Vols trying to bounce back as fall camp nears

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP/team release) -- Coming off consecutive losing seasons for the first time since 1910-11, Tennessee expressed renewed confidence and optimism as players reported for fall camp Thursday.

Left tackle Antonio Richardson said the Volunteers know how much talent they have and believes the key will be bonding together as a team, which was an emphasis during the offseason.

Entering a critical third year for coach Derek Dooley, Tennessee has a potentially explosive passing attack and a veteran core of starters, but also has big question about the lack of a running game in recent years and a new defensive system.

With just one day left before the start of preseason training camp, Tennessee put the finishing touches on its roster by adding freshman defensive lineman Dante “Omari” Phillips.

The former Florida signee gives the Vols another big body on the defensive line, standing 6-6 and weighing in at 325 pounds. A product of Venice Senior High School in Venice, Fla., Phillips was a consensus four-star recruit and participated in the 2012 U.S. Army All-American Bowl.

Although the timing of his arrival to Rocky Top was a little unconventional, Tennessee head coach Derek Dooley said the process was still the same.

"We had some guys on the staff that had a relationship, of course, so we just went through the process like we do with anybody of that nature,” Dooley said. “We brought him up on a visit, we did our diligence and the process has gotten us to here. Really not any different than we do every other player. We just did it in a different time of year than what you normally do.”

The Vols open fall camp Friday.


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