Vols ready for a week of practice 'in the boonies'

Dooley wants team to bond at Milligan College

Tennessee head football coach Derek Dooley talks with wide recover Justin Hunter during practice at Haslam Field on Monday, August 6, 2012. 

(Saul Young/News Sentinel)

Photo by Saul Young, Knoxville News Sentinel

Tennessee head football coach Derek Dooley talks with wide recover Justin Hunter during practice at Haslam Field on Monday, August 6, 2012. (Saul Young/News Sentinel)

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After wrapping up practice Thursday in a 100-yard, top-level indoor facility overlooking acres of lush, manicured fields, the Tennessee Vols piled into yellow school buses bound for a small college outside Elizabethton.

The culture shock should kick in soon.

"I don't know the exact location, but I know it's out there in the boonies," said junior linebacker Jacques Smith.

With the enthusiasm of a field-trip chaperone, Tennessee coach Derek Dooley donned a T-shirt after Thursday's practice that read: "Milligan College: Undefeated Since 1950." That was the year the Christian liberal arts school disbanded its football program.

Today, Milligan has about 1,200 students on a 195-acre campus in northeastern Tennessee, just outside of Elizabethton and not far from Johnson City.

The Vols will practice on Milligan's soccer fields and another green space that has been fashioned by combining the outfield grass of the softball and baseball fields. Darren Seybold, Tennessee's director of sports surface management, was dispatched to Milligan to help prepare the turf for a week's worth of 100 large young men in cleats.

Dooley said there's a "contingency plan" if it rains, as it's likely to do in the next week.

Part of the reason for the move was the ongoing construction at Tennessee's football complex, where workers are putting the finishing touches on a new wing of the facility that will open shortly.

But more important to Dooley was establishing a training-camp style atmosphere, free from the distractions of campus.

Some NFL teams leave their multi-million-dollar facilities for more rustic venues in August. Football lore is filled with tales of intense off-campus camps, like Bear Bryant's famed "Junction Boys" camp at Texas A&M.

Tennessee strength coach Ron McKeefery worked at South Florida, where the football team held camp at the old Dodgertown facility in Vero Beach.

The logistics are challenging, but doable. The Vols will stay in dorms, dine in the campus cafeteria and use classroom space for meetings.

Players aren't complaining about the new digs.

"I think that'll get our minds off everything around here," said sophomore running back Marlin Lane. "We'll just be thinking about football and thinking about getting better."

Smith said he remembers seeing signs for Milligan College from the highway, so he already has a greater geographic familiarity with the area than most of his teammates. He said the team is embracing the experience.

"We're just expecting to hone in as a team," he said. "We're expecting to get better, getting away from all this and just focusing on ourselves."

Although renovations to the football complex won't be an issue in years to come, Dooley hasn't ruled out another camp experience if this one goes well.

"We wanted to limit ourselves from the distractions and simulate what used to be very common," Dooley said. "It relates to team chemistry and getting to know each other and building leadership and togetherness and just creating time where we're away from all (the distractions)."

Smith said the camp could be the perfect ending to a summer of progress.

"This summer we've grown as a unit and we're a step closer to being a really great team," he said.

Evan Woodbery covers Tennessee football. Follow him at Twitter.com/TennesseeBeat.

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Comments » 59

Hokie-Vol writes:

Evan, FYI: Milligan is just outside Johnson City, and not too far from Elizabethton, not the other way around. Still, it is out in the boonies!

midnite__VOL writes:

I live in the "boonies"... welcome to Carter county VOLS!!!

Cartersvillevol writes:

in response to BodeaneVol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Get a life, dude. You are such a clown.

CoverOrange writes:

Don't give in. Don't respond. Don't be a troll puppet.

vols48 writes:

you may call it the boonies,but saturday after saturday car loads of people leave the boonies and head to K-town to watch a bunch of football players dressed in orange and white...welcome to the boonies!!

windy writes:

in response to BodeaneVol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

It doesn't take a lot of effort to be a idiot every now and then, but it takes a lot to be one like you all the time.

TommyJack writes:

in response to BodeaneVol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Still vomiting shizzola from the cubicle, huh?

VolinCalif writes:

in response to BodeaneVol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Twenty times better than Gainesville.

exlineman writes:

in response to VolinCalif:

Twenty times better than Gainesville.

