KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- (WVLT-TV), The University of Tennessee football team opened it's first Fall camp under the direction of head coach Derek Dooley on Wednesday. How pumped up was the first year head coach? Well about a half hour into the workout, I coach Dooley hit the Haslam practice field turf turning out a series of push ups while his players went through drills around him. Dooley is the third UT head coach in three years and he's intent on bringing stability and as he puts it, a change in culture to this storied program.
The son of legendary Georgia coach Vince Dooley, who by the way, will be in town Thursday as featured speaker at the Greater Knoxville Sports Hall of Fame Banquet, has decided to change up the way the Vols open Fall drills. Wednesday through Thursday, the veterans will practice in the afternoon, while the freshman and newcomers workout in the evenings. The coach and his staff trying to bring the young guys along slowly. The entire squad will practice together for the first time on Saturday. The first day in full pads will be Sunday August 8th.
After today's first session, the coach met with the media saying, "this was a typical first day, meaning alot of excitement, alot of enthusiasm and then they get out here and reality sets in, it's tough and it's hot and when you have alot of that anxiety built in you quickly go into fatigue mode, so we've got alot of work to do to push through it mentally."
With regards to the oppressive heat, Dooley said,"it's hot so what, I didn't think it was hot, the guys from Louisiana didn't think it was hot and I lived in Louisiana for eight years, so I thought it felt great out here, so it's hot in Athens, it's hot in Tuscaloosa, it's hot in Gainesville, so what are you going to do about it, the good guys who are mentally tough have no issues with the heat."
Wednesday is the first of 21 practice days for the Vols through August 27th leading up to game week for the opener against UT-Martin.