Tennessee coach Butch Jones said the first practice of his tenure was efficient and effective, and it needed to be, because he wants to make sure each one counts.
The Vols, Jones calculated, haven’t played football in 105 days. And they’re starting behind eight of 12 opponents who played in a bowl game and received extra practices in December.
“We’re behind 15 practices,” Jones said Saturday.
The first of UT’s spring practices was conducted in helmets and shorts -- full pads won’t be added until Thursday -- so it was tough for Jones to make sweeping conclusions.
But the two quarterbacks battling for the top job -- junior Justin Worley and redshirt freshman Nathan Peterman -- had opportunities to throw in drills.
"They're students of the game,” Jones said. “The big thing is, it's not where you start, it's where you finish. Practice 1 is a gauge.”
The structure of practice itself offered a glimpse of Jones’ style.
Loudspeakers blared announcements and music filled the down times, but the practice didn’t lack for intensity. Jones spent time with each position group, but he seemed most in his element when working with the young corps of receivers.
Dozens of former players were on the sidelines, including Erik Ainge, Leonard Little, Xavier Mitchell, Jamal Lewis and Johnny Majors.
Vol For Life coordinator Antone Davis ran the show, getting credentials to visitors and introducing players.
Jones said Davis prepares a packet -- “Who’s in town next” -- for players and staff members that lists the accomplishments of visiting alumni. Jones also said he also requires his players to learn the history of their number and the players before them who wore it.
“(Former players) are the program,” Jones said. “I tell them, ‘That logo never comes off.’”
Evan Woodbery covers Tennessee football. Follow him on Twitter.