KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT/SUBMITTED) -- Head coach Derek Dooley used the 90-minute workout at Haslam Field to get his team its first preparation for UT Martin, next Saturday’s opponent at Neyland Stadium. The Vols and Skyhawks kick off the 2010 season at 6 p.m. Eastern time, with VideoSeat Pay-Per-View and the Vol Network carrying the action.
“I think it’s important that they get at least two days in a row,” Dooley said of the weekend break. “Up to this point, they’ve had a day here and a day there. But two in a row, really it’s amazing what it does to the body. Usually when you give them two days off in a row, the recovery is 10 times what it would be with just one day.
“It’s the last weekend. Guys who are close by can go home a little bit, spend time with their family and get ready for a tough season.”
Dooley remarked that the team, which also had Thursday off, is in good shape heading into the playing season.
“I don’t think we’re nearly as tired as what I’m used to. It’s probably one of the advantages of the academic calendar. We’ve been in school so much, so we haven’t had as many two-a-days, we’ve had a little longer period to practice, so we were able to space stuff out more.
“I was commenting today that we were very fortunate, I feel like, with the injury situation. Even though we lost two guys right at the beginning, if you look at how many guys we lost over camp it wasn’t a lot. And we didn’t have a lot of those nagging injuries that held guys out of practice.”
Defensive linemen Ben Martin and Marlon Walls were shelved for the season to Achilles injuries during the first full week of camp. Since then, however, it’s been the usual bumps and bruises common to SEC practice fields.
“I feel like, in many ways, we’re not as tired and beat up as normal,” Dooley said.”
The head coach added that his first camp in Knoxville has been productive.
“I’ve felt like we made progress every day, I really have. Of course, our first trial is next Saturday. That’s really what matters; that’s when we’ll find out.”
RIVERA DRAWING RAVES
Sophomore tight end Mychal Rivera has been a quiet but steady performer since arriving in Knoxville this summer. The transfer from California’s College of the Canyons now finds himself solidly in the mix for playing time behind senior Luke Stocker.
“He’ll play and we’ll throw him some balls,” Dooley said of the 6-4, 240-pounder. “He’s really doing well. That was a good pickup for us.”
Rivera caught 35 passes last season for 330 yards and three touchdowns. The Valencia, Calif., product originally signed with Oregon out of high school before transferring to the junior college route for 2009. He has three seasons of eligibility remaining.
“That was a big pickup for us, it really was,” Dooley said. “I feel like we’ve got two tight ends now.”
Tickets for the 2010 football season are available for all seven home games in some form or fashion.
This year’s schedule features four home dates in September, beginning with UT Martin on Sept. 4 at 6 p.m. That game is a VideoSeat Pay-Per-View telecast.
Tickets for the UT Martin contest are available for $40 and can be purchased via UTtix.com, over the phone at 865/656-1200 or 800/332-VOLS (8657), or at the ticket counter. Because of construction at Thompson-Boling Arena, the Athletics Department Ticket Office is temporarily located on the northwest concourse level of the arena directly above the old ticket office location. Office hours Monday through Friday are 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Eastern time.
Other games on this year’s slate are Oregon on Sept. 11, Florida on Sept. 18, UAB on Sept. 25, Alabama on Oct. 23, Mississippi for Homecoming on Nov. 13 and Kentucky on Nov. 27. Prices are $60 each for Oregon and Ole Miss, $50 for Kentucky and $40 for UAB.
Single seats with no adjacent seating are all that remain for the Florida and Alabama contests, and those tickets cost $70.