Rajion Neal learning tempo with veterans

Dooley impressed with freshman RB

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.

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Comments » 60

FWBVol writes:

It sounds as if from what Poole and some of the other players are saying that intensity won't be a problem with Derek Dooley,

It almost sounds as if the training staff spiked some of his water with some Red Bull that might have been left in the office by a member of the former staff.

Huttdawg100 writes:

I like Coach Dooley.

mdvol writes:

I thought Poole was a Junior - might be wrong.

Dooley has been making positive comments about Neal all summer. Rajion could be one to watch.

And Coach, just keep the headset on. Zook used to do all that macho stuff and you see where it got him.

rudy123 writes:

I do see us making progress. I just hope that the NCAA doesn't find anything that the former coach did. That would mess us up. If these rumors persist, then I think that Pat Martin will choose South Carolina. You know Spurrier will try to tell him NOT to go to UT because we may be on probation.

orange_glory writes:

Off subject but just came across this. Is Neyland second largest in the SEC now?

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http://thequad.blogs.tuscaloosanews.....

If this is true it would suck. Sounds like a alot of playing with numbers between Alabama and Tennessee. My stadium is bigger than your stadium. Let's duke it out.

givehim6 writes:

With UT having the talent at running back and receiver we got. Two pretty go QBs. What will be a tough D, talented ST. I do not see how we are predicted to lose to UK.

Bigger_Al writes:

in response to orange_glory:

Off subject but just came across this. Is Neyland second largest in the SEC now?

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http://thequad.blogs.tuscaloosanews.....

If this is true it would suck. Sounds like a alot of playing with numbers between Alabama and Tennessee. My stadium is bigger than your stadium. Let's duke it out.

Forrest Gump, when asked about Alabama claiming to have a stadium bigger than Neyland Stadium, said, "Bama cheats. And that's all I have to say about that."

scvols writes:

in response to Bigger_Al:

Forrest Gump, when asked about Alabama claiming to have a stadium bigger than Neyland Stadium, said, "Bama cheats. And that's all I have to say about that."

LOL!!!

always_vol (Inactive) writes:

in response to mdvol:

I thought Poole was a Junior - might be wrong.

Dooley has been making positive comments about Neal all summer. Rajion could be one to watch.

And Coach, just keep the headset on. Zook used to do all that macho stuff and you see where it got him.

You always read about coaches staying in the tower, but that may not be CDD's style. Plus, isn't he also helping as a position coach (I could be wrong here.)

As you are well aware, college coaches have pretty specialized tasks and are left alone by their head coaches to do their work. So, no harm in CDD stepping in where he can help.

I get the impression he is trying to 'connect' with this team in some way. It may be about showing he's still 'with it' as far as being an athlete goes. I think he wants the players to have that 'all in it together' attitude.

I am sure he knows this, but the players will also need to trust his x's and o's and schemes.

I know one thing for sure: the zone blocking scheme from last season was a great idea, and I hope we are not deviating from it.

DannyVol writes:

in response to Plasticman:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Someone tell the sports editor that he needs to actually read the freelance reporter's stories and do his job. Of course, this story was positive so he probably wasn't interested.

writer#358485 writes:

in response to VandyGrad:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

You know, VandyGrad, I used to pull for Vandy when they weren't playing Tennessee. You may just convince me otherwise.

licknpromise777#651578 writes:

in response to VandyGrad:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Please get a LIFE...Your backhand comments will not deflate our love for Tenn. football or stop Neal from becoming a premier SEC back!!!

hueypilot writes:

in response to mdvol:

I thought Poole was a Junior - might be wrong.

Dooley has been making positive comments about Neal all summer. Rajion could be one to watch.

And Coach, just keep the headset on. Zook used to do all that macho stuff and you see where it got him.

I'm pretty confident in letting Dooley do whatever he wants to do as a HC. It's his team, his butt on the line, his job to keep or lose.

writer#358485 writes:

Of course, on second thought, I doubt you're a graduate of Vanderbilt, or possibly any other college. You're probably just a armchair troll from somewhere else.

AncientVol writes:

Due to lack of experience I think we are most vulnerable at interior offensive line and interior defensive line. We are in very good shape at RB, TE, QB, and receiver.

DarthVol writes:

in response to VandyGrad:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Im sure all 7 of the vandy fans that attend will show up 30 minutes after practice starts and leave 30 minutes before it's over...to beat the traffic. And no one knows more about being "begged to attend" a football function more than a Vandy fan.

tennesseebee writes:

Give Dooley a helmet-we may need him

wtnvolfan writes:

in response to VandyGrad:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

VandyGrad...I wonder if you spend half as much time supporting your team as you do bashing ours...of course they probably dont want you on your own teams site any more than we want you on here...I'm eager to read your drivel come November 21...

Willis writes:

28 DAYS TILL FOOTBALL TIME IN TENNESSEE!!!!!!!!!!

crimsonviper writes:

in response to VandyGrad:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Bwahahahahaha...You tell'em...Door mat.

