It was all good news for Tennessee's defense on Thursday. The defense made it difficult for the offense to run the ball most of the day and forced two Nick Stephens' interceptions. Not coincidentally, Dan Williams, Wes Brown, and Chris Walker all returned to practice after missing some time earlier in the week. Oh, and Marlon Walls - whom DACOACHO recruited as a 215-pound LB - has been cleared to play and will likely help at DT now that he's 290 pounds. Dude's putting on weight like me.
Janzen Jackson had one of the two interceptions and is really making a case to be the first freshman to play ($) this season. Jackson's a coach's son and, in addition to fantastic "flip his hips" action has the knowledge and terminology to pick up the scheme quickly.
But . . . gasp! Monte didn't invent the T-2? Thank you, Mr. Rucker. Next you're going to tell us that Tennessee didn't invent football or some crazy nonsense like that. ;-)
Tennessee fans also got some positive news on the special teams front. Dave Hooker reports that the team devotes a segment of practice to special teams and that during that time, players will do whatever they can to attempt to distract the kickers and then cheer for whichever guy wins that particular competition.
It seems to be working. I think I heard the Daniel Lincoln interview that hooper referred to yesterday. In any event, Lincoln was very candid in the interview I heard, basically validating the fact that having one guy, Eddie Gran, responsible for special teams is going to pay major dividends in 2009. At one point it almost sounded like he didn't receive any coaching at all last season, which I'm sure isn't true, but it's evident that he and the rest of the special teams units are getting a lot more attention this fall.
Chad Cunningham agrees, saying that he's a "totally different punter" ($) than he was last year. He's apparently been much more consistent and with great hang times. Cunningham says that "[t]his is the best camp that I've ever hand."
Other stuff . . .
- Josh McNeil's not only changed his body, he's changed his attitude. Triggered in part by seeing Cody Sullins run out with the first team at the Orange and White Game in the spring.
- Oku okay with competition ($). This guy sounds like a lot of fun to talk to.
- ESPN decides to use its front page today to compare Eric Berry and Taylor Mays. Fortunately for us, we've already done that.