The accuracy was improved in the passing game.
A handful of defenders again showed up and created some big plays.
The rushing attack was steady and offered more evidence of progress after the troubles of last season.
Derek Dooley was quick to point out those positives from the second scrimmage for Tennessee on Saturday at Neyland Stadium. But they weren’t the things that really seemed to stick in the mind of the Vols coach as he left the field and began preparing for the final week of spring camp.
“The biggest thing that is kind of holding us back right now is, No. 1, our level of discipline on the simple things,” Dooley said. “Discipline on the simple things, lot of penalties, we made too many mistakes that are really simple things. The second one is our attitude just when the flow of the game begins to happen and how we get affected by things that shouldn’t affect us — whether it’s a big play or (a guy) is tired or didn’t get a call or maybe one guy is jawing a little bit. Those are the things right now that are anchoring us that we’ve got really to work on.
“But I’m pleased with the effort, I’m pleased with the toughness.”
That certainly wasn’t all the Vols had to feel good about after the last significant live workout before they wrap up spring next week with the annual Orange and White Game.
Junior quarterback Tyler Bray bounced back from a rough first outing by completing 13 of 23 passing attempts for 180 yards with an interception and a touchdown. And he clearly benefitted from the return of receiver Justin Hunter, who made the most of his appearance in a red, non-contact jersey with a 50-yard score from Bray.
Defensively, Brian Randolph forced another turnover at safety, Herman Lathers continued his recovery with five tackles and Steven Fowlkes chipped in another sack.
And while those are all encouraging signs for Dooley, they weren’t the ones he was focusing on shortly after the afternoon ended.
“We’re still running the ball better, and there’s a lot of good things happening,” Dooley said. “But in order for us to be a good football team, our level of discipline and our mental outlook when things go a little cockeyed out there has to get better.”
Better Bray: Having one of his favorite targets backed obviously supplied a boost for Tyler Bray.
But the return of Hunter wasn’t enough by itself to help the Vols quarterback make up for a rough first scrimmage that prompted a week of stressing fundamentals from coaches in practice.
The message seemed to have been delivered, and Bray’s accuracy was noticeably improved according to the statistics provided by the program from the closed workout.
“Just going through the progressions, last scrimmage I was a little sloppy with the progressions,” Bray said. “This week I kind of picked it up, and the line blocked great and the receivers caught the ball.”
Bumps and bruises: Dooley reported no injuries of significance during his post-scrimmage media briefing, though Byron Moore might have left with a minor physical issue.
Dooley indicated that the junior safety might have suffered an ankle injury but that he “didn’t think it was too serious.”
Austin Ward covers Tennessee football. Follow him at http://twitter.com/Vols_Beat and http://blogs.knoxnews.com/ward.