My mentality just the whole time is to attack it, and if you mess up, get it fixed and just keep hitting it every day, one after another.
Collectively the pressure may be going up on the Tennessee defensive line.
Considering there's one less person bearing the load after the dismissal of Montori Hughes last week, that simple fact should come as no surprise.
But individually, Daniel Hood isn't feeling any additional burden on his broad shoulders now that even more of the responsibility to deliver at defensive tackle has shifted his way. His role, his mind-set and his chance to make a major impact for the Vols in the trenches hadn't really changed since he left spring at the top of the depth chart, and one fewer backup didn't do anything to alter Hood's perspective this summer.
"My mentality just the whole time is to attack it, and if you mess up, get it fixed and just keep hitting it every day, one after another," Hood said during a break from running the power tools last Saturday at UT's Habitat for Humanity house. "I think it does (change things overall), just because Montori was incredibly talented. We needed him to be there for that role to help us because of what he was good at.
"Now that he's not there, you know, the other guys have to pick up the slack, the freshmen coming in have to work even harder so they can fill that role. So that puts more pressure on us, but I think we'll be equipped to deal with it."
The addition of highly touted transfer Maurice Couch is certainly at the top of the list of reasons the Vols aren't mourning the loss of the mercurial Hughes, a player who struggled to maximize his potential throughout his UT career before it ended last Thursday. But the move of Hood from the offensive line to defensive tackle figures to be just as valuable for the Vols, particularly after he won a job after just 15 spring workouts at his new position.
In some respects Hood is still adjusting to life on the other side of the ball, which takes a bit of creativity in the summer when nobody is wearing pads. But as his transition continues and Hood gets more familiar with the position, if nothing else he could help provide a solid three-man rotation with Malik Jackson and Couch with Corey Miller and Joseph Ayres not far behind.
"I mean, you can always work on your explosiveness on bags," Hood said. "You can work on hand placement, granted it's a 300-pound man coming at you instead of a little dummy, but we can get together and have a guy acting like he's an offensive lineman going one way and we can work on our steps.
"Of course, we all get together with the offensive line and defensive live and have a team-run kind of deal when we get a chance. So, we actually get a chance to go against an offensive lineman, granted there's no pads or anything so it's a little different, but you can still fine tune some of those little skills and work on the little stuff, opening up your hips in pass rush. The main thing is that explosive power."
Hood has plenty of that in his 6-foot-4, 293-pound frame, and his size combined with his long blond hair and scraggly beard made him a dead ringer for comic-book hero Thor over the weekend.
The Vols don't necessarily need him to be their savior now that Hughes is out of the picture. But it will be more important for Hood now to make sure that loss isn't noticed this fall.
"There's not any more incentive now than there was before," said Hood. "So my whole mind-set is just to keep getting better."