Dooley pleased with conditioning, retention after second practice

KNOXVILLE (WVLT) -- Tennessee football coach Derek Dooley doesn't hesitate to point out that you can't judge a football team before the pads come on.

"In helmets you can't tell a whole lot," Dooley said after Wednesday's practice, the second of the season for the Vols' veterans.

As far as the second-year head coach can tell, his team has improved.

"We look a little bigger, we look a little stronger, we're in really good condition," Dooley said. "There's been great carryover from how we practice."

"I feel like we're playing with a lot more physical toughness and we're not even in pads yet. I think that's a good thing," he added

The Vols took the field for the second consecutive day, braving the heat for nearly two hours. Dooley said after practice there were no injuries to report.


Derek Dooley continues to mix and match offensive line personnel as he attempts to put the best five players on the field. Two key members of the unit are sophomores James Stone and Alex Bullard, each seeing time at guard and center.

"Both of us worked hard," Bullard, a transfer from Notre Dame, said. "I'm new to snapping. We're working together. James and I are really good friends. We're from the same area, we're buddies and we help each other out."

Stone said the line's chemistry has improved after a year of working together and frequent workouts during the offseason.

"I feel like it's gotten a lot stronger through the summer when we worked together a lot," Stone said. "Coming into camp, we're coming in as a better and bigger unit."

Both players agree that it's helpful to learn multiple positions.

"We started doing it in the spring and we're continuing it in camp," Stone said. "I feel like it's good for all of us to go out there and play wherever we need to play."

"I've been moved around positions all my life," Bullard said. "It's not new to me."

"I'm gonna do what the coaches ask me to do. My job is to help this team win SEC championships."

The left-handed Stone was faced with the offseason challenge of learning to snap right-handed. He said Wednesday no mishaps occurred during the first two days of practice.

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