LB Herman Lathers not yet satisfied, but starts out 'at a good point'

Tyler Bray on spring practice and his improvement at QB

Herman Lathers was sore.

He still wasn't ready to pronounce himself totally healthy, and the Tennessee linebacker wasn't all that happy about a few personal mistakes.

But the senior made it through his first significant action in more than a year, and that seemed to outweigh all the rest after the Vols wrapped up their scrimmage on Friday morning at Neyland Stadium.

"Definitely it was good getting out and going full speed for the first time in almost a year and a half," Lathers said. "Personally, I think I'm at a good point right now. I've got a lot of work to do, but I'm at a good point right now.

"I was able to go straight through. (Defensive coordinator Sal Sunseri) stresses that you've got to be mentally tough, and unless someone has to carry you off the field, you should never come off the field, so that's what I'm trying to do, to fight and push through injuries even though I'm hurting."

Lathers was able to make somebody else share some of that pain in a live setting for the first time in a while, chipping in four tackles in the closed workout, according to statistics provided by the program.

Even as he works back from the fractured ankle that kept him on the sideline for all of last season and the shoulder surgery that forced him to miss spring camp a year ago, Lathers hardly seemed satisfied. But making it through the scrimmage without any physical limitations is surely a fine way to start the comeback, particularly since the Vols figure to need his services as they transition to a 3-4 defense with Lathers at middle linebacker.

"Good presence out there," UT coach Derek Dooley said. "He's active, he's physical, got some leadership qualities.

"It's so important you can't get guys hurt. It's important that you're deep and talented so when you get a guy hurt it doesn't affect you, but we need Herman to stay healthy because he's a good presence for us over there."

Off the Mark: The Vols might have given work on their running game a higher priority, but Tyler Bray wasn't exactly short on opportunities to throw the ball around.

The junior quarterback just simply couldn't convert on the majority of them.

According to the numbers provided by UT, Bray finished 13-of-32 for 142 yards with a touchdown and an interception. And while acknowledging the Vols were more concerned about cleaning up some issues on the ground, he also admitted missing out on a few chances to make big plays when they did air it out.

"There was a lot more running than passing," Bray said. "But when I had my throwing opportunities, I still missed my targets.

"So I just need to work on that."

Bumps and Bruises: The roster of players in red, non-contact jerseys remained the same for the Vols.

But those players held out of the scrimmage had a couple more teammates to keep them company.

Nose tackle Maurice Couch and defensive back Geraldo Orta were both dealing with concussions and weren't available for the morning workout.

They were joined by wide receiver Justin Hunter (knee), cornerback Prentiss Waggner (shoulder), linebacker Curt Maggitt (shoulder), safety Brent Brewer (knee) and defensive lineman Daniel Hood (shoulder) on the sideline.

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Comments » 12

TitanandVolfan4life writes:

Most are minor dings or simply coming back from offseason surgeries.

CDD won't take needless chances of a setback for the starters in spring practice because he wants them ready to rock in the fall.

It's good that so many of the younger guys and backups are getting alot of practice time so they'll become much better in the rotation.

Best thing is getting lots of film on all the guys so the coaches can clean up mistakes from the first 6 practices and move on to adding more things for the kids to learn next week.

CSS said he's pushing the guys and expects to have 80% of the D already installed by the time spring practice is over and the other 20% are the easier things to learn so they'll have all summer to work on what's already been given to them.

It's only spring practice so nothing to worry about and I like what I'm seeing and hearing so far.

Sure glad to see lathers back in the mix.

VFL...GBO!!!

RoadTrip writes:

We need you Herm! You and Greg King are senior difference makers at LB if you can stay healthy.

volwr88 writes:

Next class coming in will be needed badly for that remaing 3rd level of "injury replacement" we haven't had. Although the old "we're young" excuse goes away, we do need the "young" incoming class to step up and learn "fast" about SEC ball. There's quite a few of them that will play quite a few snaps IMO..
King, Bonner, McNeil, all the WR's, and Borque will play for sure (and McCullers).

Bubba_Knows writes:

I'd like to meet the man who gave Maurice Couch a concussion. WOW!

orangeman1 writes:

in response to Bubba_Knows:

I'd like to meet the man who gave Maurice Couch a concussion. WOW!

