5 big things about UT football before first practice

Five big things for Tennessee football before the start of practice.

Arms race is on: Matt Simms will open as the favorite to win Tennessee's starting quarterback job, and he'll have the first-team reps to prove it.

But that doesn't mean Tyler Bray can't make it interesting, and Vols coach Derek Dooley doesn't really have a choice but to make sure both quarterbacks are ready to contribute given the shallow depth chart. With only fellow freshman Nash Nance really around to push those guys, it's clearly a two-man race to take over for Jonathan Crompton - and a solid spring has given Simms a head start.

Hard outside; inside TBD: The Vols are all set on the edge, and defensive line coach Chuck Smith wouldn't trade his group of ends for many in the country.

Once UT gets past its starting combination at tackle though, it might consider some deals there. The return of Marlon Walls to pair with Montori Hughes is a boost to the middle of the Vols defensive line, but the players behind them are still an unknown quantity - and uncertainty about John Brown's eligibility only highlights the matter.

Kicking it: A couple of seniors currently hold down the roles as specialists in the kicking game, though both could feel the heat from heralded true freshman.

Punter Chad Cunningham didn't have quite the season UT expected a year ago, and he might be pushed by Matt Darr, the top-ranked punter in the nation and a summertime addition to the Vols. The same is true for kicker Daniel Lincoln, who could have a real battle on his hands with Michael Palardy now on campus. Considering the issues UT dealt with on special teams a year ago, those often overlooked positions could play pivotal roles this fall.

Keep it clean: Dooley wants and needs a physical team. He also needs a healthy one.

So with roster numbers down, the first-year coach might be more cautious than normal to ensure the Vols make it through camp with enough live action - but not so much that they start the season covered in bruises. Dooley outlined part of his plans on Tuesday, which included NFL-style "thudding up" without taking players to the ground on tackles and absolutely no chance of letting his quarterbacks go live.

Line change: Individually, the five guys up front all appear to have the skills needed to succeed on the offensive line. But since none of those individuals were a part of the starting unit at the end of last season, it's still up to them to prove they can get the job done collectively.

The Vols will open camp with Dallas Thomas and Ja'Wuan James at tackle, JerQuari Schofield and Jarrod Shaw at guard and Cody Pope at center, a group that's only experience together came during 15 spring practices. Pope should be the one to watch during camp though, since UT had more than a few struggles snapping during those early workouts under Dooley.

- Austin Ward

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Comments » 74

winbigvols14 writes:

We will be fine in time. I think we will struggle the first half of the year but by the Georgia game we will be fine. I will be there for all the home games and already have my Georgia tickets. Go Vols and coachem up Coach Dooley. Can't wait.

jman33163 writes:

Excellent post TTICD!

So ready for pads to start poppin!!

Go Big Orange!!!!

voloffaith writes:

in response to triumphtheinsultcomicdog:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Not only were you tsriF ,but you cordial and polite. Thankee woofdog for that as we need all we can get to ready for some FOOTBALL!!!! I'm at the tsrif game against UT Rowan & Martin and hope laughter is due to being able to enjoy my company(wife) along with the game. Who is your creampuff(like ours) opener? Ohio?

On topic stay healthy and street clean gents and get ready to rumble!!

ncvol17 writes:

tick, tick, tick, almost time for Vol Ball..

ncvol17 writes:

in response to VandyGrad:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Oh yeah, we have has such bad luck against Vandy & Ky in the last ,, ahh 30 years. Most who post here have never seen more than 1 loss to Vandy and none to KY...even our WORST teams beat those 2 teams...

TnTravelerVol writes:

in response to winbigvols14:

We will be fine in time. I think we will struggle the first half of the year but by the Georgia game we will be fine. I will be there for all the home games and already have my Georgia tickets. Go Vols and coachem up Coach Dooley. Can't wait.

That's exactly what happened last year. Crompton didn't get it together until Georgia (don't count Western Kentucky). Though he did a great job after that starting with Georgia. Which is why I still think we can win 7 games this year. QB and line get settled in by Georgia game, maybe even before. We have a good bit of talent, just can't afford a lot of injuries on the lines. I think Poole and the offense will surprise some people this year. And if not, at least it's football time in tennessee, great for you and me.

Bloodrunzorange writes:

Anybody heard about UT track star Evander Wells joining the football team? I heard he is fast. Reported on the Volnation site. GBO!!

volcycle writes:

in response to VandyGrad:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

VandyGrad...wake up, you're dreaming! There's no way UT's talent can be equated with VU and UK. We don't have the depth right now, but we still have the talent.

