Photo by Adam Brimer, Knoxville News Sentinel // Buy this photo
Tennessee isn't just more aggressive on defense this season. It's also more aggressive at the mascot position.
Backup long snapper Matt Giampapa experienced that firsthand last Saturday at Neyland Stadium.
"Smokey did nip Matt on the hip coming back on the field after halftime," said Jimmy Stanton, UT's associate athletic director for communications. "I am told that nothing remotely serious resulted from that."
Smokey is doing OK, too. UT's bluetick hound mascot has made a successful recovery from off-season knee surgery on his right rear leg.
He first experienced knee problems in the second game last season. After his injury was diagnosed, his game-day activities were limited.
"He has looked great the first two games," said Dr. Darryl Millis, orthopedic surgeon and section chief at UT Veterinary Medical Center.
Although Millis observes Smokey during games, he said he didn't notice the halftime nip.