KNOXVILLE — The NCAA’s legislation has gotten very specific in regard to football players practicing twice in a day.
They can’t do it when school is in session. They can’t do it the first five days of preseason camp. They can’t do it two consecutive days.
“It just seems like every year, it gets trickier and trickier,” Tennessee coach Derek Dooley said Tuesday. “It’s hard as coach to say, ‘No two-a-days.’ It’s just an old-school thing. Camp’s not what it used to be. You used to go to the dorm and there was a good team-building part of staying in bad dorms, roaches on the walls. It’s misery, just misery. But it’s good. It’s healthy.
“Now we’re in the dorm like a week and a half tops, because of transitioning into the semester. Things have really changed.”
But what hasn’t changed is lawyers finding loopholes, and Dooley is a former practicing attorney.
The NCAA said players can’t practice twice most days, but it has said nothing about coaches, so Dooley and his staff will split the team into older and younger units for the first three days. Older players will practice at about 2:15 p.m., and youngsters will start about 7:45.
“It allows us to give great instruction to slow things down and really do a real good job of evaluating our freshmen,” Dooley said. “I’ve found that when you just throw them all out there together, they get lost early on. This gives us a chance to really evaluate our freshmen and see who we need to invest in a little further.
“There’s only limits on what you can do as a player, not a coach. So we try to grind the coaches into oblivion.”
Senior defensive end Ben Martin grinned when asked about splitting the newcomers and veterans.
“I think it’s a great thing,” Martin said. “Now those young guys won’t be able to hold us back when they don’t have any idea what they’re doing.”
The Vols will reconvene as a full team for their fourth practice.
Dooley said Martin and fellow end Chris Walker would be back to full speed soon from their offseason knee surgeries, but both would be limited to start camp.
The coach said senior middle linebacker Nick Reveiz, junior cornerback Art Evans, sophomore linebacker Herman Lathers and sophomore linebacker Greg King would open camp “100 percent” after missing some or all of spring practice with various injuries. Dooley did not give an update on senior linebacker Savion Frazier, who like Reveiz tore a knee ACL last season.
The Vols continued their recent recruiting success in Hawaii on Tuesday when they accepted a commitment from Honolulu defensive end Juda Parker.
The 6-foot-2, 245-pound Parker was mostly unknown in recruiting circles until this summer. He had received offers only from Hawaii, Baylor, Wyoming, New Mexico State and Weber State before performing well at the Football University Top Gun Camp in Virginia.
UT defensive line coach and former Vols star Chuck Smith heard about Parker’s camp effort, found video of the performance and quickly offered the player a scholarship.
Parker is the Vols’ 12th commitment for the class of 2011. None have been ranked higher than three stars by Rivals.com, Scout.com or ESPN, but Parker and others are being considered for bumps up the ladder.
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