KNOXVILLE (UTSports.com) -- Tennessee bounced back with a strong effort at practice Wednesday after a so-so outing the day before according to head coach Derek Dooley, who spoke with the media for the final time before Saturday evening’s match-up versus seventh-ranked Oregon.
“We did a good job coming back after yesterday,” Dooley said. “It was a good example that if you have a bad day, you can come back and there’s always tomorrow. The offense did a good job responding. The young guys are doing a good job this week preparing.”
“We need to have one more good hard work day tomorrow and then it becomes mental after that.”
The Vols are coming off a 50-0 victory against an overmatched UT Martin squad, which makes it difficult for them to know where they stand as a team and with certain facets of the game such as playcalling.
“It worked out well,” said Dooley. “It was all good but it was easy. The test is yet to come. It’s kind of like our players and leadership and all those things. Until we get into some tough situations, it’s really hard to know where you are on all of that.”
As the Vols head into the weekend, they will key in on efficient play calling as they want to avoid any unnecessary penalties.
“During the normal course of the game, you get into a little rhythm,” said Dooley. “The call comes over the headsets, we deliver it to Matt and Matt delivers it to the squad. What I don’t like is when it takes too long. That means usually something is not right with the administration but it was pretty clean the other night.”
Senior wide receiver Denarius Moore returned to practice Wednesday after nursing an ankle injury that kept him out Monday and Tuesday. He is expected to play Saturday.
“He’s obviously not going to have the work he would normally have but he’s a senior and hopefully, he’ll be ready to go and he’ll know how to get ready,” said Dooley.
Center Cody Pope and tight end Luke Stocker were limited in practice today but are expected to be OK and play Saturday as well.
Freshman running back Rajion Neal saw his first action as a Vol Saturday and made the most of it. Neal ran nine times for 83 yards, including a 40-yard outbreak toward the end of regulation. While the performance was encouraging, he still has more potential to grow.
“He ran well in the game,” said Dooley. “His confidence is getting going. He still operates at about 80 percent. He doesn’t think he does but he is. The more we amp it up the better he’s going to get.”