Dooley likes cornerbacks' improvement

Gerald Jones and Eric Gordon don't have the best on-field relationship.

"Me and Eric, we go at it," said Jones, Tennessee's senior receiver. "I swear, if you saw us practice, you wouldn't think we liked each other."

The feelings are mutual.

"Those guys (the receivers) are my buddies off the field, but when you're on the field there's no homeboys," said Gordon, a redshirt freshman cornerback.

"I've got to get those guys ready for Saturdays. I feel like they're not going to face a better corner than me."

"Feisty, physical, he's a pain in my you-know-what," Jones joked. "But I love it, he gets me better every day and reminds me how physical I need to be."

Gordon and the rest of UT's secondary drew compliments from coach Derek Dooley following Monday's practice.

"Compared to where we were this spring," Dooley said, "we're light years ahead."

The Vols were without two cornerbacks in the spring. Junior Art Evans, a returning starter, was sidelined after shoulder surgery, and Marsalis Teague was still playing receiver.

Teague, a sophomore out of Henry County High School in Paris, was moved to defense at the beginning of fall camp, a change that has brought positive returns thus far.

"He's doing a hell of a job," Jones said. "He's really surprised me."

Teague gives the Vols a dynamic option when UT goes to its nickel package.

"Marsalis Teague has been just a tremendous addition, and he's going to be a real key player for us," Dooley said. "He's a good athlete, and he's the perfect corner prospect, and I think he'll get better in time."

Gordon has also drawn a lion's share of praise.

"Eric Gordon has been getting better every week," Dooley said. "He gets out of position, but then he recovers and he's made a lot of plays. In the spring he wasn't recovering as well. What he's learned to do is not panic."

Jones calling Gordon "feisty" drew a solid laugh from the former Nashville Hillsboro standout.

"It's probably pretty accurate," Gordon said. "I'm trying to take one of their heads off every play. You've got to be aggressive. It's my style."

Jones battles Gordon's aggressiveness and UT's secondary every day in practice, so his assessments are accurate.

"Athletically, they're just phenomenal," he said.

"I'm confident that they'll get the job done."

King Returns: Linebacker Greg King returned to practice after suffering a deep bone bruise in his surgically repaired knee.

"I feel wonderful," said the sophomore, a former standout at Memphis Melrose. "I feel like I could run a thousand miles."

Status Update: Dooley had no news on freshman receiver Justin Hunter's status, though optimism remains.

Hunter, who's waiting on the resolution of an issue with the NCAA Clearinghouse, was at practice Monday wearing a boot on his sore foot.

Dooley said Hunter's situation surprised him.

"That was sort of a left hook from the sky," he said, "but there's nothing we can do about it but sit and wait."

Dooley also had no news on defensive back signee Eddrick Loften.

Fullback Kevin Cooper and safety Brent Brewer, who injured his groin in Saturday's scrimmage, also didn't practice but worked out on the side.

Game Day Changes: UT has changed the start of the "Vol Walk," the team's walk across campus to the stadium, to two hours and 15 minutes before kickoff.

The Pride of the Southland Band's "Salute to the Hill" march will begin an hour and 40 minutes before the game.

Patrick Brown is a freelance contributor.

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Comments » 34

KnoxKiffin writes:

Ain't them vols great.

mdvol writes:

Good article about the DB's. Good article about Simms. Things are starting to shape up. Our 1's are going to be athletic but young across the board. Low expectations from everyone but we are going to surprise some damn people. We will upset either Florida or Alabama.

CHITOWNVOL writes:

we need this secondary to be rock solid; probably asking too much. that loften situation is unfortunate. the ncaa needs to be more proactive. does anybody have any word on Martaze Jackson, the other recruit being evaluated by the NCAA?

RoadTrip writes:

I like the way you write, PB. Interesting with real info. Keep them coming.

CDD and the local sportswriters must be setting the gold standard for poor mouthin' the Vols prospects for winning this season. When it comes down to it we are downgraded in talent in 3 positions - Saftey, DT and RB. If they can patch the two big position holes on defense along with upgraded play of the returning starters, and if Poole and Oku step up as a tandem - we are not that much different than last year. We have better talent starting overall on the O-Line with better reserves - they just need live game experience. I mean we had two 260 lb'ers starting in the interior last year! They strongly upgraded on receivers. They strongly upgraded the kicking game. I'm thinking that Simms is at least equal with Crompton. 2008 and the start of last season were just plain awful with him. Time will tell I guess. Glad the time is soon!

