Toney Williams ready to be known again

Running back 'happy' after missing 2009

First fall practice goes well despite heat

Tennessee running back Toney Williams, center, runs behind the blocking of fullback Sam Edgmon, right, after receiving a handoff from quarterback Tyler Bray on Wednesday during the first day of fall practice.

Hey, anybody remember Toney Williams?

Williams, a redshirt freshman running back, hopes Tennessee fans remember him before the 2010 season gets very far along.

For those paying attention to spring practice - spring practice 2009, that is - Williams was the signee who enrolled early and then proceeded to turn heads with a strong spring showing.

About a month later, however, he tore up a knee in a 7-on-7 drill at the Neyland-Thompson Sports Complex. Surgery. Redshirt.

" Football is a big part of my life,'' Williams said Wednesday after the opening session of 2010 fall practice. "It's good to be back out here doing what I love to do.

"I couldn't be more happy. I'm at a good place in my life right now.''

While Williams was on the shelf, Montario Hardesty assembled a terrific senior season in 2009 and Bryce Brown came and went.

Tauren Poole emerged from spring practice as the No. 1 tailback, followed by David Oku. Furthermore, freshman Rajion Neal has arrived.

Williams, from Alpharetta, Ga., is confident he can get back in the mix. Before he tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee, he flashed a nice running form and had the size (6-foot-1, 218 pounds) to get physical.

"I feel like I'm back to my old self, but stronger at the same time,'' he said. "I felt like I've got a lot to prove because in the spring (2010) I felt like I let my teammates and myself down.

"This fall I need to come out here and prove that I'm as good as I was at first, if not better.''

On one hand, he feels good that he got to show his potential before the injury happened. On the other, the promising start made it even more depressing to fall to the wayside.

And the way he got hurt only made it worse.

"I was celebrating,'' he said. "I caught a pass and got excited with my teammates and jumped up and came down wrong on my leg.''

Now, he hopes there will again be reason to celebrate - just more carefully.

Split Squads: The two-deep depth chart guys worked in broiling heat Wednesday afternoon. The newcomers and other younger players practiced in the evening.

"Only half the team is there,'' said coach Derek Dooley, "so the tempo is quicker. Not a lot of breaks (between reps).''

Quarterback Matt Simms said it took some adjustment.

"It was just me and Tyler (Bray) out there so we were taking every rep,'' Simms said.

"It was fun, though. You're out there with guys you know are going to be on the field.''

The only freshman to practice with the veterans was Neal and that was because Oku had a class conflict, Dooley said.

Malik Jackson, the junior transfer from Southern Cal, practiced with the newcomers in the evening.

Brothers In Arms: Simms said it's a difficult time to keep in touch with older brother Chris, who is in the Tennessee Titans camp.

"They're getting into their two-a-days and now we're starting,'' Simms said. "It's going to be tough to stay in contact.

"After this tough part of camp gets over it'll start back up, I hope.''

No Porter?: There were indications Wednesday UT is not pursuing freshman offensive lineman Elliott Porter, who has been given his release from LSU.

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Comments » 32

jjsteel writes:

Very happy....UT football 2010 has started. Whooo Hooo!

jaygood426#208111 writes:

Break out the Malt Likka. It's football time in Tennessee!

bUTchVFL writes:

Who is Elliot Porter, and why is he leaving LSU?

iowavol writes:

Why not persue Porter? What's the issue with him?

RandRams writes:

Nice to have TW back.

Run like the wind and hit like an avil TW!

I love the Fall!!

12Hours writes:

in response to bUTchVFL:

Who is Elliot Porter, and why is he leaving LSU?

He's an LSU recruit who is being released because it turns out too many other recruits qualified and they don't have a scholly for him. He was asked to "grayshirt" and sit a year, but he chose not to. He's a big DT I think.

PrimeTime writes:

Williams was an absolute stud out of Milton high in Alpharetta GA, not far from where I live. Isaw him play in person twice. I think he had 7tds in the two games I saw. I hope he can do that for UT. He is the real deal. Good luck Toney. GBO

oskie_score writes:

in response to bUTchVFL:

Who is Elliot Porter, and why is he leaving LSU?

mtoms, CLM miscounted schollies...Porter was the odd-man out and he refused to greyshirt so...bye-bye.

MiserableFloridaVol writes:

What the heck is that noise in the background in the video? Ridiculous.

oskie_score writes:

in response to RandRams:

Nice to have TW back.

Run like the wind and hit like an avil TW!

I love the Fall!!

Ditto!

VolGrad writes:

Toney Williams had the potential to be our best back. It will be interesting to see how much of that potential he will be able to display this fall. It would be great to see him earn some good reps this year. But Tauren Poole is the man in the backfield right now, and he won't go quietly. I believe he will tear up some real estate this year.

