Dooley explains the final moments of the LSU game
On a typical game week, Sunday serves as Tennessee's players' day of rest - if there is such a thing during football season.
Saturday's game at LSU, of course, wasn't the typical game with a typical outcome, so coach Derek Dooley responded accordingly, summoning his team together Sunday "to shape the message."
In return, the Vols received their second consecutive Monday off from practice.
"I didn't want them to have a day off and have all the fans, their friends, their families talk about how they got screwed because that's not the case," Dooley said. "We need to be accountable for it ... That's what people do."
UT's shortage of depth, a problem that isn't going anywhere anytime soon, also played a part in Dooley's decision, and he didn't rule out canceling a few more Monday practices in the future.
While some of UT's SEC rivals opt to hold a short practice Sunday and take Monday off, Dooley said he prefers to keep his team completely off the field Sundays "because it's like a wasted practice."
"I like the Monday thing because it's an extra practice where you're better prepared for the practice," he said. "it makes for a better Tuesday."
Injury Rundown: Dallas Thomas' only option is to get healthy, Dooley said, because he's without options if he has to replace the sophomore left tackle.
Thomas hurt his ankle during Saturday's game at LSU, but the injury doesn't appear to be serious enough for Dooley to consider tinkering with his inexperienced offensive line.
"Obviously if we knew he was out, we'd have to reshuffle and reteach a lot of stuff," Dooley said. "We're getting a little continuity. I don't want to mess that up."
Defensive tackle Victor Thomas (ankle), kicker Daniel Lincoln (quadriceps) and defensive end Gerald Williams (thumb) are considered "day to day," Dooley said. Center Cody Pope (stinger), guard JerQuari Schofield (foot), defensive back Naz Oliver (ACL), defensive tackle Marlon Walls (Achilles) and Ben Martin (Achilles) are out for the foreseeable future.
Defensive end Chris Walker said Thomas was in the training room twice before noon Monday, "so I think he'll be fine."
Dooley said Pope has been hampered by the "longest stinger injury in the history of college football."
"It might be because he doesn't eat meat," Dooley said. "I'm starting to think that the meat, red meat and chicken, is the cure for stingers. That's my conclusion. We're out of any other medical options, so I'm going to try to force a steak down him tonight."
On Second Thought: Throughout last week, Dooley said freshman tailback Rajion Neal would receive a healthy dose of carries against LSU.
Ultimately, though, Neal didn't touch the ball once Saturday. Starter Tauren Poole, who was hampered by a thigh injury during practice last week, finished with 24 carries and 110 rushing yards, an effort that was recognized by the SEC office.
"It got hard there when you're three-and-outing it all the time," Dooley said. "What we need to do is start the drive with the young ones, even (wide receivers) Da'Rick (Rogers) and Justin (Hunter)."
Tub Talk: Quarterback Matt Simms said he hasn't felt the need to soak in an ice bath this season and probably won't anytime soon.
"I kind of just believe in the natural healing process, I guess," he said.
No SEC quarterback has been sacked more than Simms, who has been taken down 16 times in the past four games. Tennessee ranks last in the SEC and 117th in the nation with 19 sacks allowed.
"The bad thing is I'm going to be on a lot of highlight reels and I don't want to be on their highlight reels," Simms said.
Andrew Gribble can be reached at 865-342-6327.