SEAL_9821 writes:

in response to VandyGrad:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Vandy has a football team? I think u meant sunday chess practices were open for Vandy fans to watch.

clvolfan writes:

in response to orange_glory:

Off subject but just came across this. Is Neyland second largest in the SEC now?

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http://thequad.blogs.tuscaloosanews.....

If this is true it would suck. Sounds like a alot of playing with numbers between Alabama and Tennessee. My stadium is bigger than your stadium. Let's duke it out.

Who cares,and so is their parking larger, and guess what ? It's free,been there twice to watch the VOLS-great place to watch football on Saturday's.

bluetick writes:

in response to VOODOOley:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I think you meant Travis "Cheese" Henry.

MemphisVol1485 writes:

in response to VandyGrad:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Is a Vandy fan talking smack? Don't make us go Cafego on you.

RollTideJoe writes:

in response to orange_glory:

Off subject but just came across this. Is Neyland second largest in the SEC now?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

http://thequad.blogs.tuscaloosanews.....

If this is true it would suck. Sounds like a alot of playing with numbers between Alabama and Tennessee. My stadium is bigger than your stadium. Let's duke it out.

Tennessee counts standing crowd in claiming to be the third largest stadium. This is a fact. Seats only, Alabama is the largest in the SEC with 101,834 with the new South endzone expansion. It also has more, new skyboxes, restaurants, fanzone section, entertainment areas for parties, etc., Hall of Fame area, etc.

d_ray writes:

This article is about Rajion Neal. How did the comments get so far off track that they run the gamment from size of stadiums, allowing Coaches parents to view the practice, to smashing Vanderbilt. Let's get back on track. It great to hear about yet another great running back in our backfield this year. Welcome to Knoxville Rajion. Go Vols.

DuvalVol writes:

in response to VandyGrad:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Hey loser, as a Vol fan from Nashville I know your type well. We will never accept losing like you nerds have. Dont start with players you have put in the NFL we can count them on 1 hand.VANDY IS AS AN EMBARESSMENT TO THE SEC. And you know it punk.

jman33163 writes:

in response to VandyGrad:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

#1: Vandy has an "intramural" football team.

#2; I'm a Bears fan so forgive me if I begrudgingly allow you to claim freaking Cutler as a starter.

#3 That's because you ARE Martin and Montana.

Go Big Orange!!!!

springtx_vol writes:

in response to mdvol:

I thought Poole was a Junior - might be wrong.

Dooley has been making positive comments about Neal all summer. Rajion could be one to watch.

And Coach, just keep the headset on. Zook used to do all that macho stuff and you see where it got him.

Yes, but Zook couldn't coach. Great recruiter, can't coach a lick. Just look at what he has done to UF and Illinois after his first year or so. And look at what Meyer did with Zook's recruits his first year!

Keep at it CDD, the players will follow a leader.

GBO

ProwlinAndGrowlinSmokeyDog writes:

in response to Bigger_Al:

Forrest Gump, when asked about Alabama claiming to have a stadium bigger than Neyland Stadium, said, "Bama cheats. And that's all I have to say about that."

ROTFLMAO!!! Good One!!!

ProwlinAndGrowlinSmokeyDog writes:

in response to VandyGrad:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Vandy won a bowl?? Must have missed that one.

The last starting QB that UT put in the NFL has a Super Bowl ring..Enlighten me, does your Vandy QB have one of those??..........That's what I thought.

ProwlinAndGrowlinSmokeyDog writes:

in response to MemphisVol1485:

Is a Vandy fan talking smack? Don't make us go Cafego on you.

Yeah..It's funny..isn't it?? Something I thought I would never see on a football thread.

ProwlinAndGrowlinSmokeyDog writes:

in response to d_ray:

This article is about Rajion Neal. How did the comments get so far off track that they run the gamment from size of stadiums, allowing Coaches parents to view the practice, to smashing Vanderbilt. Let's get back on track. It great to hear about yet another great running back in our backfield this year. Welcome to Knoxville Rajion. Go Vols.

You are right, sir..Let's get back on track and purchase some troll exterminator..Seriously,I think Rajion is going to be an excellent RB for the Vols..We are very blessed to have several good ones in the backfield..That is one of the positions in which we are very deep.

DuvalVol writes:

in response to VandyGrad:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

At Tulsa moron. Vandy is a doormat and you know it.And by the way, the music city bowl hardly counts.I am happy that you are a Vandy fan. Enjoy being a loser for the rest of your miserable life, I am gonna think about you and your stupid comments when we are stomping you nerds this year.

FWBVol writes:

in response to VandyGrad:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Hey VandyBrat; Vandy can open practices to the public because no self-respecting agent would show up at a Commodore practice looking for good players.

Yeah, you have a starting quarterback in the NFL, but he hasn't exactly torn up the league. In fact he could be riding the bench soon if he doesn't pick things up for the Bears.

And just think, Vanderbilt has won as many bowl games in the last 50 years as Tennessee has National Championships.

Yes, Vandy is a program that all of us fear.

volcraz1 writes:

I don't care if he's a freshman or waterboy. If he can tote the rock then let him play. Go Vols!!

