Vols shuffle roster on eve of practice

University of Tennessee football coach Derek Dooley talks about the upcoming season during a media luncheon Monday, Aug. 1, 2011 at Neyland Stadium. The Vols' first fall practice is Tuesday and the team opens the season Sept. 3 against Montana.

Photo by Paul Efird

University of Tennessee football coach Derek Dooley talks about the upcoming season during a media luncheon Monday, Aug. 1, 2011 at Neyland Stadium. The Vols' first fall practice is Tuesday and the team opens the season Sept. 3 against Montana.

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There was stability unseen at Tennessee for years, but a roster of more than 100 players couldn't escape the summer without a handful of developments heading into the start of fall practice.

Highlighted by the transfer of sparsely used running back Toney Williams, coach Derek Dooley had a lengthy list of internal moving parts to address at his Monday news conference.

Williams, who battled multiple injuries and carried the ball just five times in his two years with the Vols, plans to transfer, but hasn't done so yet. Dooley said he wasn't sure where Williams was headed.

"We wish him the best," Dooley said.

Freshmen defensive backs Tino Thomas and Geraldo Orta won't be with the team when the Vols have their first practice this afternoon. Both players, who are currently enrolled in summer classes, had offseason shoulder surgeries. One of the players could be ready to join the team within a week, but Dooley did not specify who had a better chance.

If all of the Vols who are currently enrolled in classes qualify to play in 2011, one of the signees will be forced to grayshirt.Freshman offensive tackle Antonio Richardson is also recovering from shoulder surgery and will not see contact through the first few days of practice.

"He's not 100 percent," Dooley said. "He can still bench press probably more than 98 percent of the team. We got to ease him in."

Cornerback C.J. Fleming will not join the team until fall semester classes begin Aug. 17. A senior, Fleming has seen the field in six games over the past two seasons.

Defensive end Ben Martin, who is recovering from his second Achilles' tendon surgery, is ready to practice, but will be viewed as a work in progress. Martin last played in 2009, when he had 3.5 sacks and saw action in all 13 games.

"We can't forget that he hasn't played a down since I've been the coach here, so we're going to ease him into this stuff," Dooley said. "We don't want to go out there full go on the first day and something goes bad."

Defensive end Jacques Smith, who underwent two foot surgeries since spring practice, "seems to be full go," Dooley said. Linebacker Herman Lathers, meanwhile, is a "couple months away" as he continues to recover from a broken ankle.

The Vols will trot out 104 players for today's practices, a total that is one shy of the NCAA maximum for pre-season practices before the fall semester. Roster sizes expand to an unlimited amount after the start of fall classes.

Seventy-nine of the 104 are currently on scholarship, a total that is six shy of the NCAA maximum.

"I mentioned (before) that it would take three full recruiting years to get up to 85. That's OK," Dooley said. "We're way ahead of where we were a year ago."

Split Squad: The Vols' young players won't be thrown fully into the fire at today's practice. That will have to wait until Friday.

Over the next three days, UT's freshmen, along with various walk-ons, will practice separately from the veteran players. The veterans will report to Haslam Field at 2:15 p.m., while the newcomers will start at 7:45 p.m.

"It builds them up and lets them get a feel for what's going on," senior running back Tauren Poole said. "I'm pretty sure it's kind of tough going right in from freshmen straight into with the veterans. The vets, we'll be able to play fast, so the game won't slow down with the freshmen in there."

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Comments » 16

OrangePsyched writes:

Good to hear that Ben is recovered. This adds to the depth of our line. Jacques..let your inner beast out dude. We should be stronger in the second half of games this year. Wilcox will be able to show a multitude of looks that will cause OC's preparing for Tennessee a lot of headaches's. IF we can stay healthy I think that 8-4 is more realistic than some people think.

thetrollhunter writes:

Dooley looks like he had doobie before he took that pic. GO VOLS!

Strap writes:

Some very good information, but where's the roster shuffle???

Mtnbiker writes:

Think they're calling the adding of names and removal of names "Roster" changes. Better title might have been Injury update.

Goodvol_1 writes:

I'm assuming the rookies will start at 7:45am and not 7:45pm like the article says. I'm just glad they are practicing no matter the time!

easleychuck writes:

As another poster mentioned, what got shuffled.

TitanandVolfan4life writes:

IT'S FOOTBALL TIME IN TENNESSEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!

YEEEEEEEEE HAWWWWWWWW!!!!

VFL...GO BIG ORANGE!!!!!!!!!

TheSolution2TheProblem writes:

Looks pretty basic to me. No big deal.

ProwlinAndGrowlinSmokeyDog writes:

Underneath the article about the DB's, I didn't even mention Thomas and Orta..Maybe they will be redshirted..I remember last year that this was area of concern and now we have so many that I forgot a few until I had time to think about it..That's a good problem to have...I hope it's that way with the DL and LB's next year..

Smokey is on the prowl for football action and says "IT'S FOOTBALL TIME IN TENNESSEE!!!"..

VOLliven2it writes:

Gonna be a fun team to watch, painful at times no doubt but fun and I guarantee you the new guys who get a chance to get in there will play their hearts out and that is all we should ever ask. 9-4 is a bit overly optimistic. I would, however, take it. Even if we get 8 wins in the season, I am unsure with such a young bunch we could beat competition in a bowl on that level. But it is possible and I'd love to see it. BRING ON THE SEASON! My blood has turned orange and I live in GA! GO VOLS!

Brillovol writes:

in response to Tweetdriver63:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Ah, preseason. Hope springs eternal. This kind of optimism has me ready to go talk smack to a Bammer.

GBO!

MusicCityVol writes:

Glad to see this all get ironed out. First practice today!!!! It's almost here.

Tennessee's Top Ten In-State Prospects
http://www.checkerboardchatter.com/20...

FiftyOne writes:

My crystal ball is cloudy but I see 7-5 for the regular season. I would say 8-4 but I just do not see the Vols beating LSU this year(even though we owe them one for last year).

copia69296 writes:

It would be nice have more information on some of the new players. I am full of Tyler Bray updates.

Tnjimmy writes:

I've moved to In. (family thing) Hows the best way to get the Vols games? Any Ideas?

Southland writes:

8 wins will be a good year. Just curious are you Dooley haters the folks that thought Kiffin was going to do something even though he had never accomplished didlysquat. all he was a punk that talked a lot and how about his ol dad as a defensive genius. Gave up record yardage at USC this past season

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