Vol in Calif, Bodeane vol only cares for peabody vanderbilt and Duke, as he is from N. C. and ushered for peabody for over 30 years, that way he could get in the game, as he couldn't afford a ticket. He hates UT with a passion along with his many screen names.

VolinCalif writes:

in response to exlineman:

Vol in Calif, Bodeane vol only cares for peabody vanderbilt and Duke, as he is from N. C. and ushered for peabody for over 30 years, that way he could get in the game, as he couldn't afford a ticket. He hates UT with a passion along with his many screen names.

Thanks for the Info Linesman. I thought he was the troll with the crush on Mr. Tenn. Just don't pick up on things like I did years ago. But some of the trolls on this site make me wish we were playing on a Grammar school play ground. There is a way to teach them manners. I know I know but that is how I feel.

exlineman writes:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

VolinCalif writes:

in response to exlineman:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I'll do that. Hee Hee. I just answered your other post.

VolinCalif writes:

in response to VolinCalif:

I'll do that. Hee Hee. I just answered your other post.

Just a PS linesman. Here in the Sacramento there wasn't a Chick that had even standing room. People were waiting around the block. I am told that was true also in LA, by my brother in law in Palmdale. I wouldn't expect SF to have much to do with them but one nerves knows. Folks are getting a little feed up.

exlineman writes:

VolinCalif. you have to live and breathe in this area to know the hate these people dish out. I live in Hendersonville, Tn. and these people are sick with hatred. They are red neck trolls that couldn't even get into a good high school. Actual graduates from Vanderbilt and not Peabody don't have this same hatred for UT.
These people brain wash their children to hate UT and these trolls on here have axes to grind over their record with UT, as well as little personal feelings over Fulmer and some atheletes etc that didn't make it at UT. One of my sons went through this hatred in school every day until he stood up to one of their bullies causing me and my wife to have trouble getting him back into school after being suspended. I guess his broken nose had alot to do with the altercation, but the peabody bully never harassed him again. My son is now a successful businessman and a big UT supporter The big peabody vanderbilt supporter now is a pick up employee doing yard work, construction etc. Just shows what these trolls are all about, very unsucessful punks.

BruisedOrange writes:

Hmmmm. If Bear had "the Junction Boys" then Dooley might come back from Milligan with:

Let's see... nearest road to the Milligan soccer field is Gov. Alf Taylor Road. ALF Taylor sounds like actor Dub Taylor's brother-from-another-planet.

Nearest junction is the intersection of Taylor and Country Garden Road. "Derek Dooley & the Country Garden Boys" sounds like the house band at a family-style honky tonk.

Not much to work with there. Guess we'll just have to let these young men make a name for themselves.

keepitreal4vols writes:

Why are they practicing at Science Hill now? Heck, why didn't they just go over to ETSU where they have football facilites but no football team? Perfect fit IMO.

FWBVol writes:

in response to BodeaneVol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Let's see, Gainesville has a population of a little more than 124,000 and Knoxville has a population of right at 179,000 and the metro Knoxville area has close to 1 million people. Also, Gainseville covers 42 square miles and Knoxville covers 96 square miles. Which town is in the boonies, Gainesville or Knoxville? We will let intelligent people decide you need not answer.

frblalack writes:

Just a GREAT time to be a Tennessee Vol! I'll never forget being on the Hill during the Kiner/Reynolds era. Running the trails of East Tennessee in Hawkins/Sullivan/Washington counties in the late 70's...favorite high school team was the Church Hill Panthers!!!

Great times are ahead of us Big Orange Faithful!!

All Vols - Vol for Life - Go Big Orange!!!

StarkVOL writes:

Boonies! I must be an expert! Born in Kingsport. Educated in Knoxville. Gradschool in StarkVol. Just excuse my time in Nashville where this boonie married one Hotty-totty. Go Vols! We miss TN.

laraccoon writes:

Florida people define boonies as being able to take a dump in their front yard without being noticed .

SevenT writes:

Gee what a great idea to "slum it" in hillbillyland for football camp. Sure hope Double D remembers to pack his stupid orange pants. And I sure hope Slash-Boy has the opportunity to pick up a case of beer and rent a Jet Ski at one of the area lakes.

govolsn3 writes:

in response to Hokie-Vol:

Evan, FYI: Milligan is just outside Johnson City, and not too far from Elizabethton, not the other way around. Still, it is out in the boonies!

