LB Herman Lathers puts on pads, practices with Vols

Nearly five months since he broke his ankle and for the first time since the Music City Bowl last season, Tennessee linebacker Herman Lathers strapped on the pads and practiced with the Vols.

Lathers, a redshirt junior who wore a green, non-contact jersey, won't play Saturday against Middle Tennessee State and his status for the remainder of the season remains a "day by day" ordeal, but Tuesday's activity was considered a step in the right direction.

"I wouldn't say he's full blow ready to go but it was good to see him get his pads on and take a couple of hits," coach Derek Dooley said. "We're just kind of monitoring day by day. He's not close to 100 percent."

Lathers was second on the Vols with 75 tackles last season. He sat out all of spring practice because of off-season shoulder surgery and was close to getting back to full strength when he suffered what many players described as a "nasty" fracture to his left ankle.

"I told him he needs to stop collecting checks on the sidelines and go do some work," defensive tackle Malik Jackson joked. "I'm glad he's back out here working."

Dooley was pleased with the practice, the first physical activity for the team since last Saturday's 14-3 loss to South Carolina. The days off were planned far in advance, Dooley said, and would have occurred even if the Vols were undefeated.

"It's all based on calendar and it was something that you know right in the beginning of the season when you're doing it," Dooley said. "The monotony of doing something so many weeks in a row can take its toll. I could see it really taking its toll almost earlier with our young guys."

Andrew Gribble may be reached at 865-342-6327. Follow him at http://twitter.com/Andrew_Gribble and http://blogs.knoxnews.com/gribble

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Comments » 32

Volunatic writes:

Wow. Good news for a change!

tennvolsman19651965 writes:

Lathers coming back would be great news. He may be that leader that we have been looking for this season. Hopefully, his leadership wont be too little too late. But coming back just in time for the Arky, Vandy and Kentucky stretch is good news. I hope he gets into "football" shape soon.

dwa7#337691 writes:

early predict:
Vols 41
MTSU 17

62vol writes:

in response to 10seVol85:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

When a team has a big lead, they put in the substitutes to develope them. The scoring gets to be unpredictable when that occurs but usually the other team manages to score. This really screws up scoring sreads/predictions.

VolzsFan writes:

With Lathers back I am predicting a win. GoVols!! However, they cannot score 41 against air. 27-17 is more like it. The sad part is the biggest blow out of the year is coming the week after.

givehim6 writes:

in response to tennvolsman19651965:

Lathers coming back would be great news. He may be that leader that we have been looking for this season. Hopefully, his leadership wont be too little too late. But coming back just in time for the Arky, Vandy and Kentucky stretch is good news. I hope he gets into "football" shape soon.

Just being at practice hopfully will bring a positive spark to the vols, it might be enough for UT to get a win this would be positive also. Team has been living in a black hole all Oct. (just like last year). Maybe Vols can turn it around in Nov. (like last year).

CantStandCantStandSaban writes:

Woohoo! Welcome back, young man.

keepitreal4vols writes:

Lets keep our expectations in check. Dream big if you want to but the guy hasn't seen the field nor put on pads in almost a year! He missed all of spring practice, most all of fall camp and all of the regular season so far. He is not football ready YET.
Besides, the LB position isn't our problem. Chaney and his 119th ranked running game is why we can't get a W. Ughhhhh

MemphisHog writes:

Glad the kid is back, and hope you get several more of your injured guys back in two weeks for the game against the Hogs. I know neither team will be at full strength, but we want your best shot.

D60 writes:

in response to dwa7#337691:

early predict:
Vols 41
MTSU 17

We couldn't score 41 pts against the girls soccer team

voloffaith writes:

in response to D60:

We couldn't score 41 pts against the girls soccer team

You get the 'Bluebird of Happiness' award for being so upbeat today..........

trubleoj#657755 writes:

yeah Memphis piggie, I am hoping Lathers will be near full speed and in a Witch Doctor mojo miracle Bray is able to go. I talked a lot of trash to NWA friends in Aug/Sept and I would rather be buying the drinks on Dickson St than having them bought for me (for photo ops in front of the goal posts like '99). Wish I had more Big Orange support but I am resigned to be all alone at George's Majestic Friday and Saturday nights (Yes I have been to all Fayetteville games- both UT losses and even the 1992 loss in Knoxville).

Timbo_Slice writes:

Some good news for a change! Now if #8 can get healthy soon enough to finish out the season??? I heard Eric Ainge say he wouldn't recommend him to play until he is absolutely 100%, which sounded like he wouldn't want him to play any the remainder of the season. I wasn't sure how to take his comments. Even though he has been there and played with an injured hand I have to dis-agree. Imo the team needs Bray, even if he's only 80%!

