Vols notebook: Defense starts out slow

Dooley says unit not mentally ready

Photo with no caption

Eric Gordon wasn't hiding his displeasure following Tennessee's first preseason scrimmage Tuesday inside Neyland Stadium.

"I feel like the defense had a couple good moments," said the Vols' redshirt freshman cornerback, "but overall as a whole it wasn't a good day."

The offense earned the first set of team bragging rights with its performance Tuesday, leaving neither Gordon nor UT coach Derek Dooley all too pleased.

Tauren Poole's 49-yard scamper on the first play set the tone.

"It was a typical first scrimmage," Dooley said. "I think if there's a lesson coming out of this, it's that if you're not mentally ready to play, you're going to get your tail whipped.

"The defense wasn't (ready). It showed the first play of the game."

Gordon said the mistakes the defense made only serve as further motivation.

"We're going to hit the film room, hit the weight room, practice field - we ain't going to stop until we're great," he said.

Gordon hasn't officially played a down as a Vol after a redshirt last season, but Art Evans' shoulder injury and Dennis Rogan's early departure thrust Gordon into a starter's role during spring practice.

He hasn't slowed down since.

"Eric Gordon's had a great camp," Dooley said. "(He's) one of the guys we've needed to have a good camp. He's probably had more pass break-ups than anybody in the (secondary). He's got a lot of things to work on, but he's competing."

A former two-way star at Nashville Hillsboro High School, Gordon found himself in an unfamiliar place last season - not on the field.

"Not playing last year," he said, "it was very difficult for me, not starting, not playing. Words can't describe how I felt. I talked to my family, teammates, guys like (former Vol) Inky Johnson telling me just keep my head up and stick in there."

But it only made the 5-foot-10, 186-pound Gordon work harder to put himself in the position he's in now.

"I'm glad I redshirted. I was able to learn and understand more of the game, so I feel like I've grown from that and now I'm a better player," Gordon said.

Gordon's demonstrated that improvement on the practice field, where's he stood out as one of the Vols' most physical defenders.

"It's starting to get a little slower to me, but you can't be satisfied as a corner," Gordon said. "You've got to go out every day like you ain't gained nothing.

"I'm very eager. I'm just ready to have a big year."

More Scrimmage Chatter: Defense wasn't the only part of Tuesday's scrimmage that disappointed Dooley.

"I was disappointed in the intangibles we played with - the effort, the toughness, the discipline, the competitive spirit," he said. "We've got to get that part right (first)."

Dooley kept the scrimmage basic for evaluation purposes.

"Let's get out there and play. We need it, we got a lot of pups."

Status Update: Safety Janzen Jackson (hamstring) didn't scrimmage, though Dooley expects him back Thursday.

Linebacker Nigel Mitchell-Thornton (muscle strain) and fullback Kevin Cooper (headache, precaution) also sat out Tuesday's scrimmage.

Evans was slightly limited after twisting an ankle.

Patrick Brown is a freelance contributor.

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Comments » 65

peyton4prez writes:

Not a good sign. The D should always be ahead of the O this time of year. Even worse because our O was very questionable coming out of the spring. Justin Wilcox needs to show the vol nation something cause it won't get any easier from here on out.

SEAL_9821 writes:

in response to peyton4prez:

Not a good sign. The D should always be ahead of the O this time of year. Even worse because our O was very questionable coming out of the spring. Justin Wilcox needs to show the vol nation something cause it won't get any easier from here on out.

No need to jump the gun just yet. Our Defense is still patching some holes. Justin knows what he has to do. Besides, I think our offense will surprise most people this yr. There's no doubt we have some extreme play makers. If they can step up under pressure, they can put some points on the board.

SEAL_9821 writes:

Seen were college football live was throwing Dooley and Tennessee under the bus for not releasing Kendrel Thompkins. This is another prime example the media not knowing the facts about what they are saying.

RandRams writes:

Good to hear of EG's improvement/progress...love his competitive spirit.

RandRams writes:

C'mon CJW, we're countin' on you!!

VolGrad writes:

in response to SEAL_9821:

Seen were college football live was throwing Dooley and Tennessee under the bus for not releasing Kendrel Thompkins. This is another prime example the media not knowing the facts about what they are saying.

