The blazing August sun isn't the only heat Rajion Neal has faced in his first three college practices.
Tennessee's freshman tailback also has been thrown into the fire of practicing with his veteran teammates.
"It's tough," UT coach Derek Dooley said. "He's the only young'un out here besides (freshman offensive tackle) Ja'Wuan (James), but Ja'Wuan has been here.
"Just learning the tempo and the pace, it's a little bit different. But he's doing good."
Neal took part in the early practice Wednesday as well because sophomore tailback David Oku had a class conflict.
Thrust into that situation again Friday, Neal responded well to the quicker tempo and increased reps.
"He's doing well," said junior tailback Tauren Poole. "It's hard to adjust when you come from high school, especially in this heat.
"He has a great attitude, doesn't complain, just comes out here and works every day. That's all the coaches ask from him, to just get better as a player."
The 5-foot-11, 215-pound Neal originally committed to Mississippi State last August, but chose the Vols after visiting in January.
The Tyrone, Ga., native, who led Sandy Creek High School to a state title last fall, adds another capable performer in the backfield alongside Poole, Oku and redshirt freshman Toney Williams.
"He's got a lot of ability. He's got good size," Dooley said. "It's everything we thought when we signed him. It's just a matter of learning the speed, learning what to do and not being a little bit starry-eyed."
"He has incredible quickness, he can move well," Poole said. " 'Just keep working,' that's all I tell him.
"We're going to have a lot of runners, and that's going to help this team even more."
Active Dooley: Poole faced an unusual defender during a drill in which running backs worked on catching the ball out of the backfield: his head coach.
"He's (Dooley's) real competitive," Poole said.
"He wants to be out there just as much as we do, and I like to see it."
Dooley played pass-rushing defensive end, even deflecting a pass or two.
Earlier he dropped and did 20 push-ups during drills.
"When he feels like it's hot and his mind is breaking down," said Poole, "he feels he has to do something to pump (himself) up. So I'm like, 'OK.' He's probably done it (before), but it's the first time I've seen it."
Family Affair: They might have missed the humidity and the starters, but Vince and Barbara Dooley apparently weren't leaving town without seeing a practice first.
The former Georgia coach and his wife showed up at Haslam Field midway through the evening session for younger players, watching from the corner of an end zone as their son ran his third day of fall workouts.
Patrick Brown is a freelance contributor.