Different tune for happy Vols

Walker says this year 'coaches are playing music we can relate to'

During a normal spring afternoon on Haslam Field, the closest thing to a soundtrack for football practice is a little Bruce Springsteen or John Fogerty drifting across Pat Head Summitt Street from the baseball stadium.

But Tuesday evening, hip-hop blared from the speakers. Heads bobbed and players bounced with the music as Tennessee finished its nearly three-hour workout with a series of full-contact, goal-line plays.

T.I., Lil Wayne and Soulja Boy Tell Em have made an appearance on the PA as the team stretches before practice. Tuesday, though, marked the first day that coaches added a soundtrack to drills - even if it's not exactly what first-year coach Lane Kiffin plays in his office.

"No, that's not my playlist," Kiffin joked.

The music did, however, strike a chord with players.

"It's real different than last year," said defensive end Chris Walker, who estimated the intensity level jumped 10 notches when the music started. "Last year, the coaches played crowd (noise). These coaches are playing music we can relate to."

Wide receiver Gerald Jones agreed.

"A lot of players listen to those songs before the game to get them motivated and locked in," he said. "When they hear that song, it automatically brings them to that mind state, like it's go time. That's what the song does to you."

It also made UT's offense reluctant to leave the practice field for the second time this spring. After the defense built a 6-2 lead in short-yardage drills, coaches blew the horn to end practice. But the offense demanded one more play three times.

Kiffin said the offense won all three, but the real victory just might be the increased intensity on the field.

"I'm not going to lie. I always love to compete, but when I hear, 'Competing is fun, competing is fun,' I always have in my mind that it's practice," said guard Vladimir Richard. "But now it's like it changed. It's competing now. You never want to go out as the loser. Defense got us 6-2. The last two plays, we put it in on them. It is just competing. You got to love it."

"It's just great when you have guys talking about let's not end the practice, it's shocking. Let's not end practice? We could be out here all night. It's just those fun situations."

For a team that played its final three games knowing the previous coaching staff wouldn't be back after a 5-7 season, fun was in short supply on the field. It wasn't any better in the locker room, either.

"I think we were so dead last year," Jones said, referring to the offense. "In the locker room, we were so quiet."

That was then.

Now, even without a soundtrack, practice is upbeat. Players have embraced the new coaching staff's intensity. And Richard - who took to dancing in the huddle last fall to stay loose - sees his teammates having fun again on the football field.

"We want to win. We want do everything right. We want to be successful," Richard said. "But if you're not having fun out there, you're going to mess up.

"Just don't beat yourself down. I just told them go out there and be loose. Even if you can't dance, just do something, move. It's going to show the other guys that this is all about having fun. . . . You know me, I'm the type of guy I talk, I get emotional when things aren't going right, but I like to let my teammates know that we can be out here and have fun."

Judging by the response on Tuesday - UT's 13th practice of the spring and its penultimate workout before Saturday's Orange and White Game - players have gotten the message.

"These coaches are not going to let us die down, whatsoever," Jones said. "They've got the mindset that they're going to kick the energy up, and we've got to keep the energy up, too. It's a mindset thing, and they do some things to get us excited and keep the energy level up."

On Tuesday, it happened to be the music straight from players' iPods cranked over the loud speaker.

But it extends well beyond just music at practice, says Richard.

UT's coaches have not only fired up their players, they've gone a long way toward erasing some of the lingering effects of an emotionally draining 5-7 season for the players, too.

"We don't even think about last season," Richard said. "It happened, but if someone would have come up to me and said, 'You guys went 5-7,' I would really be like, '5-7?'

"It won't register with me that we went 5-7 because all our focus is on this team, this coaching staff, everyone, the Tennessee family. We're just out here knowing what we can do this season."

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

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Comments » 157

vol_in_bigten_land writes:

I think these coaches may know what they are doing!

ryan_storie#400647 writes:

well whatever it takes to get a W.

HoopleVol writes:

first! whoot!

allvol9 writes:

You gotta love it! Love the passion and intensity that is at practices now. It is a new beginning at UT!

cleVOLand writes:

I can't wait to see how it plays out...

vol_in_bigten_land writes:

in response to CLEMSONVOL716:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Amen brother!

Nuthinbutorange writes:

Good, but the music I most want to hear is "Rocky Top" being belted out by everyone in orange after an upset special in The Swamp and in Tuscaloser. Let's go, Big Orange!

HoopleVol writes:

in response to HoopleVol:

first! whoot!

ah well ... damn fast clickers out there ... maybe next time!

vol_in_bigten_land writes:

My girlfriend thinks I talk about football too much now. Wait until September! Lol

Smokey_TN writes:

Hell im excited and Im six hours away from the music.

Down_The_Field writes:

word has it that urban cryer is playin celine dion at flar-duh's practices.

vol_in_bigten_land writes:

in response to Down_The_Field:

word has it that urban cryer is playin celine dion at flar-duh's practices.

More like Billy Ray Cyrus. I got friends in low places.