I saw that, too. However, it just depends who they have on that show. I saw a different guy defending/supporting Dooley's decision not to release Bryce Brown just last week. Most of the "old school" guys get it; some of the younger ones do not. Andre Ware apparently is one of those that doesn't get it. Andre was trying to say that these college athletes choose their schools based on the coach that is there. While I won't deny that some may do that, that is not only an oversimplification of it- that is simply the wrong reason by itself. When you recruit, you want to sell the kid on the university and what it offers first and foremost. Because honestly, the coach does not know whether he will be there during their whole tenure. Coach Dooley has the right approach here.

But like I said, at least some of the guys there at ESPN feel differently from the aforementioned Mr. Ware.

BigOrangeVol writes:

9821, if they DOR I wouldn't release any of them.

If they sign because of the coach then they know what to expect if he leaves - more reason to sign because you WANT to play for the university!

It Pays To Be A Winner

Bogus writes:

in response to VolGrad:

I saw that, too. However, it just depends who they have on that show. I saw a different guy defending/supporting Dooley's decision not to release Bryce Brown just last week. Most of the "old school" guys get it; some of the younger ones do not. Andre Ware apparently is one of those that doesn't get it. Andre was trying to say that these college athletes choose their schools based on the coach that is there. While I won't deny that some may do that, that is not only an oversimplification of it- that is simply the wrong reason by itself. When you recruit, you want to sell the kid on the university and what it offers first and foremost. Because honestly, the coach does not know whether he will be there during their whole tenure. Coach Dooley has the right approach here.

But like I said, at least some of the guys there at ESPN feel differently from the aforementioned Mr. Ware.

I know exactly what you're talking about. I saw it with a friend today and we both were kinda disgusted with Andre's comments. He said it would hurt UT's recruiting. Well, Dooley didn't pitch himself so much as he did UT when he landed Stone, Hunter, Rodgers, etc. With Dooley being up front about committing to a school and a team moreso than the coaches, he's scoring major respectability points with the player's parents. Hunter's mom, as well as Hunter, were sold in their first meeting with Dooley. Also, I believe it was Hamilton who said no player would be released after the weasel's departure. Dooley, I believe, didn't have much to do with Thompkins' departure.

Honestly, I feel that ESPN is still a little sore over not being able to get us on probation back in the late 90's. All that digging and reporting, with zero results. Must've hurt their little feelings.

always_vol (Inactive) writes:

You know what is just odder than hell to me??

Listen up:
in Hs, in Tennessee, way back when:
winter practice, shirts and shoulder pads, small scrimmage daily
spring practice, scrimmage daily. Two 'other school' game scrimmages
fall camp, 3-a-days; instra-squad AND other teams
fall practice, pre-season: 2 other school scrimmages
fall practice, daily: 30 minutes or more scrimmage

Now, look at these multi-million dollar football programs, and see how little they actually PLAY FOOTBALL.

Bruce Pearl was right: for all the money we throw at bigtime college basketball and football, we do a poor job of prepping kids.

realmenwearorange writes:

I want to know what everyone thinks of simms i hope he can make plays with his feet i think we are going to need him to!

nola_vol writes:

The most encouraging thing I got from this article was that the problems cited were discussed in terms like "mistakes" and "not mentally ready" and "hit the film room."

That's a lot better than hearing THE most season-discouraging phrase you NEVER want to hear in August:

"got pushed around."

gnm53108 writes:

in response to nola_vol:

The most encouraging thing I got from this article was that the problems cited were discussed in terms like "mistakes" and "not mentally ready" and "hit the film room."

That's a lot better than hearing THE most season-discouraging phrase you NEVER want to hear in August:

"got pushed around."

What I like most about the article was the absence of a injury report.

Huttdawg100 writes:

Did anyone check out Bray's stats? 11-22 for 153 including a 49 yard bomb. I think our future at QB is set.

gnm53108 writes:

in response to shen24:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

You're wrong.We couldn't care less.

gnm53108 writes:

in response to Huttdawg100:

Did anyone check out Bray's stats? 11-22 for 153 including a 49 yard bomb. I think our future at QB is set.

Key word there is future.

Looks like it's Matt's position to lose.He doesn't have to win it.

smifrat writes:

in response to shen24:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I would watch it if it was anybody else but BAMA! I absolutely hate Bama! They make my skin crawl. Probably wont watch that program :)
GO VOLS! pi$$ on FLA and BAMA!

