Evan Woodbery's practice observations

Daniel Hood on the beginning of the Vols' fall camp

Tennessee's first full-pad practice was especially grueling workout because of the heat, the added pads and the lack of reinforcements.

Freshmen, transfers and a handful of squad players worked out separately for the final time Sunday evening.

There was no scoreboard for the early session, but Tennessee players and coach Derek Dooley agreed that the offense was far better.

"Today, we won the battle," said offensive lineman Ja'Wuan James.

Dooley said the offense played with a chip on its shoulder.

"The offense came out with an edge, like they'd been kicked around for seven months," Dooley said.

The other side? "They came out like it was a practice."

Dooley said he was especially pleased with the running backs.

"They ran the ball really well," Dooley said. "They hit the holes and when they got into the secondary they didn't stop. Jay (Graham) has done a good job of trying to coach that."nAfter senior linebacker Herman Lathers caught a pass and sprinted through a gauntlet of teammates Sunday, he shouted to offensive coordinator Jim Chaney that he ought to be considered as a Wildcat option.

That's unlikely to happen, but the Vols have auditioned several players at Wildcat this weekend.

Tailback Marlin Lane has been on the veteran side of practice, while linebacker Justin King and receiver Alton "Pig" Howard have worked in the freshman group.

"We're just searching, really, to see who's going to emerge," Dooley said. "I don't know how much (the Wildcat) is going to be part of our offense. We're just finding different ways to do things when what you believe in isn't working, or to be able to supplement what you do on offense."nThose gauntlet drills provided the biggest laughs of the early part of practice. Defensive players crossed over to work with running backs coach Jay Graham and receivers coach Darin Hinshaw.

The defenders practiced intercepting a pass and then holding onto the ball during a return as teammates in the "gauntlet" tried to strip it.

The drill went smoothly for the defensive backs, but once the linemen got involved, the game got rougher. The linemen went for hits rather than strips as their teammate lumbered through the line. A bemused Hinshaw, unaccustomed to working with 350-pound players, had to encourage the linemen to tone it down a notch.nPractices can sometimes be chippy even without pads.

Sophomore defensive lineman Greg Clark had a red eye Sunday as a result of getting poked by offensive lineman Ja'Wuan James' finger a day earlier.

Get Copyright Permissions © 2012, Knoxville News Sentinel Co.
Want to use this article? Click here for options!

© 2012 govolsxtra.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Discuss
  • Print

Related Topics

Comments » 21

BolivrBob writes:

Run Forrest Run!

nocleats writes:

Sophomore defensive lineman Greg Clark had a red eye Sunday as a result of getting poked by offensive lineman Ja'Wuan James' finger a day earlier.
Thats a good start! Get mean and nasty!

imw8n4u writes:

Are we never going to learn that this "Wildcat" $#|~ never works for us. The only player we've ever had that could pull it off was Berry, and they wouldn't even let him throw it. Unless and until we THROW A PASS from this formation, we might as well just down it and start with 2nd and 12.

lomas98 writes:

I love jay Graham and know he will do a good job with the rbs. But I don't care if it was moonlight Graham coaching the rbs, it would be better than who we had coaching them last year. It still amazes me that at a program like tn trying to compete in the best conference in the country, that we have not had a rb coach the last few years. What was the line of thinking behind that decision?

GerryOP writes:

The first rule is there are no rules ... just don't hurt your teammate too badly! Tennessee football is based on slobberknockin' hittin.' If you need an explanation, you don't belong here!

12-0 baby ... 12-0! And that's just the beginning!

FWBVol writes:

in response to imw8n4u:

Are we never going to learn that this "Wildcat" $#|~ never works for us. The only player we've ever had that could pull it off was Berry, and they wouldn't even let him throw it. Unless and until we THROW A PASS from this formation, we might as well just down it and start with 2nd and 12.

Even if we never run the wildcat the fact that it is being written about gives the other teams something to think about when preparing for us in the fall.

MooseandSquirrelVol writes:

in response to FWBVol:

Even if we never run the wildcat the fact that it is being written about gives the other teams something to think about when preparing for us in the fall.

Agreed.
But unless we present at least the POSSIBILITY of a pass out of the wildcat, we may just as well settle for that and move on.

VolGrad writes:

No more "toning it down." Let 'em play all out. :D

Go Vols!

snafu14u#241639 writes:

in response to imw8n4u:

Are we never going to learn that this "Wildcat" $#|~ never works for us. The only player we've ever had that could pull it off was Berry, and they wouldn't even let him throw it. Unless and until we THROW A PASS from this formation, we might as well just down it and start with 2nd and 12.

