Tennessee's depth chart is extremely fluid 3 1/2 weeks before the season-opener. For now at least, Gerald Williams has risen to the top.
The junior defensive end worked Tuesday with the No. 1 unit for the second consecutive day ahead of Ben Martin.
"He's continued to make plays,'' UT coach Lane Kiffin said of Williams.
He persevered through a three-year maze of NCAA eligibility hurdles to finally play as a reserve for the Vols in 2008.
Williams appeared in eight games and was in on 12 tackles.
"We moved him ahead of some guys and he responded and had a great day,'' Kiffin said. "We finally had to crack him over there because we couldn't block him.''
Projected starter Chris Walker was back with the top defense at right end after being held out of Monday evening's practice as a precaution.
After practicing twice on Monday, the Vols worked only once Tuesday, going inside the Neyland-Thompson Complex in helmets, shoulder pads and shorts.
Personnel experimentation continued, especially on defense.
With both Rico McCoy and LaMarcus Thompson out at strong and weakside linebacker, respectively, Savion Frazier and freshman Greg King worked with the first team, flanking middle linebacker Nick Reveiz.
Kiffin relishes the intense competition in the secondary, heightened by the presence of several athletes who can play both safety and cornerback.
True freshman cornerback Mike Edwards got another complimentary mention from Kiffin.
Anthony Anderson and Marsalous Johnson worked as the No. 1 cornerbacks Tuesday.
On the offensive side, senior tackle Chris Scott earned praise from both Kiffin and line coach James Cregg.
"Whatever he did in the summer, he's changed his whole body type,'' Cregg said, "and changed the way he was working.
"It really means something to him. It's his senior year and I think he wants to go out the way he wants to go out. You're only as good as your seniors play.''
Catching On: Freshman tailbacks Bryce Brown and David Oku worked with the receivers at least one period, an indication Kiffin wants to get them the ball in a variety of ways.
"They're both really phenomenal pass-catchers,'' Kiffin said. "Extremely natural, extremely smooth.
"The staff was asking me what it was like (at Southern Cal) when we had LenDale White and Reggie Bush the same year, Thunder and Lightning, and these guys are built the same way, a bigger guy and a littler guy.
"But both of 'em are guys you can play outside and do a lot of things. It's exciting to have.''
Tight Battle: Luke Stocker and Jeff Cottam are competing hard at tight end. No matter who starts, the other won't be standing idle.
"For us to be successful,'' Kiffin said, "they're both going to need to play a ton, I think. So we need to make sure they're used to that now and they're responding to that extremely well.''
Fulmer Leaves Stokely: Former coach Phillip Fulmer has vacated the office in Stokely Athletic Center that had been provided him by UT.
The secretary assigned to Fulmer works primarily for the Lady Vols but still handles some publicity assignments for Fulmer, according to UT spokesperson Tiffany Carpenter.
Injury Report: Receiver Gerald Jones did not finish practice after a tumble on a pass route that appeared to affect his left leg.
Reserve defensive tackle Andre Mathis was helped to the training room late in the afternoon. No word yet on his injury.
Center Josh McNeil and fullback Kenneth Cooper were back at work after being held out of contact on Monday. McNeil worked with the No. 1 offense at least part of the day.
Inside Job: Kiffin said the practice was held inside to conserve the grass on Haslem Field, not because early afternoon showers.
"It's not because we're afraid to play in the rain,'' he said, "but because we value our field so much.
"Since we have (an indoor facility) there's no point in tearing it up.''
Observations: Jonathan Crompton appeared to have another sharp day throwing the ball. Nick Stephens was intercepted by freshman Nyshier Oliver in one drill. ... Brandon Warren looked good at receiver. ... Receiver Nu'Keese Richardson took a few snaps at quarterback for a second consecutive day.