Dooley 'pleased' heading into spring game

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (utsports.com) -- If Tennessee head coach Derek Dooley had any doubts about where his team's focus would be during the final week of spring practice, the Vols are taking the "steps" to put those doubts to rest.

"I was really pleased with their `step' the last two days," Dooley said. "They've had good energy. We got a lot of work done these last two days. I'm always concerned going into that last week what the mood is of the team. They really came ready to improve as a team and we did that."

The Vols practiced in full pads Wednesday for the final time this spring and have one more practice Thursday before the spring session culminates Saturday with the Dish Network Orange and White game at 2 p.m. Eastern at Neyland Stadium. Dooley won't take much away from Saturday's spring game, however.

"It's really more individual performance," Dooley said. "You don't get the unit together so I don't put a lot of stock into it. I always recall the year we won the national championship (at LSU in 2003), Matt Mauck threw six interceptions in the spring game. Had we panicked over that, he would have never been our starting quarterback. These games are just so different because you don't have any continuity anywhere. It's basically, `Let's pick teams and go out in the yard and play a game.'"

Although the spring practice period officially ends Saturday, the Vols will continue to take advantage of their remaining time left on campus in the few weeks before classes break for the summer.

"We won't completely turn them loose until school is out," Dooley said. "There's a lot that can be gained in the few weeks right after spring before they break. Some teams go to shut it down, but we're going to try to make an effort to keep working. There's a lot of work to be done in the weight room with our strength levels, and I think our team will put a good investment in it."


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