VOLS_SEC_RULES writes:

in response to SEAL_9821:

Seen were college football live was throwing Dooley and Tennessee under the bus for not releasing Kendrel Thompkins. This is another prime example the media not knowing the facts about what they are saying.

Not that I agree or disagree....but what are the facts on this story? I haven't heard about Thompkins in a while.

gnm53108 writes:

in response to VolnotHAMILTONfan:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

You need theropy.

Bad.

yabadabadoo1026 writes:

in response to Huttdawg100:

Did anyone check out Bray's stats? 11-22 for 153 including a 49 yard bomb. I think our future at QB is set.

quite possibly but mann you are much too easily convinced based on 1 outing--------50% comp is only avg and perhaps a DB got lost or fell down on the bomb------these stats mean nothing

PHAT_VOL writes:

Did anyone check out the leading tackler? John Propst. A true freshman and three star 5.6, according to Rivals. If stars mean anything to ya. From Hoover / B-ham, AL. His size is either 6'2 or 6'4 about 235 lbs depending where you read it. A GPA of 3.88 and ACT of 27. He was a late signee by Dooley. Coach "D" knows what he's doing.
GO VOLS !

CarbonCopy (Inactive) writes:

in response to peyton4prez:

Not a good sign. The D should always be ahead of the O this time of year. Even worse because our O was very questionable coming out of the spring. Justin Wilcox needs to show the vol nation something cause it won't get any easier from here on out.

Step back from the ledge, big boy ........

always_vol (Inactive) writes:

in response to VolnotHAMILTONfan:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

'was always a mediocre program'...

by what measure?? from 48-63?? yep. late 70's? yep.

other than those years, maybe 7 total, there have been rate losing years and even more rate, back to back losing years.

That is a helluva cr@ppy slam on your part. Why do you follow them if you think the program is 'mediocre'????

GerryOP writes:

in response to VolnotHAMILTONfan:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Pitiful troll....

EMBuckles writes:

I remember several years ago when a former UT football coach said that one thing he really missed about Tennessee was their usual crop of big, bull necked linemen. That's what they gotta get, big snortin', growlin', fartin', ferocious hosses who will get out there and kick butt and take names. And speaking of the way things used to be, I remember back in high school, in the late '60s(way, way, back in the day ;>) we didn't have all these fancy, protective helmets and pads. If I'd had the equipment they have nowadays, I'd have gone out there and been the meanest thing on the football field! Get the above mentioned stud hoss linemen, put 'em in the new fangled pads, get 'em all riled up and go out and win games! Yass, indeed! And, as the Witch Doctor says, "bones never lie" ;>

FearTheVols1252 writes:

in response to VandyGrad:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

The problem with you is you look for anything even remotely negative and try to run with it to make it appear to be a much bigger problem than it really is. It was their FIRST scrimmage of Fall camp within a new defensive scheme. This is not exactly surprising news. What I look for is how much they improve from the first scrimmage.

gnm53108 writes:

in response to EMBuckles:

I remember several years ago when a former UT football coach said that one thing he really missed about Tennessee was their usual crop of big, bull necked linemen. That's what they gotta get, big snortin', growlin', fartin', ferocious hosses who will get out there and kick butt and take names. And speaking of the way things used to be, I remember back in high school, in the late '60s(way, way, back in the day ;>) we didn't have all these fancy, protective helmets and pads. If I'd had the equipment they have nowadays, I'd have gone out there and been the meanest thing on the football field! Get the above mentioned stud hoss linemen, put 'em in the new fangled pads, get 'em all riled up and go out and win games! Yass, indeed! And, as the Witch Doctor says, "bones never lie" ;>

"That's what they gotta get, big snortin', growlin', fartin', ferocious hosses who will get out there and kick butt and take names."

1st nomination for best line of the week.

Vol86 writes:

in response to SECFB:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

You must not read these alot. Anyway known fact that espn hates ut, ever sinse the Lee Queerso(Kurso) deal. I just prefer radio anymore. I can not stand the sight of those bungholes.

pdhuff#552644 writes:

As long as the same headline does not appear in week 8 of the season...

jobrando#216494 writes:

Be great if he was Berry over again. Berry was what kept me interested in overall dismal football by the Vols in past years.

