The Neyland-Thompson Sports Center was thumping this morning, as Tennessee practiced with piped-in crowd noise in an attempt to simulate the atmosphere of Alabama's Bryant-Denny Stadium.
"This is only our second game in a hostile environment," coach Derek Dooley said. "It took us a while at Florida really to settle down and start executing so we got to make sure the environment doesn't affect us from playing as good as we can play. It gets tough on third down, the noise goes up, a lot of communication between quarterback, center, offensive linemen, quarterback and receivers.
"We need to keep working on it, stay composed and execute the offense."
Dooley said the Vols didn't handle adversity well earlier this season at Florida, when star wide receiver Justin Hunter went down with a season-ending knee injury and the Gators jumped out to an early 16-0 lead. By the time UT collected itself in The Swamp, it was too late.
"It was new to them," Dooley said. "You've got to get used to playing in those environments and keeping your mind clear from all the external things that are going on in a game and making sure you're doing what you need to do to play at your best."
Aside from the major injuries to Hunter, quarterback Tyler Bray and linebacker Herman Lathers, the Vols have no other noticeable bumps and bruises heading into Saturday (TV: ESPN2, 7:15 p.m.).