Derek Dooley comments after practice
Tennessee coach Derek Dooley fancies himself as the Roger Goodell of the draft for Saturday's Orange and White game.
Dooley said Tuesday he will serve in the same capacity as the NFL commissioner during the league's annual draft: innocent bystander.
"Roger Goodell is not telling what team who to pick," Dooley said after Tuesday's practice, the 12th of the spring. "That's on them."
"Them," in the Vols' case, will be the team's seniors, who will be split in half after today's practice and then select full-length rosters for the end-of-spring scrimmage at Neyland Stadium.
There had better be someone manning the clock, or the draft will go on for hours.
"We draft everybody in the organization," Dooley said. "It's not just the team. They're drafting their equipment guys, they're drafting their head coaches . . . they're drafting their trainers, their administrative assistants, everybody.
"We're all choosing sides."
News Sentinel sports columnist Mike Strange and Sports Animal talk-show host Mickey Dearstone will inherit the teams and serve as their respective coaches. Both, though, will be up for grabs like everyone else today.
"You learn a lot about the team when those guys are picking teams. It's no different than being in the yard," Dooley said. "The bad draft guys tend to draft their friends, not the best players. They want everyone to be happy and they usually get their tails whipped. The good draft guys take it for what it is, it's business, we're trying to win the football game. And even though my best friend is on the board there, he stinks as a player, I'm not drafting him.
"That's what it comes down to. Do you want to be liked? Or do you want to win?"
Preseason Swag For Waggner: Junior defensive back Prentiss Waggner was one of 42 players from across the country named to the Lott IMPACT Trophy Award Watch List. The award is given annually to the top collegiate defensive player in the country.
Waggner finished his sophomore season with a flurry, tallying five interceptions, three fumble recoveries and three touchdowns on his way to earning second-team All-SEC honors. He also picked up 57 tackles while splitting time between safety and cornerback, which he has continued to do this spring despite recently suffering a hand injury that has forced him to wear a huge cast on his left hand.
Reporters informed Waggner of the nomination after Tuesday's practice.
"It's a big honor for me," he said. "I'll take it."
Waggner said recent X-rays revealed that his hand was not broken.
That hasn't made the injury any less of a bother.
"Everything's going to work out," Waggner said. "It's too condensed right now. It's just a whole bunch of tape and a pad right now and it's just real frustrating."
Big Recruits On Campus: The Vols hosted two big-time visitors Tuesday, as five-star quarterback Zeke Pike (Ft. Mitchell, Ky.) and four-star defensive tackle Sheldon Day (Indianapolis) were seen at practice.
Pike (6-foot-5, 220 pounds) is considered the No. 3 quarterback in the 2012 class, according to 247sports.com. Day (6-2, 278) is considered the 12th-best at defensive tackle.