Ironcity writes:

in response to keepitreal4vols:

Lets keep our expectations in check. Dream big if you want to but the guy hasn't seen the field nor put on pads in almost a year! He missed all of spring practice, most all of fall camp and all of the regular season so far. He is not football ready YET.
Besides, the LB position isn't our problem. Chaney and his 119th ranked running game is why we can't get a W. Ughhhhh

Glad Herman is back practicing but I would be shocked if he plays this year. I see a medical redshirt here.

volfanz writes:

in response to 10seVol85:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

No way MTSU scores more than 14 on us....we've had our dings, but for the most part, the Defense has done a stellar job with what they have. Feel bad that the offense simply refuses to help them out! How bout Malik at DT! Been a beast fighting with double and tripple teams all year! I wish Prentiss could somehow stay at corner, obviously his best position....If he started, stayed, and ended the season at corner, he would have been all SEC in my opinion.

volfanz writes:

in response to keepitreal4vols:

Lets keep our expectations in check. Dream big if you want to but the guy hasn't seen the field nor put on pads in almost a year! He missed all of spring practice, most all of fall camp and all of the regular season so far. He is not football ready YET.
Besides, the LB position isn't our problem. Chaney and his 119th ranked running game is why we can't get a W. Ughhhhh

Amen! Chaney has got to go after the season...I'm all for Dooley giving it another year, but he's got to get some quality help on the OC side of the ball, something Chaney just can't provide!

bUTchVFL writes:

in response to volfanz:

Amen! Chaney has got to go after the season...I'm all for Dooley giving it another year, but he's got to get some quality help on the OC side of the ball, something Chaney just can't provide!

Really? The OL coach is the one that needs a butt chewing. Of course it would help to have a top shelf RB. Recruit, develop, repeat..........Patience vols fans. We will return.

CrankE writes:

in response to Timbo_Slice:

Some good news for a change! Now if #8 can get healthy soon enough to finish out the season??? I heard Eric Ainge say he wouldn't recommend him to play until he is absolutely 100%, which sounded like he wouldn't want him to play any the remainder of the season. I wasn't sure how to take his comments. Even though he has been there and played with an injured hand I have to dis-agree. Imo the team needs Bray, even if he's only 80%!

Erik Ainge said that!? Hey, wasn't he the guy who played basically the entire 2007 season at less than 100%?

Ah, for the good old days of dink and dunk with no pass traveling farther than 15 yards. Sigh.

Ironcity writes:

in response to volfanz:

Amen! Chaney has got to go after the season...I'm all for Dooley giving it another year, but he's got to get some quality help on the OC side of the ball, something Chaney just can't provide!

Chaney was great when bray was the QB. No Talent leads to lousy looking offense. Now we could turn to running the flexbone like Navy or Ga tech but then we loose every commitment we have. No Chaney is pretty good he just needs to have a few bullets for his gun.

MemphisHog writes:

in response to trubleoj#657755:

yeah Memphis piggie, I am hoping Lathers will be near full speed and in a Witch Doctor mojo miracle Bray is able to go. I talked a lot of trash to NWA friends in Aug/Sept and I would rather be buying the drinks on Dickson St than having them bought for me (for photo ops in front of the goal posts like '99). Wish I had more Big Orange support but I am resigned to be all alone at George's Majestic Friday and Saturday nights (Yes I have been to all Fayetteville games- both UT losses and even the 1992 loss in Knoxville).

You mean you were there for "Stoerner's Revenge" in '99? Great memory for us Hog fans but, sadly, there haven't been many against the Vols. I was in Neyland for the big egg we laid during Fulmer's last year; my first trip to Neyland and have to say my impression on leaving was that the fans were a lot more cordial to us that I had expected. Here's hoping you enjoy everything about the trip to Fayetteville this year except the final score. Look for me at the BrewHouse on Dickson after the game.

TNVolunteers57 writes:

I hope he can begin to play at least by the Vandy game.

SummittsCourt writes:

in response to D60:

We couldn't score 41 pts against the girls soccer team

I guess it's a good thing you don't play on the Vols football team.

jobrando#216494 writes:

in response to Ironcity:

Chaney was great when bray was the QB. No Talent leads to lousy looking offense. Now we could turn to running the flexbone like Navy or Ga tech but then we loose every commitment we have. No Chaney is pretty good he just needs to have a few bullets for his gun.

