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Talking points: yeah, there's a puppy in the house edition

  • Well, then. Inside Tennessee calls this year's incoming class "the least imposing class -- both in quantity AND qualify -- of the Phillip Fulmer era." That emphasis is theirs. They then go on to name the five "sure things," meaning those that should get playing time this fall. Gerald Williams, Brandon (Still No News) Warren, and Tauren Poole should come as no surprise to anyone except the NCAA, Williams' summer professor,  or anyone who's checked out for the summer, but the list also includes fullback Austin Johnson and guard Preston Bailey. So wow. How would this class look to Inside Tennessee if it didn't include Williams and Warren, or if they don't get eligible?
  • Not in over his head. I get it. Funny. You ever get the impression that headline writers are those guys who laugh at their own jokes and crack one-liners all day with a success rate of, oh, say twenty percent? Anyway, Tauren Poole,  according to Dave Clawson, "is really good at seeing leverage on a block and . . . hitting the thing north and south and not bouncing things laterally and losing yards or running out of room." That "seeing leverage on a block" is a really interesting comment to me. You often hear about a running back's ability to "read his blocks," but I've never heard it put this way. I'm guessing it refers to not only reading angles but  determining the path of least resistance by also being able to tell who's winning the battle in front of you. Poole's been getting a lot of high (water!) marks from the coaches all camp, and it appears that he might actually be passing Lennon Creer as the third string RB. Remember, Creer was No. 5 in last year's stellar class, so Poole must be very good.
  • Don't forget about Arian. I've never really thought about Arian Foster as being one of those guys who "makes people miss," but then again, I've never really thought of it in terms of just the first guy, which now that I do think about it is quite true and probably the key to his success. Getting a play started is as important as getting one finished, right? Word is that Foster's actually gained some additional speed of the burst variety this season, too, so look for that. Foster got some snaps in Saturday's scrimmage and was reportedly exhausted after only three or four carries, so the dude's got to get his wind after sitting out so much of the preseason with a bone bruise.
  • Wood. Carry it with you this preseason for convenience. With the exception of Chase Nelson, the Vols are still relatively injury free. Chris Walker is resting a groin, but he's expected to recover soon enough.
  • Bet he's good at this, too. Eric Berry has made up a new  dance to celebrate Michael Phelps' Olympic victories. I'd say it's pretty polished by now what with all the reps and everything. Berry also got one rep at QB Saturday night. Berry "wasn't allowed any contact while on offense," which was surely a relief to the defense, and he was called down for a loss during a sweep as defenders closed in. You can neuter a guy like that by not letting him touch anybody. The only other way to stop Eric Berry is to put horses or cows on the field. The things terrify him. You knew that, right? Seriously. The man fears large livestock.
  • Remaining position battle. The coaches are still trying to decide on the strong side 'backer starter. The competition is between Adam Myers-White and Nevin McKenzie. For some reason, I'm guessing McKenzie by a nose in the end. Hey, I now have two dogs in the house getting to know each other, and these types of metaphors just come naturally now.
  • Well here's some bad news. Saturday's scrimmage was plagued by nine penalties, including three false starts, holding, offsides, roughing the punter (whoever did that needs a tongue-lashing -- we've only got one for the first five games, don'tcha know), and three pass interference penalties.
  • Ladies and gentlement, the Vols finally have three defensive tackles. Walter Fisher started with the first team on Saturday, and great indication that he, Demonte Bolden, and Dan Williams are close to equal. 
  • When it's Auburn, it's bad chemistry. When it's Tennessee, it's like a pharmaceutical. 221-pound linebacker Rico McCoy leveled 300-pound o-lineman Vlad Richard after a play this weekend. They fought. They cooled off. They made up. Said The Papa: Stop being so silly!