Nick Stephens would like to think he's the frontrunner for the job as Tennessee's starting quarterback this fall.
"I hope I can bring leadership since I'm a senior, along with the knowledge of the offense, which is similar to last year's, and just being able to make good decisions on a daily basis," Stephens said after Saturday's practice and scrimmage.
Dooley, however, isn't near ready to announce a starter. In fact, Dooley is reluctant to give a hint about who's the leader for the quarterback job - Stephens or junior college transfer Matt Simms.
Asked if Stephens and Simms were about 50-50 on the depth chart for No. 1, Dooley said, "I'm not going to give numbers out."
Dooley said both are working with the first-team offense.
"We're rolling the guys, and Nick and Matt have been rolling with the ones," Dooley said, "and (freshman) Tyler (Bray) is showing some good progress. He's been getting all his reps with the twos, so we're trying to mix it up."
Stephens started six games in 2008, splitting starts and time with departed senior Jonathan Crompton under then-coach Phillip Fulmer.
Crompton won the starting job over Stephens last fall under former coach Lane Kiffin, who replaced Fulmer and left for Southern California after the 2009 season.
Once he decided on Crompton last fall, Kiffin didn't waver.
Stephens played in three games in 2009 in mop-up duty and completed nine of 13 passes for 142 yards with one touchdown and one interception.
Stephens is pleased with how he's performed this spring.
"I think the first couple of days, each day I had a mistake, and I've eliminated those the past three practices and made good decisions with the football and completed a lot of balls in seven-on-seven and team, so I think I've been doing well," said Stephens.
Stephens said he is focused on what he does, not what the other quarterbacks are doing and the snaps they're getting.
"I'm not paying that much attention to it," Stephens said, "but I'm going first and Matt's going second. Other than that, I'm not really thinking about the way (snaps) are split up."
Goal-line Moves: UT's offensive line, still shaken by Aaron Douglas' decision to leave the team on Thursday, had a good day in goal-line drills when it helped the offense score three times in three tries.
"Awesome," Stephens said of the O-Line's performance in the drill. "It's great to see that, punching the ball in and seeing them getting fired up. It just shows progress, and that's something this whole offense needs, and it starts with them. They're doing a great job."
Defensive end Chris Walker was on the receiving end of that drill.
"The offense kind of got us on that one," Walker said, "but like (last) Tuesday, they got us then and we came back on Thursday and got them a little bit."
Walker said the offensive line has something to prove.
"Just playing against them, we've seen that they're going to be better than people think," Walker said. "I just want to let everybody know the offensive line is going to be a good team and they're going to come together and be a good unit."
On the Sidelines: Players wearing red jerseys (limited practice) included linebacker Greg King (knee) and defensive end Ben Martin (knee). Players held out were defensive back Art Evans (shoulder surgery) and linebacker Savion Frazier (knee surgery).
Dave Link is a freelance contributor.