Gerald Jones had reservations about Derek Dooley at first glance.
Tennessee's senior receiver thought that Dooley's law pedigree would mean Jones' new football coach would be overly uptight.
"I didn't know if I was going to like that guy," Jones said flashing a wide grin.
Ask Jones - or any UT player - what they think of Dooley now, and you'll get another answer.
"I got to know the guy, and let me tell you, he's a great guy," Jones said.
"He demands perfection, he's very competitive, but on the other side he's a comedian. He keeps us laughing, keeps football fun."
Denarius Moore had fewer reservations than Jones.
"I knew I was really going to like him," said the senior receiver. "He wanted to interact with players, and he also keeps it funny. He knows when to play around and joke with us and when to be serious."
Dooley knew the importance of his first impression on a group of players that had been through the turmoil and upheaval of two coaching changes within 14 months.
"I knew it was a real fragile football team," he said. "I knew I wasn't going to win 'em over on a great Knute Rockne speech, and so I didn't try to do that."
"He was very direct with us," said cornerback Marsalis Teague.
Dooley's impression quickly won over two of UT's senior leaders - defensive end Chris Walker and linebacker Nick Reveiz.
"When he came in, just the command in his voice was something that we needed," Walker said. "He wasn't going to ask us to trust him. He was really sympathetic of the situation we'd been in, and that's something that we were looking for."
"Once he came in and showed us that he wanted to be here for a while, I think that's when all my trust went into him."
Said Reveiz: "He had my respect when he said, 'Hey, I've got to earn your respect.' He realized that we were hurting at that time and we needed someone to comfort us, and that's what he did."
Now that the Vols have had time to get to know Dooley, they all share the same confidence in their new coach that he exudes.
"He has all the intangibles that we need to be successful," Teague said.
"I know he's going to make decisions," Walker said, "that are great for this program,"
Status Update: Janzen Jackson is set to return to practice today.
The sophomore safety missed practice all last week with a hamstring injury.
Patrick Brown is a freelance contributor.