Today's Talking Points:
After a week at Milligan, the team has apparently come back home all new and stuff. All reports are that the experiment was a rousing success from the team-building karaoke and talent shows to the practices so good they ended with a surprise cancellation of the final session. That particular move resulted in grown men jumping in joy and feeling like they "won an Olympic gold medal." That's pretty good bang for your buck right there.
A couple of debriefings:
I've seen evidence that we will get more pressure on the quarterback. I have and I think we will.
Put it like this, if I was on an opposing team and I see big McCullers get off the bus, I'm shaking already. I don't know how it will all play out, but that guy is going to get the job done.
Corey Miller, on treating pass rush like I treat cake:
Pass rush plays a huge role. First off, you got to stop the run and when you stop the run it's time to have some fun. That's the way I look at it. If we ball hard, we can go out there and get after the quarterback. If we get in a situation where the quarterback drops back, we guys got to eat. I love the pass rush. I have a knack for it so I hope I can contribute.
I'm good at dessert.
The Vols are only having two scrimmages this year, partly due to a quirk in the calendar and partly due to having more experienced players. Tonight's scrimmage will be "situational," including end of game management. Twitch.
A couple of starters are going to miss the scrimmage, including Herman Lathers, who is key, key, key to the defense this season:
"He’s a little fatigued and (has) strained some muscles, and he’s kind of been limping around a little bit," Dooley said. "He just needs a little rest."
Dooley said Tennessee’s defense generally doesn’t operate quite as smoothly without Lathers, who’s responsible for calling plays and getting the defense aligned properly on the field as the Vols’ Mike linebacker.
"I think (not having Lathers) affects us," Dooley said. "Herman’s what you want at Mike, because he’s got a real good understanding and got good verbal skills, so that hurts us. We’re thin at inside ‘backer. If Herman’s out now, that’s three inside ‘backers we don’t have — you know, (redshirt freshman) Christian Harris and (freshman) Kenny Bynum (are out) — so, yeah. I’ve been saying all along that’s one of my biggest concerns, is inside linebacker."
Yikes. Someone put a "I Hope Herman Lathers isn't 2012's Justin Hunter" draft post in the hopper.
The defense wants revenge tonight by stopping the run. In the preseason tradition, we have mixed feelings on this. The offense can run? Fantastic. The defense can't stop our run game? Uh-oh. Please give us an opponent in other colors so we can know.
Derrick Ansley is saying nice things about Marsalis Teague:
"He's a really good kid, first of all. He's really easy to coach, he takes coaching well ... the good and the bad. He's the model guy that you want to be back there coaching, and he's done well."
. . . .
"I think it's where it needs to be because he's going out there and competing," he said. "Of course he's going to get beat on some plays because he's going against good people, and of course he's going to make some plays because he's a good player. He's just got to consistently work on his craft and master what he does well and work on what he doesn't do so well. "Once that light bulb goes off, he's going to a really, really, really good player."
Oh, the tight ends. Per Wes Rucker:
Yes, talented sophomore Cameron Clear was dismissed from the program in late May. Yes, talented true freshman Justin Meredith arrived in January but has seemingly been dealing with a nagging hamstring issue ever since. Yes, senior starter Mychal Rivera missed some time early in preseason camp with a mild knee sprain and is still practicing in a red, no-contact jersey. Yes, coaches have had to move junior defensive lineman Joseph Ayres and true freshman linebacker Justin King to the tight end position. But no, offensive coordinator Jim Chaney and tight ends coach Charlie Coiner didn’t seem panicked when asked about the situation after a Tuesday practice at Milligan College in Upper East Tennessee.
I cannot wait to see the new Vol Walk with Shields-Watkins field painted on Peyton Manning Pass.