ProwlinAndGrowlinSmokeyDog writes:

in response to VolnotHAMILTONfan:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Another ASININE prediction!! You are using your "wishes" for UT as predictions...VOL doesn't even deserve to be in your screenname.

MemphoVol writes:

Inky's name was mentioned in the article. Is he still on staff in some capacity? I hope so.

ProwlinAndGrowlinSmokeyDog writes:

in response to always_vol:

'was always a mediocre program'...

by what measure?? from 48-63?? yep. late 70's? yep.

other than those years, maybe 7 total, there have been rate losing years and even more rate, back to back losing years.

That is a helluva cr@ppy slam on your part. Why do you follow them if you think the program is 'mediocre'????

Get 'Em, untamed_vol!!!

GerryOP writes:

24 -- Fear The Dooley Dude...

Colliervol writes:

in response to VolnotHAMILTONfan:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

One trick pony and now past boring. Is it possible that you know anything that you can state other than continuing to post what you do. The only thing you've ever said on here is that Hamilton stinks and Phil Fulmer is the greatest thing since sliced bread. And both of those are highly debatable. Just because you say it's so certainly means nothing to me or the vast majority of the fans on this site.

Everybody knows that college football runs in cycles and EVERY program has its ups and downs. Just ask USC, Nebraska, Alabama, etc. Even Florida was inexplicably irrelevant until they got a coach that figured out how to harness that talent down there. We are in the down side of the curve right now and it is directly attributable to your boy Phil's failing and Lame Kiffin bailing. End of discussion.

ProwlinAndGrowlinSmokeyDog writes:

in response to gnm53108:

"That's what they gotta get, big snortin', growlin', fartin', ferocious hosses who will get out there and kick butt and take names."

1st nomination for best line of the week.

I agree..That was a very descriptive way to describe the kind of lineman that we need..It was indeed the best line of the week, IMO.

1974Vol writes:

in response to VandyGrad:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Whole new defensive scheme + multiple formations + lots of new guys + old guys in new roles = too much thinkin’ & not enough doin’. It will get better as the defense gets accustomed to their new roles and assignments. Just hope Wilcox’s D scheme implementation goes better than Clawson’s O scheme. By the way no matter what happens with the Vols this year, we can still count on beating Vandy...won't that be 27 out of the last 28?..think so.

Colliervol writes:

in response to always_vol:

'was always a mediocre program'...

by what measure?? from 48-63?? yep. late 70's? yep.

other than those years, maybe 7 total, there have been rate losing years and even more rate, back to back losing years.

That is a helluva cr@ppy slam on your part. Why do you follow them if you think the program is 'mediocre'????

And his comment about "mediocre program" proves without a shadow of a doubt that he is no Vol fan and obviously not a student of history. (Tipped his hand and too stupid to realize it.) If he wasn't irrelevant before, he certainly is now. By unanimous proclamation, he will now be known as NONVOLnotHamiltonFan.

licknpromise777#651578 writes:

No reason to read much into a first scrimmage..We already know Poole's got talent and the defense is a work in progress thats experimenting with lots of guys learning as they go..Only thing really telling in the stats is you can expect the DB's and LB's to make alot of tackles..Just hope those tackles aren't after 15 yard gains..I did notice Hunter is involved early and looks like he may see some good playing time

ProwlinAndGrowlinSmokeyDog writes:

in response to Colliervol:

One trick pony and now past boring. Is it possible that you know anything that you can state other than continuing to post what you do. The only thing you've ever said on here is that Hamilton stinks and Phil Fulmer is the greatest thing since sliced bread. And both of those are highly debatable. Just because you say it's so certainly means nothing to me or the vast majority of the fans on this site.

Everybody knows that college football runs in cycles and EVERY program has its ups and downs. Just ask USC, Nebraska, Alabama, etc. Even Florida was inexplicably irrelevant until they got a coach that figured out how to harness that talent down there. We are in the down side of the curve right now and it is directly attributable to your boy Phil's failing and Lame Kiffin bailing. End of discussion.

CONCUR!!!

Colliervol writes:

in response to VandyGrad:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

As noted before, no Vandy fan should EVER comment on football. Unless of course it is to analyze someone with "less talent" than normal. If anybody could recognize "less talent", it would be you.

nola_vol writes:

in response to SECFB:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

With the possible exception of tree-em-smokey's recent recitation regarding the relative circumference of his left and right cajonettes.

