In fact, when asked recently to pinpoint the biggest lesson he has learned from new Vol defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin, superstar safety Eric Berry replied: "The biggest thing is, 'You see a lot, you see a little. You see nothing, you see a lot.' That's basically telling you to focus on your keys before the play. Don't worry about all of the motions, the shifts and things. If you just focus on what you're supposed to, you'll see a lot more of what's happening."
When asked what he has been doing during the summer to get ready for his first full season as the Vols' No. 1 punter, junior Chad Cunningham replied: "In practice I visualize that I'm in the game and that I'm punting to Brandon James or somebody where I have to hang it up there and make him fair-catch it."
Yeah, considering the alternative, fair catches would be nice, huh?
The 2008 Vol defense was actually pretty good. So what now, with Monte at the helm? Improvement?
"Our goal is to be better," junior end Chris Walker said. "We're looking for that No. 1 spot this year."
Preemptive strike: Our defense probably won't be as good as it was last year. Yeah, it's Monte and Orgeron and Thompson, but Chavis was good, too, and now the players are working with a new system.
That speed, [Josh] McNeil said, includes the offensive line. "A tenth of a second in speed is the difference between getting that backside backer cut off, or the backside backer making the play," he said. "And that one play could be the biggest difference in the game. That's what speed does for you; it enables you to get in position to make great plays."
With Tennessee's season opener against Western Kentucky little more than a month away, renovations to Neyland Stadium remain on schedule, athletic director Mike Hamilton said even if it might not look that way when fans arrive for the Sept, 5 game. "Everything is on schedule at the stadium," Hamilton said. "But we need to get this message out: The project will not look complete this year."
Probably good advice with respect to our football team, too.
A checkerboard end zone in Florida's Ben Hill Griffin Stadium? Yeah.
Phillip Fulmer's going to be spending his first fall without football as the spokesman for the Tennessee Wildlife Federation and the Hunters for the Hungry Program.