KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (utsports.com) -- The Tennessee football team practiced for the final time this spring at Neyland Stadium on Thursday. The Vols’ spring session culminates Saturday with their second Dish Network Orange and White Game under head coach Derek Dooley.
The annual spring game, which takes place at 2 p.m. Saturday at Neyland Stadium, isn’t necessarily a barometer of how good the team is, but it does allow the opportunity for some Vols to stand out. One Vol who took advantage of that chance in last spring’s Orange and White Game was quarterback Tyler Bray.
“The first time I kind of noticed some qualities in him was in the scrimmage setting,” Dooley said. “Some guys just elevate a little bit and he did it in the scrimmage. I don’t try to put too much stock in the Orange and White game because so many variables but it was good to see him. It’s one of those deals where if a guy plays real well you get really excited and if he doesn’t play well you go, ‘It’s no big deal.’ You try to have it both ways as a coach. Otherwise, you’ll have nightmares all through the offseason.”
One Vol who may be in that position Saturday is sophomore fullback Channing Fugate, who rushed for more than 3,000 yards as a junior at Breathitt County High School. Although the Jackson, Ky., native didn’t get any carries as a freshman in 2010, the Vols are making a concerted effort to involve him more in the offense going forward.
“We’re going to give him the ball,” Dooley said. “I think he’s going to play a big role in our offense. Guys who have that many yards have excellent instincts. There’s never been a running back who can rush for that many yards and not understand the tone and see things that other guys can’t see. He has great instincts and he’s a heavy body, very good balance when he runs the ball. You can see why he was so productive in high school.”
Junior Willie Bohannon, who will start at defensive end for the Orange team Saturday, is making the most of his opportunity this spring. Bohannon, who shared Tennessee’s 2010 John Stucky Off-Season Award, an annual coaching staff-given honor each spring, is having another productive April this year.
“He never really was much of a threat (to reach the quarterback) but he’s becoming a threat,” Dooley said. “That’s what this spring is doing for him. I’m really pleased with the way he has progressed and we hope he can kind of take it from here with a good summer and we’ll see where he is in August.”
Despite being undersized for a defensive lineman at 6-foot-2 and 251 pounds, Bohannon has been productive.
“He’s playing technique a lot better, but Willie has good leverage,” Dooley said. “Some guys are little, but they play with good leverage. He’s a little guy but he really knows how to use his strength. He understands leverage so he plays a lot stronger than what his body type is.”
-To purchase tickets for Saturday’s Dish Network Orange and White Game, fans can call 865-656-1200 or follow this link: http://bit.ly/hOCG2j
-The Vols will be without defensive end Jacques Smith (foot) Saturday. The extent of his injury is unknown but he is expected to be ready to go when summer workouts begin in June.