Tennessee's defense has an America's Team type of feel.
And while the Dallas Cowboys may be a league and region away, they're never too far as the Vols build a new defense under coordinator Monte Kiffin.
First, UT's Gerald Williams is one of many Vol defensive ends who spends time studying film of Cowboys All-Pro defensive end DeMarcus Ware.
Like Ware, defensive line coach Ed Orgeron said Williams is typical of what he and Kiffin want in a defender - athleticism.
Orgeron spent his time searching for players who could "move up" at Miami under Jimmie Johnson, who later took that philosophy to the NFL with the Cowboys.
Safeties become linebackers. Linebackers become defensive ends. Defensive ends become defensive tackles. Speed is the key.
"It makes your whole defense faster," Orgeron said of the approach. "That's what we've done our whole career. Gerald fits that mold."
Williams split time between defensive end and linebacker in spring practice. Now he's a full-time lineman.
"I think he's totally bought into playing the defensive end spot," Orgeron said. "I think he's got the quickness and the toughness. That's what we want in that position."
Williams was hesitant to make the move early in his career. Now he sees the potential.
"It was the best move for the team and for me," he said. "I'm going to keep going hard every time. I'm going to adjust to it now."
Orgeron said it's possible that Williams could overtake projected starter Ben Martin. Williams received extensive first-team snaps during Saturday's scrimmage.
"I think there's a shot there," Orgeron said. "In our defense, one guy may start one week then the other (the next week) but the competition is serious. They both have good qualities."
Maryville Man: Former Maryville Rebel Aaron Douglas sees just how good Williams is every time they line up against each other.
"Gerald is a great player," the UT freshman offensive tackle said. "He's long. He can rush. He can run stop. He's definitely making me better. He's made me so much better since spring.
The key to getting better has been added strength in the off-season, Douglas said.
"This summer I've gotten a lot stronger," he added.
Douglas said he has a firm grasp of what the Vols are trying to do offensively.
"I've gotten to where I'm real comfortable with this offense," he said. "Just trying to soak everything in from these coaches."
Douglas is working as a reserve right tackle behind Jarrod Shaw.
Limited But No Limits: Orgeron isn't dismayed that defensive tackle Wes Brown is very limited in preseason camp. Sore knees have caused the senior to miss several practices.
"I believe Wes Brown is one of the better players on our team," Orgeron said.
Orgeron echoed the same sentiment for Chris Walker, who has missed practice time - albeit far less than Brown - with a sore knee.
"He's doing great," Orgeron said.
Signing Them Up: UT's offense didn't utilize many signals during Saturday's scrimmage as had been planned. Head coach Lane Kiffin decided against it and called most of the offense from the huddle.
"We have some signaling system in," Kiffin said. "We actually had some wrist bands ready to go today. Then at the last minute we hadn't practiced it enough so we decided against it and (decided to) not put that much on the quarterback today."
No Committee: Kiffin said he won't likely use four tailbacks regularly in a game this season.
"Probably not," he said. "I think you've got to get to three probably, at least. Otherwise you're not going to give guys a chance to get in a rhythm."
The competition for snaps is fierce among senior Montario Hardesty, sophomore Tauren Poole and freshmen Bryce Brown and David Oku.
"We'll have to cut down at some point," Kiffin said. "All four are showing really good things."
Kiffin said he is pleased with Brown's mental approach. Kiffin said the freshman was walking the field in Neyland Stadium two hours before Saturday's scrimmage listening to his iPod, focusing on the upcoming practice.
That intensity has shown up in Brown's pass blocking, which has been solid this preseason.
"He's very physical," Kiffin said, "takes blocking very serious. I love his approach to the game. He's highly competitive."