UT looking for opening line

Thomas, Hood show promise at center

Derek Dooley isn't setting his sights very high.

The new Tennessee footballcoach would love to suddenly find a bevy of playable offensive linemen after two weeks of practice, but he admits that probably won't happen.

"It would be nice to have at least eight," Dooley said. "I'm not sure how realistic we are on that. You'd like to have 10 but we're a ways away from that. I hope we can get five."

With sophomore tackle Aaron Douglas' departure on Thursday, the Vols are officially undergoing a complete reconstruction of their offensive line.

Gone are the five starters. Gone are two of the top backups. Gone is any semblance of continuity.

And with a new coaching staff, UT's offensive line has undergone more shuffles this spring than a Las Vegas poker room.

Yet a top five seems to be emerging with sophomore Dallas Thomas at left tackle, redshirt freshman JerQuari Schofield at left guard, senior/converted defensive lineman Victor Thomas at center, senior Jarrod Shaw and freshman Ja'Wuan James at right tackle.

For those keeping track, that's three underclassmen and one converted defensive tackle. No matter, says an optimistic Thomas.

"We're not going to be the weak link on the team, period," Thomas said. "Because we're dominating. That's the way we're looking at it. We're coming hard."

Time will tell. Dooley's staff is looking for five starters but none is more important than a center to handle UT's line calls. The two candidates are Thomas and redshirt freshman Daniel Hood.

"Both of them are showing promise but I think beyond that it's hard to make any more statements," Dooley said. "We have a long way to go and that's a concern. It's a concern for our football team, is finding a good center."

Thomas is improving, according to his teammates, but admits that the line calls are still a bit confusing. Hood is struggling with much more.

The former Catholic High School standout lost 15 pounds when he recently battled strep throat and the flu. Hood is at 260 and said he needs to weigh 285 to play at an SEC level. He said he needs to eat more than 6,000 calories a day during spring practice to gain weight in order to compete with UT's defensive linemen.

"You can tell they've got not just speed behind them, but they've mass behind them too," Hood said. "You've got to have the same mass they do to keep with them and block them."

Unfortunately for UT, Hood's weight is far from its top priority as it tries to build a viable offensive line this spring.

"We have a long way to go on that," Thomas said.

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Comments » 37

CLEMSONVOL716WASBANNED writes:

vols win 76-73 over osu

utfutbolfan writes:

in response to CLEMSONVOL716WASBANNED:

vols win 76-73 over osu

I agree. As much as I LOVE football. It's hard to talk football with the basketball team in the Elite 8!!!!!!!

I cannot believe it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Gator_Hater (Inactive) writes:

ELITE EIGHT BABY!

UTVOLSRROCKN writes:

Way to go Vols! Elite 8! History! GBO!!!!

Gator_Hater (Inactive) writes:

in response to utfutbolfan:

I agree. As much as I LOVE football. It's hard to talk football with the basketball team in the Elite 8!!!!!!!

I cannot believe it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It's not too hard... Okay, it is. But just a thought: We keep hearing and talking about Jawuan James and James Stone. For some reason, it wouldn't surprise me to see Zack Fulton show up in the summer and lock down some p.t. next fall. Marques Pair is probably gonna need a year to add weight, but he'd better get ready to contribute. Just one injury on the line and he's probably in the rotation. Also, what the heck is the deal with Cody Pope? Is he just not that good?

RoadTrip writes:

Will lock in at least one more true freshman OL a game or two into the season. Running two TE sets will help while the OL gains experience. Look for the OL to be fairly solid by mid-October. Then we will see more of the offense.

The pain we will have this year will translate into great happiness in future years as the OL gains experience.

You made us really proud BB Vols!!!!

Gator_Hater (Inactive) writes:

in response to RoadTrip:

Will lock in at least one more true freshman OL a game or two into the season. Running two TE sets will help while the OL gains experience. Look for the OL to be fairly solid by mid-October. Then we will see more of the offense.

The pain we will have this year will translate into great happiness in future years as the OL gains experience.

You made us really proud BB Vols!!!!

I understand your scenario, but it won't do us much good to use 2 TE's if Rivera and Adderly aren't any good. Have a feeling we might get alot of shotgun with Stocker, Moore, Jones, and a freshman with Poole or Williams staying back to block. Could be dead wrong on that one though. However, all these freshmen need to play. If 2 or 3 end up starting, we should have a darn good line in 2-3 years. If Bray develops by then, wow!

givehim6 writes:

Congrats guys on making history let's make the final 4. Now CDD needs to go after linemen O&D, and linebackers, GOD help us if any on goes down. UT needs to have walk on try outs.