196SVol writes:

I just hope our punter doesn't get leg fatigue...

mercyseat writes:

in response to VandyGrad:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

ENOUGH WITH THE CRITICISM! Hell no wonder our team does'nt have confidence, and the so called 4-5 star players are going elsewhere. PLEASE JUST STOP IT!!!! God what a bunch of MORONS!

jhayes0926#638474 writes:

in response to VandyGrad:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I would take losses to Bama and Fl. now to go along with 9 wins. Not many of us expect to beat Bama and Fl. this yr. Why do you envy UT so much as to keep sticking barbs in our side?

volzcrushm writes:

*******Call me crazy but this is the year for Spurrier and the chickens.... "IF" they upset the gayters then they are the sec east champs. Too bad they have to play Bama next to last. GBO!!

ProwlinAndGrowlinSmokeyDog writes:

in response to VandyGrad:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I almost fell out of my chair when I read this...LOL!!!

Doobz15 writes:

in response to VandyGrad:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Kentucky was better than tennessee last year, and the year before that. Kentucky just naturally sucks at football, and so does Vanderbilt for that matter. Vanderbilt is really insignificant for any sport. Just a good med school.

UTByrd writes:

in response to Witch_Doctor:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Hey, Witch Doctor,
It's so hot over here in West Tenn that I saw a dog chasing a cat and they were both walking.
Heck, the Devil even went back to Hades to cool off.
Go VOLS!!!!!

whistlinwingman writes:

in response to naffy:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

How much are you paying?

volpreacher writes:

in response to VandyGrad:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Thanks for the laugh Vandygrad. I'm sure I'm not the only one who needed one. Vandy isn't even close to UT talent, neither is Kentucky. UT don't have the numbers, but the talent is there. You're kicking a team that really beat Alabama last year and gave Florida all it wanted in the swamp. I admit you guys have the brains, but ball players, forget it. Not ever going to happen. Not in football.

swampbuggy writes:

in response to triumphtheinsultcomicdog:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Let me make it clear. I like Dooley a helluva lot better than that last sorry excuse for a coach UT had. Kiffin was the poster child for lunacy. I believe all of us want UT to succeed, it's better for the entire conference.

Now for the big question. Explain what you meant by "Has a Gator fan ever done that?" Did I miss something?

And before I get rude responses remember -- one of you told US to keep it clean. I will, but I expect like treatment!

licknpromise777#651578 writes:

in response to grvol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

It's a safe bet that poor Cunningham's kicking days at UT are over..Palardy and his 95% touch back ratio will see to that..Palardy also averages 48 yards on punts..It will be interesting to see how the kicking game plays out..2 seniors in competition with some very talented freshman..It's rare that a senior kicker gets bench by an incoming freshman

Fulton_Vol writes:

I think that we stand a good chance and considering how close CD2 teams at LA Tech played other better talented teams, I expect the Vols to be prepared and in more games than most expect them to be. I don't expect Bama nor UF to be huge loses, I expect the games to close and who wins, time will tell. Except for poor special team play Bama would have never won the BCS last year but that one of those would've, could've and should've cases. I am looking for a good season and I wish the Vols the best of luck.

Naffy, I will take your tickets, just tell me where you want to meet and I'll be there. I will cheer the Vols on every snaps and hope on to the hope they will have a great year. I would love to just be able to afford tickets. I've loved the Vols since I was kid and would almost kill to sit inside Neyland on game day.

To first poster, I've always enjoyed reading your posts. You come across as knowledgeable and a class act as a person. I was raise in home that had 3 Dawg fans, 1 Bama fan and me, but as long as we weren't playing each other, we pulled for other SEC teams vs any other team or league. I even pull UF when they play other teams so thank you. You have some unknowns too going into the new season but you have a huge amount of talent so I expect you'll simple reload and again be in the chase for championships.

licknpromise777#651578 writes:

Has anyone heard how Askew is doing;Did he play in the spring game??He was redshirted while King and Lathers came in and played well..Askew was the premier run stopper in high school..I find it hard to believe that he's a bust

gatorhator4eva writes:

in response to VandyGrad:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

i wouldn't count my eggs before they hatch, florida will have to play the USF bulls the prior week. One thing about USF, they will upset big time teams before you can blink, they are known for this. Another factor will be that this is an in state rivalry game. In my opinion, this is probably one of the biggest games of week two and perhaps in the top 10 biggest games of 2010. You can bet on USF bringing there A game. If the gators decide to let up; underestimating there opponent, they could be in for a long night at the swamp.

rudy123 writes:

in response to swampbuggy:

Let me make it clear. I like Dooley a helluva lot better than that last sorry excuse for a coach UT had. Kiffin was the poster child for lunacy. I believe all of us want UT to succeed, it's better for the entire conference.

Now for the big question. Explain what you meant by "Has a Gator fan ever done that?" Did I miss something?

