Vols hit weights with renewed purpose

The Tennessee men’s basketball team hit its first week of offseason conditioning Monday with a drill designed to carry a message: Carrying your own weight isn’t enough.

The Vols, strength coach Troy Wills said, will have to carry their own weight on the team and then some.

“I had them carrying 100-pound plates over the football field in the indoor facility to see who could last longest,’’ Wills said. “I told them they could carry it however they wanted, but they had to keep moving.’’

Forwards Steven Pearl and Emmanuel Negedu lasted longest with senior Josh Tabb third.

Negedu may have had an advantage.

“Emmanuel was carrying it on his head,” Wills said with a chuckle. “He said he used to carry water like that back home (in Nigeria).”

Competitive drills are part of an offseason plan that’s stepped up by design.

“The last two years, we’d still been playing (in the Sweet 16),” UT coach Bruce Pearl said. “Our guys know they’re going to have to do things to get us back there.

“I think they’re ready to step up.’’

Wills said that’s what he has seen through the first three workouts.

“I went in there the first couple of days ready to get on them if things weren’t right,’’ Wills said. “But they just keep going about everything right.

“We have an opportunity to set a tone right now.’’

Wills reflected back on last season, when the Vols lost some close games in the final minutes.

“Winning those last four minutes starts now,’’ Wills said. “You need that confidence, that edge.

“Our guys understand those losses. They know the pitfalls of how tired they are going to be.’’

Most incoming basketball freshmen have a naivete when it comes to the weight room.

“Basketball is a little different than football, obviously, because of the different levels of exposure to the weights,’’ Wills said. “After one of our first games, one of our freshmen came to me afterward and said, `Man, you’ve got to go hard all the time.’

“I think now that they’ve had a year of experience, they understand the value of what we’re doing.’’

Pearl insists on it.

“One of the things we’re going to work on is our toughness, mental and physical,’’ Pearl said. “One of the ways you do that is push yourself to the next level and don’t hold back.

“We’re going to train harder than we ever have before, and our guys are hungry enough they’ll do it.’’

Tyler’s Push: Tyler Smith plans to test the NBA Draft waters before deciding whether to return for his senior season. Pearl has told Smith if he is “comfortably” in the first round, he should go.

Smith, however, is working out with the team in the meantime.

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Comments » 113

johnlg00 writes:

in response to UTfan4life:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Dang, buddy, did you miss my recent tutorial on the difference between "dominant" and "dominate"? You should have said "will see a DOMINANT trio"; "dominate" is a verb.

As to your main point, they could ALL use a little toughening up, but is anyone surprised that Negedu was setting the pace? That guy is going to be a monster before he is through.

nicksjuzunk#646117 writes:

Smith comes back. He hasn't shown much to be honest.

pdhuff#552644 writes:

100 pound dead weight on his head.

I'm impressed.

Botetourtvol writes:

This is a timely article - I hope the guys watch tonight's game and realize how important it is to be in great physical shape - along with having obvious skills and blessed bodies to play hoops at the level they ( and us fans) aspire them to achieve. I hope it is physical game tonight - I hope the refs let them play - otherwise Heels in a blow out.

SmokyMTNVol writes:

It will not matter how strong they are if pearl does not learn how coach ON THE COURT. Will it?

Botetourtvol writes:

in response to SmokyMTNVol:

It will not matter how strong they are if pearl does not learn how coach ON THE COURT. Will it?

Being stronger and tougher won't hurt any of Pearl's coaching tactics - will it?

SmokyMTNVol writes:

in response to Botetourtvol:

Being stronger and tougher won't hurt any of Pearl's coaching tactics - will it?

Could they gey any worse? Could they?

Botetourtvol writes:

in response to SmokyMTNVol:

Could they gey any worse? Could they?

Last year - as they called it 40 minutes of organized chaos - and achieved a #1 ranking - were you questioning his coaching skills? If anything - he might have gotten as content as his team did this year - in any case getting stronger and tougher and less content will help him continue to build on a successful START to his results thus far at TN.

scottmichaelmoore#540590 writes:

in response to SmokyMTNVol:

It will not matter how strong they are if pearl does not learn how coach ON THE COURT. Will it?

I can't believe I am even responding to this post...it is obvious you know nothing of sports and especially basketball. I pity you.

pdhuff#552644 writes:

in response to UTfan4life:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Right on, brother.

SmokyMTNVol writes:

What is sad is that you people are actually excited over being mediocre. What the hell happen to this team this year?
How is it that every team in the SEC knew how to beat Kentucky except Pearl. Wake up folks! The SEC was horrible this year and UT had more talent than any other team and was lucky to make the tourney. Wake up!