Ayres_Hall writes:

in response to ETorange:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Your post is dated March 26. NSD is the first of February. What's so hard to understand?

smokeybitesback writes:

in response to naffy:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

tnsportsman writes:

The QB's in spring practice says the OL is doing GREAT! They should know given their health is in their hands!

GO VOLS!

urbansitstopee writes:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

suttree writes:

GBO . . . great game!! Reminded me of big Bill Duff up ending Heisman Eddie George on 4th and Goal in the Outback bowl back in 1996(?) to secure the win. Always love to beat "THE" Ohio State.

gatorstomper writes:

A d-line man for a center? I thought we were thin on that to? I like the staff but i have to give CDD a F for management of the team after singing day. how do you not notice that Bryce Brown is at practice didn't he have to call before they let him in. I hope it gets normal soon. to much drama for spring practice for me. although i love the basket ball drama coach Pearl AAAAAAAAA+++++

urbansitstopee writes:

in response to FARRAGUT0406:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I'M obscene? ME? . . . HE is the one that is OBSCENE, along with the drunk liar on the west coast that allowed him on the team.

tree_em_smokey writes:

in response to urbansitstopee:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

You are a loser!

tdvol1989 writes:

in response to ETorange:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Let's hope it is just because Dooley is playing catchup. Even if this guy is not a 4/5 Star, it does not matter. O-line is a technique position and we need a lot of them. How can we miss a guy an hour and a half away?

urbansitstopee writes:

in response to tree_em_smokey:

You are a loser!

Again, Hood is the loser.

Gator_Hater (Inactive) writes:

in response to urbansitstopee:

Again, Hood is the loser.

Let it go. Or better yet, go find him and say it to his face.

bigfogg writes:

in response to givehim6:

Congrats guys on making history let's make the final 4. Now CDD needs to go after linemen O&D, and linebackers, GOD help us if any on goes down. UT needs to have walk on try outs.

Don't count on any walk on tryouts. Numbers thing going on at UT New staff does not want uneeded bodies on the practice field. Even if they have not seen them do anything. They have made this very clear.

redskinvol1 writes:

Follow the fullback,with two hands on the ball.Fall forward and move the chains. BB-vols have become the greatest ever.Proud would be an understatment.Number 4 should be retired soon.CBP should get COY award soon.WOW!

wayoutwill writes:

in response to naffy:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I would like to know how it is possible for a person to get their head shoved up their poop shute and if I could locate you and get a good hold on you;I'm quite sure that I could find enough Volunteers to help me prove to myself and any other doubters that it can be done,what I'm saying,naffy,is that we would shove your head up your derry aire if we found you,on second thought,we probably would have to remove your head from your derry-aire first,then,just for kicks,we'd stick it back up it!Why don't you take a flying F%$k at a rolling doughnut,along with your beloved pansie Coach Kiff and his liar jerk sidewinder partner coach O!That's how us real Volunteer fans feel about your stupid suggestion!

TLepage writes:

James stone isn't on campus yet.... should be interesting to see where he ends up in the rotation.... and correct me if i'm wrong, but didn't the KNS or another media outlet report that Dallas Thomas was no longer on the team???? Anyway, glad to see he is competing.... He is a big boy and we need him....

newvolfan writes:

in response to ETorange:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Heard this kid struggled with a DT/Nose from Seymour and it was possible the only D1, D2, kid he has faced.

Don't shoot the messenger.

92volalum writes:

GO VOLS.... if CDD doesn't get it together soon we'll be known as a basketball school...lol

again not sure what the 2010 team will be like but I bet the talent level had some decision in LK leaving.... taking the easy way out.... he's a woman BTW

hope BB comes back, OL is better than we think and the kicking game improves... say 7-5 best case... hold fla and ala from hanging 40 on us in knoxville and get a top 5 rec class...

then BB season will be here again... OMG never thought i would be saying that...

not negative just reality folks... we are not a good football team

pinevol writes:

I still cannot believe Douglas bailed on us. Very disappointing.

everybodyhateskiff writes:

in response to pinevol:

I still cannot believe Douglas bailed on us. Very disappointing.

What is the story on Douglas? I haven't heard anything till this article

VolAlum2003 (Inactive) writes:

in response to tnsportsman:

The QB's in spring practice says the OL is doing GREAT! They should know given their health is in their hands!

GO VOLS!

Do you really think that you're going to get an honest assessment of the Offensive Line from the QB? A QB would have to be crazy to insult his O line...they'll remember the slight come gameday and then it's one trip, one missed assignment and the O-line has its revenge.