And before I get rude responses remember -- one of you told US to keep it clean. I will, but I expect like treatment!

You may like Dooley at this point, but the past coach developed Crompton and Dan Williams. Could you imagine if Fulmer had been there? Dan WIlliams would have been a 4th round pick and Crompton would not have even been drafted. Also the last coach didn't let us get blown away by Bama and Florida like Fulmer. HOwever; I have no doudt that if the last coach had remained our coach, we would eventually have been on probation. So him leaving turned out to be a blessing.

VolGrad writes:

in response to ProwlinAndGrowlinSmokeyDog:

I almost fell out of my chair when I read this...LOL!!!

I think VandyGrad makes a valid point about Vandy closing in on UT..., and their new coach is their secret weapon. After all, it will be very difficult for our defense to make a tackle while they're holding their sides laughing.

Go Vols!!!

hcjournals#206623 writes:

No Vandy idiot is going to come on our site and talk us to death. There is a reason you went to Vandy. Deal with it. We will be fine, and may be the surprise team in the SEC this year, if not the country. I'm drinking the Kool-Aid. If we have Barbara Dooley on our side, screw whoever is agin us. Load up......

TnScooby writes:

in response to VandyGrad:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Wow the comic relief ALONE provided by this post is almost worth reading...almost...You have either been
A) Doing Drugs
B) Sniffing too much black or gold paint
C) Undergone a brainwashing technique that allows totally delusional thoughts to command your actions...You are simply the most irrelevant troll ever to type drivel on this board...A Vonnderbilt fan throwing darts about football at the Vols...That is HILARIOUS!!!!!!!

TnScooby writes:

in response to swampbuggy:

Let me make it clear. I like Dooley a helluva lot better than that last sorry excuse for a coach UT had. Kiffin was the poster child for lunacy. I believe all of us want UT to succeed, it's better for the entire conference.

Now for the big question. Explain what you meant by "Has a Gator fan ever done that?" Did I miss something?

And before I get rude responses remember -- one of you told US to keep it clean. I will, but I expect like treatment!

He meant that he might be the "first" Gator fan to post "first" to an article...TTICD is a Gator fan...That's what you missed

SmokeyDayAfternoon writes:

Wow, if VandyGrad really went to Vanderbilt, Their football program isn't the only thing going downhill there...looks like its their academics, too.

VolinCalif writes:

in response to naffy:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Call 968-7825. You convert.

VolinCalif writes:

in response to VolGrad:

I think VandyGrad makes a valid point about Vandy closing in on UT..., and their new coach is their secret weapon. After all, it will be very difficult for our defense to make a tackle while they're holding their sides laughing.

Go Vols!!!

Turkey in the bread pan picking out dough.
Vandy does you team fight? No child No!
Love you new Coach. Come on Vandy.
GBO

govols2104 writes:

What has the world come to? Gators fans are civil and the vandy fans who have no reason to be saying anything are giving us heck... based on this I will bet on a 13-0 season for us and a 0-12 season for florida and bama... yeah see how crazy that is?!?!?

westennvol writes:

in response to triumphtheinsultcomicdog:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Great post triumph! First class man, all the way! Great advice. UT needs every bit of those threee points this season. I would def like to make UT/UF game relevant in the East again. Like back in the 90's...seems so long ago...

jobrando#216494 writes:

in response to SmokeyDayAfternoon:

Wow, if VandyGrad really went to Vanderbilt, Their football program isn't the only thing going downhill there...looks like its their academics, too.

Lets clear this up. if you remember he said his dream was to be a Vandy grad after high school. He's only sixteen he said.

jimr07 writes:

in response to VandyGrad:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

i do hope they plan to play the games. coming from a belle meade snob, what the heck do you know about football?

jimr07 writes:

in response to ncvol17:

Oh yeah, we have has such bad luck against Vandy & Ky in the last ,, ahh 30 years. Most who post here have never seen more than 1 loss to Vandy and none to KY...even our WORST teams beat those 2 teams...

too bad vandy cannot form an SAT conference.

ULTIMATEVOLUNTEER writes:

in response to VandyGrad:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Tennessee ALWAYS worries about Vandy and Kentucky...until the kickoff...then they remember they're playing Vandy and Kentucky!

OTPVol writes:

in response to VandyGrad:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I don't see any numbers in the W-L columns yet this year. I go into every game thinking our boys are going to win. "We don't get beat, we just run out of time."

gnm53108 writes:

in response to voodoovol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Had you're coffee this mornin?

Haha
Love the attitude.

Go VOLS!