Wrong again, MILLIGAN is in the city limits of Elizabethton. I live in front of the college. It is 2.3 miles from the JOHNSON CITY city limits. FYI

mocsandvolsfan writes:

Those were the good ole days when a guy could go to the lake with a pack of beer, cigars, and who cared about the jetski? A fishing pole was nice sometimes. Swim a little. Watch the ladies when they would show up.lol I use to be young. Heck I still enjoy those things...except the beer...and I don't smoke anymore...I'd like to watch the ladies but I need new glasses.

Tyler you go for it. ( within reason of course and don't break any laws). Enjoy your youth it doesn't last long. OH and learn all you can in school and use your manners with those who'd have a camera or some kind of notepad or appear to be media types. hmmm that could be almost anybody. Nevermind Bray. when not in classes or in church or at practice and games just stay inside...alone with your homework.

BigOrangeFever76 (Inactive) writes:

in response to SevenT:

Gee what a great idea to "slum it" in hillbillyland for football camp. Sure hope Double D remembers to pack his stupid orange pants. And I sure hope Slash-Boy has the opportunity to pick up a case of beer and rent a Jet Ski at one of the area lakes.

SevenTeen....if they ever make a movie called "Dumb*** & Dumb***er", you and JethroBodeane will be shoe-ins for the leads. You are such a clown. If you have children, and I hope you do not, please extend them my sympathy. You would be a pathetic role model for them. You are just an all around low-life POS. ES&D troll.

klrigsby#1377153 writes:

in response to CoverOrange:

Don't give in. Don't respond. Don't be a troll puppet.

The great song writer Haywood Banks has a song about puppets that perfect for this one.

StoneJackBaller writes:

I prefer the boonies to the big city. City folk just don't know what they're missing.

MetroplexMojo writes:

Practicing in the boonies may get them ready for Starkville....

jobrando#216494 writes:

and the bball team is shooting hoops in europe..funny

SCVFL writes:

I grew up in an area outside of Kingsport called Lynn Garden (probably in Kingsport now)in the 60s. Would not rade the "boonies" for anny other atmosphere in the world. My wife and I will be retirinfg in a year and will probably end up back in Tri-cities somewhere.Love me some "boonies".
But to point, these type of camps use to be more common and can really help with team bonding. Any of you older ones remember boy scout camps or church camps? You learn to lean on each other and you become "brothers". Love me some VOL football.
GO BIG RNG...VFL

Tennesseebob writes:

If I recall, Jacques Smith is from Red Bank. And he calls Milligan College the boonies?

orangecountyvols writes:

in response to exlineman:

VolinCalif. you have to live and breathe in this area to know the hate these people dish out. I live in Hendersonville, Tn. and these people are sick with hatred. They are red neck trolls that couldn't even get into a good high school. Actual graduates from Vanderbilt and not Peabody don't have this same hatred for UT.
These people brain wash their children to hate UT and these trolls on here have axes to grind over their record with UT, as well as little personal feelings over Fulmer and some atheletes etc that didn't make it at UT. One of my sons went through this hatred in school every day until he stood up to one of their bullies causing me and my wife to have trouble getting him back into school after being suspended. I guess his broken nose had alot to do with the altercation, but the peabody bully never harassed him again. My son is now a successful businessman and a big UT supporter The big peabody vanderbilt supporter now is a pick up employee doing yard work, construction etc. Just shows what these trolls are all about, very unsucessful punks.

exlineman,

Sir, one of the best ever descriptions of the punk-kid, Bodeane and his troll friends. You're correct about the hatred........but, throw in jealousy as well. That goes for the other trolls such as Seven and Eight.

It's well known - the hangups the likes of Jeffery Flowers has, along with the chronic complainers such as Merlot, Walt, etc.

Anyway, the best way of dealing with the recognized trolls and chronic gripers is to scroll over them and get to the real fans here.

usafvol writes:

in response to SevenT:

Gee what a great idea to "slum it" in hillbillyland for football camp. Sure hope Double D remembers to pack his stupid orange pants. And I sure hope Slash-Boy has the opportunity to pick up a case of beer and rent a Jet Ski at one of the area lakes.

You have no idea of what you're talking about troll hole..

oldbasshead writes:

I don't live there, but I have been in Elizabethton, Johnson City and Milligan and actually prefer it to Knoxville except for Saturday afternoons in the Fall.

mrvol2u writes:

in response to exlineman:

Vol in Calif, Bodeane vol only cares for peabody vanderbilt and Duke, as he is from N. C. and ushered for peabody for over 30 years, that way he could get in the game, as he couldn't afford a ticket. He hates UT with a passion along with his many screen names.