MrBamSeydu writes:

UT 59 WKU 0

vol_in_bigten_land writes:

in response to UTfan4life:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

She will be or she will get the boot!

VAvolfanRON writes:

billy ray?...wasn't it Garth Brooks...who in turn was a remake from who? i forget

gnm53108 writes:

in response to Witch_Doctor:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Hehehe....Bones pumped...

Gonna have to leave that one alone.

Hehehe

vol_in_bigten_land writes:

in response to VAvolfanRON:

billy ray?...wasn't it Garth Brooks...who in turn was a remake from who? i forget

You may be right. I was picturing all those mullets running around.

GahLee writes:

Whatever works....have any of you heard Lane's interview on ESPN radio? It's from a few days ago but it is over 30 minutes long, figured if you haven't heard you might want to check it out...just go to ESPN, then to their college page and look at the bottom.

Down_The_Field writes:

in response to vol_in_bigten_land:

She will be or she will get the boot!

nice.

it's a requirement in my home.

UTandETSUfan writes:

in response to vol_in_bigten_land:

She will be or she will get the boot!

Haha lucky you, my fiance is a Reb fan and will have nothing to do with UT. *sad face*

GahLee writes:

In years past you could hear a pin drop at certain times in any given game...completely unacceptable...I have been to more games than I can remember, the following day I can hardly speak...I may be annoying to those around me but I scream 80% of the game...that's how it should be.

VAvolfanRON writes:

its funny how this brings back memories.....one frat brother would blast dan fogerty (i don't know why) and i'd blast springstein to get fired up for intermurals......then it was time!!!.....

GahLee writes:

Just got done watching a highlight of the UT vs UF game from '01...Travis St. ripped them apart, I think he rushed for 220 yards or so...his runs were amazing...We will need a player to step up and have a game similar to that for us to win I think...maybe not that many yards, just the big plays when we need them...our D will keep us in the game, if we can just break a few big runs we will have a chance...I'm putting a lot of hope into Bryce Brown...every year there is a freshmen RB or WR who is an absolute stud, here's to Bryce being that player...Go Vols!!!

gnm53108 writes:

in response to StompInTheSwamp:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

How about nine with a blowout in mulletville?

VAvolfanRON writes:

in response to VFear:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

yea..i agree....i brought some friends up to a game...and i bragged how great it was going to be.....of course this was after the Memphis loss...(i believe the arkansas game)...the fans were so quiet...it was actually embarrassing...i tried to tell them that it's not like this...lol..we went over to the student side and it was alittle better

2407westTN_VOLSfan writes:

in response to MrBamSeydu:

UT 59 WKU 0

Thank You! MrBamSeydu for not saying "Write it down".

4Life, I like saying both -
Orange Swarm!
Go Big Orange!
Both have their own place IMO in UT Football!

I can't wait to get to Haslam Field on Saturday morning early and enjoy the whole day. BTW, I have a couple tickets remaining still due to a couple of friends not being able to make it.

GahLee writes:

in response to gnm53108:

How about nine with a blowout in mulletville?

A perfect example of when alcohol, undying hope and enthusiasm meet.

I just hope that the game is close...we are supposed to get blown out, so by keeping it close we will have shown everybody that we are going to be the real deal...a moral victory if you will...I know it's like a consolation prize compared to the real thing, hope your right though!

VAvolfanRON writes:

in response to Lostballnhighweeds:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

thank you....that's who i was trying to think of!!!

GahLee writes:

I have been seated close to the student section and over in the geriatric section as well...I remember looking around at one game and not seeing a person under 50 around me...not that the "older folks" can't bring it, it was just that on that day, they didn't.

I want it to be so loud that when I scream I can't hear myself...that's right, I want to have temporary hearing loss.

gnm53108 writes:

in response to GahLee:

A perfect example of when alcohol, undying hope and enthusiasm meet.

I just hope that the game is close...we are supposed to get blown out, so by keeping it close we will have shown everybody that we are going to be the real deal...a moral victory if you will...I know it's like a consolation prize compared to the real thing, hope your right though!

Alcohol, undying hope and enthusiasm....

I guarentee I will have all three....in equal poportions of course...Just like I did down there in 1995.

GahLee writes:

in response to gnm53108:

Alcohol, undying hope and enthusiasm....

I guarentee I will have all three....in equal poportions of course...Just like I did down there in 1995.

I can dig it...I must admit that I have 2 of 3 at all times...and on game day the Sam Adams flows like wine.

gnm53108 writes:

in response to GahLee:

I can dig it...I must admit that I have 2 of 3 at all times...and on game day the Sam Adams flows like wine.

Sam Adams...aahhhh

GahLee writes:

in response to StompInTheSwamp:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

At this point it's almost too early for me to even give it a thought...the week of gameday will be when I start thinking about in a serious manner...until then I'm just hoping that we can improve and keep the momentum rolling.

Not sure if he is scared...he has taken notice that is for sure...I think that Florida's fans have given us an even harder look...this site is exhibit A.

