KNOXVILLE (UTSports.com) -- After two days of practicing in helmets and shorts, Tennessee worked out in full pads Thursday afternoon, allowing the Vols to increase their physicality during practice.
"I told the team yesterday that there's never been an SEC champion that didn't play physical football," head coach Derek Dooley said. "It's a mindset, we know there's going to be a lot of mistakes, but we've got to have guys moving fast and hitting hard and then we'll clean up the mistakes as we go."
The Vols have seen three different types of weather in their first three practices this spring -- from heat Tuesday, to rain Wednesday, to cold Thursday.
"It's good," Dooley said. "Yesterday, we didn't handle it well at all when it started raining. We were about 0-for-5 right out of the gate when it was raining. We talked to the offense about that, and it's what I said about young players -- things don't go your way, you get affected, you start thinking about the elements, that's what we've got to learn to play through. We're going to have a lot of adversity, a lot of competition so we can try to mature faster."
Dooley would've preferred that the first seven practices were every other day, but UT's spring break prevented the Vols from being able to do so.
"It allows you a lot of film time in between," Dooley said. "Spring break was later and I didn't want to jam a practice or two at the front end of it, so really what's uncharacteristic is three in a row. But that's what the calendar presented us, and that's what we're doing."
PRAISE FOR PROPST
Dooley spoke highly Thursday of linebacker John Propst, who earned Coaches' All-SEC freshman team honors in 2010.
"He's one of the most instinctive players on defense," Dooley said. "You can't have a better quality as a defensive football player. He's not very experienced, he's not a burner and his size and speed aren't top-shelf, so he's got to make up for it with his instincts, his effort and his toughness.
-Saturday's practice is scheduled for 11:15 a.m. at Haslam Field.
-Austin Johnson will continue to play both linebacker positions, while the current plans have Propst playing in the middle.
-The Vols may not escape their weather problems during practice Saturday. The forecast currently calls for a 70 percent chance of rain and a high of 59 degrees.