His west coast offense looks pitiful. Tyler was not doing so good aganst his only quaility opponent GA. I agree Channey needs to return to the west coast. We need to pony up the money and get a real SEC OC,a RB coach, fitness and OLine coach. Wilcox I give my blessing. I respect your opinion but disagree about channey.

SummittsCourt writes:

It's a good sign to start getting some of these injuried players back on the field. Their services will be needed in whatever capacity the rest of the way.

all we are left wondering is what might have been had the Vols been able to field a healthy team all season.

snakeplissken writes:

in response to slaw_way:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Lathers already has a redsirt season, so unless he appeals for a rare 6th season to the NCAA, he's a Junior whether he plays or not. And if he appeals, the NCAA won't answer until after 2013, his Senior season. Not knowing if he'd win the appeal, it's best to get him back on the field asap. He's the fastest LB we have and we desperately need his speed.

osbymartin75 writes:

in response to slaw_way:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Hey...check out the second paragraph..he has already redshirted...he is a red shirt junior...no offense just helping out...if he can play put him out there..

snakeplissken writes:

in response to MemphisHog:

Glad the kid is back, and hope you get several more of your injured guys back in two weeks for the game against the Hogs. I know neither team will be at full strength, but we want your best shot.

I hope Tennessee wins but to be honest Petrino against Dooley is an enormous coaching mismatch. I think the Hogs win by 20.

Ironcity writes:

in response to jobrando#216494:

His west coast offense looks pitiful. Tyler was not doing so good aganst his only quaility opponent GA. I agree Channey needs to return to the west coast. We need to pony up the money and get a real SEC OC,a RB coach, fitness and OLine coach. Wilcox I give my blessing. I respect your opinion but disagree about channey.

I agree about the O Line coach and the need of an RBs coach but when we had Hunter the offense looked unstoppable. I know it was against inferior competition but we beat both USC and UGA with Hunter and Bray. Right now as OC you have to work with two QB's who can't move and lack talent, a terrible RB, One good wide out an average TE and a very young O line who all block better for the pass then the run.

I worry about Wilcox because I don't see us mixing anything up. I constantly see players running in that have no idea what they are in their for.

I have never seen so much confusion in my life and it happens every game on defense. It cost us the LSU game last year and has left the team exposed early on to every team that went no huddle against us. Against UGA you put your corners against their wideouts with no safety help and no blitzes. Not a good formula for success.

One other thing is Wilcox doesn't recruit so he is no help there.

Talent and experience will make all these coaches look better but for now we suffer.

clvolfan writes:

in response to 62vol:

When a team has a big lead, they put in the substitutes to develope them. The scoring gets to be unpredictable when that occurs but usually the other team manages to score. This really screws up scoring sreads/predictions.

UH!,I thought the substitutes were playing already and have been all season.

ProwlinAndGrowlinSmokeyDog writes:

in response to Ironcity:

I agree about the O Line coach and the need of an RBs coach but when we had Hunter the offense looked unstoppable. I know it was against inferior competition but we beat both USC and UGA with Hunter and Bray. Right now as OC you have to work with two QB's who can't move and lack talent, a terrible RB, One good wide out an average TE and a very young O line who all block better for the pass then the run.

I worry about Wilcox because I don't see us mixing anything up. I constantly see players running in that have no idea what they are in their for.

I have never seen so much confusion in my life and it happens every game on defense. It cost us the LSU game last year and has left the team exposed early on to every team that went no huddle against us. Against UGA you put your corners against their wideouts with no safety help and no blitzes. Not a good formula for success.

One other thing is Wilcox doesn't recruit so he is no help there.

Talent and experience will make all these coaches look better but for now we suffer.

Coach Wilcox helped recruit Danny O'Brien and did recruit Byron Moore and I think Mo Couch,if I'm not mistaken..He may not be as much help as other coaches but he has helped.

Smokey says glad to have you back practicing,Herman..

agentorange writes:

We need the same coaching staff back next year with more talent and warm bodies. I don't think Vince Lombardi could do alot in the Vols' situation this year.

MemphisHog writes:

in response to snakeplissken:

I hope Tennessee wins but to be honest Petrino against Dooley is an enormous coaching mismatch. I think the Hogs win by 20.

I hope you're the one that's right but I'm not real confident. Here's the thing - Petrino is a terrific offensive coach but he relies totally on our DC for the defense, and our DC is awful. The favorite chant of Hog fans at the moment, aside from Woo Pig Sooie, is "Free Willy", as in fire Willy Robinson, the DC. Look for the Vols to come out looking better than expected on offense, especially early in the game. We may be able to outscore you, but I don't think we'll stop you much either.

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