TommyJack writes:

in response to SmokyMTNVol:

It will not matter how strong they are if pearl does not learn how coach ON THE COURT. Will it?

Don't much get that...

Botetourtvol writes:

in response to pdhuff#552644:

Right on, brother.

Woolridge is already cut - if he continues to beef up - CLK may recruit him away from Pearl.

Colliervol writes:

in response to BolivarBob:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Bob, I'm thinking that Ole Smokey is a fairly new Vol fan. Evidently, he doesn't remember the dark days of Waste Houston, Kevin (I can out cuss you any day of the week) O'Neill, Jerry (Mr. Personality) Green and Buzz (Elmer Fudd) Peterson. This vocal minority who like to downgrade Bruce Pearl don't have a clue about UT basketball history and how bad this program was for about 30 years.

And if they do remember, then they have some sort of built-in bias about Bruce. And if that's the case, their opinion counts for less than nothing.

If they have any doubts about Bruce Pearl and what he's done for UT, all they have to do is go on campus and talk to the students. They'll tell you.

Major_Magilicutty writes:

in response to IdentityTheftVictim09:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

What rumors? Hadnt heard a thing. I've always liked Tabb despite some deficiencies in his game.

Colliervol writes:

in response to Plasticman:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Exactly.

mmynatt writes:

Tyler Smith is not ready for the NBA on a 1st round pick level; he should stay in school:)

I say this only partially in jest, because he really, really is not ready. But if he goes I wish him nothing but the best. He is a good kid, just too bad his dad didn't get to see him get to the NBA.

bud0323 writes:

Plus Pearl has changed the whole atmosphere here in Knoxville. Before he came here Tennessee did not get alot of national attention, now they do get alot of attention. Also when's the last time that Tennessee appeared on College Gameday, never before this year. Pearl is basically two positions away from making this team into a national title contender, if he can get a quality point guard which we will in 2010 (Josh Selby) and a good defender this team will eventually become national champions and I believe it will happen. So keep the faith on Bruce Pearl.

BSweet writes:

in response to MorristownVOL:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

You're certainly entitled to your opinion, but that doesn't make it fact. Personally, I think Pearl is a great coach. And no, I'm not saying my opinion is fact either, it's opinion and stated as such. Personally, I don't like when people state their opinion as if it is indisputable fact.

I wonder, do you argue that Pearl has not taken this program to a new level? You say he's not a great "game" coach, leaving yourself open to claim that you didn't say he wasn't a great "teaching" coach or "recruiting" coach. To lay a fact out for you, Pearl has taken this program to a height never before achieved. No other coach in UT history has taken this program to a number one ranking. The moment was short lived, but he made it there. He must be doing something right.

Not every season goes as planned. You have ups and downs. Concern comes when you have consistent downs. Pearl hasn't had that yet. Hopefully, he won't.

vol_chaz writes:

Hit the weights all you want boys... We need somebody besides Chism that can shoot the 3....

Sovol writes:

It's obvious that those of slamming CBP know absolutely nothing about basketball.

BSweet writes:

in response to MorristownVOL:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

When has the UT men's basketball program been an elite program? We never have. No one on here is claiming we are an elite program. The fact is, we had a bad program. Since Pearl's arrival, we've gotten better. He has us moving in the right direction. Can he get us to an elite level? Only time will tell, but it won't come quick. Please, keep your expectations realistic.

BSweet writes:

in response to BolivarBob:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Why make a personal attack? You can make a counter arguement without sinking to that level.

SmokyMTNVol writes:

in response to MorristownVOL:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

MorristownVOL, I for one love to read your post. Keep them coming. Not everybody buy's into Pearls act. I too have Vol season tickets and share most of your views on the program. I guarantee you that most of the people on here have never been to a Vols game.
And pay no attention to BolivarBob dude has a major man crush on BP. Cant think straight.

chrisw2967 writes:

in response to VolDog25:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

put the pipe down and step away from the computer.I bet you wasnt saying this stuff when tenn was ranked #1 but again if your hitting that pipe you probably missed the last 3 years.

BSweet writes:

in response to UTfan4life:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Try reading my posts before calling me an idiot. I support Coach Pearl. You just made yourself look stupid. Way to go.

