Dooley, players talk about upcoming season

By: Wes Boling Email
By: Wes Boling Email

KNOXVILLE (WVLT) -- Derek Dooley is closer than ever to his first game as Tennessee's head coach. And as the season approaches, UT's third coach in as many years is excited about starting fall practice Wednesday.

"It's good to finally get to the season," Dooley said. "It's been a long 6-7 months."

Dooley spelled out his three goals for fall camp Tuesday. First, he wants to install his team's core values. Second, he wants to school his players on football fundamentals. Finally, he wants to educate the players on UT's tradition.

When the Vols take the practice field Wednesday, at least two players will be lined up at new positions -- receivers Marsalis Teague and Ted Meline have been moved to defensive back to address depth issues on that side of the ball.

Dooley says the move may be permanent, depending on the players' performance in practice.

"It'll be based on how we evaluate them at that position," Dooley said. "If we think they're going to be starters or playing a lot, then [the move will be permanent]."

Teague caught 2 touchdown passes during his freshman campaign. Meline was a four-star recruit at the receiver position.

The Vols are thin at several positions; in that vein, Dooley said he has never hesitated to play true freshmen.

"Every freshman is going to get an opportunity," Dooley said. "They have to adjust physically, mentally, emotionally and academically."

"I have zero problem [playing freshmen]."

Tennessee practices for the first time Wednesday. Veterans report at 2:15 and young players at 7:45.

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