GBO!

Huttdawg100 writes:

Coach Dooley should wear his signature hat for the big rivals against Bama and Florida like Coach Bruce Pearl wears his orange blazer against Kentucky and Florida.

abnerPeabody writes:

in response to KnoxKiffin:

Ain't them vols great.

Yep,and they speek good anglish just like you done do.

UTByrd writes:

in response to abnerPeabody:

Yep,and they speek good anglish just like you done do.

Duz yer front toofs look lak a 7-10 split? Sorry, couldn't resist.
Go VOLS!!!!!

clvolfan writes:

in response to RoadTrip:

I like the way you write, PB. Interesting with real info. Keep them coming.

CDD and the local sportswriters must be setting the gold standard for poor mouthin' the Vols prospects for winning this season. When it comes down to it we are downgraded in talent in 3 positions - Saftey, DT and RB. If they can patch the two big position holes on defense along with upgraded play of the returning starters, and if Poole and Oku step up as a tandem - we are not that much different than last year. We have better talent starting overall on the O-Line with better reserves - they just need live game experience. I mean we had two 260 lb'ers starting in the interior last year! They strongly upgraded on receivers. They strongly upgraded the kicking game. I'm thinking that Simms is at least equal with Crompton. 2008 and the start of last season were just plain awful with him. Time will tell I guess. Glad the time is soon!

GBO!

Worked for the "BEAR" for many years. He led you to believe they did not belong on the field with a high school team. And, the athletes these days are very quick to get the bighead..Go CDD.

jhayes0926#638474 writes:

in response to mdvol:

Good article about the DB's. Good article about Simms. Things are starting to shape up. Our 1's are going to be athletic but young across the board. Low expectations from everyone but we are going to surprise some damn people. We will upset either Florida or Alabama.

need to put the koolaid away!! You can be optimistic without being crazy. I would settle for beating S.Car. and Ole Miss right now.

abnerPeabody writes:

in response to UTByrd:

Duz yer front toofs look lak a 7-10 split? Sorry, couldn't resist.
Go VOLS!!!!!

Use to. But I converted it with the help of my dentist.

martintnvol writes:

in response to mdvol:

Good article about the DB's. Good article about Simms. Things are starting to shape up. Our 1's are going to be athletic but young across the board. Low expectations from everyone but we are going to surprise some damn people. We will upset either Florida or Alabama.

Could happen.

DannyVol writes:

in response to jhayes0926#638474:

need to put the koolaid away!! You can be optimistic without being crazy. I would settle for beating S.Car. and Ole Miss right now.

You go ahead and "settle." It's 11 days before kickoff, some of us like to talk about beating anybody and everybody...just like we did when we were kids. That's the fun of it, every team is 0-0 right now.

gnm53108 writes:

in response to DannyVol:

You go ahead and "settle." It's 11 days before kickoff, some of us like to talk about beating anybody and everybody...just like we did when we were kids. That's the fun of it, every team is 0-0 right now.

Get em Danny.

Digital5000 writes:

Emmm!!! With this young secondary, I like where we're going.

"I feel like they're not going to face a better corner than me." - Eric Gordon

Thats what I like to hear.

-Enjoy Yourselves

gnm53108 writes:

in response to mdvol:

Good article about the DB's. Good article about Simms. Things are starting to shape up. Our 1's are going to be athletic but young across the board. Low expectations from everyone but we are going to surprise some damn people. We will upset either Florida or Alabama.

Or both.

FearTheVols1252 writes:

in response to DC_BackByPopularDemand:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

You can't spell d!ck without DC. Always a pleasure to see you here spreading more joy throughout the forums.

smifrat writes:

in response to DC_BackByPopularDemand:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

What a nice comment! Thanks for being a DiCk!

Ayres_Hall writes:

We can beat Oregon, Georgia, Ole Miss, and USCe and along with the ususal suspects of Martin, UAB, UK, and Vandy that'll make for a very good season.

illinoisvolfan writes:

Great to see an article about the team from a KNS writer. The best info up to this point about the team has been coming out of Chattanooga.

