Before Matt Simms can worry about his receivers, he has to actually be one first.
So while the Tennessee quarterback was obviously spending time developing chemistry with his targets in the passing game this summer, Simms also had to pile up some reps when the ball was coming his way - from the center.
And with junior center Cody Pope setting a mark of at least 100 snaps each day throughout the summer, there was no shortage of them for Simms as the Vols tried to work through perhaps their biggest shortcoming from spring practice - making sure there was actually a ball available for the quarterback to deliver elsewhere.
"I was definitely there for the majority of them," Simms said. "I don't know if I was taking all 100 (snaps), but I was definitely taking at least 80 of them. It definitely helped out a lot, and just that quarterback-center exchange and that communication between each other is extremely important, especially in this conference.
"It's definitely more consistent. We've just got to continue to get better with it, because we're going to face a lot of good defensive linemen and those snaps are going to be tough. We've just got to be prepared for it and look at a lot of defenses, see what we've got to go up against and continue to improve on it."
During the open period of practice on Monday, the difference was noticeable from Pope, the odds-on favorite to win the starting job and anchor UT's new offensive line.
Particularly during some early no-huddle work, Pope regularly put the ball where it needed to be and didn't have any trouble shooting snaps over the head of Simms or skipping them at his feet - issues that clearly bothered coach Derek Dooley during his first 15 practices with the team in the spring.
He still doesn't appear to be totally comfortable with his situation at center, though Pope and junior-college transfer Darin Gooch seem to have provided enough to at least move Victor Thomas back to defensive tackle this week.
"Gooch is still new, and it's hard when you're just learning an offense," Dooley said. "But he's doing some good things, and Cody has an advantage because he's been here all spring and he's doing some good things. We need a little more consistency, and I think the big thing at center is avoiding the bad plays.
"It's a little like quarterback. Let's avoid firing the snap over the head, let's avoid going the wrong way and then the nose (guard) comes up and blows up the back. You've got to learn how to function without blowing the play up before you can worry about the other stuff. We're not there yet."
The Vols have nearly a month to get there, and they're not likely done tinkering as Dooley tries to identify both a starter and some options in reserve.
Pope is the most likely candidate for the former, and as for the latter the Vols tried freshman James Stone on Monday and also have given some looks to sophomore Carson Anderson behind Gooch.
"It definitely is getting more consistent, definitely getting a lot better," Simms said. "But we can never be good enough, though.
"We have really high expectations here, even though a lot of other people don't. So we've just got to continue to work hard on it and not get lazy with it."