Derek Dooley and the Vols Emphasizing Mental Toughness

The Vols had their second scrimmage this weekend, and you can see all of the pertinent stats here. The guys with the best performances? Brian Randolph, who's becoming a leader even as a sophomore (5 tackles and another interception to match his first in the first scrimmage), and Justin Hunter (3 catches for 70 yards including a great, field-stretching, tone-setting 50-yard TD), and Marlin Lane (12 carries for 71 yards and a TD). Rajion Neal (12 for 39) and Devrin Young (7 for 35) also did well, and if you see Ben Bartholomew coming, you'd better take Prentiss Waggner's advice and get out of the bull's way.

Derek Dooley, as usual, was both pleased and displeased. He's happy with the effort and the toughness, but that's not keeping him from harping on the mentals:

"The biggest thing that is kind of holding us back right now is, No. 1, our level of discipline on the simple things," Dooley said. "Discipline on the simple things, lot of penalties, we made too many mistakes that are really simple things. The second one is our attitude just when the flow of the game begins to happen and how we get affected by things that shouldn’t affect us — whether it’s a big play or (a guy) is tired or didn’t get a call or maybe one guy is jawing a little bit. Those are the things right now that are anchoring us that we’ve got really to work on."

He's obviously concerned about some of the Bad Things that happened in last year's second halves and is doing what he can to make sure those Bad Things trade jerseys:

"This sport is about who is going to break whose will," Dooley said. "It is a physically, mentally and emotionally draining 60 minutes. At some point either you are going to break his will or he breaks your will. That is what it is. We got our will broken a little too much last year and you saw it in the second half. That is our number one thing this year. We have to toughen up. We don't make excuses. We have to get it done."

But wait, there's more on the mind over matter front!

"I told the team the other day life wouldn't be so difficult if you didn't expect it to be so easy," Dooley said. "So when you get hit and it hurts, you shouldn't be surprised. You should expect it to hurt. You get up and you go play again. We're getting better at that."

* * * *

"The trainers know who is a drama queen," Dooley said. "And sometimes, you've got to pull guys out. Brent Brewer — I think he has forgotten he has had a (knee injury). He's out there flying around, diving.

"But some guys, when they get hit, they have to have this big seance to let the whole stadium know: 'Look at me. I'm in pain.' That's what we've got to get rid of."

More links after the jump.

Dooley: K Palardy 'money' on kickoffs - Tennessee Volunteers - CBSSports.com RapidReports
K Michael Palardy missed a 34-yard FG and made a a 42-yard FG in Saturday's scrimmage, but coach Derek Dooley said his biggest improvement has come on kickoffs this spring. "He's making a lot of progress," Dooley said. "He's been money on kickoffs, he looks like a different guy out there. He has a real confident approach."

John Adams: Vols gaining support even in defeat " GoVolsXtra
Tennessee's surprising baseball season took another surprising turn Sunday afternoon at Lindsey Nelson Stadium.

Florida grabs early lead, rolls to 8-1 win over UT " GoVolsXtra
There's not much you can do as a baseball team when you spot one of the top teams in the country a 4-0 lead in the first inning.

UT Vols' Dave Serrano 'proud' despite series loss to Florida
Tennessee on Sunday lost a great chance to make the SEC baseball race even more interesting, but Vols coach Dave Serrano wasn't too down after an 8-1 loss to No. 4 Florida.

University of Tennessee Athletics: Baseball
The Official Site of Tennessee Athletics, partner of CBS College Sports Networks, Inc. The most comprehensive coverage of Tennessee Athletics on the web.

Wiedmer: Gruden Vitale of football | timesfreepress.com
When it comes to energy and passion, Gruden is to all things football what Dick Vitale is to college basketball, only with a tad less volume and far more insight. If Dicky V's an ageless cheerleader, Jon-y G's the nutty professor, full of knowledge but never too full of himself.

Jon Gruden speaks at Tennessee Vols' coaching clinic
Former Super Bowl champion coach Jon Gruden, who began his career as a graduate assistant at Tennessee, returned to Knoxville this week for the Vols' annual coaching clinic.UT Athletic Department faces job cuts | wbir.com

University of Tennessee Athletics: Athletics News
The Official Site of Tennessee Athletics, partner of CBS College Sports Networks, Inc. The most comprehensive coverage of Tennesee Athletics on the web.

ON TOUR: Smith, Peers Win 3rd Challenger Title of 2012 - Tennessee
Former Vol John-Patrick Smith and Baylor standout John Peers captured their third ATP Challenger doubles title of the year Saturday evening in Leon, Mexico.Smith and Peers defeated the Mexican wild card pair of Cesar Ramirez and Bruno Rodriguez 6-3, 6-3...

In-state linebacker Walker Jones visits Tennessee Vols
Linebacker Walker Jones of Evangelical Christian School in Cordova, Tenn., made his first recruiting visit to Tennessee this week to attend one of the Vols' spring practices.

Fisher DeBerry to receive Neyland Trophy " GoVolsXtra
Former Air Force coach Fisher DeBerry has been named 2012 recipient of the Neyland Trophy.

No. 10 UT run-rules No. 22 LSU, 10-2 " GoVolsXtra
A weekend of Tennessee softball celebration culminated with a jubilant circle of Lady Vols dancing around home plate and LSU's catcher spiking the ball into the dirt.

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