BSweet writes:

in response to BolivarBob:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Not trying to be your mom, but people can disagree without being a-holes. When you sink to that level, you find out what it's like to be a gator. :)

chrisw2967 writes:

in response to SmokyMTNVol:

MorristownVOL, I for one love to read your post. Keep them coming. Not everybody buy's into Pearls act. I too have Vol season tickets and share most of your views on the program. I guarantee you that most of the people on here have never been to a Vols game.
And pay no attention to BolivarBob dude has a major man crush on BP. Cant think straight.

you dont think pearl is a good coach? but your dumb arse buys season tickets?
if you dont like pearl, im sure you can find another school to buy season tickets from and Im sure Pearl could careless what you think.

utucla writes:

in response to MorristownVOL:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I don't believe anyone on here is saying that Pearl is the greatest coach in college..but just look at where UT bball was before he got here and where it is now...as for him not being a great game coach..remember..on the road against the #1 team in the country with 3 nba players on its roster, he beat Memphis...also beat TX w/Kevin Durant...and almost twice beat an OH State team w/ 3 nba players on its roster....was this team disappointing?...at times yes..but still look at the overall picture...UT is better off now than they were 4 years ago.....JMO...i could be wrong....

orangevolz writes:

in response to MorristownVOL:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Is there a punch line to this rant? Surely it has to be one, otherwise, it makes no sense. As far about Pearl bringing in someone who can help with game preparation....are you available? I am sure you could help and we would be a much better bb team.

orangevolz writes:

in response to MorristownVOL:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Then act like a UT grad.

BSweet writes:

in response to VolDog25:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

"has done nothing to deserve that honor?

Pearl has consistently made it to the post season, something this program wasn't doing before his arrival. Success is normally found in baby steps. Getting to the post season four times in four years is but the first step. To expect immediate championships is unrealistic. Pearl's peers and most of the Vol nation don't agree with your opinion that he's done nothing to deserve his accolades. If you plant a garden, do you come out the next day expecting to find blooms?

BSweet writes:

in response to BolivarBob:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Lol, way to show some class there. I guess you showed me.

VAvolfanRON writes:

in response to VolDog25:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

So, are you suggusting firing Coach Pearl.....and go back to the way it was??

just asking

VAvolfanRON writes:

I can't believe what I'm hearing......ahem....reading!!!

so, there are people who will complain about our first #1 ranking.....

Good gosh..some nonfans are just hard to please

BSweet writes:

in response to BolivarBob:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Funny, this started over you dissing someone about their grammar, yet at the same time in this very same thread, there are other posters talking about how they hate being corrected by the grammar and/or spelling police. Guess you can't take the hint.

On the flip side, the whole "not trying to be your mom" post was a veiled apology. It was my mea culpa to you, as I wasn't wanting to come across as some moralistic a-hole. I just don't see the point of hurling insults on a message board. This isn't kindergarten. I think most of us are grown men and women. If name calling is your response to people who disagree with you, I think that's kind of sad. Really, what point does it serve?

Seriously, if it makes you feel better, insult me all you want. My self esteem would have to be pretty low if the opinions of someone on a message board bothered me.

If my previous post offended you, well I'm sorry. It wasn't my intent. But I stand by my statement that you don't have to sink to name calling.

As far as the back and forth, I'm done. I'm here to talk sports. You want to talk sports, that's cool, we can talk sports. Otherwise insult away and I'll just ignore it.

VAvolfanRON writes:

in response to BolivarBob:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

now there's two...the sky is falling... types....lol

I just hope the team hits the weight room hard...if they could build there stamina.....only good things can happen

memphis_vol_fan writes:

in response to VAvolfanRON:

I can't believe what I'm hearing......ahem....reading!!!

so, there are people who will complain about our first #1 ranking.....

Good gosh..some nonfans are just hard to please

Screw 'em. What they don't realize is that it takes longer than 4 years to build an elite program from the ground up (that's what Pearl is doing).
Also, this is the first team that has underachieved under Pearl since he's been here.

BSweet writes:

in response to BolivarBob:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I'm cool.

VAvolfanRON writes:

in response to memphis_vol_fan:

Screw 'em. What they don't realize is that it takes longer than 4 years to build an elite program from the ground up (that's what Pearl is doing).
Also, this is the first team that has underachieved under Pearl since he's been here.

my friend, it doesn't seem like we are 'allowed' to have a down year!!!...I don't know about anyone else......but, I liked being in the big dance!!!!

nice change of pace!!!!

VAvolfanRON writes:

AND IF THIS is a down year!!!!......wow.....let's put a statue of Pearl in the front door

VAvolfanRON writes:

uhoh....i said there....instead of their!!!.....i need to be banned

BSweet writes:

in response to VAvolfanRON:

my friend, it doesn't seem like we are 'allowed' to have a down year!!!...I don't know about anyone else......but, I liked being in the big dance!!!!

nice change of pace!!!!

After where we've been, I'm happy with making the Big Dance every year.

As for this year not being the success that some wanted, sometimes you have to take a step back to move forward (though it feels funny to call a first round loss a step back). You have to appreciate where this program was to truly enjoy where it is now.

VAvolfanRON writes:

in response to BSweet:

After where we've been, I'm happy with making the Big Dance every year.

