Devrin Young was welcomed back to contact in a big way.
The way the freshman handled the physical play as a scout-team running back seems to have got Derek Dooley thinking about a much more prominent role.
Despite missing all of training camp with a broken collarbone that has also forced the Bearden High School graduate and possible special-teams weapon to sit out the first two games for Tennessee (2-0), Dooley is at least entertaining the notion of giving Young his first live work in one of the most hostile environments in the country at No. 16 Florida (2-0) on Saturday (TV: WVLT, 3:30 p.m.).
"I don't know, but he's doing good, he got hit today, which is good," Dooley said after practice on Tuesday morning. "I think A.J. (Johnson) body-slammed him. We put him on scout-team running back, so he can go in there and get some licks, catches the ball well. I told him I would probably be called the dumbest coach in college football if I put him back there in The Swamp.
"But I'm thinking about it, yeah. It isn't the first dumb thing I've done, so I'm not scared. I don't have to catch it."
The Vols don't seem to have any concerns about Young's ability to do that, particularly since part of the appeal during his recruitment was the boost he could provide to a return unit that struggled mightily a year ago just to field the ball.
Young has been able to work on that aspect of his game over the last couple weeks as he recovered from the injury suffered just before training camp opened last month, but the opportunity to prove he could withstand some physical punishment had been on hold.
If he can do that again now, Dooley might have a difficult decision to make against the Gators.
"Not one thing (can ease my mind)," Dooley said. "I know he can catch punts, I know he's quick and elusive, he's been hit, nothing will ease my mind until he goes out and catches one.
"I don't know what I'm going to do."
For more on Tuesday's practice, check back to http://www.govolsxtra.com, pick up Wednesday's News Sentinel or follow