Could not afford a ticket? All it takes is $1 and 2 Krystal hamburger boxes.

jfink45 writes:

Milligan is a great school with a beautiful campus Most of these players would have trouble getting into this school and not flunking out. It has a more varied enrollment with students from all over the country. Its been around for 150 years. I am proud to have graduated with a 2.16 average-majored in pool,minored in poker.I still scored high on the Gratuate Record Exam and got a graduate degree from a state university which was much easier.
There are 2 story buildings. We used to throw bottles at Mr. Newton's cats from the second floor. They were harder to hit than cars but sometimes our aim was true.
If you search the records, you will see that Milligan defeated Tennessee in baseball by a score of 20 to 2 or so in 1965. That was the only year Ron Widby played baseball at UT.
We welcome the vols to Milligan and hope it helps bring them together for a geeat season. It's about 5 miles to Science Hill High School which has turf. Unfortunately, It is Steve Spurrier Field. GO VOLS!

FearTheVols1252 writes:

in response to BodeaneVol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Coming from a fan of Trailer Park U. Do you press your jorts before each game? Just curious...

Down_The_Field writes:

GO VOLS!

ProfessionalHandicapper writes:

in response to exlineman:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

No thats not me.. I only have one screen name. I say what I need to say with one screen name. I'm the one told you all my info,I have nothing to hide. As far as where Ut practices makes me no difference. I think getting away from the Knoxville strip may be a good thing and prevent the troubles we have seen the last couple years. My biggest problem with Ut is the lack of any run game and a bad OL for SEC stabdards. If those two things improve they may be better, but I gotta see improvement before i jump on any bandwagon. Now lets see you have the guts to post your name and where you live...Idiot with a conspiracy theory. by the way my girlfriend does not eat junk food. We grow our own foods..

ProfessionalHandicapper writes:

And like I have said many times exlineman my son graduated from UT last year. I paid my money to that school so I feel I have some say so in matters. I flew him to Gainseville, Oakland Ca, Las Angeles Ca, and Baton Rouge during his four years to watch UT games. I dont need extra screen names. I just report facts abd stats and some dont like the truth. So be it, but you can write this website and have them check IP numbers on accounts, fine with me. I have nothing to hide. I dont hate UT, I just hate the downfall in coaching. Its HORRIBLE!! Ask Kentucky and Randy Sanders and look how happy La tech is that Dooley pulled a Kiffin and they got Dykes instead. La Tech got the better deal..

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

"Out in the boon-docks"! GBO!

rbwtn writes:

Got a surprise for You. Upper East Tennessee and Milligan College is not the Boonies. It's no different than going outside of Knoxville 10 to 15 miles however it is a great place to getaway and great for the Team.

Jakevol writes:

Most Vol Players today come from the "Boonies". as well as most kids attending UT. Boonies are good. I recall a great Tight End that played for the Vols, from Elizabethton, today he's with the Cowboys.

beartn#223846 writes:

If Dooley wanted to stoke Coach Franklin's ire more, he should have said that he wanted to the team to bond while roughing it in substandard facilities. Vandy wasn't available, so he had to choose Milligan.

johnlg00 writes:

Spent a few days in that neck of the woods just a couple of weeks ago. Lived some of my more fondly-remembered years in Southwest Virginia and Upper East Tennessee. Would love to move back there but it probably won't happen. Hope the Vols come to remember Milligan and the rest of the area fondly.

MetroplexMojo writes:

I feel no shame
I'm proud of where I came from
I was born and raised in the boondocks
One thing I know
No matter where I go
I keep my heart and soul in the boondocks

tnbigg writes:

They should go fishin' down in Shipley's Hollow while there...

DonaldDevoe writes:

cant wait to hear dueling banjos then rocky top

govolsn3 writes:

I'll take the "BOONIES" ove the "GETTO" any time.

Huttdawg100 writes:

Nothing about Tyrran Mathieu aka Honey Badger being kicked off LSU's team for the infamous failed drug test.

But there's a article about Bray spraying someone with a jet ski...

MetroplexMojo writes:

What a crazy f---

I guess the Honey Badger tokes what he wants

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