As great as Eric Berry was, seeing the secondary step up as a whole could make the entire unit better this season. GBO!!

hikerdude writes:

No matter how good the DBs are, they can't survive without pressure on the QB. I'm doubtful we can get that from the D-line. Hope Wilcox can scheme it so the pressure is there.

monsterman writes:

I am very optimistic about having Gordon and Teague in the same defensive backfield. Having seen both play in person during their high school careers, I can honestly say that I can not imagine having too better pure athletes playing back there. I am looking for great things from those too in the years too come and JJ is pretty good too!

DC_Vol writes:

in response to DC_BackByPopularDemand:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Hello DC,

I have been waiting for you to complain about strength of schedule. For years, everyone knows Florida has one of the weakest out of conference schedules in all of NCAA football. This year is no different. Man, like a dear you walked right into the headlights of oncoming traffic with your comment. LOL

Sat, Sep 4 Miami University Gainesville
Sat, Sep 11 USF Gainesville
Sat, Nov 20 Appalachian State Gainesville

True Florida fans should be upset at having to buy tickets to these weak opponents and ask for your money back. You should expect more competiveness from your atheletic director.

LiveFaith writes:

in response to hikerdude:

No matter how good the DBs are, they can't survive without pressure on the QB. I'm doubtful we can get that from the D-line. Hope Wilcox can scheme it so the pressure is there.

I disagree here. Remember Chris Walker is already a problem for SEC defenses and possibly a 1st or 2nd round NFL pick. Gerald Williams and Malik Jackson will also bring heat. Montori will be a beast in the middle. Would have been even better with Ben in the rotation.
Now we are thin at DT after the injuries and JB non start. Late in games the wheels may come off. If we lose Montori or another DT to injury, we are going to be in a bigger pickle in the middle.
I see the exposure coming in the middle against the run, especially later in games.

ProwlinAndGrowlinSmokeyDog writes:

Hearing about all these players and their great attitude makes me even more ready for football season to arrive..If Gordon hits half as hard as Inky Johnson, then he will be one he!! of a hitter..AND not to mention how hard JJ hits...There will be some hard hitting Vols out there that will knock someone senseless..CAN'T WAIT!!

KnoxKiffin writes:

in response to RichieRich:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Everyone loved that name last year. What happened?

KnoxKiffin writes:

in response to abnerPeabody:

Yep,and they speek good anglish just like you done do.

Please don't be too hard on me as I only finished the 6th grade.

Lizardgrad89 writes:

in response to DC_Vol:

Hello DC,

I have been waiting for you to complain about strength of schedule. For years, everyone knows Florida has one of the weakest out of conference schedules in all of NCAA football. This year is no different. Man, like a dear you walked right into the headlights of oncoming traffic with your comment. LOL

Sat, Sep 4 Miami University Gainesville
Sat, Sep 11 USF Gainesville
Sat, Nov 20 Appalachian State Gainesville

True Florida fans should be upset at having to buy tickets to these weak opponents and ask for your money back. You should expect more competiveness from your atheletic director.

USF is a Big East school, and you neglected to mention FSU.

Yes, I realize you were giving the home schedule and FSU is a road game, but if you are going to bash the OOC, at least post the entire thing.

Two BCS schools, a "preseason" game and a "homecoming" game is not a bad OOC. Sorry to burst your bubble like that.

BreatheUT writes:

I'm liking this dynamic duo at corner for the Vols!

VolGrad writes:

in response to VOLstuckINky:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Sounds like you are expecting us to lose him for the year.

I have heard no indication of that.

TommyJack writes:

in response to KnoxKiffin:

Everyone loved that name last year. What happened?

Not everyone

Mule_Days_King writes:

in response to RockyTopRenegade:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Expect Urban to report that the team is fighting some sort of mysterious disease again.
What's prevalent in Gainesville this time of year?

Mule_Days_King writes:

in response to RockyTopRenegade:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I was also thinking of jort rash but yours works too. :)

abnerPeabody writes:

in response to KnoxKiffin:

Please don't be too hard on me as I only finished the 6th grade.

Just haveing a little fun .I didn't intend to be taken serious.Life is too short and precious to be putting people down.Ain't nobody perfect except me.Of this world I mean.

smifrat writes:

in response to Mule_Days_King:

Expect Urban to report that the team is fighting some sort of mysterious disease again.
What's prevalent in Gainesville this time of year?

"What's prevalent in Gainesville this time of year?"
Stupidity! :)

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