Standards-wise... what I believe we have on our threads here could be called an "entertainingly-low bar" for the bizarre.

Ayres_Hall writes:

in response to PHAT_VOL:

Did anyone check out the leading tackler? John Propst. A true freshman and three star 5.6, according to Rivals. If stars mean anything to ya. From Hoover / B-ham, AL. His size is either 6'2 or 6'4 about 235 lbs depending where you read it. A GPA of 3.88 and ACT of 27. He was a late signee by Dooley. Coach "D" knows what he's doing.
GO VOLS !

I noticed it and suspect that few others did (as they look for only the negative). I liked this kid back in February (his GPA, size, high school, etc.) and hoped he would have the talent and desire to play SEC-calibre ball.

I'm surpised a Frosh LB would be so involved in an early August scrimmage. Then again, the scrimmage stats came from the team so whose to say it was not doctored a bit (to keep secret the real stats).

knoxswim890 writes:

Anyone see that Palardy go 0-2 on field goals with one blocked? That's not a good sign...brings back memories of last year...

dlobh writes:

in response to VandyGrad:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Interesting that you're using the word "fools". Everybody knows that a fool is one who has no sense. And someone who makes statements that are obviously not true has no sense. For proof, you state "how hard these 2 star players will fight". Do you want me to count what a very small percentage of players in UT's last recruiting classes were below 3 stars again for you, like I did the last time? Or would you rather deal in real facts: Tennessee has been ranked in the final AP football poll, which began in 1936, over 40 times, Vanderbilt once. ONCE!!! UT has won 13 SEC football championships since 1933, Vanderbilt ZERO. The University of Tennessee has won multiple national championships in multiple NCAA sports including football, track, swimming, and women's basketball. Vanderbilt has won one - women's bowling. BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!

Pot, meet kettle.

ProwlinAndGrowlinSmokeyDog writes:

in response to knoxswim890:

Anyone see that Palardy go 0-2 on field goals with one blocked? That's not a good sign...brings back memories of last year...

I noticed that..SHEESH!!! Hopefully, that will improve!!!..He wasn't the #1 kicker in HS for no reason..keep fingers x'ed!!

ProwlinAndGrowlinSmokeyDog writes:

in response to dlobh:

Interesting that you're using the word "fools". Everybody knows that a fool is one who has no sense. And someone who makes statements that are obviously not true has no sense. For proof, you state "how hard these 2 star players will fight". Do you want me to count what a very small percentage of players in UT's last recruiting classes were below 3 stars again for you, like I did the last time? Or would you rather deal in real facts: Tennessee has been ranked in the final AP football poll, which began in 1936, over 40 times, Vanderbilt once. ONCE!!! UT has won 13 SEC football championships since 1933, Vanderbilt ZERO. The University of Tennessee has won multiple national championships in multiple NCAA sports including football, track, swimming, and women's basketball. Vanderbilt has won one - women's bowling. BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!

Pot, meet kettle.

Vandy has a bowling team???? ROTFLMAO!!! I guess they have to be good at something!!!

ProwlinAndGrowlinSmokeyDog writes:

in response to ProwlinAndGrowlinSmokeyDog:

Vandy has a bowling team???? ROTFLMAO!!! I guess they have to be good at something!!!

halloffamebowler, no disrespect intended..I was taking at shot at VandyGrad from someone else's post.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to SECFB:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I don't know if you are too young or just weren't paying attention, but in the mid-to-late 90's, ESPN ran a whole series of segments on probes into UT's academic support operation, throwing around all kinds of charges and predicting all kinds of NCAA sanctions. Nothing ever came of it beyond a mild "slap on the wrist". I tend to go both ways on whether or not ESPN has an actual vendetta going against UT, but that is what Bogus was talking about.

civilianvol_formerly_marinevol writes:

in response to gnm53108:

You're wrong.We couldn't care less.

This comment puts you in the lead for best retort of the day.

gnm53108 writes:

in response to civilianvol_formerly_marinevol:

This comment puts you in the lead for best retort of the day.

Thanks marine.

Dont dont why he thinks we want to know whats going on in bamerville.

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