Vols' spring football practice - March 27, 2012
The first workout left something to be desired for Derek Dooley.
The second brought the kind of progress the Tennessee coach was hoping to see.
But his attention was already moving onto the third after the Vols practiced on Tuesday morning again without pads during their acclimation period, which both Dooley and the players are ready to be done with as they ready for some contact on Thursday.
"We're got to learn a little bit every day, and the cumulative effect over time is going to pay dividends for them," Dooley said. "That’s all a work in progress.
"But it was a good second day, and the more important thing is we’ll have a better feel for our team come Thursday when we put the pads on."
Before getting the chance to hit some people and begin playing the kind of physical football the Vols are stressing this spring, they've been getting their share of learning lessons in other areas early in camp so far.
Relationships between a dramatically different coaching staff and the players are still being formed, offering one challenge in the transition into the third season for Dooley at UT.
And particularly on defense, the overhaul includes significant changes to the playbook, which is making the way its presented critical in the process.
"We put a lot in every day, the other side of the ball puts a lot in every day and it just keeps growing and growing, the amount of mental decisions you have to make," Dooley said. "It’s hard. It’s hard on the young guys, but it’s kind of whole-part-whole teaching. You throw a lot at them, you see what sticks and then you pick up the pieces and throw some more at them.
"I think the important thing when you do that is, No. 1, you’ve got to recognize it takes an incredible amount of mental energy and mental effort to be a good football player."
The next phase is the physical part. And after two short days, the Vols are already anxious to dive into it.
For more on the second workout of camp, check back to http://www.govolsxtra.com, pick up Wednesday's News Sentinel or follow @Vols_Beat on Twitter.