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Talking Points: On Pain, Body Fat, and Hope & Change

I NEED MY PAIN. One of these days, I'm going to compile a list of sports cliches that need to be retired, sayings that originated in some degree of greatness, but, due to overuse and misuse, now serve only to irritate. The thing that rubbed me wrong this morning was the piece about defensive backs having to have a short memory. Yeah, we all understand what they mean: Don't let past failures negatively influence current performance. Right. True. Wise. But every time I hear that phrase now I see, well, I see this:

Pain is a necessary warning that helps to ensure survival, right? It's a great motivator. It's what turned a kid cut from his youth basketball team in North Carolina into Michael Jordan. We need our pain. Sure, don't let the past negatively influence the future, but don't deprive yourself of the opportunity to let it positively influence the future, either. It's valuable, so don't squander it. Remember it. Use it. Don't let it happen again.

SIZE MATTERS, CHAPTER 3. Somebody say woo because we suddenly have 702 extra pounds in the form of only two guys along our defensive line. It doesn't matter to me whether you spell Dante "O-M-A-R-I," and I don't much care whether it's really true that McCullers and his 377 pounds has a low body fat percentage. I'm not sure I even care whether they can move. I'd be perfectly fine with rolling out a 702-pound boulder at nose tackle and just making the offense run around it, thank you very much.

AS IN I HOPE WE CAN CHANGE THAT. Hey, look. It's hope and change we can all agree on: an improved running game.

LIGHTBULB. This sounds promising: James Stone will be snapping directly with his off right hand, but using his natural left hand for shotgun snaps.

More news nuggets after the jump.

Evan Woodbery's practice observations " GoVolsXtra
"Dooley said the offense played with a chip on its shoulder. "The offense came out with an edge, like they'd been kicked around for seven months," Dooley said. The other side? "They came out like it was a practice." Dooley said he was especially pleased with the running backs. "They ran the ball really well," Dooley said. "They hit the holes and when they got into the secondary they didn't stop. Jay (Graham) has done a good job of trying to coach that.""

John Adams: History says N.C. State is a must-win game " GoVolsXtra
Ed. -- We've said it here many times over the summer: N.C. State in the Georgia Dome is a huge game for the 2012 Vols. John Adams agrees, but he seems to think that losses in season openers cause bad seasons. It's less of a causal relationship than it is our first real indication of whether the team is any good. So let's just hope we're good.

John Adams: All-Vols for the last 25 years " GoVolsXtra
Ed. -- Not much to argue with here in Adams' All-Vol football team for the last 25 years.

John Adams: Vols don't need a poll to tell them where they stand " GoVolsXtra
Ed. -- It's not surprising -- to fans, to players, to coaches, or to the media -- that the Vols didn't make the preseason Top 25. But there is a bit of a surprising nugget buried in this article: John Adams put Tennessee at #18 on his preseason AP ballot.

Tyler Bray ready to move on from vandalism investigation " GoVolsXtra
Ed. -- Bray handles the media well regarding his "real stupid decision," and says he's ready to take more steps forward than backward.

Johnson image of Vols' offseason work |
"There's the 250-pound freshman version of A.J. Johnson on one side and the new-and-improved Tennessee linebacker after a year in the weight room posing on the other. "I was shocked when I saw it," the chiseled, 240-pound sophomore said Thursday evening. Johnson posted the then-and-now image on his Twitter page a couple of weeks ago, and his physical change is a symbol of sorts of the change UT's entire team believes it has experienced since last season."

Notes: Tennessee Vols kicker Michael Palardy healthy, confident
"Palardy said Sunday afternoon following the Vols’ first practice in pads at Haslam Field that he feels healthier than he has been "since before I even got here — since high school" after playing through injuries at times during his first two seasons. "Like I said, I’ve been dealing with a lot of injuries — little tweaks and groins and knees and stuff like that — ever since I got here," he said. "But this year, this offseason’s been really good for me. I’m really healthy." Coming off a sophomore season during which he struggled to find consistency, connecting on 9 of 14 field-goal attempts, Palardy said he also has improved his mental approach this year."

Tennessee Vols' Brent Brewer leaner, healthier, back at safety
"It wouldn’t be true to suggest Brent Brewer’s days at linebacker are done. Brent Brewer at Tennessee UT junior safety Brent Brewer The Tennessee junior, who spent the first part of this spring practicing with the linebackers, is now back with the safeties but still playing a hybrid, linebacker-like role from time to time."

Tennessee Vols' offense controls first practice in pads
"Coach Derek Dooley praised Tennessee’s offense for coming out "with something to prove" — and, in particular, controlling the line of scrimmage and showing improvement in the running game — as the Vols’ veterans went through their first practice in pads."

Tennessee Vols' Justin Coleman focused on securing starting spot
"Consistently a top-notch practice performer from his first days on UT's campus, sophomore cornerback Justin Coleman plans to translate that production to games this fall."

Notes: Tennessee coach Derek Dooley discusses Vols' newcomers
"Dooley specifically addressed a few of the Vols’ 2012 signees, including highly touted junior-college transfer Cordarrelle Patterson. "I mean, he did pretty good out there," Dooley said of Patterson, a five-star wide receiver from Hutchinson (Kan.) Community College who was ranked the No. 1 junior-college prospect in the 2012 by 247Sports. "He’s big and he’s fast, he can catch, and he’s obviously worked pretty hard the last few weeks in trying to learn the offense because he didn’t make a lot of mistakes." Although Patterson looked good Friday night, Dooley said "it’s way too early to make a decision" on what Patterson’s role may be this season."

Versatile Tennessee Vols' OL Alex Bullard back on the move
"After some time spent away from the Tennessee football team to focus on personal issues, Alex Bullard is back in the fold. But he's not working as the team’s top center."

Daniel Hood: Tennessee Vols have talent but plenty to prove
"Does Daniel Hood think UT will be one of the nation’s 25 best football teams? Yes. Does the defensive lineman think UT belongs in the preseason top 25 poll? Absolutely not."

Notes: Tennessee Vols enjoy 'good first day' of preseason camp
"Dooley said "the biggest thing that I wanted to emphasize" to his players was that "this is when you begin to develop habits." He reinforced the point by referencing U.S. Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps having to settle for the silver medal earlier this week in his signature event, the 200-meter butterfly, after he lost his narrow lead at the end of the race. "It was a great story on Michael Phelps when he won the silver right at the end there," Dooley said. "I don’t know if you guys saw it, but when Bob Costas asked him what happened, what an amazing answer when he said, ‘I wasn’t finishing when I was training, and it caught up with me right in the final.’"

Tennessee Vols see improved team chemistry
"In hindsight, Tennessee admits team unity was lacking last season. As the Vols prepare to open preseason camp, they believe they're off to a good start in that area this year."

Notes: Derek Dooley confident in Vols tackle Antonio Richardson
"As the Tennessee football team prepares to open preseason practice Friday afternoon, sophomore left tackle Antonio Richardson seems to be the least of the Vols’ worries."

Poll: How many wins would constitute a successful season for UT? : Knoxville Polls Archive : University of Tennessee sports news from The Knoxville News Sentinel
Ed. -- GVX poll currently says that most folks consider 8 or 9 wins to be a successful season for the Vols.

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