Vols implement Vandy game plan, weather forces team inside

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (SUBMITTED) -- After beginning Tuesday afternoon’s practice outside on the wet Haslam Field, Tennessee finished its two-hour session indoors at the Neyland-Thompson Sports Center.

“It’s never as crisp as you like so we need to clean that up tomorrow,” head coach Derek Dooley said. “Spirits were good. We came inside because it was really wet.

“Sometimes it energizes them but they were fine. It’s easy here. It’s right here. It’s always a little different but they practice enough in here to where they know the routine.”

Per usual Tuesday practice, the Vols implemented their game plan for Saturday evening’s SEC battle at Vanderbilt. Dooley was pleased with UT’s competitiveness and focus.

“Tuesday’s are always where you’re kicking off the week,” Dooley said. “It’s the hard practice. You have all the new plays in so the execution is never as good as you want it. Coaches are screaming. It’s like that every Tuesday. As long as the spirits are up and you’re hitting, popping and competing in those team periods to go against the defense, you can live with it. We just need to polish up that execution on Wednesday.”

The Vols weren’t perfect Tuesday, nor were they expected to be. As the season has progressed, the importance of holding themselves to a higher standard each practice has sunk in. The results have shown as UT has outscored its last two opponents, 102-28, in a pair of victories.

“Every week is a new week,” Dooley said. “Every week you have new stuff. You’re not going to go out there on the first day and be perfect. That’s why we practice. If we could just hand them a sheet and say ‘Here are the plays. Just show up at the game,’ then we wouldn’t have to practice. They’re not going to get it right the first time.

“Then you always have what’s the psyche. You want them to keep a high standard of what they’re doing and commit to that standard every day. You can’t compromise that standard so you’re always making sure that they don’t compromise what our standard of work is. That’s the dynamic and the morale. Sometimes, are they moping? Sometimes, are they feeling too good? There are a lot of factors. Every Tuesday, it’s a new week. It’s a season. You have to recommit. You have to recommit as coaches and you have to recommit as a player.”


Vols’ quarterback Tyler Bray, honored with at least a share of the SEC Freshman of the Week award each of the last two weeks, has shown the ability to take his share of licks and knows it comes with the territory.

“When you show a level of toughness, you’re going to get some respect,” Dooley said. “Nobody likes a soft guy. It’s hard to make it in this sport if you’re walking around as a soft guy.”

“He’s kind of a wiry guy. You never really know who’s soft until you strap your pads on and get out there. That’s why we hit and tackle all the time.”

Courtesy: Tennessee sports information

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