No joke!! Its good to see Lathers getting back on the practice field. If he's healthy, he could be the anchor of this defense. Wasnt he the leading tackler in 2010? Plus, he's got a good 4 months to get even healthier and so do the players on the sidelines. Some of the players on the sidelines are practicing, but apparently Dooley didnt think they were ready for a scrimmage yet. Guys there is alot of talent on this team and finally some depth. I dont see how a UT couldnt be excited about this upcoming year. Even for fans that dont have faith in the coaches. There are 7 new coaches and if the chemistry is there(and from what I'm seeing and hearing it is) this team could contend for the East. The news is sounding good so I'd rather be excited/positive and take a chance on being disappointed rather than gripe and insult when there so much potential. It almost sounds like some "fans" want them not to succeed.

orangecountyvols writes:

in response to orangeman1:

No joke!! Its good to see Lathers getting back on the practice field. If he's healthy, he could be the anchor of this defense. Wasnt he the leading tackler in 2010? Plus, he's got a good 4 months to get even healthier and so do the players on the sidelines. Some of the players on the sidelines are practicing, but apparently Dooley didnt think they were ready for a scrimmage yet. Guys there is alot of talent on this team and finally some depth. I dont see how a UT couldnt be excited about this upcoming year. Even for fans that dont have faith in the coaches. There are 7 new coaches and if the chemistry is there(and from what I'm seeing and hearing it is) this team could contend for the East. The news is sounding good so I'd rather be excited/positive and take a chance on being disappointed rather than gripe and insult when there so much potential. It almost sounds like some "fans" want them not to succeed.

Good comments Orangeman !

You're right. There are some who want us to lose so they can always say "I told you so."

What negative losers that bunch.

lemeshousomthen writes:

in response to MerlotGoVols:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

swallow your barrel then....

Munsterlander writes:

in response to MerlotGoVols:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Stupid 3-4 defense – now that’s funny. 2 of the last three NCs? First team ever to shut out their opponent in the title game? Pretty sad reach there.

Here’s why everyone should ignore Merlot.

1. Doesn’t understand anything about football
2. Is a troll
3. Can’t come up with anything original
4. Katie is her real name
5. Hides behind a keyboard
6. Embarrasses himself endlessly
7. Abstinence, the case for
8. Dooley owns her

Taken altogether, there is a deeper meaning…

Munsterlander writes:

in response to MerlotGoVols:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Quite a fixation you have there, though not surprising. Most people associate deep ball with offense, not defense - and that's actually one of the things we have had. Bottom line, you come on here and are a complete arse, and one can only surmise it's because you're a complete pr1ck. If CDD tanks this year, you'll probably get your wish - most of us will still be glad he at least will have substantially rebuilt the roster for a new coach. In the meantime, really, total arse. There's no justification for all the garbage you spew. The staff is what it is. Your whining won't change it. Cheer for you team or stop pretending.

tnfanincali writes:

in response to orangeman1:

No joke!! Its good to see Lathers getting back on the practice field. If he's healthy, he could be the anchor of this defense. Wasnt he the leading tackler in 2010? Plus, he's got a good 4 months to get even healthier and so do the players on the sidelines. Some of the players on the sidelines are practicing, but apparently Dooley didnt think they were ready for a scrimmage yet. Guys there is alot of talent on this team and finally some depth. I dont see how a UT couldnt be excited about this upcoming year. Even for fans that dont have faith in the coaches. There are 7 new coaches and if the chemistry is there(and from what I'm seeing and hearing it is) this team could contend for the East. The news is sounding good so I'd rather be excited/positive and take a chance on being disappointed rather than gripe and insult when there so much potential. It almost sounds like some "fans" want them not to succeed.

Agreed 100% great post! i don't see how any reasonable fan could not expect us to be much improved this year with the added depth and experience. The talent is there. Now lets see them gel this year into a team. Good to hear Rogers sounds like he is losing the me first attitude and playing team ball, blocking for the runners, and also good to hear Neal and Young are looking good. Feel like Lane will be the starter. He's just got the more prototypical size and speed but good to know we got a couple good backs behind him..
GO VOLS!!! 2012 is when we start our climb back to the top. 9-3 or 10-2 and challenging for the east plus hopefully win a bowl game and winning the east in 2013. If all the O-line, Bray, Hunter Rogers and the rest return for their senior season and we find the running game, we will have one of the best O's in the country. Plus Sunseri will have his D installed and stacked with upperclass talent... getting excited for UT football again!

VolGrad writes:

in response to Bubba_Knows:

I'd like to meet the man who gave Maurice Couch a concussion. WOW!

Probably gave it to himself driving someone into the ground. I'd like to see the impact crater. Groundsman not happy.

dalvol writes:

in response to MerlotGoVols:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Merlot is a darkly blue-coloured wine grape, or in this case a "whine" grape, Whine; meaning a feeble or petulant complaint. Also, grouse, grumble, gripe, bellyache, beef, cry, whimper, moan, etc, etc. In short, not a very pleasant way to go through life. Take pity, my friends! Merlot needs help!

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