After deflecting question after question that he didn't want to answer with increasing exasperation, Tennessee coach Derek Dooley paused and smiled: "Do I appear edgy today?" he asked.
With the first day of class looming, the first game 10 days away and a long camp almost in the books, just about everyone around the football complex is edgy. They're ready for real football.
"I'm ready to talk about the next opponent. You guys are too," Dooley said after Monday's practice. "You've got your job to do. I'm not downing you."
Part of the job has been asking about Tennessee's remaining position battles. Dooley plans to release an official depth chart on Thursday. But as camp winds down and story lines dry up, virtually question is about — you guessed it — the depth chart.
"I'm not sure how many (questions) I can dance around before y'all figure out I'm not telling you who our starters are," Dooley said.
While official word won't come until after the Vols' two-day break for the start of classes, the last week of practice has offered plenty of clues.
The latest came Monday when junior safety Byron Moore confirmed that he had been moved to the first team, apparently beating out Brent Brewer.
Brewer started eight games last year before suffering a season-ending ACL injury Oct. 29 against South Carolina. Moore played sparingly in 2011. Coaches have said both players were having strong camps.
Moore could be one of several starters with a junior college background. He was a top national juco prospect out Los Angeles Harbor College when he signed with UT in 2011.
"(Moore) has been productive in both scrimmages," Dooley said. "He's had a great attitude, made some interceptions, tackling very well. He's doing all the things that we thought he could do when we signed him."
The other position that seems close to being locked up is the tailback spot. Rajion Neal has had a consistent camp and has shown no signs of relinquishing his hold on the top job.
"Rajion's had a great camp," Dooley said. "I'm proud of him. He's been very consistent. He's been more consistent than he's ever been. He's improved on the things he needed to improve on, and he's going to have a real critical role for us."
Dooley wouldn't confirm the depth chart status of either Moore or Neal, saying those answers would come Thursday.
But Moore said coaches moved him onto the first team two days ago. He expects to start alongside Brian Randolph.
"After the second scrimmage, they promoted me to starter. As of right now, I would start," Moore said. "They said the guys who were being productive out there were going to be the guys on the field. So I just tried to make as many plays as I could each day."
Even after Thursday's release, none of the positions are likely to be set in stone. Dooley said positions with untested newcomers are most likely to fluctuate. That might include defensive line, where two junior college transfers (Darrington Sentimore and Daniel McCullers) could start and a third likely starter (end Maurice Couch) is playing a new position. There also could be plenty of "co-starters" listed.
"We don't really know who's going to be productive on game day," Dooley said. "All we can do is suspect. We'll set a starting lineup based on what we suspect, but ultimately they have to go out there and prove it."
Evan Woodbery covers Tennessee football. Follow him at Twitter.com/TennesseeBeat.