Volchief writes:

in response to licknpromise777#651578:

It's a safe bet that poor Cunningham's kicking days at UT are over..Palardy and his 95% touch back ratio will see to that..Palardy also averages 48 yards on punts..It will be interesting to see how the kicking game plays out..2 seniors in competition with some very talented freshman..It's rare that a senior kicker gets bench by an incoming freshman

Palardy will win games for us. The days of Fulmer's seniority treatment among players are over. If the talent is there Dooley won't hesitate to use it no matter how long another player has been there.

Lincoln was hurt last year during Alabama game & he pretty much single-handedly, or leggedly if you will, cost us that game. Low kicks result from leg injury & are subsequently blocked by big fat guy. I'm not gonna sit here & say shoulda, coulda, woulda on the Bama game. We lost & that's all there is to it. No excuses! However, Lincoln should have been vocal about his injury so we could at least have tried to avoid said outcome of blocked kicks.
Back to the issue at hand. Palardy will win games for us! Mark it 8 dude

vol88 writes:

in response to 196SVol:

I just hope our punter doesn't get leg fatigue...

I've been thinking the same thing. We may NEED two punters! Hope not! GBO!

RockyTop1 writes:

in response to VandyGrad:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Kentucky is better???? As I remember it has been 25 years since their last victory. I wonder how YOU define close??? You are smarter than that going to Vandy ....right?? Go back and study the FACTS some more and give us your insight! It's almost "Football Time in Tennessee" GBO!!

RockyTop1 writes:

in response to naffy:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Put you money where you mouth is....I'll take the tickets and the money and run!! Just let me know when and where!! GBO!!

licknpromise777#651578 writes:

in response to Volchief:

Palardy will win games for us. The days of Fulmer's seniority treatment among players are over. If the talent is there Dooley won't hesitate to use it no matter how long another player has been there.

Lincoln was hurt last year during Alabama game & he pretty much single-handedly, or leggedly if you will, cost us that game. Low kicks result from leg injury & are subsequently blocked by big fat guy. I'm not gonna sit here & say shoulda, coulda, woulda on the Bama game. We lost & that's all there is to it. No excuses! However, Lincoln should have been vocal about his injury so we could at least have tried to avoid said outcome of blocked kicks.
Back to the issue at hand. Palardy will win games for us! Mark it 8 dude

Looking back;I don't understand why Kiffin used Lincoln on that FGA; knowing the one before was blocked.Cunningham is a decent place kicker and I suspect would have made it..It was painful to watch Lincoln kick so badly while Bama had the best kicker in the SEC scoring all there points and single handily won the game for them

FearTheVols1252 writes:

in response to VandyGrad:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I'm sorry... wasn't Vandy coming off a 2-10 record last year?!? Might be a little premature to suggest 'Vandy is closing in'. We've only kept them in the SEC to keep the league GPA up.

punkin writes:

in response to VandyGrad:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

A Vandy fan talking smack and football at that. That is funny.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to winbigvols14:

We will be fine in time. I think we will struggle the first half of the year but by the Georgia game we will be fine. I will be there for all the home games and already have my Georgia tickets. Go Vols and coachem up Coach Dooley. Can't wait.

That makes sense and is certainly something Vol fans can hope for. My only worry is that the team will be so beat up after our brutal early-season schedule that we won't have enough decent players left to wade through the late-season schedule as handily as we have in the past. Our first 22 players--maybe 26, including kickers and returners--are at least as good as those of the upper-third of the conference, but we have very little to replace them at many important positions.

hcjournals#206623 writes:

We need to pick off Florida. Alabama lost 9 starters off their defense. They were the worst team to ever win a national championship.....We may be thin, but no one is loaded. Not anyone....

cc623 writes:

in response to naffy:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I need 2 tickets for the oregon game and no need to pay me but,I might be willing to pay you for them...

PennVol writes:

If Wilcox is the Xs and Os coach that we hear about, we should be competitive. Defense wins championships, and our defense almost pulled out a Bama win last year. I would love to see us be able to make defensive adjustments during a game to stop something that the other team is doing. It's been a long time...

johnlg00 writes:

in response to swampbuggy:

Let me make it clear. I like Dooley a helluva lot better than that last sorry excuse for a coach UT had. Kiffin was the poster child for lunacy. I believe all of us want UT to succeed, it's better for the entire conference.

Now for the big question. Explain what you meant by "Has a Gator fan ever done that?" Did I miss something?

And before I get rude responses remember -- one of you told US to keep it clean. I will, but I expect like treatment!

I think his reference was to being the first poster on this article. He and you seem to be classy exceptions to the usual run of "trolls" we get on this site. I hope that will continue from your side and ours as well. We can compete on the field without gratuitously insulting each other on here, we who have no effect whatsoever on what happens on the field. Let the games begin! GBO!!!

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