As for this year not being the success that some wanted, sometimes you have to take a step back to move forward (though it feels funny to call a first round loss a step back). You have to appreciate where this program was to truly enjoy where it is now.

B...(sorry, im homophobic...lol)

i love to have the vols in my brackets.....(i always took them one round more than they did)..but, we are in it every year...Odds increase when you make it

Oenoboy writes:

Pay no attention to the three stooges folks. They all joined this board around the same time this year and 99% of their posts are bashing Pearl. You can click on their names to get to their post history and there you will find no knowledge whatsoever of the game. You will also notice they never have anything positive to add ever.

These three are either haters, Gators, or both and not worth wasting your energy and time arguing with them.

People who come onto boards with nothing but negative input with the sole purpose of getting a rise out of the regulars are called trolls. The only way to get rid of trolls is to ignore their posts.

rbhobbs73#226545 writes:

I am very happy with where this program is and where I believe it is going.

Look, we are NEVER going to be North Carolina, Duke or Kansas.....it is just not going to happen. But we can be a very fine program, make the tournament most every year, maybe even a Final Four or 2 at some point....and if, like Florida, we catch lightning in a bottle...MAYBE win a championship.

If this doesn't happpen...it doesn't mean that Pearl is a bad coach. If we win some conference titles, make the tournament consistently and a few deep runs..I am satisfied.

Would I love a Championship? Absolutely. Do I think we are anywhere close to getting one? No. Watch North Carolina play and tell me UT is anywhere near that level. We are not and that is ok. We are trying to get better and are in a better position for upward mobility in college basketball than at any time in our history.

I was on the hill during the Wade Houston error....err...era and THAT was some bad basketball.

Thank you Coach Pearl! Boys, work on those free throws and 3 pointers in addition to the conditioning.

Go Vols!

BSweet writes:

in response to rbhobbs73#226545:

I am very happy with where this program is and where I believe it is going.

Look, we are NEVER going to be North Carolina, Duke or Kansas.....it is just not going to happen. But we can be a very fine program, make the tournament most every year, maybe even a Final Four or 2 at some point....and if, like Florida, we catch lightning in a bottle...MAYBE win a championship.

If this doesn't happpen...it doesn't mean that Pearl is a bad coach. If we win some conference titles, make the tournament consistently and a few deep runs..I am satisfied.

Would I love a Championship? Absolutely. Do I think we are anywhere close to getting one? No. Watch North Carolina play and tell me UT is anywhere near that level. We are not and that is ok. We are trying to get better and are in a better position for upward mobility in college basketball than at any time in our history.

I was on the hill during the Wade Houston error....err...era and THAT was some bad basketball.

Thank you Coach Pearl! Boys, work on those free throws and 3 pointers in addition to the conditioning.

Go Vols!

I was on the Hill during Houston's time as well. The only fond memory I have of his tenure is beating KY in the final seconds, off an intentional missed FT by Allan Houston, rebounded by Corey Allen, put back for the basket to tie and fouled on his way up. If I remember correctly, it was the night before the blizzard. I had seats under the basket. It was awesome.

Back then, beating KY was our only goal. No one dreamed of making it to the Big Dance.

BSweet writes:

in response to VAvolfanRON:

B...(sorry, im homophobic...lol)

i love to have the vols in my brackets.....(i always took them one round more than they did)..but, we are in it every year...Odds increase when you make it

To be clear, B is my first initial, Sweet is my last name. It has no meaning other than being my name. Not offended, just clearing that up.

miatatom writes:

PLEASE, PRACTICE YOUR FREE THROWS!!!!!!!!

GO VOLS!!!!!

VOLKING writes:

in response to UTfan4life:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

No kidding! I get incredibly frustrated with some of our "fans." No, we didn't live up to the media's pre-season hype, but I remember Pearl saying that he thought we were ranked too high and that this was going to be his toughest coaching job ever. If it had been any other coach with this team, we would have lost 20 games. We have no experience in the backcourt and no true shooting guard. Plus, this team didn't have the defensive intensity to play full-court press like Bruce likes, so we had to make an adjustment there also. This is UT, not UNC, so we don't just re-load each year. I am proud of the team and our coach. If someone with the coaching skills and energy that Pearl has can't get support for continuing to be a winner at UT, then you "fans" should switch allegiances. In this day and age, building a perennial winner takes time. In 4 years, Bruce has put us on the basketball map. It may take 4 or 5 more to get us to the Final Four...but if anyone can, Pearl can. If we fired him for this last year's performance, no one would ever want to coach here ever again. Some of you "fans" should think of how it used to be before Pearl got here. Plus, switch to decaf. Sheesh.

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