Go Vols!!!

allvol32 writes:

Don't worry Toney we remember you quite well. I think that Toney Williams and Tauren Poole are going to be great UT running backs that we'll remember for a long time!

andy112382#209793 writes:

in response to bUTchVFL:

Who is Elliot Porter, and why is he leaving LSU?

LSU wanted Porter to greyshirt then switch to OL from DL, he apparently rather not go that route. Basically LSU oversigned, ESPN noted the guy was a 79 on their scale which is just a point away from being a 4 star DT.

Huttdawg100 writes:

in response to MiserableFloridaVol:

What the heck is that noise in the background in the video? Ridiculous.

It sounds like the linemen are hitting the driving sled.... It's football time! All I need is a keg of bud light, some Memphis BBQ, and a Ford F-150 parked right off campus...

Huttdawg100 writes:

in response to allvol32:

Don't worry Toney we remember you quite well. I think that Toney Williams and Tauren Poole are going to be great UT running backs that we'll remember for a long time!

We should have seen a lot more of Poole than we did. I'm glad he stuck it out and didn't transfer when Lane Kiffin attempted to bury him in the depth chart. I really hate it for Lennon Creer.

I think Neal is going to be a pleasant surprise this year.

always_vol (Inactive) writes:

All I gotta say is this:
whoever does not work as an RB, move to LB quickly!!!

crimsonviper writes:

in response to VolGrad:

Toney Williams had the potential to be our best back. It will be interesting to see how much of that potential he will be able to display this fall. It would be great to see him earn some good reps this year. But Tauren Poole is the man in the backfield right now, and he won't go quietly. I believe he will tear up some real estate this year.

Go Vols!!!

Not to take anything away from other backs ,but I agree about T.Williams...I think he has the potential to be one of the great ones.

lincolncovol writes:

The young man was a beast before the injury, just hope the knee is totally healed. Should be something to see physically after all the training he has received.

Psychovol writes:

He was my favorite before the injury and seemed to be the most talented of the lot. He got my attention in only a way the future pros do. I hope he has all the success I imagined and more.

bluetick writes:

Toney will get his chance be it this year or after. He's too good to sit on the bench.

wazzya69vol writes:

I'm sure this has been covered, but I need some help. Can the public (wife & I) get in to see a practice or are they closed from the start? And yes, we raised the Big Orange flag today--we can't wait. GBO forever!!!

tuvol4u (Inactive) writes:

i think Tauren is gonna be our breakout rb this year. Honestly we are loaded at that position with T, Oku, Williams, and probably Neal. I, too, am glad Poole stuck it out with us. We havent had a potential running back like Poole since Travis Henry. I can tell with Poole, his yards after contact are amazing. He is hungry like Jamal Lewis was and definitely the power of Travis Henry

Mobbdeep4life writes:

I hope Williams can bounce back and contribute to the team for years to come.
I was hoping UT would pursue Porter especially since he was a DT and UT needs depth. Any news on John Brown qualifying?

tuvol4u (Inactive) writes:

anyone know what happened to Savy Frazier? did he move on? or what? havent heard from that guy and seemed he was a contributor

gatorhator4eva writes:

in response to MiserableFloridaVol:

What the heck is that noise in the background in the video? Ridiculous.

sounds like a train, tracks arn't far from there.

richvol writes:

UT has two slots open for enrollees and has four recruits that could still qualify academically. They expect two of those to make their grades so they cannot take the LSU kid and only leave one slot open. It's simple math.

cloudodust writes:

Unproven depth at RB. Who's gonna rise to the top and remain fumble free..? Must hold the melon. A lot of potential back there but we gotta remember, success begins in the trenches. GBO

VOLliven2it writes:

Just run the ball men. Go Tauren,go David, go Rajon, Toney; let's not put it all on a brand new QB. By the way, Go O-Line we definitely need you. It ought to be interesting. I hope Toney gets some quality time not because someone else is hurt but because he steps up. Can't wait!

RoadTrip writes:

Like everyone else on here I am a TW fan. Anybody that saw him run in the Orange/White game last year could not help but be a fan. A faster version of Reggie Cobb. Hope the healing has been good. Every SEC team needs two good horses at the tailback position to handle 30+ carries a game. Throw in the scatback like Oku for a few carries and some passes and you have a difficult mix to stop.

ClearVol writes:

The Tauren and Toney Show!.... I like it.

Southland writes:

we had better do a lot of running and quick passing this year until we get an o line The RB's will have to earn every yard. Lets keep the d on the bench as much as possible

BAFLETCHER writes:

I hope this is a sign of future success. Anyone notice that Saban and Dooley wear similar style hats for practice?

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