Thompson hasn't lost any ground

Mental reps keep linebacker sharp

LaMarcus Thompson doesn't remember the lick that gave him a concussion a couple of weeks ago on Tennessee's practice field.

His short-term memory was wiped clean.

But Thompson has been around campus a while and thus has plenty of long-term memory.

Memory of redshirting in 2006.

Memory of playing special teams in every game in 2007 and 2008.

Memory of at long last finally starting fall camp this year with the No. 1 defense at strongside linebacker.

So when he found himself standing around on the sideline again waiting for the doctors to clear him to return to action, it didn't sit well.

"You could definitely say that,'' Thompson admitted Saturday after the Vols' scrimmage at Neyland Stadium. "But that's football.''

Thompson was back in action Saturday. He missed the first scrimmage but got the medical OK to get back to work last Thursday.

He doesn't think he lost any ground, but it wasn't comfortable watching players like true freshman Greg King filling in his vacancy with the No. 1 defense.

"It's definitely a competition,'' Thompson said, "so you definitely have to worry about what's going on.

"But all you can do is go out and play hard as you can and see what the outcome is.''

The junior from Lithonia, Ga., said the coaching staff did a good job of keeping injured players involved thus far during camp.

That group is not insignificant. Linebackers Rico McCoy and Herman Lathers also want to be in competition for starting jobs. So do defensive backs Brent Vinson, Art Evans and Stephaun Raines.

"You stand on the sideline watching practice,'' Thompson said, "but you're getting mental reps and helping out the younger guys.

"The coaches say to get mental reps. It never feels like you miss out on anything. You always have the checks and stuff like that.''

McCoy is the only linebacker with significant SEC experience. He hasn't suited up since the first week of practice. Savion Frazier is working with the first unit in his place.

Nick Reveiz is digging in at middle linebacker. Thompson is trying to hold his ground ahead of either King or another freshman, Jerod Askew.

He was encouraged by Saturday's showing, both by the linebackers and the defense in general.

"Overall we did pretty good,'' he said. "We're reading our keys better. It's night and day from spring practice.''

In his case the best part was being on the field again with the first-string defense.

Mental reps are fine to a point, but nothing can take the place of the physical reps.

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Comments » 18

smashmouth98 writes:

i look for King & Askew to play a good deal of snaps.

hotrodvol writes:

Dang they must be laying the wood to each other. How many concusions have we had so far? At least this team will know how to hit when the games start.

xvolx writes:

I'm not buying this linebacker hype. Berry had to make too many tackles last year, because lb's couldn't get off blocks.

FWBVol writes:

in response to xvolx:

I'm not buying this linebacker hype. Berry had to make too many tackles last year, because lb's couldn't get off blocks.

This isn't the same group of starting LBs. The only starter back from last is McCoy.

oldsmokey67 writes:

xvolx give them a chance before you throw them under the bus.i think monte kiffin's scheme will put them in better position to make play's than chavis's scheme.GO VOLS!!!!!

SeaBass writes:

in response to xvolx:

I'm not buying this linebacker hype. Berry had to make too many tackles last year, because lb's couldn't get off blocks.

don't buy into it buy into the tampa scheme and that is what we can all hope that they can grasp.from what i have been reading they are,but its just building the confidence of the depth players.no matter who the starters are gonna be.

SEC__Headgear writes:

The defense especially is building some much needed depth. This team is growing on a daily basis. Sure we will see mistakes. Might even see a mistake repeated... once. The strong competition this fall camp will have identified players who learn from the mistakes of others as well as those they made themselves.
The 2's will perform and produce this year.

pdhuff#552644 writes:

Some memories need to be lost.

I'm ready to see the Vols make some new ones.

Bring on the Hilltoppers!

micbrooks#212023 writes:

very well said, pdhuff....what I'm concerned about is opposing DCs stacking the Dline against our offensive running game and forcing us to throw...It will happen, count on it, and I want to see if our QBs have been schooled in how to audible out of a running play and hit the quick pass to beat the blitz. Any one here been to a practice and can shed some light on this, love to hear your opinions.

pdhuff#552644 writes:

in response to micbrooks#212023:

very well said, pdhuff....what I'm concerned about is opposing DCs stacking the Dline against our offensive running game and forcing us to throw...It will happen, count on it, and I want to see if our QBs have been schooled in how to audible out of a running play and hit the quick pass to beat the blitz. Any one here been to a practice and can shed some light on this, love to hear your opinions.

Believe we'll be okay in the opener.

Basing this on blurb in wkusports.com where HC Elson says he needs to "study the film" before passing judgement on 1st scrimmage.

KINGKONG writes:

this reminds of the sec championship game against LSU 07 do anybody remebers how many LSU was getting help of the feild that was a hard hitting game

jack_2222#231746 writes:

in response to oldsmokey67:

xvolx give them a chance before you throw them under the bus.i think monte kiffin's scheme will put them in better position to make play's than chavis's scheme.GO VOLS!!!!!

Chavis' schemes are as good as it gets- at least if it's not 3rd and 15.

What you should be worrying about is the OT's. Seems like any DE is "unblockable".

TommyJack writes:

in response to pdhuff#552644:

Some memories need to be lost.

I'm ready to see the Vols make some new ones.

Bring on the Hilltoppers!

Aye, laddie.

mbible1utk#324980 writes:

in response to KINGKONG:

this reminds of the sec championship game against LSU 07 do anybody remebers how many LSU was getting help of the feild that was a hard hitting game

that game was the first one since Al Wilson played that I saw Tennessee's defense play like defense was meant to be played.

allvol32 writes:

Chavis is an excellent coach and had some great D's while at TN. The one thing that I never could understand though was why the corners played 10 to even 15 yards off of receivers. It was like playing the Prevent Defense for entire games.

More than one QB picked our Vols secondary apart by repeatedly dumping the ball to the wide outs who'd have several yards of open real estate after making the easy catch. This strategy made John Parker Wilson look Peyton'esque against us.

murrayvol writes:

in response to pdhuff#552644:

Some memories need to be lost.

I'm ready to see the Vols make some new ones.

Bring on the Hilltoppers!

Been trying to purge those banks for better part of a decade. Age, whiskey, and effort are paying off.

Time to hit the reset button w/WKU, UCLA, etc.

RoadTrip writes:

Pony (Mustang) up, Chavis! Be sure and dial that number when the Vols play the Tigers.

smoky50 writes:

in response to FreeTDTN:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

THATS WHAT I AM TALKING ABOUT!!!!!! SAVE 4 or 5 concussions for MR. TEBLOW. I want one of our linebackers to lay him flat when he comes up the middle to convert on 3rd down. I want to see him on a stretcher. Then someone miss a tackle on the sideline and take out Urban Cryer. I'm not hatein', I'm just sayin!

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