Non-contact? Kiffin starts out physical in first practice

Vols' first practice of the season

As with a typical opening day of football practice, Tennessee’s format at Haslem Field on Tuesday was no pads and no contact.

Yeah, right.

The Vols were, for the record, not wearing pads, but that didn’t prevent anyone from getting physical in a steamy three-hour session supervised by coach Lane Kiffin and his staff.

“They want everything full speed,’’ said defensive end Chris Walker, “and full speed and no contact, that kind of doesn’t mix, so there’s going to be a little contact.’’

Kiffin, who has until Sept. 5 to get his first UT squad ready to open the season against Western Kentucky, said wall-to-wall intensity will pay dividends.

“I just don’t know another way to do it,’’ he said. “We got in trouble (with the NFL) in Oakland for doing that. We actually lost some offseason time for having too much contact.

“I just think that’s how you build a team that’s going to be physical and is going to be able to run the ball and is going to be able to play such a tough schedule.’’

The Vols got through the day with no apparent serious injuries. Defensive end Willie Bohannon was helped off the field but was later walking on his own.

Everyone was accounted for except freshmen Marlon Walls and James Green, who have yet to get a green light from the NCAA Clearinghouse.

There was one notable position experiment. Dennis Rogan worked the entire day a free safety rather than cornerback.

“We know he can go back over there (to cornerback),’’ Kiffin said. “We’re going to give him a chance at free safety to pair up with Eric (Berry) and see how that looks.’’

Freshmen Bryce Brown and David Oku had impressive moments at tailback, as did Marsalis Teague and Nu’Keese Richardson at receiver.

“There are always high expectations for young guys to do stuff,’’ Kiffin said, “but you have to remember their heart is beating so fast they can barely line up sometimes.

“We’ll continue to push and challenge them. I thought we did a good job of putting a ton on them for day one.’’

Pushing and challenging is the only mindset this staff tolerates, even on opening day.

“It’s much faster paced now than it was in the spring,’’ said senior tailback Montario Hardesty.

“We pretty much know the offense and most of the defense is in so the pace is much faster.’’

Several players said they welcomed the physical approach to opening day.

Any offensive player who had a football in his hands had to contend with grabbing, slapping, bumping defenders intent on ripping the ball away from him.

Even when the offensive player was far down field running out the play he had to be wary of a defender flying at him from behind in ambush.

“It’s so-o-o-o annoying,’’ receiver Gerald Jones said with a chuckle. “But like coach said, it will get on our nerves but by the time the game comes you’ll be keeping the ball high and tight.’’

Hardesty concurred, on both the annoyance factor and the long-term benefit:

“Our coach told us in the meeting the defense was going to be going after the ball real hard and he didn’t want any complaining about it at all.

“He told us last year in the (BCS) championship game the top two teams, Oklahoma and Florida, were both one and two in turnover margin so that’s what we’re getting at.’’

“We will,’’ said Kiffin, “have relentless pursuit after the ball because the number one thing is turnover margin.

“That’s how you win and lose games faster than anything else, turning the ball over and getting it back on defense.’’

The Vols have three more sessions before the full pads go on Saturday.

Wednesday will again be helmets and shorts. Thursday and Friday will also include shoulder pads.

But the first thing to go on after the opening practice was the video projector.

“We’ll be here all night,’’ Kiffin said. “There’s so much film to watch, so much to learn about these guys, and so many new guys that we don’t know that much about.’’

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Comments » 38

ethanfrome writes:

Go Vols!!

ut_vols13 writes:

Good we need it

iowavol writes:

Well, the title suggests some man stuff went on but the article mentions nothing of it. What's the skinny?

steelersman42 writes:

go Vols, baby! let's get this thing goin

MAG writes:

Physical practices leads to physical teams on gameday. Just look at bama last year. Go Vols!

Txvol57 writes:

in response to LazhilUT:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

where have you been?....we all have know that Walls, Green and Edwards were not on campus and waiting to be cleared...

StroVol writes:

I think this Daniel Hood is going to be the surprise of the bunch. I know his former principal. He loves to talk about what a player he is.

FWBVol writes:

I love the aggressiveness the team seemed to have today. And I think moving Rogan to safety could be a good move considering the freshmen coming in might be better suited for corner.

As for the clearing house issues, it seems everybody has those and there are always one or two kids that don't make it. I think at this point Walls might be a bigger loss than Green as Walls has spent a year in prep school. Hopefully we will get both of them on board soon.

pammyvol1000 writes:

http://ncaafootball.fanhouse.com/2009...
If you didn't see the shirtless photo session, here it is.

UTandETSUfan writes:

@VolDivorcee, are you saying CLK doesn't care about white people? lol

Kevinyaheard writes:

What looked to be the stregnths vs the weaknesses of today's practice? I know its eartly to ask, but inquiring minds want to know!!!

voloffaith writes:

in response to BadNewsCafego:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

naffy is that you again disparaging us measly white folk? It has to be you,because nobody else seems to really get into the color of the players skin. I'm glad no injuries were reported and the storm cut the heat exhaustion potential down.

gohawks1 writes:

Any word on Bohannon's situation? Doesn't say too much about it - I'm assuming it wasn't serious since he was up and walking later.