DaddyVol writes:

Speaking of VandyGrad...

Did you hear the one about the man who had his leg amputated???

Well, supposedly, he went to see Dr. Vandy with a seriously diseased diabetic leg.

Dr. Vandy (probably not our dear VandyGrad) told him the leg had to be amputated immediately.

So the surgery was performed and by all accounts, the recovery went well.

But once the patient awoke from anesthesia, he realized that VandyGrad had removed the wrong leg.

A horrifying time to say the least!

With no choices left, they had to go back and remove the diseased leg.

Can you imagine such a thing???

After years of litigation, the malpractice case went to trial.

You won't believe what the VandyJudge told the plaintiff
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Keep scrolling for answer
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He told the man...
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"You don't have a leg to stand on."

AtLeastMyTeamHasPerfectSeasons writes:

We wont even miss Bryce....

illinoisvolfan writes:

in response to VandyGrad:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

High school practices are generally open to all fans, Commodore High included.

VolunteerLifer writes:

in response to RollTideJoe:

Tennessee counts standing crowd in claiming to be the third largest stadium. This is a fact. Seats only, Alabama is the largest in the SEC with 101,834 with the new South endzone expansion. It also has more, new skyboxes, restaurants, fanzone section, entertainment areas for parties, etc., Hall of Fame area, etc.

The issue these days is not the total number of seats, it is revenue generation. If, by sacrificing some seats UT gets more revenue, the powers that be think that is good.

jimr07 writes:

in response to writer#358485:

You know, VandyGrad, I used to pull for Vandy when they weren't playing Tennessee. You may just convince me otherwise.

It is really funny to see a belle meade booleyvader commenting on football. Maybe he would be qualified to comment on law or medical school. but football? well, they were really good in 1925.

DaddyVol writes:

in response to RollTideJoe:

Tennessee counts standing crowd in claiming to be the third largest stadium. This is a fact. Seats only, Alabama is the largest in the SEC with 101,834 with the new South endzone expansion. It also has more, new skyboxes, restaurants, fanzone section, entertainment areas for parties, etc., Hall of Fame area, etc.

Being the die hard Tennessee fan I am, it really pains me to have to agree with RollTideJoe, but right is right.

The following photo is proof that Alabama has spent a lot of money, and is truly committed to the future of the facilities at Bryant-Denny Stadium.

This is awesome!!!

http://www.fotosearch.com/CSP082/k082...

HtownVol writes:

in response to DaddyVol:

Being the die hard Tennessee fan I am, it really pains me to have to agree with RollTideJoe, but right is right.

The following photo is proof that Alabama has spent a lot of money, and is truly committed to the future of the facilities at Bryant-Denny Stadium.

This is awesome!!!

http://www.fotosearch.com/CSP082/k082...

Good one. So RollTide must be counting those seats in his numbers.

Volchief writes:

in response to VandyGrad:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

People I have said this before: VandyGrad IS A HIGH SCHOOL CHILD! He has never attended Vanderbilt. He's simply an antagonizing, immature kid. Pay him no attention. He really has no clue what he is talking about AT ALL. This post is evidence of that. UT doesn't talk smack about Vandy football because it has never had to. Besides the embarrassing loss in 2005, Vandy has always simply been the cupcake closer toward the end of our season. Anyone that knows anything about college football will assure you of two simple things: Vanderbilt won 0, that's ZERO, conference games in 2009 and UT year in and year out has a tougher strength of schedule than that of Vanderbilt. Although UT Martin may not be, Montana is a more formidable opponent to open the season than Northwestern. I don't care if they are in the Big 10 and Montana is in the Big Sky. It's great to see the last place Big 10 team playing the last place SEC team for the season opener. Gonna be a barn burner and I'm putting my money on Northwestern. Have fun watching that practice tomorrow VandyChild

volzcrushm writes:

in response to AtLeastMyTeamHasPerfectSeasons:

We wont even miss Bryce....

Bryce who???

vol94 writes:

in response to VandyGrad:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Bring the TURKEY for your new head coach for Sunday's practice.

By the way- MTSU?

mountainbrook writes:

in response to VandyGrad:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

The days of Vandy taking smack from UT fans never stopped. Martin and Montana are better than Vandy too.

FearTheVols1252 writes:

in response to VandyGrad:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I can literally count on one hand how many bowl games Vandy has gone to since joining the SEC in 1934 - 4!! Prior to 2008, the last bowl you went to was in 1982. UT may not be able to talk much smack these days, but Vandy has NEVER earned that right. Funny how you went to a bowl in '08 and went 2-10 in '09.

Pompey writes:

in response to VandyGrad:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

The SEC badly needs to solve the Vanderbilt problem. They have pretended to have a athletic department and a football program for 50 years but have contributed nothing to the SEC or college football.

Mule_Days_King writes:

in response to VandyGrad:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

And you hired Larry the Cable guy.

I'll leave YOU with this thought: TURKEY INSEMINATOR....Your head coach is a TURKEY INSEMINATOR!!!

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