Derek Dooley talks after Thursday's practice
And then there were none.
At least for the time being.
Derek Dooley hasn't hesitated to offer reminders that Tennessee reported for camp this week with only one returning starter in the defensive front seven. Now the Vols coach is completely out of them for a while after he announced Friday that tackle Malik Jackson would be on the shelf for about two weeks with a sprained right knee.
"We are now zero out of seven, that's right," Dooley said. "But we weren't very good in the front seven last year, so some people would say that's the best news we've had all season.
"Think about it. You heard that saying, 'The good news is we've got everybody back. The bad news is we've got everybody back.' The bad news is we've got zero out of seven, the good news is we've got zero out of seven."
Dooley was clearly joking as he updated the math on his depth chart after Jackson took his pads off and replaced them with a sleeve on his right knee, and the fact the senior should be back in plenty of time for the season opener against Montana likely allowed him to smile.
The Vols do have serious expectations for Jackson coming into his second season with the program, and he was perhaps the most publicized player on the roster over the summer while picking up preseason All-SEC first-team honors from both the coaches and the media in addition to being named to three award watch lists.
Likewise, UT was counting on heavy contributions from linebacker Herman Lathers before he broke an ankle during the offseason to provide the first blow to an already low number of returning starters.
There's still no timetable for a return for Lathers, and the junior continues to watch practice on crutches as he rehabs from his surgery in June. The injury for Jackson is much less serious, but with him out in the short term, the Vols will be auditioning a completely new front seven.
Which, depending on the perspective, can be a good or bad thing.
"It should only be a couple of weeks," Dooley said. "We want Malik back, and we want Herman back.
"We want two out of seven."
Come together: The Vols united the entire roster for the first time since opening practice on Tuesday, and the results didn't seem to be what Dooley was looking for.
But he wasn't blaming a workout he called "sluggish" on the fact that everybody was on the field at the same time.
"It should be better having the whole team, because there are more bodies," Dooley said. "I think it got a little hot out there, they're in their pads and you go through a couple of bad plays, and when bad plays start happening, the coaches get louder and the players get quieter. Then the coaches get louder, and the players get quieter and I start having a headache.
"When the players learn how to get out of those bad plays by them getting louder and having a little leadership to affect others positively, we'll shut up. That's where we need to go."
On the move: The search for help at linebacker and a surplus in the secondary has yielded the first position change.
Dontavis Sapp is starting to get work at linebacker after a promising spring at safety, though the Vols aren't in a hurry to lock him in at either spot for now.
"We're going to move a bunch of guys around to try to figure it out," Dooley said. "We're just kind of getting them in sack, shaking them around and seeing what they can do.
"(Sapp) looks pretty good in there. He's instinctive, he's big and he gives us another body in there. It's good because he can play in sub at safety, so he's got a little hybrid in him."