tebow
south carolina's dream of finding a qb.

orangebloodgmc writes:

Tebow better wear his brown pants to Neyland stadium.

99gator writes:

things nobody should question

the auburn defense
the florida offense
alabama is not ready to contend for anything
georgia's schedule is brutal
the level of talent at lsu
fulmer's winning percentage in november

things people doubt for a reason

the florida defense
the tennessee front 7
the lsu qb
the south carolina qb
the auburn offense
raycom's ability to put together a decent broadcast

THE_VOL writes:

Bolden should be nicknamed "The Joke" Arrived on campus as Mr. Everything Impact Player To Be and entering his senior year the ONLY thing he's achieved is a Masters Degree is running his mouth and proving his stupidity. STFU and DO SOMETHING ON A SATURDAY MORON!!!

Matter of fact this ENTIRE TEAM should do the same! All this August yappin' doesn't mean squat but idiot Kool-Aid drinkers keep lappin' it up! Talk to me on Sept 21 FOOLmers!!

99gator writes:


a florida walk on tight end said that about a tenn player on an extra point (in the 4th qtr). don't know which tenn player was accused of saying that.

it fueled the overall thought that some people had....which was that tennessee quit in the game. only the team (tennessee) knows whether they packed it in or not.

Timed_vol (Inactive) writes:

the 'tennessee drill' is one of the most fun practice events in football.

orangebloodgmc writes:

Note Bolden's comments in this Tennessean article:

GoVol writes:

99 - no way FL goes undefeated as you predict. I know it is a dream, but it will soon turn into a nightmare if you keep believing. FL goes down in Neyland this year!

Timed_vol (Inactive) writes:

damn, man, you are a better poster than a lot of these 'vol fans', especially some of the newer breed.

what I've got to question with UF: do they have the d-line to win?? The other unknown for ANY SEC team: do they have 'character'??

Character is a eupemism for 'are they a bunch of ballplayers, or a bunch of thugs'. The UF team that won the NC had character. Last year's team not so much...

UT has lacked character; they MAY have it this year. We'll find out damn quick. all those guys know about the freshmen coming in next year, they have to feel pretty the hear a little.

99gator writes:


where did i say florida goes undefeated. in my opinion, i think they will lose to an unusual suspect.

south carolina, arkansas....someone like that. something no one expects. i am just not bold enough to make that prediction. but, i don't think florida is running the table.

VolFanInAtl writes:

Just watched the vid: When I was in high school we called it "hamburger." You can lose your job by blowing assignments. You can win a job, as a lineman anyway, by busting somebody's head in hamburger.

auttat writes:

tngeoff, somebody posted that link yesterday on a different thread. Look how many dang pages Urban gets for his personal bio...are you kidding me?

99gator writes:


regarding the florida d-line. they have plenty of bodies and plenty of guys will play. the question is whether any of them step up to an elite level and become an all-sec caliber player.... this year.

don't know.

again, this is why i think the 2009 team will be better. the defense will be all grown up.

VolFanInAtl writes:

"it was Bolden who supposedly told the guy not to bother blocking him because he wasn't even going to try anymore" - I hope Bolden hears this rumor

voloffaith writes:

Vaul13 and nafsloff same ole same ole. Negative(vaul13) and racist(nafslov). Actually I'm starting to think vaul isn't a Vol fan after all since all is bad and the sky is falling is the mentality of his posts.

Nafslov actually might have a crush on Rogers with all this obsessive stuff on him. I mean it doesn't make since to post about Rogers in an article in which he isn't even mentioned(off topic ya know) at all. Sorry just trying to rationally figure out old naffy's point of origin in this mess.

BADGES0413 writes:

Dang THE-VOL, do you drink Pomac and Vinegar when you wake up in the morning? I think I will stick to the Kool Aid. Must be a sad life for you since football is not relevant. Yet you continue to check out all the articles.

99 gator you make some vaild points, I agree with most of your points except your week 4 predictions. I will take UT, GA and LSU. I didn't realize in Week 5 when UT plays Auburn that both will be coming off tough games.

99gator writes:


if i knew what i was talking about, i'd go to vegas and make some money. yeah, auburn and tennessee may both limping into their matchup.

who knows what's going to happen. people talk about the fans drinking kool aid.....the local media for each team drinks serious amounts of kool-aid. everything is a puff piece on the upcoming season. and every fan is sure their team is loaded and is going to do great things because of it.

will be interesting.

rbut5252#220065 writes:

please tell me the "D" will be able to make a stop on 3'rd and 18.

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