Lots of good stuff out there this morning about the Vols' football practice yesterday, including the return of Ben Martin, the appearance of Austin's Johnson's remorse, a lack of rust for Janzen Jackson, a list of impressive freshmen, and several videos.
Perhaps the read of the day is John Adams's piece on both Dooley and the Vols being due for an upset this season based on a hefty resume of recent near misses. Can it be true that UT's last real upset was against Vanderbilt in 2008? Yikes, let's just forget I said that. Anyway, Adams lists the games Dooley coached at La. Tech in which his underdogs played extraordinarily well but didn't quite finish the job. He's due, says Adams, and who can argue that the Vols aren't also due?
On to the rest of the quickie Talking Points:
Call it a comeback: Ben Martin gets through first practice " GoVolsXtra
The comeback effort for Ben Martin is officially under way, though the Tennessee defensive end did what he could to downplay it after finally leaving Haslam Field as an active participant once again. Rather than talk about winning a starting job or finishing his career with a huge senior season that was delayed by an Achilles injury last year early in fall camp and another added since then, the conversation is mostly limited to smaller achievements and incremental progress. And for a man returning from two significant surgeries for his first practice in a year on Tuesday, just making it to another one was an encouraging sign for the Vols.
UT notebook: Jaques Smith '100 percent' after surgeries " GoVolsXtra
Despite the double surgeries, Smith said he was able to do "mostly everything" with his teammates during summer conditioning drills. On Wednesdays and Saturdays, he sparred with one of the Vols' trainers in the boxing ring. His quick recovery is a vital one for the Vols, who return just one starter on the defensive front seven.
John Adams: Vols, Derek Dooley overdue for upset " GoVolsXtra
They're as overdue as their coach for an upset. Both have the near upsets to prove it.
Mike Strange: Daniel Hood's help came from his persistence " GoVolsXtra
"We're encouraged by him,'' Tennessee head coach Derek Dooley said Tuesday when the Vols opened practice. "He's a big body,'' the coach added, "he's tough, he's committed. I think he's going to help us up front.''
Austin Johnson: Arrest an 'embarrassment' " GoVolsXtra
"It was almost like a dream, something that I never thought I'd be going through," Johnson said. "It was happening and I was sick to my stomach. I was so embarrassed, I couldn't sleep at night, I couldn't eat. "It wasn't the best time of my life and I let my family down ... I let everyone down."
5 concerns for the University of Tennessee football team | timesfreepress.com
KNOXVILLE -- The University of Tennessee football team begins preseason camp today. Here are five key questions facing the Volunteers in their second season under coach Derek Dooley.
Wiedmer: Tyler Bray progressing well, UT teammates say | timesfreepress.com
Still, as UT begins preseason practice today, second-year coach Derek Dooley likes what he's heard about Bray's development. "Everything that I've heard has been positive," Dooley said. "And it starts with his level of commitment. You earn the respect to be a leader, to me, based on your level of commitment to the program. I think Tyler's proving that to our team." Senior running back Tauren Poole agreed. "You've seen it in the 7-on-7 drills all summer," he said. "Tyler's taken on much more of a leadership role. I think he's really beginning to understand what Coach Dooley expects of him."
Vol Report: UT Battles Heat, First Day University of Tennessee Athletics
Despite temperatures in the upper 90s, the Vols avoided using heat as an excuse to not have a strong opening practice. "It really isn't that hot," Dooley said. "I told the team that it's hot, but it's hotter in Alabama, it's hotter in in Georgia and it's hotter in Florida. What are you going to do about it? We structure practice so that they can work and recover and get a lot of water. (The heat) isn't an excuse not to go. They did a pretty good job with it today."
Scout.com: Day One impressions
- Janzen Jackson, who missed spring practice to resolve some non-football issues, still looks like the best athlete on the field in every drill. If he's rusty, it doesn't show.
Scout.com: Freshmen to watch
Asked which positions freshmen might contribute quickest, Dooley replied: "I don't know. It's too early to tell that." Maybe not. Rookies Marlin Lane and Tom Smith should push for supremacy at tailback. Vincent Dallas or fellow freshman DeAnthony Arnett could wind up starting at slot receiver. Frosh Brendan Downs and Cameron Clear project to contribute at tight end. Guard Marcus Jackson and tackle Antonio Richardson are potential starters in the O-line. Freshmen Allan Carson and Trevarris Saulsberry will compete for playing time at defensive tackle, while classmate Jordan Williams challenges for snaps at end. A.J. Johnson and Christian Harris project to play significant roles at linebacker, as do Brian Randolph and Pat Martin at safety.
Scout.com: Video: Dooley talks first practice
The veterans took to the practice field on the University of Tennessee campus in the heat on Tuesday with the newcomers set to partake in the return to action in the evening. Coach Derek Dooley spoke with reporters in between practices, giving his thoughts on some of the upperclassmen.
Scout.com: Video: Newcomers bear Orange and White
Derek Dooley runs his first practice with his new players. Watch as InsideTennessee gives you a glance at all the newest Volunteers.
Scout.com: Video: Johnson, Smith break things down
Likely defensive starters linebacker Austin Johnson and defensive end Jacques Smith talk with reporters following the first Tennessee football practice of August. Sign in or subscribe now to see what each had to say.
Scout.com: Gallery: Freshmen get their first taste
The second football practice on Tuesday featured Tennessee Volunteers that were freshmen, transfers or redshirts. View the gallery to see some of the action at Haslam Field.
Scout.com: Video: UT coaches lead practice
One point Tennessee coach Derek Dooley stressed as allowing his football program to take a step forward in 2011 is the continuity of his coaching staff. Watch this free video that shows Dooley and many of his assistants leading the Volunteers on the first day of practice.