Maybe not this year...but after that, the whole SEC better watch out.

GahLee writes:

in response to gnm53108:

Sam Adams...aahhhh

Nothing like a cold Boston Lager...except for Octoberfest...hands down my favorite beer ever...I buy it in bulk when it is in season.

CHS52VOL writes:

in response to GahLee:

I have been seated close to the student section and over in the geriatric section as well...I remember looking around at one game and not seeing a person under 50 around me...not that the "older folks" can't bring it, it was just that on that day, they didn't.

I want it to be so loud that when I scream I can't hear myself...that's right, I want to have temporary hearing loss.

Easy there, my friend! Show some respect for your elders. One of these days you will join us "older folks" in the geriatric section. Believe me being one of the "older folks" beats the alternative. GO VOLS!

GahLee writes:

No disrespect...it was just like I was at an opera and not a UT football game...I guess when I think about it though...if I am lucky to make to that age I probably won't be balls to the wall either.

DirtyVolsack writes:

in response to gnm53108:

Sam Adams...aahhhh

I am still in debt from medical school. I am still drinking the poor kid's beer, Natty Light. It gets the job done though lol

GahLee writes:

in response to UTfan4life:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

On that note...I'm going to bed...good stuff.

gnm53108 writes:

in response to DirtyVolsack:

I am still in debt from medical school. I am still drinking the poor kid's beer, Natty Light. It gets the job done though lol

Your poor,poor,poor intestines.

That would cost me a fortune in medical bills.

Are you just trying to drum up buisness?

19SEP09 writes:

in response to Lostballnhighweeds:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Hey man,

There is no call for that. You guys are enjoying yourselves with no Gators around to bait you. You should be feeling good about the enthusiasm and optimism of the team.

Let sleeping dogs lie.

By the way, there is something catchy in that phrase "Big Orange Train named Lane". I like it.

old_number1 writes:

in response to 19SEP09:

Hey man,

There is no call for that. You guys are enjoying yourselves with no Gators around to bait you. You should be feeling good about the enthusiasm and optimism of the team.

Let sleeping dogs lie.

By the way, there is something catchy in that phrase "Big Orange Train named Lane". I like it.

Hey man,

you've actually been decent today. Keep up the good work.

DirtyVolsack writes:

in response to gnm53108:

Your poor,poor,poor intestines.

That would cost me a fortune in medical bills.

Are you just trying to drum up buisness?

It's called being in debt my friend. Still trying to pay off my Med School. But every now and then I will go out and buy a bottle of Jack to keep thing interesting. That's what is usually in my plastic UT cup on gameday.

gnm53108 writes:

in response to DirtyVolsack:

It's called being in debt my friend. Still trying to pay off my Med School. But every now and then I will go out and buy a bottle of Jack to keep thing interesting. That's what is usually in my plastic UT cup on gameday.

Good stuff.Gotta love the Gentleman.

And I do here ya on student loans.Not mine orginally but I sure got a few last year when I got hitched.

She's worth it!

Cold Frost Brewed Coors light is whats usually in the icebox.

DirtyVolsack writes:

in response to gnm53108:

Good stuff.Gotta love the Gentleman.

And I do here ya on student loans.Not mine orginally but I sure got a few last year when I got hitched.

She's worth it!

Cold Frost Brewed Coors light is whats usually in the icebox.

Ahhhh...I could go for Coors Light right about now. I've been up all night studying for finals and they are still 3 weeks away!! See fan4life, this is what you have to look forward to when you get to be where I am. It's fun don't get me wrong, but it ain't everything it's cracked up to be. Hell, who am I kidding, college is better than I ever thought it would be!!!

gnm53108 writes:

in response to DirtyVolsack:

Ahhhh...I could go for Coors Light right about now. I've been up all night studying for finals and they are still 3 weeks away!! See fan4life, this is what you have to look forward to when you get to be where I am. It's fun don't get me wrong, but it ain't everything it's cracked up to be. Hell, who am I kidding, college is better than I ever thought it would be!!!

Good luck,although you dont sound like you need it.

teampenny#658108 writes:

in response to StompInTheSwamp:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

You drinking to much kool aid We will be better - i agree. Long way from the top. Go vols

Dupree69 writes:

I would love to hear "I Love You, You Love Me" song by Barney on the loud speakers.

Dupree69 writes:

in response to DirtyVolsack:

It's called being in debt my friend. Still trying to pay off my Med School. But every now and then I will go out and buy a bottle of Jack to keep thing interesting. That's what is usually in my plastic UT cup on gameday.

I think you are the intern that did my surgery.

rocky_topper writes:

in response to uf2006bcs1:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

gosh man, don't give him no ideas in case he lurks here. i can hear him now in his next radio interview "i was just getting ready to make some coaching changes AND change the music when it all happened"!

pdhuff#552644 writes:

in response to DestinVol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Not me.

I was thrilled with the Wyoming offensive show.

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