The Big Orange version of the Wildcat is a wasted play. Till we have the right guy and we don't throw the play out of the book. BonzaiVol

UTistheOLEMISSoftheEAST writes:

The Wildcats run the Wildcat quite well. Just ask ut.

gc_scvol writes:

in response to UTistheOLEMISSoftheEAST:

The Wildcats run the Wildcat quite well. Just ask ut.

Just askin' ..Heard your name was Peabody Jim. Is that correct?

Rich_Is_Re-born writes:

I saw a clip from practice where they were running the option with Bray. PLEASE tell me we aren't gonna do that in a game. You think the wildcat's bad... An option play where the QB will never run is even scarier IMO. Plus your just asking for your QB to get slaughtered.

I know folks prefer Lane over Neal. But Neal is poised to have a good season. He's put on a few pounds and is lightning quick. He's always had better vision. Yes he's had fumble issues but so has Lane. For some reason nobody brings up Lane's fumbling problem. CJG should help both in that category. We should see a huge difference in our running game. If not it might spell trouble.

GainesvilleVol1 writes:

Good points about the wildcat, if there is no threat of throwing, it won't work, just the same if Bray runs the option (can you say ouch!)Hopefully Bray stays in the pocket and has time to get off his passes to the many weapons at his disposal. I don't expcect a dominate running game, just one a defense has to respect somewhat.

GO VOLS!!

Vol1973 writes:

Let's call the "Wildcat" - - "Hound Dog" sniffing out and attacking the goal line.

lomas98 writes:

The wildcat is used as a change of pace play to get the ball directly in the RB/WR hands. If used correctly, there are 2 options of ball carriers the defense has to choose. Arkansas didn't have a problem running it when Macfadden/Jones were there. It wasn't until later in the year when the pass was an option, but most of the time it is run only. TN's problem with it seems it is always more of a draw play or just up the middle. I don't think it has to have option for a pass to be successful. The less a RB or WR tries to pass, the better in my opinion. I think if it can be run 5 or 6 times a game as a change of pace and if it is used correctly witht he right personnel, it can help the run game. We did a decent job with Berry back there, but Gerald Jones seemed to do well with it too....that is until we got too predictable with it.

imw8n4u writes:

in response to FWBVol:

Even if we never run the wildcat the fact that it is being written about gives the other teams something to think about when preparing for us in the fall.

Here's the extent of the preparation other teams are having to do for this play.
Opponent Def Cord: "Listen up guys, if anyone besides the QB lines up to take a snap, it's a running play, got it? Good, let's move on."

SouthPaVol writes:

in response to Vol1973:

Let's call the "Wildcat" - - "Hound Dog" sniffing out and attacking the goal line.

'73, think you're on to something! and a TV announcer's dream is to get something new to talk about.
My left-handed comment: I would like to see announcers talking about something new this season--like The Big Orange wins 'em all. Go Vols!

walt2010 writes:

Not liking the wildcat idea...Have really been trying to get in a positive mindset for this season, have been cautiously optimistic, but it's not too confidence-inspiring when a team has one of the best pure passing QBs in the country and you're putting in a system that's designed for teams that don't have a pure passer...And the option? Are we trying to get our best player hurt?

ollias#273315 writes:

Not a word about the kicking game. Someone might want to check the seven maxims -- item 6

orangecountyvols writes:

in response to gc_scvol:

Just askin' ..Heard your name was Peabody Jim. Is that correct?

gc and other Vols as well,

You and NavalOranges do a very good job recognizing who the trolls are. I am sure most of us recognize them when we read their
stuff, but determining their real names is even a step further.

So we know about Jim and Bret plus Jeffery.
Sorry trolls, cats are jumping out of the bag.

One thing I learned today which is a disappointment. For years the media guides were available to obtain either through the mail or at the book stores. Now, they are only available in digital form. What a bummer.

hueypilot writes:

in response to lomas98:

I love jay Graham and know he will do a good job with the rbs. But I don't care if it was moonlight Graham coaching the rbs, it would be better than who we had coaching them last year. It still amazes me that at a program like tn trying to compete in the best conference in the country, that we have not had a rb coach the last few years. What was the line of thinking behind that decision?

Burt Lancaster would be proud.

Want to participate in the conversation? Become a subscriber today. Subscribers can read and comment on any story, anytime. Non-subscribers will only be able to view comments on select stories.

Features