Plus, teammates aren't going to criticize other teammates. The QB isn't going to go on record saying that the O-line stinks. These kids are coached from day one to say positive things about their teammates no matter how bad the situation is in reality.

I'm not saying that the O-line is horrible, but trusting a QB's assessment during spring practice...I'm not so sure.

VolAlum2003 (Inactive) writes:

The actual "story" in all of this mess of an article is: why would Aaron Douglas prefer to sit out a year than play for the new coaching staff?

Maybe he really does have "personal issues" that aren't related to football, but maybe there is a deeper problem. I don't know, but I sure would like to see some real investigative journalism instead of the Knox news simply reprinting Dooley's table scraps.

virginiavolfan writes:

in response to VolAlum2003:

The actual "story" in all of this mess of an article is: why would Aaron Douglas prefer to sit out a year than play for the new coaching staff?

Maybe he really does have "personal issues" that aren't related to football, but maybe there is a deeper problem. I don't know, but I sure would like to see some real investigative journalism instead of the Knox news simply reprinting Dooley's table scraps.

I agree with you. I mean we know who the offensive lineman are on the team. Why not give us an article on something that we are interested in like what is up with Aaron Douglas and Bryce Brown? I believe that certain media members are close friends with Douglas dad and they just aren't reporting what they know because of that. I just wish I could read about stuff I was interested in.

tnaseevol writes:

in response to VolAlum2003:

The actual "story" in all of this mess of an article is: why would Aaron Douglas prefer to sit out a year than play for the new coaching staff?

Maybe he really does have "personal issues" that aren't related to football, but maybe there is a deeper problem. I don't know, but I sure would like to see some real investigative journalism instead of the Knox news simply reprinting Dooley's table scraps.

GO to home page, click on football, go down to 3-25-10 on A Douglas asks for release, and read the posts. There is info there.

VolAlum2003 (Inactive) writes:

in response to tnaseevol:

GO to home page, click on football, go down to 3-25-10 on A Douglas asks for release, and read the posts. There is info there.

Thanks! I had read the article, but not the posts.

SEAL_9821 writes:

in response to RoadTrip:

Will lock in at least one more true freshman OL a game or two into the season. Running two TE sets will help while the OL gains experience. Look for the OL to be fairly solid by mid-October. Then we will see more of the offense.

The pain we will have this year will translate into great happiness in future years as the OL gains experience.

You made us really proud BB Vols!!!!

I like it when players have to step up and prove themselves for positions. This will make us better in the future. Tennessee will be fine this year. When you put the backs against the wall, the results are sometimes surprising in any sport. Us Tennessee fans know that from past. All we heard last year in spring was how our recievers were hurting. Well, we had a pretty productive year in that position I thought. KEEP THE FAITH VOLNATION!

DufusMcGee writes:

in response to newvolfan:

Heard this kid struggled with a DT/Nose from Seymour and it was possible the only D1, D2, kid he has faced.

Don't shoot the messenger.

This is very funny! I was at that game. The DT/Nose is a main part of Crowder's Highlight Videos on Youtube. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gVPztX... and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HOJSEJ... #66 Seymour player in Yellow game pants was picking him self up of the ground more this game than all year. Even though Seymour #66 was a great player, he had his toughest game ever cause Crowder flat out whipped him and, oh yea, Seymour Lost! Ha Ha

VolAlum2003 (Inactive) writes:

in response to tnaseevol:

GO to home page, click on football, go down to 3-25-10 on A Douglas asks for release, and read the posts. There is info there.

Ok...IF those rumors are true (and "facts" on a message board are about as reliable as Orgeron not violating recruiting rules), then I say that it's best he transfer to somewhere else. The thing that bothers me is...wtf is wrong with Maryville? How is Maryville the center for aggressive Urban youths in East TN? That's just stupid.

AtLeastMyTeamHasPerfectSeasons writes:

Dave Hooker...

Great article! This is very informative, we want updates on stuff that matters to US as fans, and this one does that. You have been batting about 85% last 10 days or so! Keep it up!

John_10065 writes:

Come on guys, UT football got screwed by "he who shall not be named".

Dooley came in really late with a lot of the un-named recruits left on the team asking to themselves...WTF! If we get to a bowl game this first year it will be a huge success and I guarantee the media will notice that.

It does take a solid OL to run an offense behind but what did we really expect? Let's just cheer them on and get through the first season with our heads held high...

I just hope our starting QB can throw on the run. I see a lot of that coming this season.

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