DennisVols writes:

in response to MAG:

Physical practices leads to physical teams on gameday. Just look at bama last year. Go Vols!

That is correct. This team is hungry to erase that bad taste from their and every Vol fans mouth following last season. You can bet they have all heard the lack of consideration to even wind up 3rd in their division, the SN's top 100 teams did not include UT.
Physical Therapy football style is just what the doctor ordered.
Keeping it Real
Go Vols!!

byobbio writes:

First!
(To not get my post removed)

FranklinCo_VOL writes:

in response to BadNewsCafego:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Thanks for the video link. A great first look at Nuke, Bryce, Oku and Jackson!

GerryOP writes:

Hmmmm.... Guess Big Ol' Doofus took all of the green jerseys with him when he left. Good!

32 -- Fear The Kiffin...

pdhuff#552644 writes:

in response to GerryOP:

Hmmmm.... Guess Big Ol' Doofus took all of the green jerseys with him when he left. Good!

32 -- Fear The Kiffin...

Dupree told me that he bought 3 dozen glazed for TDTN and they threw in two green jerseys.

Dupree is seldom worng.

SFOrange writes:

Day 1--catch the updated practice jerseys? orange/white and white/orange with 3-stripe in sides and swoosh (not to be confused with Nike) under the arms.
utsports.com/photo gallery of today's practice.

Go Vols.

blitzshoot writes:

Looks like practice is actually practice this year.

TommyJack writes:

Gee. Practice with a purpose. What a concept.

mbible1utk#324980 writes:

this will help Crompton... tremendously. He has to learn in practice what to do when he's about to get hit... if he can learn it there, he can execute in a game situation a lot better. His bad throws were more often a product of flinching under pressure than anything else. It's odd because when he got his first real play time against LSU, it didn't seem to bother him in the least.

the10sevol writes:

in response to BadNewsCafego:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

thanks, good link.

VolNWA writes:

in response to DennisVols:

That is correct. This team is hungry to erase that bad taste from their and every Vol fans mouth following last season. You can bet they have all heard the lack of consideration to even wind up 3rd in their division, the SN's top 100 teams did not include UT.
Physical Therapy football style is just what the doctor ordered.
Keeping it Real
Go Vols!!

You and I should feel fortunate that you are wrong about Sporting News's Top 100 -- UT is at #62. Not good, but in there nonetheless.

CoachFulmer writes:

Who was the lefty QB in the video? The Bo-Sox pitcher?

tnbanker_govols writes:

It's good to hear what's actually taking place during practice besides....
"Well, the guys today worked hard and made some improvements but we have to remember to maintain the right attitudes on the field and work like heck to get better."

royrog#221514 writes:

I wonder what the lumens rating is on the video projector?

Wilhelm16 writes:

Please tell me those jerseys are practice jerseys only and they aren't changing the game unis. Please

micbrooks#212023 writes:

in response to FranklinCo_VOL:

Thanks for the video link. A great first look at Nuke, Bryce, Oku and Jackson!

I'm curious that no one else has noticed the new jerseys we are sporting in the practice video. I'm not too crazy about change just for the sake of change when what we wore last year was traditional. Just my opinion but the uniforms we wore when Majors was coach were the best and the most traditonal

gnm53108 writes:

in response to BadNewsCafego:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Thanks.

I hope those are just practice jerseys.

File 13 the three stripes.

cmoore7 writes:

in response to CoachFulmer:

Who was the lefty QB in the video? The Bo-Sox pitcher?

Stephens is left handed.

NO_DIGGITY writes:

in response to cmoore7:

Stephens is left handed.

When did he start throwing Left-Handed? Maybe that was his problem last year, he was throwing right handed.

Rozier is a Lefty.

NMVols writes:

We must improve Special Teams using our best talent to create fear and cause turnovers! Teams must be afraid to return punts or kick-offs to us…..and terrified to punt or kick-off to us.

bigorange61 writes:

My guess is those are practice shirts. Some of them look a little small to cover shoulder pads.

tnbanker_govols writes:

Practice jerseys???? One month until UT Football and we're talking about practice jerseys???? I'm all for tradition and everything but I was impressed with the way they looked in the video. Brent Hubbs says they're a totally different team.....lots of speed. A lot of young talent on that field right now...next few years will be exciting for UT football. It's almost FOOTBALL TIME IN TENNESSEE!!!!

Pracice jerseys........

Volunatic writes:

in response to FWBVol:

I love the aggressiveness the team seemed to have today. And I think moving Rogan to safety could be a good move considering the freshmen coming in might be better suited for corner.

As for the clearing house issues, it seems everybody has those and there are always one or two kids that don't make it. I think at this point Walls might be a bigger loss than Green as Walls has spent a year in prep school. Hopefully we will get both of them on board soon.

I agree with your comment about Rogan. He has good "football instincts" and is a good tackler, so he might be a really good FS for the Vols.

KAvolsfan writes:

in response to cmoore7:

Stephens is left handed.

are you sure about that?

TnScooby writes:

in response to cmoore7:

Stephens is left handed.

Need to do a little more research...Stephens is righthanded....Rozier is lefthanded

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